Here is one of my rails against Grand Stupidities. The inspiration comes from the news that Japan is in recession (and Europe, too). The news out of Europe is that they are crucifying their last remaining brilliant person, who shall soon be in California. :)
The entire world is in an economic funk right now because we are between technological booms. I shall outline some of the major booms. A true wealth-producing innovation benefits the producer and the consumer of cheaper goods that improve life.
Colonization - Europe did big on this, getting cheap beaver hats.
Steel - Railway and steam, big for Europe and NA.
Oil and Interstates with cars - big for NA and Germany with the autobahns.
Fixed computer boom - starting from the 60's and on-going. Nearly all export benefits to the US, with Japan producing some. Productivity is finally improving in Canada with the decimation of the bureaucracy, resulting in high youth unemployment. No improvement in Japan and Europe, and the US is just getting chip cards. :)
Shipping and World Trade: Containers were the big technology, and free trade the big political shift. China did big here, it was like finding a huge cheap iron ore deposit in the era of steel. Only this was underpaid labour. In the early days, Japan and Europe did well with intricate mechanicals, such as small cars and VCR's. Later years J&E did not benefit due to protectionism. NA had the big cheap consumer items boom with Walmart and Dollarama importing containers directly from China. Now China is big with Aliexpress, and people can import their own cheap Chinese goods.
Internet and Wireless - Both software and hardware. Had the brief telecoms fibre optics boom, but that was their last hurrah. J+E protected fixed lines and lost out. Finland did okay for a while. Big benefactors were other third world countries who skipped land lines, but didn't do anything with that. It is still nearly impossible to get a visa to visit India if you are a Canadian in California. I'm running around for this this morning. California was the big winner here. Amazon and Uberx are the big new wealth creators here.
Whatever it is, you know J&E will miss out. I'm predicting that it is 3-d printers. Soon there will be giant centres like Google data centres of 3d printers making 3d printers. Manufacturing will go local. China will lose here. NA will win big. Europe would do better if they hadn't lost all their brains to California.
*J&E are losing because of the lack of immigration of fresh brains. They are going through a uniform ageing cycle which is certain death.
ps. I was thinking that Europe should have protected that guy by having a young powerful woman stand up and say "I made him wear that shirt, it was the cleanest one he had!" Trouble is that they don't have powerful women, which is probably the main issue. :(