My purpose in this thread is to show that, despite recent contractions, America remains the world's best economy. Skyfloating will be attempting to
prove me wrong. I thank you for choosing to spend some time pondering this issue with us, and thank ATS for hosting this debate.
The position that America is the world's top economy has been in decline since 2008.
In 2008, before the onset of the global financial crisis, a median of 45% named the U.S. as the world’s leading economic power, while just 22%
said China. Today, only 36% say the U.S., while 42% believe China is in the top position.
In 2007-08 we saw the onset of a recession. And yes, we are yet to fully recover from the losses. Despite this, there are many reasons to think we are
still the world's best economy.
It is difficult to come to an agreement on what constitutes the best
, and this debate will inevitably come down to exactly that definition.
Economics is one of the most statistically rich fields, so we have more than enough data to quanitatively crown countries in certain areas.
Unemployment, wealth equality, government finances, GDP, GDP/capita, tax rates, fortune 500 companies, on and on...these numbers are all on the
My job becomes convincing everyone that America is at the top of the list in the most crucial categories, and has an aggregate edge to any other
First, the size of an economy matters a lot. As much, if not more, than any other factor. The sheer size of America geographically, in population, and
in market, gives the opportunist critical advantages.
The US has a total output (GDP) nearly 50% greater than the second most productive country (China), even when accounting for purchasing power. When
measured nominally, the US doubles China's output.
When considering overall size of economy, China is the only country that is remotely comparable. Japan (3rd) is a little over a third the size of the
US, Germany (4th) about a fourth, and France (5th) is about a fifth.
Size does matter when ranking economies, and America wins that category hands down. Further, China (second in GDP) is far behind other countries in
GDP/capita. China also operates with a much more state driven system, and this should discourage us from considering them as the top economy. Citizens
and businesses in a free market system are much more likely to think and act freely, which leads to greater innovation.
The 42% who rank China ahead of America are incorrect.
Too often, we get caught up in a small piece of time and lose the big picture. This is the case for Americans who are losing faith in their economy.
Recessions have come and gone, and the US economy has remained strong.
Of course, there are other factors to consider when ranking national economies. These smaller indicators are where America finds itself lower on the
For most of the 20th century, the United States has been considered the world’s economic superpower. And up until four years ago, the World
Economic Forum would agree. In 2008, it ranked the U.S. as the most globally competitive economy in the world. This year, when the group published its
annual Global Competitiveness Report, the U.S. ranked seventh.
Every year the World Economic Forum
Global Competitiveness Report
The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 assesses the competitiveness landscape of 144 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their
productivity and prosperity. The Report series remains the most comprehensive assessment of national competitiveness worldwide.
In this report the US ranks seventh behind these six countries:
The United States has dropped on the list every year since 2008.
This report is inherently flawed for a few reasons:
It is made up of over 110 variables, of which two thirds come from the Executive Opinion Survey
Opinions are consistently an overreaction to a given moment.
Another reason the report is flawed, is because it weights variables differently based on which "stage of development" the country is in. America is
in the "innovation driven stage," along with the nations ranked ahead of it. America loses points because it's economy is much bigger and is
therefore more difficult to operate at the same efficiency, of say Switzerland.
We have a situation where in the wake of recession, America is being underrated because of relative expectations. It has been taken for granted that
America is the world's best economy, so when anything indicates otherwise- it's not.
This is a flaw in reasoning that is happening within America and abroad.
Because of the recession, unemployment rises and wealth inequality increases. Government debt goes up because it has to pay more benefits to an
increasing poor, and decided on a Keynesian policy.
When we look at things realistically, and avoid momentary hyperbolic opinion, America still has the dynamic economic foundation that it had six, ten,
and fifty years ago. It is essentially still the same country, and still outproduces any other by a wide margin.
America has a large population, over 300 million, a diverse workforce, outstanding food production, leading science and technological institutions,
more top universities than any other country.
132 of the 500 biggest companies are American.link
America has 412 of the world's 1,210 billionaires - 34%.
For any person aspiring to improve themselves economically, America remains the place with the highest ceiling. In fact, the ceiling is virtually
In order to start a billion dollar company in any of the countries listed ahead of America in the report above, it must be an international company.
In America, it is very possible to start a large company without ever expanding overseas.
Skyfloating will surely expose the weaknesses of the American economy. The WEF report tables inefficient government bureaucracy as America's biggest
problem. I agree with this assessment.
But I believe the strengths of America are enough to overcome this issue. The debt is manageable over the long term. Many of the statistics that point
to a decline on the list for the US are temporary and directly related to the recession: unemployment, poverty, debt. As we move forward in the next
couple of decades, there is no country on the planet that seriously threatens America as the world's most productive country and best generator of
wealth. China will approach the US in terms of GDP, but economic structure and per capita income makes them a weak candidate for the world's top
A country like Switzerland is simply too small to consider, with a population a third the size of Texas.
I am eager to see which countries Skyfloating proposes as better than America.
And I urge the reader to remember the importance of market size.