United States

Long Live the American Dream

Why India and China have nothing on America

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Americans, hit first by outsourcing and then a recession, are becoming deeply pessimistic about their country's ability to maintain its economic leadership in a globalized world. America's Aristophanes, Jon Stewart, commented during a recent interview with Anand Giridhardas, author of India Calling: "The American dream is still alive—it's just alive in India." Likewise, 20 percent Americans in a December National Journal poll believed that the U.S. economy was no longer the strongest. Nearly half picked China instead.

But there are at least five reasons why neither India nor China will knock America off its economic perch any time soon, at least not by the only measure that matters: Offering the best life to the most people.

America Wastes No Talent

Conventional wisdom holds that America's global competitiveness is driven by geniuses flocking to its shore and producing breathtaking inventions. But America's real genius lies not in tapping genius—but every scrap of talent up-and-down the scale.

A 2005 World Bank study found that the bulk of a people's wealth comes not from tangible capital like raw resources and infrastructure. It comes from intangible wealth: effective government, secure property rights, a functioning judiciary. Such intangible factors put the equivalent of $418,000 at the disposal of every American resident. India and China? $3,738 and $4,208 respectively.

America's vast intangible wealth makes everyone more productive and successful. Personal attributes—talent, looks, smarts—matter only on the margins. Having witnessed the life trajectory of many Indian immigrants, what's striking to me is that, with some exceptions, it doesn't matter whether they are the best in their profession in India or just mediocre. Within 10 to 15 years of arriving, they land in a very similar space. They get good jobs, buy homes, have children, send them to decent schools and colleges and save for their retirement. The differences in their standard of living would have been far greater had they stayed home.

America Does Not Have India's Infrastructure Deficit or China's Civil Society Deficit

India's gap with America extends not just to intangible capital but tangible capital as well. Basic facilities in India—roads, water, sewage—remain primitive. For example, a 2010 McKinsey Global Institute report found that India treats 30 percent of raw sewage, whereas the international norm is 100 percent. India provides 105 liters of water per person per day, the minimum standard is 150 liters. It needs to spend twice the slated expenditures over the next 10 years to deliver basic services.

China, meanwhile, has a major civil society problem. America has made about $100 trillion in Social Security and Medicare promises to seniors that it can't fund. But American seniors face nothing like the kind of destitution that the Chinese do. China's one-child policy has decimated the natural safety net that old people rely on in traditional societies. And China offers no public safety net to the vast majority of village-born. Worse, many Chinese have invested their nest eggs is various asset bubbles that will wipe out their only means of subsistence if they burst, making the Great Depression look like a beach party.

America Does Not Have Grinding Poverty

Despite all the recent hoopla about China becoming the world's second biggest economy and India hoping to follow suit, the reality is that the per capita GDP—even measured by purchasing power parity—in both is pathetic. America's is about $47,000, China's $7,500, and India's $3,290.

Worse, both still harbor medieval levels of poverty with 300 million people in each living on less than $1.25 a day. India's IT boom gets big press, but it—along with all the tertiary industries it has spawned—employs 2.3 million people, or 0.2 percent of the population.

Neither country is a font of opportunity comparable to America.

American Education Is Superior

President Obama claims that America is in an "education arms race" with India and China. Rubbish.

Notwithstanding all the horror stories about American kids underperforming on standardized tests compared to Asian kids raised by Tiger moms, things are worse in India and China. India's literacy rate is 66 percent. China puts its at 93 percent—but between 2000 and 2005, China's illiterate population grew by 30 million. The same may happen in India, thanks to last year's Right to Education Act whose regulations will cripple India's private school market. The fundamental problem is that both countries put their resources into educating elite kids—and ignoring the rest.

College education in both countries, especially in engineering, is also vastly overrated. Harvard researcher Vivek Wadhwa has shown that, contrary to conventional wisdom, not only does America graduate comparable number of  engineers to India and China—American engineers are vastly superior.

But unless more Indian and Chinese kids get access to a quality education, their countries won't be able to actualize their human potential, precisely what America does so well.

America Doesn't Have a Culture of Hype

An important reason why the gloom-and-doom about America is unjustified is precisely that there is so much gloom-and-doom. Indians and Chinese, by contrast, have drunk their own Kool Aid. Their moribund economies have barely kicked into action and they are entertaining dreams of becoming the next global superpower. This bespeaks a profound megalomania—not to mention lopsided priorities. There is not a culture of hope in these countries, as Giridhardas told Jon Stewart. There is a culture of hype.

By contrast, Americans are their own worst critics—always looking for lessons to improve what is working and fix what's not. Alexis de Tocqueville observed that although Americans were the freest and most enlightened men placed in the happiest of conditions, "a sort of cloud habitually covered their features." Why? Because "they were constantly tormented by a vague fear of not having chosen the shortest route that can lead to…their wellbeing."

Indeed, Americans have a grab-the-bull-by-its-horns quality so that they simply don't hang around hoping for things to get better on their own. If the public school monopoly is failing kids, by golly, then they'll homeschool them themselves. (Public schools are dysfunctional virtually everywhere, but which other country has spawned anything equivalent to America's homeschooling movement?) The government responds ineffectually to the recession, modest by historic standards, and Americans go into panic mode. Grass-roots movements such as the Tea Party emerge to rein in the government. Pay Pal founder Peter Theil has even given close to a million dollars to the Seasteading Institute to establish new countries on the sea to experiment with new forms of government. This might be wacky but it puts an outside limit on how out-of-whack Americans will let their institutions get before they start fixing them.

This American spirit, ultimately, is the biggest reason to believe that the American dream is and will stay alive—in America.

Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst at Reason Foundation and a columnist at The Daily, America's first iPad newspaper, where a version of this column originally appeared.

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203 responses to “Long Live the American Dream

  1. Cue the haters and doomsayers in 3…2…1…

  2. But there are at least five reasons why neither India nor China will knock America off its economic perch any time soon, at least not by the only measure that matters: Offering the best life to the most people.

    Give us time…

    1. just dont follow our example.

      1. Hello, piss facktery!

  3. A 2005 World Bank study found that the bulk of a people’s wealth comes not from tangible capital like raw resources and infrastructure. It comes from intangible wealth: effective government

    HA HA HA HA HA!!!

    secure property rights

    Kelo vs. New London???

    HA HA HA HA!!!

    Such intangible factors put the equivalent of $418,000 at the disposal of every American resident.

    Right, because judiciaries are fungible!

    HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

    1. If it sucks so bad, why would the average Chinese or Indian give his left nut for a greencard?

      The day they are having lotteries for Americans to get into China or India, is the day I will believe they have passed us.

      1. Since you can technically count Hong Kong as part of China’s realm now I can say that a lot of westerners are trying to become residents of that island, but their reason have less to do with a better economy and more to do with fucking chinese girls.

        1. NTTAWWT

        2. If you want to fuck Chinese girls, why the hell would you move to Hong Kong? The good looking ones are all in Harbin and Beijing.

      2. What I find interesting, John, is that somebody would seriously come up with a value for such nthings as “effective government”, as if effective government was a market good. YOU CAN’T ASSUME COSTS WITHOUT PRICES, AND PRICES ONLY COME AFTER A MARKET CLEARS.

  4. http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..id=topnews

    Obama to ICANN, we don’t control it so it must be bad.

  5. You forgot our other core competency, which is “kicking down the doors of potsmokers.”

    1. I think the Chinese are quite efficient at kicking down doors of those they consider to be devients.

    2. “and shooting their dogs.”

