The Top Banana

International Man

The United States emerged from World War II as the top banana. Having entered the war late, it not only was in the enviable position of expanding as a manufacturing nation to supply the allies with war materials, it also insisted on being paid in gold for whatever it shipped. (Pretty nice deal.) At the end of the war, it only had to switch from building tanks and radio equipment to building cars and televisions for the peacetime population. The icing on the cake was that it had not been invaded, so, in 1945, it was poised to take off as the world’s foremost supplier of goods. For several decades, the US reigned as the top banana, and indeed, that’s still true in many ways, except the peel of the banana is rapidly turning brown. The US has, in recent times, devolved from being the world’s greatest creditor nation to becoming the world’s greatest debtor nation.

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