Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pick up the ball

There's an odd piece by the usually astute James Surowiecki in this week's New Yorker ("Sovereign Wealth World"). The writer looks at standard everyman fears of Chinese government-owned funds investing heavily in U.S. assets, notes that national defense-linked assets will always be off-limits, that owners are unlikely to be suicidal, that the discipline of market competition will overpower any non-market aspirations -- and that, "[t]he prospect of American companies being sold to foreigners is, to be sure, disconcerting. But it's a problem of our own making. The reason that sovereign wealth funds are so flush with cash is all the dollars we spend on oil and Asian consumer goods."

If Lou Dobbs has made it to the New Yorker, how can we complain about the spread of know-nothing protectionism in other venues and precincts?

The power and the attraction of globalization is that it spreads good (market) behavior beyond our shores; it works to blur political boundaries and cultural limits.

The good news must be articulated on the left as well as on the right. When the right drops the ball (as it often does), the left has to pick it up.