America still among the world’s most competitive nations


CLARKONOMICS: At a time when America doubts its mojo as a country, the World Economic Forum has a new list that ranks us high among the most competitive nations in the world.

The United States comes in at No. 5 behind much smaller nations like Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden and Finland. Meanwhile, despite all our fear about the Red Giant, China only checks in at No. 26.

You may ask yourself, “Fifth place? Is that good?” Yes, it is.

Look at everything we have going for us: A large, diverse economy. A geographically diverse country with more than 300 milllion people. A financial system that is the envy of most of the world, despite some nagging problems. And a large percent of people who go on to higher education, which really plants the seeds for long-term competitiveness.

I know we’ve got problems. But there’s nothing we face that we can’t overcome as a country — not a single thing, and that includes Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and issues with the federal budget deficit.

Reaching a solution on any of those issues will just take public will, honesty and also an honest cooperative spirit between the political parties to get to the resolution. The solutions are not out of reach. We just need to believe in ourselves again.

Editor’s note: This segment originally aired in Sept. 2011.

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