Last year, I was teaching high school math to sixth graders in Alaska. This year I'm coaching middle-school students in math and they're going to State Finals, and one of them to Nationals next week.
In July, I was teaching Chinese middle-school and high-school students in a "small provincial town" of 400,000 people. They go to high school for 48 weeks a year. They opted to spend half their yearly vacation listening to a gringo (me) talk about science, games, and English. They start school at 6:30 am and go till 10 pm, six days a week.
Show me an American student who spent 93 hours a week for 4 years and didn't get the Ivy education and dream job they wanted and you'll surprise me.
Whine about the Chinese "taking our jobs" and I'll reply that we (as individuals) didn't want those jobs nearly as much.
Can we compete? Absolutely.
Do we compete? Increasingly, no. Our choice.
If you want to earn $1/day, move to Africa.
If you want to earn $10/day move to China.
If you want to earn $100/day and complain about it, stay where you are.
If you want to earn $2000/day and be fat and happy, get your MD, JD, or MBA.
It's late. I'm being blunt. I should go to bed.
Really, my message (and philosphy) is "choices". We have choices. They have choices. We have more choices than they do and always have. That might not always be true. Don't be surprised, be prepared. Being prepared = being skilled and educated.