Why America Is Slouching Towards Third World Status
May 27, 2012
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity” –“The Second Coming”, William Butler Yeats
Yeats’ lines aptly describe our current age of political mediocrity. As we consider our politicians, we can hardly say that they’re our best. And the worst of them are full of passionate intensity, with passions driven by ideology, rather than fact-based analysis.
The United States has been in decline relative to other countries for the last 30 years. On key metrics, we’ve fallen behind our peer group of industrialized countries, such as the UK, France, Germany, and Japan.
Am I exaggerating? Well, according to the Corruption Perception Index, we rank 24th in the world (only slightly better than Qatar) for public sector corruption. We rank 25th (way behind our peer group) in the OECD for math scores among 15-year-olds.
Over the past 30 years, our national debt has grown from about 30 percent of GDP to about 100 percent, and will become much worse based on current trends. In a recent survey of 10,000 Harvard Business School Alumni, “66 percent of respondents see the U.S. falling behind emerging economies.” It is difficult to find many encouraging metrics.