I just happened to see a graph comparing manufacturing employment across several countries (Hat Tip: Adam Tooze) The graph compared US manufacturing income to Japan, Germany, and Korea. Manufacturing employment has been stronger in all three than in the US. Guess what else they have in common. None of them had a housing bubble. And they tend to run trade surpluses.
So, I went to Fred to see if the pattern holds. And it does.
The housing bubble, trade deficit countries are down there with the US with half the manufacturing employment that Germany has. They have moved to a post-industrial economy. That requires urbanization. Nobody has figured out, politically, how to allow it to happen. I predict that the first one that does will experience a flowering of equitable economic growth.
Source: World Bank (via Fred)
PS. Here's a graph of GINI indexes. The trade deficit/ housing bubble/ post-industrial economies also have another thing in common. More income inequality. A cap on the admittance into the key urban economies has created an economy of exclusion based on a sort of meritocracy. If you have skills and connections, you can earn an excessively high income, much of which goes to your landlord.