James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Why this may still be the American Century

December 29, 2009

The always fantastic Joel Kotkin lays out the argument:

Demographics

By 2030, all our major rivals, save India, will be declining, with ever-larger numbers of retirees and a shrinking labor force.  … By then, the U.S. will have 400 million people, which may be more than the entire EU and three times the population of our former archrival Russia.

Energy

In terms of energy resources, the U.S., combined with Canada, is the second richest region in the world after the Middle East. The country possesses vast resources of natural gas, about 90 years’ worth, as well as strong areas for wind power.

Food

America remains the world’s agricultural superpower, with the most arable land on the planet. With another 3 billion people expected on the planet by 2050, the U.S. should enjoy a continuing boom in food exports.

Military

The U.S. leads in military technology and, yes, our martial spirit remains a positive factor … Europe and Japan have taken themselves out of the military game, and it will be decades before China will be ready for a head-to-head challenge.

Innovation

There is no large country that comes close to the U.S. as an entrepreneurial hotbed (Taiwan, Israel and Hong Kong come close but are far smaller). The recent Legatum Prosperity Index showed the U.S. remains by far the largest generator of new ideas and companies on the planet.

Diversity

Over the past decade America has produced two African-American Secretaries of State and one President. America remains unique in its ability to absorb different races, religions and cultures, an increasingly critical factor in maintaining global preeminence.

Comments

In his recent book on Canada – A Dreadful Symmetry – Brian Lee Crowley described at length how Canada was derailed by an expansive welfare state put in place from 1960 onwards. Interestingly, while he writes that Canada is recovering from this period, looking towards the future, he made precisely the same points about America as noted above. Except he was more optimistic! According to Mr. Crowley, America’s population in 2050 will be youthful and energetic and large, while the populations of Europe and China will be aged and decayed, hardly the sort of societies keen on innovation and advancement. So long as America can withstand the Nobama era of big government with little lasting damage, as it will – any country that can survive Jimmy Carter can survive ANYTHING – the future looks very bright for the land of the free. I feel fortunate indeed living next door to America in the True North.

Posted by gotthardbahn | Report as abusive
 

Sorry, but you’re dreaming. China and India only need to attain 1/4th of US production per person to pass us up in GNP, and they’ll both speed pass that in a decade or two. They’re following the same upward curve as Japan, Taiwan, and S Korea, and thanks to rampant government spending, they’re beginning to own us already.

 

Stop producing these reports! This collectivism is killing us. These reports are input to politicians so they can show how life improved under their planning.

Just leave us alone so we can make the choices to improve our lives.

Posted by Liberty Lover | Report as abusive
 

Sorry Marshall, but you are dreaming.

India and China might be growing strong. But this growth is only based on the developed world’s favour. We enjoy taking advantage of their cheap labour, resources and production. And we are willing to exploit them for as long as they wish it.

But we have no intention of allowing them to overshadow us as economic powers. At the time when we want them back in the gutter, we will simply begin economic tax and export limits.

As China’s entire wealth since 1950 is based on currancy manipulation, we already have the cause to cut off trade with them. Refusal to participate in emission reduction is another cause for blocking trade with them and India.

But the cause for a trade war is not important. What is important is what will follow.

You see, China and India have the largest, poorest populations on the planet. And while an economic war will most certainly lead to a global recession, it will lead to their complete economic collapse in months. Possibly even massive starvation or social unrest.

And once that happens it won’t really matter how much of our debt they own, or how cheap they can produce their goods compared to us.

A useful analogy is the plants in a garden. When we want the garden to return to dirt, and no longer care for their fruits, we will simply stop watering them.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive
 

The mantra that ethnic “diversity” is a factor in US global predominance has no basis in reality.

By 2050 at the latest, America will be majority non-white. Can anyone imagine Brazil as a superpower? Enough said.

Posted by Mega | Report as abusive
 

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