Obviously a lot of the details and color in the story are out of date now. I was, after all, writing it early in 2005, soon after George W. Bush had been sworn in for a second term. But some of the patterns will not seem so outdated. I think it's worth a look.
And while I'm at it, I might as well add an even older item from the archives, "How the World Works," from 1993, about the mismatches between the U.S. economy, as influenced by its political values and prevailing ideology, and the export-related economies of Asia. Japan, which was a main focus of that story, differs in very significant ways from today's emerging China. But there are similarities too. The article then became part of my book Looking at the Sun. FWIW.