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I don’t need to recite statistics regarding what some are calling the “Great Recession.” It has touched every one of us, some harder than others, but it certainly has made for a lasting impression. The news just a few days ago, which resulted in a 250 point drop in the Dow Jones Index, was the result of the decline in exports, which I understand from those that read these tea leaves, means that U.S. manufacturing basis is tightening, perhaps even shrinking. Obviously, this is bad news for those who have perhaps either lost their jobs or have had their hours reduced.

I also saw in the last few days an article in the Wall Street Journal that indicated that while China continues to be the juggernaut in exporting goods, that there are seeds of discontent growing in Africa, where China has expended years and countless billions of dollars of aid to develop relationships on that continent. The seeds of discontent that have been picked up by those who follow such things and those seeds are these:

Africans are seeing the Chinese shoddy goods, poor planning and unwillingness to embrace their hosts as equal partners.

What does this mean for us in the USA? It means the door is not closed. We are a still a great exporting nation, though the balance of trade is clearly more outflow than inflow in dollars and cents. But our products are good because of the workmanship and pride that goes into them. Moreover, as is borne out by the recent Russian spy scandal in the U.S., our intellectual property is second to none. That is why the Russians try to steal it, and why probably the Chinese do it, whether through spying or by their lax enforcement of patent, copyright and trademark laws. Our innovation is what really sets the USA apart. And finally, our ability to work as “equals,” side-by-side with our international hosts is exemplary. Not only is this found in commercial activities, but also in our substantial non-government organization services provided to the people of the African continent.

We work with many small businesses, a good number of them which are manufacturers and distributors. In my many conversations with them, each and every one of them feels challenged, in a positive way, exuding the “can-do” spirit. It is much like the Cincinnati Reds’ Brandon Phillips challenging the St. Louis Cardinals during this past season, which ended up in a sweep of the Reds by the Cards.

The Great Recession, the Chink in China’s Armor, and American Ingenuity

American ingenuity, an experienced and proud workforce, the principals of democracy and a free capitalist society continues to hold the keys to lasting success. While the Great Recession continue to throw up new challenges and roadblocks, I know that because of those challenges, we will grow to be more creative. After all, it is our creativity that is the most sought-after export. Using that creativity will continue to lead to innovations that will continue to keep the USA and its workforce such a desired commodity.