At last year's Davos conference, Jack Ma responded to President Donald Trump's accusation that China was to blame for the destruction of America's middle class. He made three points as to why this this claim isn't true and to why Americans must look within to understand why their living standards are lower relative to other developed nations.
Ma makes three broad points:
- U.S. Firms have made billions from globalization but this money has not been redistributed for human development and large-term public infrastructure in “30 years”.
- The money that the U.S. had was squandered on foreign adventures like Iraq and maintaining a global empire without suitable taxation since Reagan.
- The U.S. has actively chosen not to educate its populace and then scapegoat others ‘Chinese’ or ‘Mexicans’ for the adversity affecting this segment of society.
“It’s not that other countries steal jobs from you guys,” Ma said. “It’s your strategy. Distribute the money and things in a proper way.” He said the U.S. has wasted over $14 trillion in fighting wars over the past 30 years rather than investing in infrastructure at home. “The American multinational companies made millions and millions of dollars from globalization,” Ma said. “The past 30 years, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, they’ve made tens of millions — the profits they’ve made are much more than the four Chinese banks put together. … But where did the money go?”
For decades. the United States chose to invest in war, and corporate profits, instead of in its two most important resources, its people and infrastructure. After decades of pursuing the same policies, the U.S. is now experiencing the consequences of failing to invest in both.
He said the U.S. is not distributing, or investing, its money properly, and that’s why many people in the country feel wracked with economic anxiety. He said too much money flows to Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Instead, the country should be helping the Midwest, and Americans “not good in schooling,” too. “You’re supposed to spend money on your own people,” Ma said. “Not everybody can pass Harvard, like me.” In a previous interview, Ma said he had been rejected by Harvard 10 times.