My neighbor Richard and I visited the Ming exhibit at the Asian Art Museum and then wandered through the third floor permanent collection. Richard noted that the Ming Dynasty people pictured on silk screens, scrolls and textiles looked positively Elizabethan in their dress, style and luxury.
This reminded me of the last book by the late Jane Jacobs, "Dark Age Ahead," where she illustrates how North America is sliding into political, economic, and cultural disaster.
The book starts with an example from the Ming Dynasty. In a fine review by Don Webb (click here for the whole thing), he summarizes:
"In the early 15th century, China was foremost in the world in oceangoing trade and exploration. In 1433, the outcome of a political power struggle — the causes of which now seem utterly trivial and only historians know of — caused China’s great fleets to be recalled and its shipyards dismantled. The country turned inward, away from the world. The retreat led to a cascading economic, intellectual and technological stagnation from which China never recovered. China’s many achievements thus became a historical footnote, and the world was left open to the Europeans."
That's one of the most pernicious effects of "outsourcing" so much work from the United States so a few members of the economic elite can get even richer.
Nobody is learning how to do anything anymore except how to be consumers...
...or personal fitness trainers...
...torturing people in the public square.