      1. Well, the police in China are hungry.

        1. Canine in cannibus sauce? Yummy.

  6. Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst at Pollyanna Foundation and a columnist at The Ostrich, America’s first iPad American Exceptionalism propaganda outlet, where a version of this crap originally appeared.

    1. Again, if America sucks so bad, why do so many people want to immigrate? Do they just come here so they can bitch and moan about how bad it is?

      1. Well, John, I can only speak for my wife, who is an immigrant. She came here solely for the reason that she married me. We met when I was living the expatriate life in her home country.

        As for all the other immigrants (legal and illegal), I’ll get back to you once I’ve finished interviewing them all.

        1. So I guess the millions who come here legally and illegally doesn’t say anything. We will have to interview them all.

          And as for your wife, if she doesn’t like it, she should go the fuck back to wherever she came from. No one said she had to come here or can’t leave. I wouldn’t go to her home country and bitch and moan but not leave. She should return the favor.

          1. And as for your wife, if she doesn’t like it, she should go the fuck back to wherever she came from.

            Did that make you feel better, Mr. Internet Tough Guy?

            1. there is nothign lower on the earth than people who go somewhere voluntarily and then bitch and moan about how much better where they were before was. It is just bad taste. And it is also the sign of a pretty lousy person. I have lived abroad and I prefer America to most of what i have seen. But i didn’t sit around and tell the locals that. It was their country and they liked it. Good for them.

              1. Yeah! Nothing lower than that and it’s followed closely by hyperbole!

              2. John, I don’t know why you’re picking a fight with HM. He’s not entirely wrong about Dalmia’s “Pollyanna-ness.” While I think you’re right that we still have a very good country, even you have to admit we’ve been heading in the wrong direction.

                The Heritage Foundation’s studies of World economic freedom are eye opening. We’re now 9th in the world, behind Canada. Transparency International ranks the US 22nd in the world for corruption, behind Chile and Barbados.

        2. How long was it before she divorced you? Probably within a week of achieving her citizenship, I’ll bet.

      2. Immigrants don’t bitch and moan. They’re too busy working at jobs that don’t allow slacking on the job on their employers’ dime, e.g. making crackpot comments all day long on political blogs.

        1. Good for them. they clearly have come here by their own choice. And the fact that millions of them still choose to come here says good things about this country. There are not millions of people dying to live in China.

          1. Certainly not. It’s a valid point.

            1. I was being sarcastic about the “bitch and moan” part. sorry that didn’t come through.

          2. bet there’s millions of north koreans dying to live in china.

            1. “This is a better place to live than North Korea” doesn’t say much.

              1. Seriously, I’d rather not live in NK.

            2. “bet there’s millions of north koreans dying to live in china.”

              And if the get there, they’ll be dying t move to the US.

              1. Sad to say, but NK is such a shithole, (especially outside Pyongyang) China would look like paradise.

              2. Upward mortality?

                1. (meant that in reply to sevo – damned squirrels…)

        2. I wonder if anyone as bothered to do an market-based immigration study? You know some that quantifies the value of citizenship based on the in/out flow of people. The results could be quite interesting, surely I am not the first one to think of such a thing.

      3. Nobody is saying that India and China are equal to the US. Thats why this article is just an attack on a straw man. India and China are still poor countries and that is why people are still immigrating. But in about 20 years the trend will be in the opposite direction. For ex, already we have a growing number of Americans moving to Bangalore , India.

        1. Americans find opportunities in China and India precisely because those countries are backward. Whom do we send to those countries? English teachers, business executives, marketing gurus and entrepreneurs because the BRICs don’t have enough home grown talent. If America is in decline, why are American skills in such demand in India and China?

          1. Wow, I wonder you have ever been to India. I have never heard of American English teachers being in demand in India :-). India is a English speaking country unlike China or Japan where any unsuccessful American and go to and claim to be an English teacher

            1. As someone who spent five months studying in Hyderabad, you should start recruiting native English speakers. The state of English is horrible in India. Even my professors had, at best, passable English.

              1. If only that were easy, mate! There are quotas and quotas for all jobs. Most educational institutions are state owned and they are held in a death grip by politicos who are almost all so self serving that they are the worst enemies of India/ Indians.
                Native ‘English speakers’ as you call them are often in alliance with the very same politicos who plunder the nation and ruin it. Hence the relevance of Dalmia’s phrase ‘Effective Government’. We don’t have it in India, and haven’t had it for the last 1000 years, ever since Islam invaded India and the European pirates followed them.

      4. Immigration will get weaker and weaker (as it already has from Mexico, for example) until it starts going the other way. Given what the Fed’s have done, that shouldn’t take much longer.

  7. Yet this website somehow is allowed to exist, populated by American commentators, free to air their opinion which is shared by many fellow citizens. Sure, we have an over-reaching government which needs to be reined in, but the very fact that millions of Americans agree is testament to the truth of this article.

    Whining about not getting to smoke pot while ignoring the fact that you have the freedom to whine. And if you convince enough people of your cause you can actually change the laws of your government!

    I understand that our government is much bigger than it needs to be but every now and again it’s nice to take a step back and breathe.

    It’s not as good as it could be, but the grass is definitely not greener across either ocean.

    1. fuck off statist prick! take your KULTUR WAR and stick it up your ass!

    2. Confirmation bias much?

      The only thing more egregiously in denial of reality than Dalima’s political Pollyannaism is Ron Bailey’s Cornucopianism.

      1. Has it ever occurred to you that Ms Dalmia’s perspective is guided by the fact that she is a 1st generation immigrant, one who remembers what the old country was like?

        1. Has it ever occurred to you that Ms Dalmia’s perspective is guided by the fact that she is a 1st generation immigrant, one who remembers what the old country was like?

          Indeed. Those are the ones who often become the most zealous patriots of their newly adopted country.

          1. Dalmia is not a zealous patriot in any sense other than an appreciation of liberty and a country whose constitution guarantees it to all. To the extent that the country doesn’t make good on that guarantee, she criticizes it just like any of us. You’re implying that she just says pro-merakin stuff out of some jingoistic duty to father country which is obviously not true.

            1. The themes that consistently appear in her essays (i.e. Islamic terrorists are a bunch of buffoons and China/India isn’t all that; so don’t worry, be happy!) don’t suggest to me that she’s a jingo, but rather someone with a schoolgirl crush on her favorite nation-state. (If that makes sense?)

              1. I rarely agree with her articles but she doesn’t give me the impression that she has any delusions about the level of freedom in America compared to other countries. And she does seem to think that a country is good to the extent that it leaves its citizens free.

          2. Not really. Some of us do remember the worst and the best of what we left behind, and we are intelligent enough to value what is best in the new country as also critically view what is not very good in it.
            But obviously there are clear reasons why we leave our old countries. Not all of us leave only for material gain. You will find among us people who were really quite well to do in their old countries. There are as Dalmia correctly says, ‘intangibles’ in the USA that mean a lot to us, immigrants. To begin with in most cities I have been in or been to, garbage gets picked up regularly and disposed of fairly well. Traffic rules are followed, no government office is filled with people who expect you to pay them under the table. And so on.
            Everything is not as good as we want it to be in the new one. But a lot is better than what prevails in the old one.
            Particularly for women, the new world is definitely a better world.
            Given the name of this web-zine, it may do good to all of us here to actually use what that name implies, in a better way than to jeer at views that don’t jive with our own.

