People over 50 will remember the dire predictions in the mid-1980s that the sun was setting on America, eclipsed by an ascendant Japan. We know how that ended, right? The American economy boomed while the Japanese asset price bubble burst, collapsing Japan’s economy. The period from 1991 to present is known as the Lost Decades in Japan. Oh, and in its spare time, America played the key role is defeating communism as famously illustrated by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the implosion of the Soviet Union.
Today it’s once again popular to say that America is on its last legs. Doomsayers have a lot of evidence on their side: persistently high unemployment, a weak dollar, a volatile stock market, skyrocketing national debt, the collapse of housing prices, rising poverty, social unrest, an ascendant China and a toxic political environment.
Americans’ relentless optimism and faith in a bright future have been severely tested. It is common now to see public opinion polls in which a majority of respondents believe our best days as a nation are behind us.
I don’t believe that, nor should you. As a group, Americans are the most innovative, creative, entrepreneurial and optimistic people on the planet. In time, as we purge the excesses of recent decades, we will be able to direct more positive energy and resources into endeavors that will propel us forward.
Skeptical? Here’s a report by the Boston Consulting Group about the return of manufacturing to the United States, and here is a story in The Telegraph titled “World Power Swings Back to America.” There are a lot more reports and stories out there like these.
Even with all of our short-term challenges, we are still the best place on the globe to invest. It is well within our means to make the bright future we want.