America world’s Number One? Think again

October 28, 2011

Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The United States is the greatest country on earth, different from others and better than the rest in all respects. Or so the great majority of its citizens believe, in good times and bad. Two new reports might dent that self-image.

One is the World Bank’s annual ranking of how easy (or not) it is to do business in 183 countries. The other is from the Bertelsmann Foundation, a German think tank, and examines social justice in the 31 of the 34 countries of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Economic Development (OECD), often dubbed the rich-country club.

On the World Bank list, the United States came fourth behind Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand. In the Bertelsmann study the United States ranked a dismal 27th.

It shows the United States as the country with the biggest rich-poor gap of those examined, except for Mexico and Chile. On providing health care, it ranks 23rd; on access to education 20th. Five Scandinavian countries – Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland – topped the list, prompting the conclusion that social justice and economic performance are not mutually exclusive.

(This is not a concept embraced by most of the Republican presidential hopefuls. Herman Cain, a front-runner, made headlines with a punchy comment on the growing anti-inequality Occupy Wall Street movement: “Don’t blame Wall Street. Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself.”)

The World Bank’s ranking shows that the United States is better at Doing Business (the report’s title) than it is at social justice but even on the business front, it is no longer the best overall. It doesn’t fare well in a number of categories, from “ease of starting a business” (13th) and “trading across borders” (20th) to “ease of registering property” (16th).

The five top scorers in the social justice study also rank among the top 15 rated by the World Bank, evidence that American-style inequality is not a prerequisite for flourishing capitalist enterprise.

How do such statistics mesh with the perception of most Americans that their country is the best? They don’t.

According to a Fox News poll in April, 84 percent of American adults think the United States is the greatest country in the world. Almost 70 percent said they would not leave the United States to live anywhere else. Just 19 percent they would, for financial security or greater physical safety. While two thirds considered the United States weaker than it was five years ago, they still thought it the best.


That firm belief in America’s standing as the world’s number one became a political issue early in the presidency of Barack Obama who said, in reply to a news conference question in France four months after taking office: “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”

Ever since, Republican critics of the president have accused him of lacking patriotism and the conviction that American values and the American way of life are superior. That criticism is likely to bubble up again in the 2012 presidential election campaign and the offending sentence will be recycled without the rest of the quote.

That included references to the American constitution, democratic practices, free speech, equality, an exceptional set of core values “and if you think of our current situation, the United States remains the largest economy in the world. We have unmatched military capability.”

True enough. The United States spends almost as much on military power than the rest of the world combined and even if that expenditure were cut in half, it would still be more than its current and potential adversaries. The current defense budget is higher than at any time since World War II and could be cut substantially without risking the country’s security, according to Lawrence Korb, assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan. Defense spending now takes up more than a fifth of the total budget.

Is there a link between that kind of military spending and America’s poor showing in the social justice study? It’s a question that merits debate.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

The military industrial complex is a profit machine.
Just like market credit bubbles and derivative schemes.
We can’t even accomplish something simple – like marijuana legalization – because even though it would create jobs, reduce crime and save the government money, the big dogs profit more from the status quo.

Posted by rtgunlimited | Report as abusive

The obscene military spending in America as a percentage of its discretionary budget each year is just another example of corporate interests being placed above the social interests of its citizens. The average American’s tax contribution is being laundered through unjustified military spending to support domestic American military enterprise & enforcing its interests abroad. I heard somewhere & it escapes me now where exactly, that you can’t have McDonald’s without McDonald Douglas.

Posted by ConorCrotty | Report as abusive

Comparison with the Scandinavian countries is very skewed. They are far smaller than the US in both area and population and are highly homogeneous in ethnic terms. They spend far more on social programs, but with that comes far higher personal taxes. It is worth noting that Sweden is also a major exporter of military arms, for all their “neutrality”. Neutrality means to them that they will sell arms to any nation that has the cash.
The US spends by far the most on its military. It also spends more on its social agencies/departments than on the Pentagon (look up the US federal budget).
The US has civil freedoms including free speech, right of assembly, habeas corpus, and freedom of information. Compare that to, say, China and Russia, among others. How open is Internet use or social networking in China?
The Occupy protesters have often been arrested of late. What does that mean in the end? They are cited, booked, and sometimes released right away, with a ticket. If jailed, they are arraigned that night or the next day, then released, barring felony charges. Compare that to, say, Tianamen Square, Red Square, Havana. . . .
I’ll stay in the US, thank you.

