The U.S. of the future

David Brooks – The New York Times

Copyright The New York Times – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2006
WASHINGTON Everywhere I go people tell me China and India are going to blow by the United States in the coming decades. They’ve got the hunger. They’ve got the people. They’ve got the future. We Americans are a tired old power, destined to fade back to the second tier of nations, like Britain did in the 20th century.
This sentiment is everywhere – except in the evidence. The facts and figures tell a different story.
Has the United States lost its vitality? No. Americans remain the hardest working people on the face of the earth and the most productive. As William W. Lewis, the founding director of the McKinsey Global Institute, wrote, “The United States is the productivity leader in virtually every industry.” And productivity rates are surging faster now than they did even in the 1990s.
Has the United States stopped investing in the future? No. The United States accounts for roughly 40 percent of the world’s research and development spending. More money was invested in R&D in this country than in the other G-7 nations combined.
Is the United States becoming a less important player in the world economy? Not yet. In 1971, the U.S. economy accounted for 30.52 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. Since then, we’ve seen the rise of Japan, China, India and the Asian tigers. The United States now accounts for 30.74 percent of world gross domestic product, a slightly higher figure.
What about the shortage of scientists and engineers? Vastly overblown. According to Duke School of Engineering researchers, the United States produces more engineers per capita than China or India. According to The Wall Street Journal, firms with engineering openings find themselves flooded with resumes. Unemployment rates for scientists and engineers are no lower than for other professions, and in some specialties, such as electrical engineering, they are notably higher…
Please look for the complete article at nytimes.com

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