Thursday, July 05, 2007

Whither America?

There have been countless news reports and articles in broadcast and print media during the past year on how China and India’s explosive economies will marginalize the U. S. over the next 20 to 40 years. We say, “Not so fast.”

To back what Jack (yes, Neutron Jack, the former head of GE) and Suzy Welch wrote in a recent issue of BusinessWeek­­, the news of the death of American leadership is highly exaggerated. America has a solid political system and one of the most, if not the most, corrupt-free economies in the world. Our system, despite its flaws, works. Following the resounding defeat of Republicans in the mid-term elections last years, there was a smooth transition, everything kept working, and there were no riots, no killings of either the contestants or the electorate — quite common in developing countries. Of course, elections in China are a farce. Corruption is rampant and a way of life in China and India.

The U. S. has had a solid democratic system for over 230 years with no military coup d’état or other political turmoil. India has an almost-60-year-long stable government, despite a short period when Mrs. Gandhi almost became a dictator and eventually paid a heavy price for it. But will the left-leaning, phony-patriots turn back the economic reforms instituted in the 1990s? China is an unknown. It is credited with inventing gun powder, paper…yet, xenophobic leaders built a giant wall to keep foreigners out! In each of these countries, just between 200 million to 300 million (depending on which source you believe) make a decent living; the rest barely live on $1-a-day wages. How long can this imbalance last? How long will it be before another Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) rise and start a Peasant Revolution and massacre another 20 million Chinese?

Sure, we have inequity in the U. S. too. We may have the world’s best healthcare available, but it is not accessible to everyone, with almost 45 million uninsured Americans. Every President for the past 30 years has promised reforms, but healthcare costs continue to climb at three to four times the annual inflation rate. We spend almost $1.5 trillion annually on healthcare — 15% of our GDP, and it is expected to grow to 25% by 2010.

Despite our current pathetic leadership in Washington and stricter scrutiny of incoming students, America still attracts the world’s elite that come here to pursue higher education and dream and build a better future. What attracts them is freedom and innovation. We still lead in innovative manufacturing, computer hardware, software, biotech, and are making headways in new energy sources.

So, don’t kiss America ‘Good-Bye’ yet. We will prevail for a long time, unless we let our ignorant leadership in Washington, political arrogance, and technological complacency take over.

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