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Monday
Jul092012

American Exceptionalism, shake hands with Inconvenient Facts.

A big reason why America keeps drifting ever deeper into mediocrity is a misperception about how far we have already declined, how determined and effective our foreign competition is, and how ineffective minor tweaks to current policies are likely to be. I documented some measures of our decline, to which most Americans and apparently all politicians are oblivious, in Yeah! We're Number 40, 11, 16, 22, 24, 27, 48, and 29! and the updates to it.  Recently, Ed Fullbrook has published an e-book, Decline of the USA, which contains almost no text but shows in charts our ranking among 30 OECD nations in 56 indicators in seven categories. Overall USA ranked 29th, ahead of only Mexico. Recall that before its expansion to 34 nations in 2010 OECD members included not only all the prosperous nations of western Europe, Canada, and Japan, but also unenviable nations like Portugal, Turkey, Poland, Greece, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovak Republic. USA ranked behind all of them.

Out of 56 rankings, USA was in the top ten only once (labor productivity in GDP per hour worked). USA was in the second ten only 11 times and was in the bottom ten 44 times. In the seven larger categories, USA was in the middle of the pack on education and last or near last in all other categories:

Health                              28/30

Family                              30/30

Education                         18/30

Income and Leisure            27/30

Freedom and Democracy    28/30

Public Order and Safety      30/30

Generosity                         24/24 (data not available for all 30)

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