Posted by abatefr | Report as abusive

I believe US is still number one in terms of where most people would reather live. It is no longer about gaps, or banks or economy. US has entered a higher level of development no longer measurable by World Bank or rich to poor gap.

Posted by Georgian | Report as abusive

“Is there a link between that kind of military spending and America’s poor showing in the social justice study? It’s a question that merits debate” LOL we can annihilate all the countries in front of us and we’ll be #1 again – where is the debate?

Posted by Whatsgoingon | Report as abusive

Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland topped the list.

All socialist countries. So where are the moron tea partiers and republicans now?

The problem with capitalism is that capitalists (greedy pigs) eventually run out of your money.
The problem with socialism (when it fails) is that the ruling socialist elite eventually start thinking like capitalists!

Posted by JohnG-73645 | Report as abusive

Most Americans don’t get out much. Most, if not all, of the civil freedoms they think they have (abatefr doesn’t seem to connect that if you actually have a right to assembly, you don’t get arrested for assembling) are available in all the developed world (absenting Russia and China) and some of the not so developed world. They haven’t come to terms with the reality that the US is a police state with more of its population behind bars than any other country in the world, even authoritarian regimes like Russia and China. They probably haven’t experienced spending a whole day without seeing a cop. It’s hard to do that in the US. Yes, the US is definitely the land of self delusion.

Posted by majkmushrm | Report as abusive

“Here’s to the Army and Navy and the battles they have won; here’s to America’s colors, the colors that never run.” (from the movie “Big Trouble in Little China”..but truer words have never been spoken)

Posted by xyz2055 | Report as abusive

Fighting two wars for so long takes a toll on a countries economy. We know this from the World wars, Viet Nam and even to some extent Korea. We support too many of these countries still to this day. When is the US finally going to focus on its own problems?

Posted by jscott418 | Report as abusive

And better yet all of these countries (and many more) manage to provide a decent life for ALL their citizens, health insurance and education without the endless succession of wars, invasion and occupations.

The USA is a sick puppy – and most of its citizens don’t even know it.

Posted by jrpardinas | Report as abusive

Free to do nothing. You need a permit to even travel you deluded monkeys. Your travel permit (Papers! Zee must have zee papers to travel!!) is called a Port Pass…a passport. No permit to travel, no travel. Back to your cage, er home, citizen. Free to be a deluded, ignorant, self-righteous sheep.

To the world the usa is no longer #1. In fact, the usa is starting to look like a large, wet and stinking #2 on the world map.

Posted by stambo2001 | Report as abusive

The US is the only western country that stamps it’s own citizens passports upon arrival… Freedom?

Posted by GA_Chris | Report as abusive

Sure the good old U. S. of A has given a lot of people an opportunity to make it BUT the rest is all hubris and baloney. If a person travels overseas that traveler soon learns we have virtually NO CULTURE—we are too young a country. Many European countries have better cuisine, art, museums, mass transit systems and let’s not forget healthcare. So NO we are NOT Numero Uno, that is just politician talk pandering to those who will listen. A country does NOT have to be number One in all things however, a country that takes care of its least fortunate is Number 1 in my book.

Posted by 2cartalkers | Report as abusive

Freedoms—malarkey! The only freedom and right you have in this country is the freedom and right to STARVE IN THE STREET!

Posted by 2cartalkers | Report as abusive

We have the best trailer parks and the most ammo! But the occupants are not allowed to demonstrate in them. We have the highest drive-by shooting rates! More killed are shot down in Chicago than soldiers in Afghanistan. That is something to crow about if there ever was. Ever notice how all those Swedes are banging down our doors and carrying out protest occupations of the Statue of Liberty demanding to be let in? We also have the biggest supply of drones and can “get” a citizen no matter where they roam!

Posted by Eustacius_Elder | Report as abusive

The U.S. spends more money on Defense than the following 17 countries combined: China, United Kingdom, France, Russian Federation, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Italy, India, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey, Israel and Greece.

We provide money and military aid to countries that provide their citizens with universal health care while we want to cancel Obamacare.

I spent nine years in Germany courtesy of the USAF and spent many months in Denmark and Norway. It did not take long to see how citizens of these countries were better off than Americans.

The poster that labeled Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland as socialist does not have a clue.