      2. “The only thing more egregiously in denial of reality…”

        Would be your lies.

    3. If taking a step back and breathing didn’t mean inviting would-be dictators to rush in and gain the the ground you just lost, you might have a point. At the time of the founding of the US, it probably seemed a little absurd to be whining about a little taxation by an, otherwise, pretty kind master. In principle, it’s no different. We should have no masters imprisoning people for smoking anything. I don’t care about pot, I care about liberty. It’s no stance at all to say “Since they are so reluctant to exercise their ownership of me and my life and property, and they are so nice about it when they do, it is alright that they believe they are my masters”. You forget that their reluctance is a result of our firm opposition and the less you oppose, the less they hesitate next time. A people who lack the moral courage to declare that they will not be ordered around no matter how minor the issue, will be losing pretty major liberties before long.

  8. There is a difference between being the largest economy and being the strongest. In order to surpass the US in economic size, they only have to reach about 30% of US per capita GDP, which shouldn’t be too difficult.

    However, both countries have bureaucracies and corruption levels that make the US look like Libertopia. Unless that changes, the US economy will remain the strongest of the three.

    1. I think you missed a 0 there.

      If China has 1 billion people and the US has 1/3 of a billion, then to have an equivalent PER CAPITA GDP, China needs to have an economy 3 TIMES the size of the US. That’s 300% of the US per capita GDP, not 30%.

      Also, all things being equal, if we want to be more like China we should do this.

      1. Get rid of Social Security
      2. Get rid of Medicare

      Budget balanced! Now what could America do. When India, China, and the US are compared the playing field isn’t level, but if it were we’d crush them with respect to economic opportunity.

      1. No, he was correct. His original post only used per capita income as a factor in comparing the sizes of the overall economies.

        If they have 3.3 times our population multiplied by 30% per capita income – 3.3 * .3 = .99, or close to 1.

        The people would have 1/3 of our income, but the sizes of both economies would be the same.

        1. comparing size of economies is not a good way to compare countries. But even so, per capita is what indicates how well individuals are and how their lifestyles are. Both India and China have a very long way to get there. Dont get me wrong. I think they are both getting stronger and stronger. However comparing to america as of today is futile. That doesnt mean in about 30-50 years they wont get to a place where they are comparable to America. Thats where Shikha is stuck in the past and present I think.

          1. Actually, per capita is not a good barometer at all. The cost of living is different in each country and also you have to take into account the income distribution pattern. In US 5% of population controls 90% of the wealth. Where as, India has larger middle class then the total population of US.

            Also, Income alone is not enough. Sources of income is important. Around 30% of Wall Street income is reported by Financial institutions. Which now we know are bankrupt and basically notional income. Rest of the income is in services. China is going to be the manufacturing powerhouse and India a service powerhouse.

      2. That wont be that difficult, once china reaches par with US in terms of total GDP. From then on terms of trade will change dramatically.

  9. John–

    For the first time ever, from 2008 on more Chinese and Indian grad students are choosing to return rather than stay in the US. The more intelligent ones know the game is up, the poor peasants still believe the marketing hype of course but those with a clear mind can see the days of the US are over.

    And seeing that our own population is rather stupid and our entire economy is basically run on Indian and Chinese grad students we buy from abroad, that doesn’t bode well, does it?

    The US is only “the land off oppourtunnity” if you’re David Koch or Paris Hilton these days, or a Wall St. trader. For anyone else, you get the shaft.

    1. Your provincial ignorance is quite funny. Have you ever actually been to India or China? I mean actually seen the contry outside of a few show cities? If you had, your idea that the average American is somehow dumber than the average Chinese would be debased very quickly

      You really are shockingly provential and ignorant. You are kind of a 21st Century hillbillie. You just don’t know it because your provential ignorance is fashionable. I think there is a character out of the Foundation Books, a noble from the Empire who visits the Foundation, that is very similiar to your type.

      1. Give it 20 years, their middle classes (especially China’s )are rising ours are shrinking. They’re planning for the long-term, we can’t even get a budget passed. 10.8% GDP growth vs. 2% at best.

        1. Give it 20 years and they will still be rebuilding after their coming civil war.

          1. The US is much more likely to face a civil war in 30 years than China, far more likely.

            1. China faces an enormous problem due to the one child policies and the lack of families to accept that one child being a girl.

              They will have literally 10’s of million’s of men with no chance at having a family of their own. These men, wanting things that they will be deined, will not be a happy lot in the coming decades. China does have a problem in this respect.

            2. Wow. You are ignorant. There have been many violent protests in Chinese rural areas over the arbitrary power and corruption of provincial leaders. Real riots – no Tea Party or Wisconsin rallies.

              Peking is scared shitless of rural China, as they should be.

            3. The best thing on earth is cheeseburgers!
              One day the official marathon will be shortened by 2.6 miles!
              It is more likely that footwear will help you meet your soul mate than door hardware. Far more likely!

            4. The US is much more likely to face a civil war in 30 years than China, far more likely.

              You win the prize for the dumbest statement on here.

          2. The US is much more likely to face a civil war in 30 years than China, far more likely.

            1. The Truth|3.1.11 @ 12:54PM|#
              “The US is much more likely to face a civil war in 30 years than China, far more likely.”

              Grammar-school opinions aren’t likely to be taken seriously.

            2. It is far more likely to have dreams about the standardized testing of lawn furniture than to drink coffee in a life raft. Far more likely.

          3. But it’s revealing that your response to the fact that China will overtake the US is “well, maybe they will collapse first!”.

            Revealing, indeed.

            1. It’s a race between two high-speed, subsidized choo-choos.

              Will it be the wind-powered or the solar-powered?

            2. But it’s revealing that your response to the fact that China will overtake the US is “well, maybe they will collapse first!”.

              I can’t wait to see China’s double digit growth end like a crash tested car running into a brick wall when its export markets are closed or run dry or when its economic sprint ends in running off the end of the wharf of energy supplies. The desperation. The chaos. The turmoil. The glorious “I told you soes.”

            3. The pleasure you get from the idea of America as a disastrous crumbling empire is revealing. The existance and success of America is a threat to the lies you tell yourself about people being left free. You enjoy the thought of any dictator leading his country to crush America because you would like to believe that his model is superior to a model of protecting individual rights. Reality doesn’t agree with you.

        2. You’re confusing an economic bubble with growth.

          1. China is the biggest bubble in the history of the world.

      2. You know who lost the debate when they start to make personal attacks.

        I have lived in both countries for long periods of time. Honestly, with Americans kids and their sense of misplaced entitlement versus Chinese and Indians kids who have to face cut-throat competition to get into best educational institutions, its a no brainer. But still, you should visit India and China and see for your self.

    2. “For the first time ever, from 2008 on more Chinese and Indian grad students are choosing to return rather than stay in the US.”
      Yep, got the good ed here; squirt back home and make a bundle. Really a strong argument for ignoramuses.

      “And seeing that our own population is rather stupid and our entire economy is basically run on Indian and Chinese grad students we buy from abroad, that doesn’t bode well, does it?”
      If you really want a response, post something other than bullshit.

      “The US is only “the land off oppourtunnity” if you’re David Koch or Paris Hilton these days, or a Wall St. trader. For anyone else, you get the shaft.”
      NOW we see the reality. Poor, sleazy Da troof can’t find anyone to pay more than minimum wage for his sleazy efforts.
      Poor, poor loser; try getting a job.

