Monday, December 15, 2008

Our Nation: So where do we go from here? Part 1

I wanted to write optimistically about our nation's democracy and capitalism. But before I address what I see in the next 3-5 years, I should start with my underlying assumption, and why I believe it to be true:.

The United States of America is an incredibly unique social, economic and political construction, and it is the best the world has ever known. Not perfect, but perpetually driven towards auto-improvement.

Natural Resources: which other country has the vast amounts of natural resources, in quantity and diversity, as the United States? None.

The USA has 30% of the world's natural gas, 22% of its coal, 8% of its oil, copper 15%, Gold 15%, Silver 13%, Aluminium 17%, Magnesium 29%...

Go to www.allcountries.org/uscensus/natural_resources.html to see the entire data set.

Human Resources: which country has the size, scale and scope of the US education system? None.

The USA has 4,140 colleges and universities with 17,500,000 undergraduate and graduate students? No other country comes close by any measurement.

Economy: which country has the size, scope, freedom and investment of the USA? None

The United States has a GNP/capita of $46,000. While there are some countries mathematically above it, the only statistically significant difference is Luxembourg, Kuwait, Norway and Brunei (all $59,000/person and above). The United States represents 25.4% of the World's Gross National Product. At $13.8 trillion, it is 3.2 times larger than Japan (#2) and 4 times larger than Germany and China (#3 and #4).

See the World Bank data at: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DATASTATISTICS/Resources/GDP.pdf


Population: What nation is more ethnically diverse than the United States? None.

For Darwin fans, that means the law of natural selection is working in our favor. We also know that we are becoming increasingly diverse. See:
http://www.prb.org/Articles/2004/USGrowingBiggerOlderandMoreDiverse.aspx

If you exclude refugees, the United States has the largest number and percent of population from legal and illegal immigrants. But the key here is that people WANT to come to the United States to be free! Freedom of religion, of speech, of political expression, of opportunity. People come to be safe, get jobs and educate and raise their children.

Arts, Science and Culture: By any measurement, the United States has more diveristy, opportunity, funding and excellence of the arts & sciences.

That's enough for now. I will return with some thoughts about what is next.

Post script: My son, Jon, asked me what nation was the greatest. My answer is the USA

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