In short, in December 2000 I had naively and optimistically predicted that within a few years of suffering under George W. Bush regime, the American economy would be so far off-course by 2004 that the combination of neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism would be shamed out of office.
WHY WAS I OPTIMISTIC FOR THE OPPORTUNITY OF RENEWAL?
By that particular December of 2000, I had already worked or traveled in nearly 70 countries and I knew that the political economic dogma of the prior 35 years had produced only a consistent series of boons and bust, whereby the U.S. economy was basically overseeing the largest (defense) spending in world history (using tax dollars) on things-that-go-boom.
These weapons and war bonds would lead to wounded veterans and worse, without really gaining much in the way of better transportation, educational, nor energy infrastructures. In short, American standards of living have only barely been treading water--despite the greatest growth in the stock markets which America has known in over half a century.
Aside from those two sectors (and possibly the still growingly-expensive higher education sector), America was far from a global model for development for most of the developing world.
Why? Because homegrown debt is not a positive export product for most developing countries to try and mimic.
From 1983 to 2000, I had traveled and worked in regions around Japan, the UAE, Western Europe, and Nicaragua. Everywhere I went as a lifelong educator, I have bemoaned the hype about America Inc. as “the business model” for either the developed or developing world.
I, therefore, advocated that travelers from various lands not constantly look to the USA to find models for development. I had told several Brazilians and Argentineans whom I met in Hungry in 1987 specifically not to copy the USA in terms of getting their housing sector improved and developed. I explained that the USA model was based on debt or expensive rent—with only a little government help in the getting-the-loan stage.
These South Americans looked at me in dismay and said, “Where should we look for a model? Our country only looks at El Norte for its business and socio-economic development models these days, especially as communism and socialism seems to be collapsing around us.”
ONE NON-USA EXAMPLE: THE POST OFFICE-BANK
These nationwide-post-office-banks should have gained great appeal for most of the developing world in the era before micro-lending began to be practiced—banking by cell phone became possible. Especially, small businesses and farms should have liked the idea of keeping banking local when possible.
Threats of run-ons of banks would have become lessened for many people throughout the 20th century had there been a greater variety of types of global banks. Moreover, better access to locally based loans could have been possible by creating banks wherever a post office existed across the globe.
In summary, I am fairly certain that the idea of doing banking and encouraging savings at a local post office bank would have brought savings & loan service to millions in even the most rural areas of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Such nationwide systems would have allowed loans locally to exist where they were otherwise being ignored by city- and international banks.