It seems that it has become fashionable to bash America these days.
As I run around the country giving my strategy luncheons, I hear a lament that has become all too familiar.
America has peaked as a civilization, the story goes, and will follow the British, French, Roman, and even the Egyptian empires into the dustbin of history.
Our standard of living is falling, technological prowess is fading, and military strength is weakening.
It will be just another generation before the Chinese take over the world and we will all be forced to learn Mandarin in high school, or somebody worse will take their place.
Such bouts of doubt, angst, and self-loathing occur every generation in America.
I received a big dose after the US withdrew from Vietnam in 1972. My dad felt the same after Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. So did my grandfather when the Lusitania was sunk in 1915.
The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 was considered the country’s darkest hour. And then there was the British burning of Washington in 1812. I remember it like it was yesterday.
I say horse feathers, bull-pucky, and balderdash to all this talk.
When speaking to foreign governments, military leaders, and central bankers during my global travels I keep hearing a recurring theme.
The United States is still the great shining example up on the hill. We are dominant in technology and increasing at an accelerating rate. All I hear about are our country’s strengths.
Our economy can evolve faster than anywhere else on the planet. This is because no one can beat us at creative destruction.
Some 27 years into Japan’s stock market crash they are still maintaining companies on life support at enormous expense, some 20% of their stock market capitalization. We cleansed our system in about six months.
And try downsizing outdated unions in Germany. We have cut the union share of labor from 35% to 15% in 30 years. Where else can someone with no money but good ideas become a billionaire in a couple of years?
Since I am a numbers guy, let me throw a few out there just to make my case. With a $19 trillion GDP, ours is triple the size of the contenders number two and three at $5 trillion, China, and Japan.
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