Posted by zoomie63 | Report as abusive

American military power saved Europe twice, perhaps we would have been better off if we had spent the fortunes those efforts consumed to build a better social justice model here. We have work to do, and with better leadership in Washington and Wall Street that puts our interests first, we will be on top again shortly.

Posted by longbowarcher | Report as abusive

Of those countries listed above the USA, how much of their country’s budjets are spent on thier military outside of their continental boundaries. think about it!

Posted by lawbider | Report as abusive

Ike’s words: The conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.
We are losing our liberties, treasure, and our lives for what exactly? As of 31 December 2010, U.S. Armed Forces were stationed at more than 820 installations in at least 135 countries. Its time to bring all the troops home.

Posted by paullester | Report as abusive

America is fragmenting into disconnected pieces. Separation and disunion are our current trends and the only thing the powerful can think of to slow this is to build more prisons and to fill them. Then you replace the Americans you just locked up with people who are thought to be docile foreigners. But really, they are just foreigners.

No one cares what happens to this place any more. The arrogant ignorance of the vast majority of Americans is the result of a lack of information — i.e. a free press. Change is coming every day, and faster.

Posted by txgadfly | Report as abusive

Scandinavia is really unfair because of their sparse population and absurd riches in natural resources. Norway is a top 10 oil producer with a population of 5 million. They don’t have a working government because they are egalitarian and socialist, rather they are able to fund their deficits through oil money.

Posted by djlowballer | Report as abusive

“Is there a link between that kind of military spending and America’s poor showing in the social justice study? It’s a question that merits debate.”

I think that the facts are in and there is not much to debate. When you pay so many people to wage war and don’t pay people to improve the quality of life in the US, you get what we have now. I wish there were not two Republicans running in 2012.

Posted by M.C.McBride | Report as abusive

The sheer stupidity I read only masks ignorance with what appears to be intelligence. The U.S. is not perfect, but unless you’ve lived within the system and didn’t look for handouts, you wouldn’t get it. The large problem is that most outsiders are envious of America but then forget that the U.S. was built by outsiders, mostly poor and despised in their own countries. Ah, but then every shmuck on Earth wants to imitate America and wants an iPod and listen to Lady Gaga, etc, etc. Go figure.

Posted by calexandre | Report as abusive

“Social Justice” is a ridiculous standard by which to measure American society. “Social Justice” is not an American value. The United States of America is a meritocracy. It’s based on equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. There is nothing inherently wrong with a society that has a large gap between rich and poor provided that everyone earns what they make.

Posted by wama | Report as abusive

Our US economy is not made up of small compact Scandinavian sorts. We must not model ourselves after these countries. We have the highest immigrant influx in the world which in turn causes the USA to divert resources from public treasury to these causes. We are constantly at war therefore defaulting our balance of public treasury to overseas causes good and bad by perception and fact. While we are cleaning up after one conflict and in the middle of 2 we continue to lead the blind in to future conflicts good and bad. This situation in which we have engaged has currently brought the USA to the doorstep of have not. If the USA were to gradually reduce the number of armed conflicts the world over, starting in 2012 it will take a full generation to overcome our bankrupt situation. If not we shall see the continued deceleration of our society to the lowest levels of the have not’s the world over.

Posted by Intriped | Report as abusive

I’ll stay in the U.S of A…thanks!!! I’m from Puerto Rico and live in Illinois. Have been around the world many times and still have not seen a place that gives you the opportunities better than in USA, if not then ask why so many people line up from all those countries in U.S. embassies to apply for U.S. citizenship!!! They can say all they want, that study is European skewed anyways but here i work where i want and have he opportunity to go as high as i want and nobody jails you and tortures you because your ideas are different than the official party line!!! God Bless the USA!!!

Posted by rsierra33 | Report as abusive

Try this jose…if our economy fails the rest of the world goes into a precipice!!!! pufff!!!

Posted by rsierra33 | Report as abusive

The debate rages on. Here’s another positive for the US: Pluralism. Sure there’s racism and classism, but we are far more inclusive of our outsiders and oddballs than any Scandinavian country, or the rest of the world for that matter.

Unfortunately there are problems. One alluded to is our diminishing education. China and India are building up to challenge the US in their thirst for better engineers and scientists. Clearly the system in the US is not designed for long-term success.

