America’s infrastructure is in a dire state because successive U.S. administrations have spent trillions on wars rather than investing in their own country, the Chinese billionaire entrepreneur and founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, Jack Ma, has said.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Ma was asked in an interview by CNBC about the U.S. economy in relation to China in light of President Donald Trump’s proposals about tariffs on Chinese imports.
Ma, whose company is one of the biggest online sources for Chinese exports to the West, replied that blaming China for any economic issues in the U.S. is “misguided.”
“If America is looking to blame anyone,” Ma said, “it should blame itself.
“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 war in Iraq—fought on lies that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction”—cost the U.S. over $2 trillion alone, with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest.
Furthermore, a $212 billion “reconstruction effort” was a failure with most of that money spent on security or lost to waste and fraud, a study showed.
Ma said waste such as that in Iraq was the reason America’s economic growth had weakened, not China’s “supposed theft of jobs.”
“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?”
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.”