      1. “Yep, got the good ed here; squirt back home and make a bundle. Really a strong argument for ignoramuses.”
        This is just rhetoric, right? The guys and girls who come from China and India to the USA, for the most part- there are a few thousand who come because they have money or connections here or because they attend lousy schools here at low cost, I am not counting them- are as an earlier poster said, really sharp witted people, not ignoramuses. Most such people come here for Grad schools, not grade. 🙂
        In the 70s,80s and even early 90s many of them chose to stay here in the USA after graduation- Masters’ or Ph.d degrees- because a) good opportunity existed here b) there wasn’t that much competition for the kinds of jobs they did- as the locals wanted higher pay or did not choose to study in such fields.
        Believe me, I went through a major university that had at least 30,000 students on campus. Graduate students in many disciplines were overwhelmingly foreign. GOP professors used to bemoan the fact that they could not get local (read it as ‘white’ as that is what these professors actually meant) students to enter these fields.
        Why not? Because research in these fields meant long years of work at Post-doc fellowship pay, which was a pittance if you try to go to Ivy league for getting the benefit of the name. If you went to those states which became rust belts during the 80’s the state universities had such precarious funding position, you were never sure if your fellowship would last while your research was still underway. And so on. Yes, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Polish etc students hung on because their own countries had nothing even equal to this pay or opportunity. But after mid 90’s things changed. Particularly after 2000, INS became a villain. Green card was no longer easy to get, and Universities weren’t sponsoring any longer.
        An average Immigrant these days has to wait for 6 or 7 years in a limbo to get a green card. These people are already in their late 20s or early 30s, the age when they will like to settle into a young married life. But with such insecurity about jobs and immigration status they can’t afford to marry.

        Meanwhile China started recruiting aggressively among its own graduating researchers and offered attractive salaries. India did not do such things, but Indian researchers and Techies found very good openings in the Private sector in India. A reasonable job in a big city in India for a well trained techie can instantly put him/ her in a very high income bracket these days. They get fabulous package deals- house rent paid, health care paid, often a car driver is given plus personal secretary at work and so on.

        They definitely aren’t ignoramuses, because their jobs often require them to travel all over the world, and they end up working in the USA on behalf of Indian companies for about a third of an year.
        MG

    3. My primary care physician was born and raised in China, and went to medical school here in the US. Although most of her family is still in China, her husband/kids are here with her. I asked her once why she didn’t return to China and she looked at me like I was nuts; she said “the standard of living” (and she said it in a “DUH” manner as if only a dummy would ask the question).

      For immigrants who return home, it’s virtually always due to culture/family issues. And not many of them return home, including the Chinese. America’s days may be numbered, but even the most giddy Leftists acknowledge China cannot surpass us until 2050 at the earliest.

      IMO it won’t happen either. Unless China can convert to a democrcacy…with an independent judiciary, rule of law (property rights), and freedom of speech that allows unfettered exchange of information and technology, they will hit a glass ceiling. I remember guys like you hyping Japan’s Statist model in the 1980s; Japan had extraordinary growth (and world class high tech), but today they’re a stagnating swamp dealing with an aging population and legacy industries already being outsourced to China and Korea.

  10. Read this, John:

    http://anand.ly/articles/obama…..lost-dream

    The dream is over. The future belongs to China, India, and Brazil. Your grandchildren will study where it all went wrong.

    1. From the link:
      “The Acela rail line that connects Washington and New York and Boston is often used as shorthand for the prosperous, privileged, powerful sliver of the country that ? outside of California ? runs America’s show.”

      Yep, used as a shorthand by those ignoramuses who use it as a shorthand.

      1. Certain people run America’s show. Big deal. What the hell’s America? As long as they don’t run MY show.

    2. Liberals are beginning to sound like Glenn Beck.

  11. I can’t believe it, but I, for once, agree with an article by SD. There is no question but that the US is still in the driver’s seat. That doesn’t mean, however, that the numbskulls in our Government can’t continue to screw things up until there really is nothing that the US can do to prevent its own decline.

  12. It seems both Dalmia and her critics seem to be confusing state with trend. Yes, the state of America compared is as remarkably superior as Dalmia suggests. However, the trend in that lead seems downward. That is, the relative superiority of the U.S. compared to the rest of the world seems to be slipping, both from welcome improvements in other countries and from some very real declines in the performance of the U.S.

    1. IMHO, the business world in the US has been confusing trend with state for a long time now. This is probably why so many articles breathlessly speak of China and India’s dominance.

      1. Really, trend is unimportant! :-). No wonder Americans are bad at Math and Stats 😉

    2. So what? I think you could say the “trend” of the US was downward compared to Japan from about 1965-1995. Wouldn’t you agree?

      In fact, the trend of the US compared to all of the industrialized countries devastated by WWII has been “downward” since the 1950s.

      So the trend vis-a-vis a country/region is irrelevant. The issue is where do we stand today, and where are we projected to stand in the future. I maintain that both India and China will follow in the footsteps of Japan; a meteoric rise, followed by stagnation due to critical cultural, demographic, and political trends.

      1. Well, no offense, but you seem to be focusing on only one side of the equation. Nothing about the relative balance being shifted by improvements in the rest of the world poses us any problem whatsoever. But, as I note, there are at least a couple of dark (slower productivity growth due to regulation, highly uneven performance in the educational sector, persistent balance of payments deficits, etc.) clouds on the horizon that we should be worried about in and of themselves. Also, it’s important not to confuse trend and relative performance. Even if you assume relative is irrelevant (as I tend to), it is important to look at “Are things improving?” or “Are they improving at the same pace?” more than “How good are things.”

      2. There is room for only one at the top.
        Japan tried it once – it faltered after it was at par in per capita GDP – it’s internal structure is not competitive enough.
        Definitely the Chinese system is worse.
        India at best can copy US, there is not much independent thinking in economic field, though socially it has shown to be different. Is the social model better than US? only time will tell.
        However, US cant rest on its past glory, it has to solve two major problems to continue leading the world:
        1) Economic one: US economic policy is going in circles and is not inventive enough (do not compare with China and India) from monetarist to Keynesian and back. It has not found the answer yet.
        2) The Islamic challenge: the political challenge of organic Islam which can seep into any society and which can circumvent state, polity etc. and pose a complex challenge – which is not bound by its economically weaker logic.

  13. “Indians and Chinese, by contrast, have drunk their own Kool Aid. … they are entertaining dreams of becoming the next global superpower. This bespeaks a profound megalomania?not to mention lopsided priorities. … There is a culture of hype.”

    The hype is coming from those mentally ill Americans who desperately want another country, any other country to surpass the US in stature. Political leaders always dream of empire, so it is not surprising that the leadership of China and India are easily caught up in the foolishness. Both have immense challenges that must be overcome before either has a real shot at supplanting the US and neither has a culture that can meet those challenges.

    1. One of our saving attributes is that we Americans are never satisfied–we’re the anti-hype. We’re constantly convinced we are doing it wrong and are the worst in everything. That makes us always try to improve.

      Example: Those who think America is so racist but who’ve never been to just about every other country in the world.

      1. To your example, it’s a tangent, but it’s so true. Americans are probably the least discriminatory people in the world, on average.

    2. What? We don’t have to worry about Japan Inc. anymore?

      Oh that’s right, the first 50% of catchup is pretty much easy. The last 10%? Not so much.

      Anybody who thinks China, India and Brazil don’t have traumatic growing pains coming in their quest for a first world economy is deluded.