Posted by LEEDAP | Report as abusive

It is true that US is no longer number one. Singapore though small is better than US in terms of development. US people always think they are the best and all the jobs gets taken away or outsourced to Asian countries. US economy has taken a backseat. Soon (may be another 5 years) China is set to take over US as a global power. But US will never admit this and still they source jobs to India and China….

Posted by kevin856 | Report as abusive

ON equality, and its links to quality of life; some of your other readers have been sharing this: on.html

ON military spending and its links to quality of life/ global domination, some lessons from the early 1900’s British Empire may suffice. Once the British Empire became globally dominant, its politicians decided it would be a good idea to enact a law that decreed that Britain’s navy must always (ever thereafter) be at least the size of its two biggest potential rivals combined… So they expensively built a huge navy using obsolete technology (massive capital spending that even the British Empire couldn’t actually afford), which became an economic and political “white elephant” during WWI, in which the massive British navy was kept at bay by a smaller German navy that possessed slight technological advantages with submarines, radio communications and commanders who actually knew what they were doing, and were not totally incompetent & pompous idiots like Admiral Jellicoe. The British Navy gave the British a reckless feeling of invincibility, and this complacency cost us hundreds of thousands of lives (fathers, sons, brothers). Having mortgaged their economy to build this unnecessary fleet, the British didn’t have the resources to build a truly modern fleet when a large-scale conflict of attrition actually broke out!

Posted by matthewslyman | Report as abusive

The solution is simple: You vote for somebody else than tea party and democrats. Because if you keep voting for the same parties over and over again, they control you.

Posted by FBreughel1 | Report as abusive

[…] ¿Estados Unidos, el primer país del mundo? Piénsalo bien… [ENG]  /28/america-world…  por mainzer hace nada […]

Posted by ¿Estados Unidos, el primer país del mundo? Piénsalo bien… [ENG] | Report as abusive

The USA is still the most prosperous nation and because of this there’s lots of opportunities to make money which is good for individuals coming here. We’re also still one of the safest places on earth, with very few terrorist attacks on our soil.

This articles makes some ridiculous claims. We’re ranked fourth behind Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand in terms of ease of doing business. Do you know the populations of these countries? Singapore has 5 million people, that’s roughly half the size of Los Angeles. Hong Kong has 7 million and New Zealand has 4.3 million. If you want to call these “countries” I guess you can, but they are more like cities than countries.

The Scandinavian countries listed above certainly have better health care and education, but they also tax their citizens nearly half their annual salaries. These are more like socialist countries where the government is in charge of everything and they aren’t even big countries either.

If you add up the total population of Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland you’ll get a number a bit larger than the state of New York (a bit over 20 million).

Posted by mahadragon | Report as abusive

The USA is still the number ONE in military capabilities, undisputed.
The USA is still number ONE in defense science and technology, undisputed.
The USA is number ONE in the manufacture, distribution and sales of financial instruments of mass destruction.

Posted by rissey | Report as abusive

@matthewslyman, very instructive and sort of compares to the misplaced feelings of superiority that led to Vietnam and Iraq (and Somalia, lest we forget). The U.S. is certainly full of economic vitality and, due to the size of the nation, that translates into a massive political power. Here in Europe, however, most of us would be appalled by those left behind, unable to grasp the opportunities offered, by the naked greed seen in daily life and by extreme and radical beliefs that preclude a caring society. If I had to choose, it would be Scandinavia for me (although it does seem a bit cold).

Posted by Lambick | Report as abusive

[…] Reuters Other Posts: Bill Gates Richest American ! Number of poor hit record 46 million in 2010 Listeria […]

Posted by America world’s Number One? i Don’t think so! | What do You Think ? | Report as abusive

You would the concept of economies of scale would allow the USA a country of 300 million to out preform those of Scandinavia a combined 25million (the size of Texax).

Taking care of 300mil people with the taxes of 300 million ought to be equally efficient or greater than taking care of 25million with the taxes of 25 million.

Listening to the GOP talk you would swear that they actually think that they are serving 12 times the people from the same tax base as a country of 25mil.

Maybe they do… I doubt Cain, Bachamann, Palin etc can understand basic math

Posted by mscldrew | Report as abusive

Belief in your own country and culture is an asset. No other country feels the way that Americans do about their homeland. That said, one big problem with America is its misguided idea that a single individual such as a president can fix their individual life problems; or, that its dominance can last forever. I think that leads to stagnation. America’s greatest asset has been its ingenuity that has led to astonishing advancement and the sense of well being. In that, historically, it is simply unrivaled. Americans need to study the Fall of the Roman Empire and feel the winds of change on its face.

