Obama: "more productive than any on Earth"
We can restore opportunity and prosperity. We should never forget that our workers are still more productive than any on Earth. Our universities are still the envy of the world. We are still home to the most brilliant minds, the most creative entrepreneurs, and the most advanced technology and innovation that history has ever known.
There's not a single claim in this inauguration quote that isn't true (and I'm not from the U.S).
America's own inventiveness and productivity creates new prosperity. Sitting here in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam has the same drive and desires. But right now the productivity of people (as a whole) is not anywhere close to the West.
There are many very smart, motivated and highly productive people in Vietnam but the pool of this talent is still much too small. So the country must still rely too heavily on it's low-cost wage to compensate for lower-productivity.
Within the borders of Vietnam, especially for international companies here, the bidding war to grab that highly skilled worker doesn't matter too much. (If you need a great manager to run your operation you have to pay). That's fine when your selling to the local market but not when you're exporting or outsourcing. Then, the productivity and wage balance must be in tune with competition from China, India, Europe, USA, Russia, S.Africa. So it's important that wages in Vietnam don't get too far ahead of productivity and skills.
Global commerce today is ruthless at finding this productive 'balance' and in allocating business and trade to the best. Vietnam has it's place at the table in textiles, shoes and commodities. China has consumer manufacturing. America continues to have it's place in Finance, Internet, Telecoms... because it's productivity more than compensates for it's higher wages.