      I’m not talking gloom and doom, mass starvation or death camps here, I’m talking about the unique unmet challenges facing these countries will raise hell in ways not a single fucking self-delared genius on this board foresees.

    3. Yes, I agree that many Leftists in the US actually WANT american decline. They view the US as fundamentally racist, capitalistic, imperialistic, and evil.

      Leftists will also talk about how much they love the US, but what they really love is their idea of what the US will be once the Left gets total power and changes everything (picture Sweden, but without so many white faces).

      The basic truth is that the Left hates this country much more than they love it, and much more than they fear foreign totalitarian regimes.

    4. First of all neither India or China claim that they want to be a super-power. It is American insecurity that is giving rise to such arguments.

      1. I and many of my friends, living on both sides of the seas- India and USA- know that all India wants is to be left alone by USA, China and Pakistan to develop at its own chosen pace. Unfortunately none of these three nations wish India to develop, or be a single entity. India wanting to be a super power? Not even the most jingoist of Indian nationalists would dream of it. Has any one seen the size of the slums in Indian cities? It will take more than a century to just give these people a decent shelter, drinking water, clothes and education.

  14. Anybody here old enough to remember when libertarianism did not mean cynicism, pessimism, defeat? Hell, these days the political left is more optimistic than your average “libertarian.” Snark and sarcasm isn’t a solution to anything. It just makes you look weak and clueless.

    1. I think it’s fairly natural. When the Web was young, libertarians were just finding each other for the first time, or were converting rapidly from conservatism. There was great energy and optimism that comes from finally meeting people who think like you do.

      However, our salvation is no nearer now than when we first believed. Cynicism and despair are pretty natural. Also, political and economic developments since 2001 haven’t exactly filled libertarians with hope.

      1. Don’t discount the long-term depressive state associated with a lifetime of drug use.

      2. Get a room

  15. Hmm, this article seems to be supporting investments in infrastructure and education.

    Strange here at reason…

  16. The only thing we have to fear is us. Rein in government spending and market intervention, and we’d be back to high growth rates pretty quickly.

    Naturally, the parasite has no intention of getting its fangs out of the body politic, so we do face a potential crisis.

  17. Chinese proverb: Wealth never lasts more tha three generations.

    1. Lemme guess: you got that from a fortune cookie?

      Moron.

      1. You should find someone with knowledge. Some might rub off on you.

        Moron.

      2. No that Chinese proverb does make sense. The West has had a head-start because of plunder of all the wealth from their colonial and slavery days. three generations or 60 years is about right.

    2. FiscalMethian Proverb: Some Chinese proverbs are bullshit.

    3. Anyone who has worked with family business knows that this proverb is spot one. The founder of the company is usually a man with vision, his son is typically a decent care-taker, and the grand-son and incompetent spoiled fool. As a management consultant I’ve seen this pattern repeated over and over again.

  18. Tell your grandkids to learn Mandarin.
    If India prevails, English will be fine.

    1. Why can’t we all win? Is it really a zero-sum game?

      1. “Is it really a zero-sum game?”

        It is if the wrong side wins.

    2. Really? Indian English is enough for you?

  19. Why haven’t other countries spawned homeschool movements like in the US?

    Well, there is this:
    http://www.thereader.es/en/spa…..ation.html

  20. To see how far we’ve dropped:

    I was born in 1955. My Father was never that well paid. He was a college professor at a Catholic university in the days that lay employees were expected to work for close to the same wages as the religious order that ran the University ? that is, squat. However, consider:

    My Mother didn’t have to work outside the house. She stayed home and raised 5 kids.

    We lived in a nice house in a nice suburb ? Kettering Ohio ? which could have been the setting for the Brady Bunch

    All 5 kids went to Catholic (private) grade and High School

    All 5 kids went to College (although my Father was a prof, we only got a 50% discount at that private University, which made the tuition equal to Ohio State or any other in-state school)

    None of us had to take out a student loan to pay for college.

    My parents NEVER refinanced their house.

    We took a family vacation every Summer.

    If you heard of a family doing all that today on one income, how much would you guess the solo wage earner was making? Quite a bit more than my Father’s income, adjusted to today!

    What changed? Did the US lose the cold war? Does Russia, China, Japan, Europe tell us what we can or cannot do? Has our GDP been steadily shrinking in that time? Productivity declining?

    I’ll leave the above questions “as an exercise for the reader” to quote Mr. Wizard from many years ago, but you get the point.

    IMO, this “decline of the middle class” is never discussed enough in personal terms, just as some hypothetical that doesn’t connect to folks under 50. People need to ask their parents or grandparents how they lived “back in the day”.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2…..t-changed/

    1. durr hurr durr hurr. Hurr durr hurrrrrr!!!

    2. Smells like runny bullshit.

      1. The Truth|3.1.11 @ 1:09PM|#
        “Smells like runny bullshit.”

        I’m sure you know what it tastes like, too.

    3. The 1950s are a bad comparison point for American history. Every other major industrial nation was in ruins post-World War II (Russia, Japan, Italy, Germany, UK, France). So were many minor ones (China, Belgium, Netherlands). The US only needed to avoid outright communism to be an economic power. It is deeply unlikely that the US would ever be in a similar position again. Hell, considering the decade prior to the 1950s, we should hope so.

      1. So the fact that all our major trading partners were in rubble was an ADVANTAGE?

        Lol.

        1. Duh – yes. What a great market for…the US!

        2. Yes, actually, it was an excellent opportunity. We were both lending them the money to rebuild AND selling them the equipment to do it.

          If you’re the only country in the world who comes out of a world war unscathed, and your economy doesn’t grow like crazy afterwards, you’re doing it very, very wrong.

        3. “Lol.”

          ‘Nuff said.

        4. When you sell bricks, earthquakes are good for business.

          Do you take stupid pills or are you just a naturally mentally retarded challenged.

          1. Retarded was the correct word; it means “slow”.

        5. read: broken window fallacy

      2. There’s no doubt that the U.S. had a much better time recovering from WWII than Europe. What does this have to do with it’s status as a world economic power? The United States was the world’s dominant producer before 1900. Depending on how you count the British Empire’s territories, the U.S. overtook Britain in having the world’s longest economy sometime in the 1900s or 1920s. So the U.S. was already the major power by the time WWII even started. The devastation of Europe cemented that position, but it certainly didn’t create it.

        1. *its, not it’s. Gah!

    4. What changed was women in the work place. Two incomes meant that prices could go up. I think in particular you see this in housing.

      1. Back into the kitchen, ladies. And no crust on my sammich this time!

      2. Not only that, but wages could drop because the labor had less bargaining power when there were more out there competing for the same jobs.

    5. “If you heard of a family doing all that today on one income, how much would you guess the solo wage earner was making? Quite a bit more than my Father’s income, adjusted to today!”

      Don’t get out much, do you?

    6. True. Growing up in the 1960s and 70s were great.

      Of course, it wasn’t so great if you were black. Or an ambitious woman. Or didn’t like inflation. Or wanted a house with AC, more than one TV, and lots of stuff.

      And half the world was either communist or still grubbing around in mud huts, so the US had a massive competition advantage in the market for exports.

      Nostalgia is for drunks and fools.

      1. Wanting the same economic regime of that time is not the same thing as wanting the same social regime, or wanting the same level of technology you unimaginative ignorant fool.

        1. “Wanting the same economic regime of that time is not the same thing as wanting the same social regime, or wanting the same level of technology you unimaginative ignorant fool.

          +1

        2. Wanting “the same economic regime?”

          Are you going to turn back the globalization of the world economy?