Posted by TroyceKey | Report as abusive

It is so easy to criticise US while living here and having the liberty to do so. Have you noticed that the most ardent antiamericans continue to live here?
From the outside is all about the sour grapes. Sure, the US of A is not a perfect place to live in, this is not utopia, it is real life and still the best place to be (unless you are looking for handouts)!

Posted by mirona | Report as abusive

American’s have been totally brainwashed by their government. They are delusional beyond believe. They know nothing about the rest of the world. Oh and the fool that wrote about nuking the rest of the world to be #1, well that doesn’t need to be answered. American’s when allowed to travel to certain areas of the world have to do so in groups, as they are not very well liked because of their foreign policies. Americans will never be able to see the forest for the trees. Empires have crumbled in the past and time still moves on. When America disappears into the sunset; time will still go on and someone else will take its place. Time is ticking.

Posted by woodstock135 | Report as abusive

All empires disintegrate, it is just a matter of time. It remains to be determined is America will last as long as the Roman, Chinese or Egyptian or as short-lived as other more modern empires such as the British, French, Ottoman, etc… Regardless of the length of its rule, we have to recognize that the United States has influenced the course of world’s history tremendously. The U.S. economic and culture influence may last much longer than its reign, much like some Roman roads can still be used today in some part of Europe, so too will the U.S. artifacts will still remain long in the future.

Posted by phanthanhgian | Report as abusive

Freedom in the US means two things: first, it means freedom to buy any number of guns and machine guns and, secondly, freedom to use them freely to kill other people.

Posted by Jeanmichel | Report as abusive

It is a no brainer why the Scandinavian nations scored higher than the US. We foot their defense budget. They don’t need a military due to the fact that the US will come to their rescue. The US needs to pull out of Europe and let those suicidal nations deal with their freedom hating muslims. Lastly, Norway and Sweden only have 8 million citizens. The NYC metro area has 18 million. Norway, Sweden and Finland are bigger than California which has 40 million people.

Posted by Alucard | Report as abusive

As an American who has traveled, lived, and worked abroad for many years, I still say the US is the best place on earth. Any list that orders countries according to certain standards is based on faulty comparisons.

Quite frankly, anyone who thinks the US isn’t the best place on earth doesn’t know that much about it. In fact, most europeans know less about the US than even the Chinese.

Posted by sweettea | Report as abusive

[…] AMERICA WORLD’S NUMBER ONE? THINK AGAIN (Reuters) – It shows the United States as the country with the biggest rich-poor gap of those examined, except for Mexico and Chile. On providing health care, it ranks 23rd; on access to education 20th. […]

Posted by Saturday, 29th October 2011 « News, Clues and Views | Report as abusive

What a bunch of hokum you people have bought!

Our society has seldom been a “meritocracy” and certainly has not been even remotely one for the past 50 years. Here, the Government determines the winners, or have you not noticed? Do you really think, those of you who “have lived within the system” and have “not taken handouts”, you are doing well because of merit? You have prospered because you are Government approved. That even goes for illegal drug dealers. Why do you think only small ones get caught? It works like a protected franchise system, my fellow Americans. If drugs became legal campaign finance would dry up. We live in the new Prohibition and we have our own Al Capones, but you never hear about them. They control almost everything.

Wake up you overfed, underead, self-aggrandizers! You are the biggest bullies and killers on the planet. Many places are better places to live. The only reason you do not know is that you have never lived in another country outside of some American colonial pond, usually military, somewhere. Others don’t like you because you are not likeable. The poor come here to either get your scraps or to cheat you. And look where the come from! Guatemala. Not Italy, for all of its faults.

Posted by txgadfly | Report as abusive

The anti Tea Party rant’s are so funny on here. People keep acting like the Tea Party is the one in power…They aren’t. They weren’t even established in 2008 when the first crisis happened! Elephants and Donkeys still make up the US gov. In fact many Tea Party patron’s don’t even have the same social beliefs and would vote for different candidates if they all had the same fiscal ideas. Most Tea Party members think the current system is completely flawed when it comes to monetary policy, the same way most Dem’s feel. They just disagree with how that policy should be handled, but both agree it’s a mess. It’s time for some of you people to realize that pigeon holing people with different beliefs actually makes you sound foolish and uninformed. Blindly attacking other groups that you have not even taken the time to learn about is akin to racism. Open a book, the real enemy are S corps and LLC’s because they enable people to act like monsters and pretend they didn’t have any responsibility. Allowing a company to legally become a person is a devil’s playground. Please take a second to learn about your enemy, you may find that your more like him than you know….

