My friend Hans recently drove to Alaska. As he passed through Canada he was struck by the working class people he met everywhere. It then occurred to him, based on our joint knowledge of Canada, that Canada is really not a giant industrial commercial nation, it is an extractive economy based largely on mining, oil, timber and some agriculture.
I published this material elsewhere and it was promptly pointed out by a wise reader that Canada actually does export automobile parts and a few large assemblies such as Bombardier airplanes and railcars. In further investigating I found that most of this work is simply American corporations out of Detroit working across the border for lower wages and better business conditions.
This led me to think about other nations that we often put in the top industrial commercial category but don't belong there. After Canada the second most important one is Australia, which is predominantly an extractive economy. After that come many less surprising societies including Russia, Mexico, the Middle East and most of Latin America.
What does this tell me?
It reminds me that the United States and a few other countries Japan, Israel, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany and China are the driving economies on the planet and the rest of the world is metaphorically sucking on our teats.