          How would you do that? Note: Wishing really, really hard for it to happen won’t make is so.

          1. He’s apparently all for bringing back the Bretton Woods accords. I figure with a little appropriate manipulation of exchange rates under that system, we can shut down globalization right quick.

            1. We could always pass Smoot-Hawley v2.0, like the unions are demanding….that would probably do the trick.

              Of course, it would probably also plunge the world into another Great Depression, followed by WWIII…but hey, to make an omelet, you’ve gotta break some heads, er, eggs.

        3. Except it’s well-on insane to talk about the economic and social regimes independently. Or are you going to suggest that discrimination doesn’t help the wages of the favored group?

      2. I grew up in the 1960s and 70s – we had AC, we had two TVs, and my mother stayed home and smoked cigarettes with her friends all days. Star Wars hadn’t been ruined yet, and the breasts were natural. Some things really were better in the 1970s.

        And inflation has never really stopped, it’s just slowed down. Before the 1970s there really was no inflation, now we’ve been conditioned to except a steady devaluation of the currency.

        1. Quaaludes. You forgot Quaaludes.

    7. My Father was never that well paid

      Well, he was a white catholic male, that pretty much guarantees a good life in the ’50s.

      1. White. Sure. Male. Of course. What does being Catholic have to do with it?

        1. Youse gotta be Catholic to work in my town.

      2. The fuck it did..

    8. 1. How many of the five kids had their own room?
      2. Where were the vacations? Did you fly or drive? Did you stay in hotels or camp?.
      3. How much did your father, working at a Catholic university pay for Catholic school?
      4. What was the major food item on your menu? How often did you eat at home, as opposed to out?
      5. When you say your college professor father wasn’t well paid, can you give a little bit of a measure of where on the income distribution he sat?

    9. Well, there you have it. One guy talking about the good ole days. The science is settled.

  21. Go to the city outskirts and rural areas in China, India, or Brazil. Lots of people there are dirt-ass poor. Not like poor rural folk in the US. I mean, dirt floors, acute malnourishment, high infant mortality rate, dismal life span… plus they gotta work all damn day doing some horrible-ass job like working in a field or they send their kids out to beg in the streets.

    Poor people in America live like kings compared to the those in the BRICs. China, India, etc have got a long-ass way to go.

  22. Great article. It’s nice to see things in perspective once in a while.

  23. Obviously the author hadn’t read the reports just out by either Citibank or HSBC

    http://tiny.cc/chindia

  24. Who wouldn’t want to immigrate to the USA. Americans are by and large sloppy fat. This in turn makes them moody and rude. They only speak one language. American Exceptionalism applies to their unique ability to know absolutely nothing outside of their respective hometown. Most immigrants have a work ethic and are grateful for an opportunity nomatter how meager. The sunny disposition, and the fact that they can see their toes makes them that more attractive. In between Birth and dying from Heart Disease the average American is more and more likely to see their offspring intermixed with some sort of immigrant’s offspring. It’s a good life.. way better than anything the rest of the world can offer.

    1. Who is this ‘they’ you keep talking about?

  25. There is truth to it, BUT (and sadly a rather large “but”) we are losing many of the positives we have at an amazing rate. It is the ‘trajectory’ we are at as a nation that is the problem.

    Lets take the points one at a time:

    “America Wastes No Talent” – sadly not true – many of the best and the brightest are going into government or the government funded ‘finance’ sector instead of things that produce wealth.

    “America Does Not Have India’s Infrastructure Deficit”

    India has this as a large problem, but their bigger problem is one of too much bureaucracy (as documented by Jim Rogers in his book) – something we are also rapidly creating.

    “China’s Civil Society Deficit”

    They don’t have social security? – sounds like an advantage – they would also lack the moral hazard created by it. China’s biggest problem is a population that is likely to riot if they can communicate freely. Of course if our economy continues on this path we will also see riots – I figure that is why they have installed the American Stasi.. (AKA Homeland Security)

    “America Does Not Have Grinding Poverty”

    Isn’t that the point? People here are getting poorer by the day?

    “American Education Is Superior”

    It was – is it still true today? I think we have an education bubble – lots of people with degrees that can’t think. A culture infused with destructive subjectivism and intrinsicism – post modernism has infected our schools – even Physics has been effective ( String theory is the perfect example ). I would not brag about our education other than the home schooled..

    “America Doesn’t Have a Culture of Hype”

    All I hear out of Washington is hype? The Tea party folks are still a minority – the majority BELIEVES that printing money is the same as creating wealth. (Another effect of bad philosophy).

    I understand they want to bring good cheer in this article – but other than the emergence of the Tea party there is little to be glad about – the republicans are also not doing any serious budget cuts.

    I want to see a better future – I worked hard to give my kids a good education and objective outlook so they can prosper – but there has never been a country in our state of debt that got out of it any other way than hyper inflation and the destruction of economy – I still hope we will be the first.

  26. Why is no one discussing the fact that America is bankrupt? Why isn’t anyone raising the issue that America’s meteoric rise since WW2 has been fueled by the supremacy of the dollar? Why is it so difficult for people here to realize that our dollar ponzi scheme is about to end?
    Is it too hard to understand that America has been getting free oil and other goodies for 60+ years from the whole world?
    Moreover, the goods that America would produce in return are now being produced in China! Does that not bother us?
    Why aren’t we asking that if despite the teething problems of infrastructure, India has been rising at 7-8% for the past 20 years? What would happen when their government gets around to fixing those problems? Will we still be able to compete? Aren’t our hospitals and IT companies already full of Indians? Did you know that for the first time the full quota for H1B visas were not utilized in India? The best of Indians *don’t* want to come here anymore. What is their native country giving them all of a sudden?
    Instead of gloating over what we have, I think we should start thinking in terms of what those countries are trying to achieve. 25% of all start-ups in Silicon Valley are started by Indians. Are we geared for the eventuality where they would pick up their expertise gained here and move back (from what I have seen, they are already doing that). I am seriously worried about India. Their weaknesses are not fundamentally tied to their way of life. They have institutional problems, which can be fixed over the course of 10-15 years. Once that happens, they can really catch up. China will take much longer to transform itself into a democracy than India will to fix its’ infrastructure and bureaucracy. If the Indians are growing at 8% without infrastructure, where will they be when the damn infrastructure is in place?!
    There’s another problem that I see. India’s growth is fueled by domestic consumption. They are in a sense the most independent country when it comes to growth. Once infrastructure gets fixed, they can murder China in exports. I’ll worry much more about Indians getting their act together than reading such “we’re so awesome and they are so poor” nonsense. The author says “America Doesn’t Have a Culture of Hype”! What’s this article all about then? We’ve just ignored our most fundamental problems and are hyping our advantages. The American dream may not be over but let’s not forget that there are other countries that have woken up from their slumber. In my opinion the lumbering elephant of India has started stirring. It’ll be difficult to stop once it starts moving. Our values are not our property. Others can adopt them too. I won’t be losing sleep over the death of American supremacy any time soon but I won’t bet against it as well. We may have been doing well till now and they may have been shoddy at it till now. But the blatant disregard for the possibility that that might change is living in a fool’s paradise.

    1. But you see, the main thing in your argument is ‘if the Indians’ do this or that. They haven’t ever gotten their act together ever in the past several hundred years have they? Isn’t the whole point of China arming Indian maoists, Pakistan arming Indian Jihadists, and evangelical movements from the west instigating secessionist movements in India to make sure that Indians will never get their act together?
      Aren’t you forgetting the behemoth in the middle of the room, the basic incapacity of Indians to ever get their act together as a modern ‘state’ or ‘nation’?

