Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why is America falling behind the rest of the world?” Good question. (We’ve little space today for comedic comments. So let’s just agree that this is a trick question since no matter how bad it seemingly is people are still breaking laws to be here, mmmkay?)
Our guest speaker Jill Hamburg Coplan, contributor to Fortune confirms the publication of a recently –written academic paper that states that America is falling behind the rest of the world. (Ironically, the reason why the authors were able to write the paper was because Americans can still afford to send their kids to college.)
Coplan notes the paper claims: “America is declining, in large and important measures, yet policymakers aren’t paying attention.” We’ll spare you the list of 12 specific issues noted in the paper and instead focus on the actual question. Why is America falling behind the rest of the world?
Coplan states that the gist is simple. “Overall, America’s per capita wealth, health and education measures are mediocre for a highly industrialized nation. Well-being metrics, perceptions of corruption, quality and cost of basic services, are sliding, too. Healthcare and education spending are funding bloated administrations even while human outcomes sink. “
(Mind you, the authors used old information for this piece. Coplan confirms that they pulled “together previously published data.”)
Co-author Hershey H. Friedman, a business professor at Brooklyn College – City University of New York, admits they “looked at very broad measures” in some cases. Co-author Sarah Hertz of Empire State College believes we could become “a second-rate power very quickly”. (So then we’re still a first-rate one, right?)
Coplan adds that the most dangerous indicator they wrote about was “rising income and wealth inequality, which slow growth and can spark instability” but this is nothing new, is it? She agrees saying: “To be sure, the debate over whether America is on the decline has raged for years.”
While critics say America is falling behind because we have several problems, Coplan reports that despite the sobering, somewhat dated data in the study, “others point to a rising US stock market, manufacturing strength, a growing population, and a domestic energy boom “ claiming the question is somewhat melodramatic and hyperbolic.
The authors of the paper say we are ranked at number 16 out of 133 countries. Isn’t there some statistical credit for EOE, letting stupid kids graduate, bailing out failed businesses, subsidizing single moms and helping foreign countries?
Living in a country that was ranked 16 out of 133 must not be that bad after all. Despite the problems we may have making us appear as The Titanic to some, no one’s deserting ship. In fact, our manifest is growing.
Why is America falling behind the rest of the world? Now you know.
(Maybe you’ve known for awhile now. Maybe that’s why some people say: it’s getting better. Hope springs eternal, at any rate.)
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