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In speech after speech, President Obama calls on the People's Republic of China to stop manipulating its currency. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney milks his favorite applause line about the first thing he'll do if elected as president: Denounce China as a currency manipulator. Former SEIU union boss Andy Stern thinks the U.S. is too timid in the face of competition from China and that the U.S. should throw out its historical reliance on free trade and free markets in favor of the so-called Chinese model. The New York Times' Thomas "The World Is Flat" Friedman, daydreams in his new book, That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, of having the U.S. being able to imitate the PRC's authoritarian approach in order to "transcend ideology" and "get things done."
To quote Yogi Berra, it's dÃƒÂ©jÃƒÂ vu all over again. Twenty-five years ago, the source of shock and awe was Japan. Scholars like Harvard's Ezra Vogel and trade specialists like Clyde Prestowitz wrote and spoke incessantly about the coming Japanese century- just in time, as it turned out, for the bursting of Japan's financial bubble which triggered its "lost decade" of low to negative economic growth.
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