Posted by no12call | Report as abusive

Bilderberg Group, Skull & Bones, Bankers, etc. Free Market my A**.

Posted by ajn11169 | Report as abusive

To my horror I agree. If I was 25 years old I know I’d be looking for a different country to live in. The only thing we care about is Wall Street. The average guy is no more represented than my cat. Personal freedom is a joke. Our courts don’t look for truth, only well scripted actors where those with the most money or influance wins. We lock up people with 1/4 pound of pot for 9 years yet a person who steals 4 million in fraud only looses 5 years of their freedom. Our work ethics that built this great country have evaporated and instead have been replaced by people/kids who are entitled to everything even though they never earned it. Except for our military, I can’t see one thing we’re good at and the only reason we still have that is because of all the taxes you and me are paying while the rest of world insists that we keep the entire world safe. There are other places better to live. Sadly enough I’m too old to make the move. If only I could.

Posted by forteinjeff | Report as abusive

The voting on whether or not America is No. 1 is not done in the microstates of Scandinavia nor in the mosques of the world. Talk is cheap!

It is done by the feet of those who can and do move from one country to another. Those people overwhelmingly choose to live in the U.S., and they seldom leave unless deported.

Globalization has opened up the “prior private preserve” American consumer market, and that genie cannot beput back in the bottle. Our dollars improve those world economies who learn to manufacture products of sufficient quality that Americans will buy, even as some Americans struggle with the necessity to reinvent themselves so as to find productive employment here. Nobody promised easy.

America continues to improve the economic health of the planet, and remains alone and supreme as the modern world’s brightest beacon of hope to those who have open eyes. We are not, and never will be perfect; but there is none that can or will do what we do, or do it as well.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

I think that U.S will have to pass the torch to developing countries. All the supremacies must confront the declin: my country lost the world’s supremacy after Waterloo’s battle So why does the U.S would not confirm that rule ? A supremacy never last more than a few centuries.

Be proud you’re still in so enjoy

Posted by Enfanterrible | Report as abusive

The USA has its flaws, of course. It has been my experience with human nature that we complain and stomp our feet when asked to do something difficult. After doing it, though, we brag about the accomplishment. As a father I required my children to do things they complained about being difficult. A little complaining and feet stomping are good. Learning to make ourselves do the difficult is important. Social justice, what ever the heck that means at the moment, in my view will oneday implode a society.

Posted by mdblitz | Report as abusive

“Social justice” is a socialist concept. Socialist live large off the work of others. There is a hugh difference between between the charitable way and socialism. With the charitable way one makings sure that none starve, none go homeless, and that all have access to basic health care. With socialism the poor live very well in the suburbs and driven in limos to the hospital of their choice – well at least the is how it is in New Jersey USA.

Posted by alconnelly | Report as abusive

As a Bay Area graduate, 1960s, I must agree with your analysis. But there is more to fit than meets the eye, as I channel thrugh C-SPAN and its think-tank seminars and whatnots – ie. American Exceptionalism!

Neocons under GWB coined this nationalistic concept to justify their illegal invasion and occupation of Irag – Babylonian civilization! Now it has become the creed of the printed and electronic media. No one seems to exactly understand what it means. Or how jingoistic it sounds, etc.

My problem with inequality of wealth in America is that a super power going through decline and fall in its pretense of *power* may succum to nasty nationalist programs which may ultimately damage American credibility in a globalized world of emerging markets -i.e. challeng to US hegemony!

Posted by hariknaidu | Report as abusive

Apples to Oranges comparison without any consideration given to population, ethnic diversification, land mass, etc. For example … Sweden is about 173,732 contiguous square miles while the US is 3.79 million non-contiguous square miles. Sweden has 86,000 miles of public roads whereas the US has 3,900,000 miles of public roads. Sweden has a population of 9.3 million while the US has a population of 307 million. Which country would have a bigger challenge to maintain an equivalent level of public services, social services, military, public education, etc to the other? Duh.

