Endless Curiosity

November 19, 2009

Economic Strategy: Then and Now

Filed under: Economics, Politics — Alec @ 6:42 am

I thought I list a couple of area from the article I mentioned yesterday (Why America Needs an Economic Strategy). Porter first describes some of the “unique competitive strengths” that have allowed the U.S. to prosper. He then describes what he sees as the current situation. I’ve chosen two items that particularly resonate with me, reordering the paragraphs to match items up.

Then: Third, the U.S. has the world’s best institutions for higher learning, and they are getting stronger. They equip students with highly advanced skills and act as magnets for global talent, while playing a critical role in innovation and spinning off new businesses.

Now: U.S. colleges and universities are precious assets, but we have no serious plan to improve access to them by our citizens. America now ranks 12th in tertiary (college or higher) educational attainment for 25- to 34-year-olds. We have made no progress in this vital area over the past 30 years, unlike almost every other country. This is an ominous trend in an economy that must have the skills to justify its high wages.

Then: Fourth, America has been the country with the strongest commitment to competition and free markets. This belief has driven the remarkable level of restructuring, renewal, and productivity growth in the U.S.

Now: America’s belief in competition is waning. A creeping relaxation of antitrust enforcement has allowed mergers to dominate markets. Ironically, these mergers are often justified by “free market” rhetoric. The U.S. is seeing more intervention in competition, with protectionism and favoritism on the rise… We are fast becoming the kind of distorted economy we have long criticized.

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