Another hit piece on America: Time asks if America is no longer number one

The US can and will decline in relative importance in the world, while reaping tremendous economic benefits.  In fact, the emergence of the developing world will do more to help cure poverty and inequality than any government program.  Note that the countries that are advancing are not the ones who get foreign aid.  They are the ones who practice free market capitalism.   

The reasons for the pessimism are given below.  Some of the reasons are compelling.  Via Time:
The following rankings come from various lists, but they all tell the same story. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), our 15-year-olds rank 17th in the world in science and 25th in math. We rank 12th among developed countries in college graduation (down from No. 1 for decades). We come in 79th in elementary-school enrollment. Our infrastructure is ranked 23rd in the world, well behind that of every other major advanced economy. American health numbers are stunning for a rich country: based on studies by the OECD and the World Health Organization, we're 27th in life expectancy, 18th in diabetes and first in obesity. Only a few decades ago, the U.S. stood tall in such rankings. No more. There are some areas in which we are still clearly No. 1, but they're not ones we usually brag about. We have the most guns. We have the most crime among rich countries. And, of course, we have by far the largest amount of debt in the world.
And its not just our weakness that is the problem.  The strength of emerging economies, mostly in Asia seem to tell that they are copying American cultural strength and institutions and as such, can and will catch up.  There is nothing inherently unique about this land that makes people prosper.  Consequently, they seem to be copying American exceptionalism and are garnering similar prosperity. 

This should be welcomed.  But, at the same time, our status as big boy on the block can and will be challenged in the next generation.  China is especially telling as they only have to progress to a quarter of the US GDP to surpass us economically.  A story that seems to be quickly playing out.  India will follow China but 20 years later as can be seen in their growth rates.
The Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, who has just written a book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, puts things in historical context: "For 500 years the West patented six killer applications that set it apart. The first to download them was Japan. Over the last century, one Asian country after another has downloaded these killer apps — competition, modern science, the rule of law and private property rights, modern medicine, the consumer society and the work ethic. Those six things are the secret sauce of Western civilization."


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