  27. Since I am not American, I do not know much about American history, but I doubt the war of independence, the founding fathers, the constitution and the early immigrants were about setting up a country to rule the world. If the only way to achieve happiness is if your country is the wealthiest, biggest or has the most aircraft carriers then perhaps you should rethink your outlook on life.

    How about wanting a country where people can choose who they want to be, big open spaces and be free as in freedom. Yes it sounds terribly old fashioned, but most people in the world would pick that as opposed to a country whose claim to fame is that it pumped out the most number of PHD’s or mass produced the most number of high speed trains.

  28. NotSure,

    The US has never been intent on ruling the world.

  29. I basically agree with Mr Dalmia with one exception. The U.S. under Obama right now has the worst government in at least 100 years. It clearly resembles what we had under Jimmy Carter, but Obama gets the bad Government prize when you compare the two. To truly get the nation back on track we have to reject the incompetence and the extreme dead end left wing ideology of Obama and find another Reagan! Hopefull we will do that in 2012 and start down the path of another generation of growth and prosperity. If we don’t the damage to the nation will continue to increase and it may take decades to recover!

  30. I basically agree with Mr Dalmia with one exception. The U.S. under Obama right now has the worst government in at least 100 years. It clearly resembles what we had under Jimmy Carter, but Obama gets the bad Government prize when you compare the two. To truly get the nation back on track we have to reject the incompetence and the extreme dead end left wing ideology of Obama and find another Reagan! Hopefull we will do that in 2012 and start down the path of another generation of growth and prosperity. If we don’t the damage to the nation will continue to increase and it may take decades to recover!

  31. I basically agree with Mr Dalmia with one exception. The U.S. under Obama right now has the worst government in at least 100 years. It clearly resembles what we had under Jimmy Carter, but Obama gets the bad Government prize when you compare the two. To truly get the nation back on track we have to reject the incompetence and the extreme dead end left wing ideology of Obama and find another Reagan! Hopefull we will do that in 2012 and start down the path of another generation of growth and prosperity. If we don’t the damage to the nation will continue to increase and it may take decades to recover!

  32. I basically agree with Mr Dalmia with one exception. The U.S. under Obama right now has the worst government in at least 100 years. It clearly resembles what we had under Jimmy Carter, but Obama gets the bad Government prize when you compare the two. To truly get the nation back on track we have to reject the incompetence and the extreme dead end left wing ideology of Obama and find another Reagan! Hopefull we will do that in 2012 and start down the path of another generation of growth and prosperity. If we don’t the damage to the nation will continue to increase and it may take decades to recover!

  33. I basically agree with Mr Dalmia with one exception. The U.S. under Obama right now has the worst government in at least 100 years. It clearly resembles what we had under Jimmy Carter, but Obama gets the bad Government prize when you compare the two. To truly get the nation back on track we have to reject the incompetence and the extreme dead end left wing ideology of Obama and find another Reagan! Hopefull we will do that in 2012 and start down the path of another generation of growth and prosperity. If we don’t the damage to the nation will continue to increase and it may take decades to recover!

    1. Put the crack pipe down, dude. Anyone who still thinks Obama is “left-wing” after all this time is either stoned, insane or a moron.

  34. There is so much to learn from this article, thanks for sharing your insightful ideas. I am grateful and truly impressed.

  35. It is pretty amazing, actually, for the author Ms Dalmia to make some outlandish arguments in support for American Dream. It seems she must be sleeping to be still dreaming while India and China have woken up to the new economic realities.

    Let’s analyze her weak arguments:
    1) America Wastes No Talent: I have never seen so much talent wasted anywhere else than in US. Biggest examples are high skilled legal immigrants stuck in the American immigration process. I have closely watched high skilled legal immigrants not receive promotions, salary increases they can’t change their job without losing your place in the immigration queue. If they are married, their highly qualified spouse can’t work. There are around half a million people in this situation. This is complete waste of talent. Most of these people are returning to their home countries and you will start to see new start-up emerge from Bangalore and Shangai that will give run for their money to Apples and Microsofts of US.

    2) America Does Not Have India’s Infrastructure Deficit or China’s Civil Society Deficit: India’s lack of infrastructure is a temporary phenomenon. China was like that only ten to fifteen years ago. That is less than a generation. Things are changing fast. American infrastructure has reached a saturation point whereas, India is the new America. Also, you can’t compare old school brick-and-mortar infrastructure to the new paradigms e.g., India never had high telecom penetration because of lack of optical cable but after the advent of wireless technology it leap-froaged this handicap and is now the third biggest market in the world. This change took place in less than ten years. As far as, Civil deficit. How can anyone claim a two party system of governance as true democracy is just beyond common sense. India has ten to fifteen different parties and a true democracy while on the other hand in US it would be a couple of decades before a woman can hold Presidential office.

    3) America doesn’t have grinding poverty: What about more than 40 million uninsured. If you compare Apples to Apples poverty in India and China is equivalent to being uninsured in America. That is more than 10% of US population. This is amusing, in fact, point out to India and China about poor when there are so many poor people in America. At least, India and China don’t claim they are a developed country. As any analyst will tell you look for trends not just static information. India and China have moved more than half a Billion people out of poverty in last ten years that has never happened in world history. This trend is improving. On the other hand, American income levels are falling or stagnating. If you look at its debt which is alarming 75% of its GDP that fact should not be lost on realists.

    4) America Doesn’t Have a Culture of Hype: This is most dishonest argument anyone can make in defense of America. This one made me chuckle. Right, no hype. We go to Iraq and claim “mission accomplished.” No hype. We hosts world championships for American only teams like NFL, NBA. No Hype.
    In conclusion, this author needs to understand the issues in their totality and not just defend a sinking ship just because of the sake of doing so.

    1. You seem to be missing the point here.
      1) This doesn’t even address the comments that Dalmia makes in this article. She specifically states that the talent in America runs through all levels, not just the highly educated. And you cite half a million people in the US wasting their talent? That’s 1 in 600. Not too terrible a number.
      2) I won’t argue that telecom isn’t important as far as infrastructure goes. However, you seem to put too little emphasis on actual brick and mortar infrastructure. Economies survive through the trading of goods, which is massively dependent on things like effective transportation, sewage, etc.
      3) I’m surprised people on this board let you get away with the 40 million uninsured number. As is well documented, this is a ridiculously inflated number, including millions who are eligible for Medicaid/Medicare, young people who make a strategic decision not to carry health insurance, etc. Also, to claim that not having health insurance in the U.S. is equivalent to poverty in India/China is extremeley disingenuous. There is simply no comparison to be made between the poor in the U.S. (who still enjoy an income and lifestyle superior to at least 70% of the people on the planet) to those in China (who subsist on less than a dollar a day, have no access to clean water, etc).
      4) What are you talking about? I think you missed the point of this section so much that I can’t even begin to answer.

      1. Seriously? You think that talent is quantitative and not a qualitative issue as in one Kobe Bryant in Lakers team versus rest of NBA team defenders. 1:600 , Amazing! See, one in three start-up is birthed by these highly talented immigrants and these start-ups power US economy an example is Google.