Posted by An_Independent | Report as abusive

It is no surprise how the US the US ranks with respect to social, health, education or business indicators.

Spending on “all things security” — add it up some time and include non-military stuff like prisons, homeland, paramilitary police — all of it. It certainly exceeds 10% of GDP, if not more.

This sort of thing bankrupted the USSR and the same thing is happening to the US.

The many jingoists that comment here otherwise have their heads buried in the sand.

Posted by upstater | Report as abusive

Out of all the statistics, the writer came up with bunch of lame ones??? YES, America is NO 1… why? Here’s why… we spend 6 times MORE in our prison system then education!!! The result…… 18% of Americans believe that “the sun revolves around the earth”… I rest my case.

Posted by Nishachor | Report as abusive

Can people please try to put things in a reasonable perspective ? Just claiming that the USA is bigger than for example sweden or Denmark and use that as an excuse to say that that’s the reason for it is misguided.

To be frank you actually have more people living per square Km than we have in Sweden. So you hence also have more taxpayers to actually pay for that infrastructure and healthcare.

I am not going th go in and start arguing about which system is the best as it is completely subjective to ones point of views. But it might be good for you to actually consider how well we actually live here and that it applies not only to a small portion of the populace but a quite large one. Healthcare is for everyone and is payed by everyone.

Posted by Laiquelleion | Report as abusive

I don’t like these listing, who is Nr. 1 or 2 or worse. It creates what brought on WWI and WWII and many other wars. Just think of Iceland being #1 and then think at what price, who paid for all? And think how many people the U.S. has taken in during the last 50-60 years and sorry to say, in the last 20 years more people from other countries have come here and can offer little but being cheap labor and by now they are not cheap enough anymore but many of their homelands. But all the immigrants, legal or not, have been a burden to many of our systems, schools, cities, housing and also ethics. And Mr. Debusmann probably has traveled with a German or Swiss passport which gave him some access in countries where we are not so much welcome. Sometimes I am surprised about it because we and the Brits were the ones getting the oil out of the ground or even helping countries to be freed from the rule of the Colonial powers. Often there is very little logic to all nor to the thinking of Mr. Debusmann, who “missed de Bus in his thinking, Mann!”…

Posted by goldenbear | Report as abusive

Recent Blogroll Additions……

[…]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[…]……

Posted by We Buy Any Houses For Loan Balance ! | Report as abusive

[…] America world’s Number One? Think again […]

Posted by Americas and I « Americas and I | Report as abusive

single dating…

Great work! This is the type of info that should be shared around the net. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher! Come on over and visit my site . Thanks =)…

Posted by wandering eye dating site | Report as abusive

dating club…

I have learned result-oriented things by means of your website. One other thing I would really like to say is the fact newer laptop or computer os’s are likely to allow more memory for use, but they additionally demand more memory simply to work. If y…

Posted by dating site vancouver island | Report as abusive

free dating sites…

Thanks for the points shared in your blog. Yet another thing I would like to state is that losing weight is not exactly about going on a celebrity diet and trying to get rid of as much weight as you’re able in a few months. The most effective way to l…

Posted by dating site funny quotes | Report as abusive

internet dating sites…

Thanks for your publish. My partner and i have always observed that a majority of people are desperate to lose weight because they wish to look slim and attractive. However, they do not constantly realize that there are many benefits so that you can lo…

Posted by facebook of sex | Report as abusive

Recommended Websites…

[…]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[…]…

Posted by aaa discounts disney cruise | Report as abusive


[…] I like to browse around the web, routinely I’ll just go to Digg and browse and look at stuff out […]…

Posted by Anwar Sadhe | Report as abusive

Awesome website…

[…]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[…]……

Posted by | Report as abusive

Whispering Misty…

So sorry you are going to skip the workshop!…

Posted by Laurence Dillow | Report as abusive

… [Trackback]…

[…] Informations on that Topic:  /28/america-worlds-number-one-think-aga in/ […]…

Posted by URL | Report as abusive

Whispering Misty…

So sorry you are going to skip the workshop!…

Posted by 77TVhPzDyg 77TVhPzDyg | Report as abusive

Somebody essentially assist to make significantly articles I would state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular submit amazing. Fantastic task!

Posted by Jacob Hoon | Report as abusive