The sudden end of the export era is going to have some ugly consequences.
In China, about 20 million workers have lost their jobs in the last few months, many of them heading back to the countryside, where they will find little work. The authorities are rightly worried that what they label “mass group incidents,” which have been increasing in the last decade, might spin out of control.
Ditto for Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, and the Phillipines. The American consumer has stopped buying. That changes everything.
East Asia may be entering a period of radical protest and social revolution that went out of style when export-oriented industrialization became the fashion three decades ago.