        You talk about infrastructure. More importantly sustainable infrastructure. US infrastructure is creaky and old, in serious need of repair. All legacy stuff. Also, all this is from borrowed money unlike development in India and China which is driven by local high savings rate.
        See, quality is important, lets look at GM the American icon. You will never see a more badly managed company in the world. Where are the supposedly genius American managers. They have run GM into bankruptcy and its recent $7 billion profit is a joke. We know this, just look at its stock value, lowest ever in 30 years. All hype and no substance.
        Lets take another example of so-called American infrastructure ie Finance sector. It is a hot air of notional wealth that doesn’t exist. The recent financial bust should make that obvious. I can go on but then I do not intend to indulge in Us bashing, just want to temper some outlandish assumptions being made by the author of this article and point out basic flaws in your defence above

      2. Seriously? You think that talent is quantitative and not a qualitative issue as in one Kobe Bryant in Lakers team versus rest of NBA team defenders. 1:600 , Amazing! See, one in three start-up is birthed by these highly talented immigrants and these start-ups power US economy an example is Google.

        You talk about infrastructure. More importantly sustainable infrastructure. US infrastructure is creaky and old, in serious need of repair. All legacy stuff. Also, all this is from borrowed money unlike development in India and China which is driven by local high savings rate.
        See, quality is important, lets look at GM the American icon. You will never see a more badly managed company in the world. Where are the supposedly genius American managers. They have run GM into bankruptcy and its recent $7 billion profit is a joke. We know this, just look at its stock value, lowest ever in 30 years. All hype and no substance.
        Lets take another example of so-called American infrastructure ie Finance sector. It is a hot air of notional wealth that doesn’t exist. The recent financial bust should make that obvious. I can go on but then I do not intend to indulge in Us bashing, just want to temper some outlandish assumptions being made by the author of this article and point out basic flaws in your defence above

    2. I agree that some of the author’s points are far fetched. However, I have to respectfully suggest you’re being a bit optimistic.

      I will not disagree that America wastes an incredible amount of skilled labor. I think we’re doomed unless we significantly liberalize our immigration system quickly, especially for trained immigrants.

      But look at the degree of protectionism in India. From what I can see, I don’t think it’s much better. Look how the DGCA is trying to kick out expat pilots in India…even though it would result in grounding a lot of the country’s fleet.

      India’s infrastructure is, quite frankly, non-existent. Traffic in every city I was in made the 101 at 5:30 PM look empty. There’s a long, long way to go.

      As far as democracy goes, I think America’s system of government speaks for itself. There are plenty of issues, but it seems to be a system that generally works. Indians I spoke to in India did not have kind things to say about the democracy, most of them calling it an illusion. I’m not qualified to speak about that, though.

      I won’t defend the author on the fourth point you make.

      I also have to strongly disagree that America is a sinking ship. We are normalizing our role in world affairs, which I think is inevitable. I don’t necessarily think its a bad thing, either. Hopefully, we’ll see a world that’s more concerned about ideas and skills and less concerned about where you happen to be located.

  36. Alot of the arguments are strawman arguments, but he is right about one thing. China and India believe in their own hype.

  37. I mostly agree with this article especially in regards to the ridiculous hype about India. India lags behind even subsaharan Africa in such critical areas as hunger and malnutrition, water provision, sanitation facilities, electricity availability, literacy rates etc. China on the other hand looks like the real deal. East Asian nations like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan have already shown they can join the first world. China is well on its way to doing the same. India, ridden with corruption, incompetence, casteism, communalism is probably doomed to stay poor and backward.

    1. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan had massive advantages over China. The whole not having Mao running things really helped. No one here is arguing that China is not making massive economic and social gains – most of us would applaud them for doing so. The point is that there are real structural problems that stand in the way of China becoming a dominant world power.

  38. Anand you make uninformed comments. First of all India is not a poor country most Asian Billions are from India. India is off course a country where a lot of poor people live. Having that out of the way. India was never a poor country. only during the colonial period. India actually has a bigger middle class then the whole population of US.

    Also, it would be great that you support your arguments with data ie sub-saharan countries and India, quiet tounge-in-cheek those comments but factually useless .

  39. ” First of all India is not a poor country……India is off course a country where a lot of poor people live.”

    LOL. These are the kind of irrational indians spreading all the laughable nonsense about India being a budding superpower. There are only two to three million indians in the IT sector, meanwhile India’s population grows by 20 million every year. India’s “middleclass” would be considered poor anywhere else. If you don’t have an english medium education, and less than 10% of indians do, you are a second class citizen in India. India has to import chinese engineers to upgrade its shabby infrastructure because the educational system is so bad. There are fewer doctors per 100,000 people than most countries in the world. There is no end to what’s wrong with India and why it can never hope to reach the level of development in the West or the Far East.

    1. Your comments don’t make any sense. The issue is not China vs India. You behave more like that te.rror infested countryman, I forget its name, bordering India. That become obvious as soon as someone points out superiority of Chinese engineers vs Indians.

  40. I disagreed so much with this article that I wrote a 3200-word rebuttal on my blog see http://lifeconsidered.blogspot…..-live.html

    While it may be true that the American dream is alive, it’s not for reasons that Shikha Dalmia gave.

  41. Libertarians have played key roles in driving improvements in China, India and world poverty; and homeschooling and other education options worldwide. A lot of interesting stories at: http://www.Libertarian-International.org

  42. i would do that right shirts done right chick all night long

  43. Exercise patience and caution…

    In China and India (and America),
    large segments of the population have
    been marginalized…

    In a tightly integrated globsl
    society, there is no advantage…

    Cheese…

  44. What the author of the article has missed spectacularly is the question of scale?

    Superpowers are not made by living standards. The biggest factor is always size and that’s where China and India with their huge populations will eventually come to equal (in India’s case) and surpass (in China’s case) by 2040 in terms of heft, both economic and military.

    Sweden and Finland have a far better median standard of living than the US, do you hear any talk about their economic clout?

    The change that the Americans will have to get used to is that the US will no longer remain the most important and influential country in the world, a position it has maintained since about 1918. Though solace can be obtained in the fact that unlike Great Britain, it is not going diminish in absolute terms – others will simply catch up.

  45. America!

  46. america went to war 10 times in 200 years. America has military bases in 175 countries. America for 60 yrs kept gun to saudi arabia head and made deal to secure saudi family in return for cheap oil at the cost of saudi people and american tax payers who pay for wars unwillingly. 400 hundred richest americans equal the wealth of rest of americans. 66% of the worlds lawyers is in america. 25% of worlds prisioners in in america. To name few, do you think looking at the above statistic america can be superpower without doing the above?

  47. america went to war 10 times in 200 years. America has military bases in 175 countries. America for 60 yrs kept gun to saudi arabia head and made deal to secure saudi family in return for cheap oil at the cost of saudi people and american tax payers who pay for wars unwillingly. 400 hundred richest americans equal the wealth of rest of americans. 66% of the worlds lawyers is in america. 25% of worlds prisioners in in america. To name few, do you think looking at the above statistic america can be superpower without doing the above? Click my name to find the solution to all problems

  48. thanks now i have the link which i was looking for my research.

  49. I will be waiting for your next post.

  50. America wastes no talent? That’s funny when the Supreme Court is currently hearing the largest sex discrimination course ever.

  51. Whoa…since when did you guys start doing game commentary?

  52. Management Guru Professor Arindam Chaudhuri’s Articles
    Renowned Management Guru & Economist, Professor Arindam Chaudhuri is an Eminent Writer. He has written many interesting articles on politician, nation, …
    http://www.arindamchaudhuri.com/india-today-tomorrow.html

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