August 03, 2017

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley tours the EMS Headquarters & Facility in Sao Paulo, Brazil Credit: Maryland GovPics / Flickr Creative Commons

The global market is getting more cutthroat and the U.S. is struggling to keep up. What happened to America’s unchallenged dominance? Turns out, it’s a combination of competition and complacency. We talk with Edward Alden, author of “Failure to Launch: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy” and explore what the United States can do to get more competitive.

Three Takeaways 

  • Way back in 1971, Pete Peterson, an aide to President Nixon, warned that America’s force as an economic powerhouse was coming to an end. He sent a 133-page memo to the President detailing how the U.S.’s competitors were growing stronger after World War II. Nixon didn’t listen, and neither did many of his successors.
  • Other countries simply dedicate more resources to supporting their workforce. On average, European countries put about 0.5 percent of their gross domestic product toward labor programs. The U.S.? We spend one-fifth that much.
  • Alden says that, for years, politicians didn’t quite understand the ins and outs of trade and tended to oversell its benefits. But trade is not a “rising tide lifts all boats” system. There are clear winners and losers.

More reading 

innovation hub, Business, Edward Alden, Kara Miller, WGBH, economy, pri

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