In an online article titled How America Can Rise Again (Fallows, 2010), author James Fallows wonders if the country is truly in decline. The overall theme of the article is that the problems facing America are real but they are not new and are solvable. America greatly benefits from the fact that it stands on strong foundations which have helped it prove critics wrong who predicted its decline from time to time, again and again.
I agree with the author that America has unique advantages over other countries because it is unrivaled in its ability to attract foreign talent, has world-class universities, and is immigrant-friendly. The author may also be right that claims of China and India dethroning U.S. in the near-future may be exaggerated because Japan and Germany also stood in the same position in the not so-distant past yet America always won. While the article does a good job of educating the readers on the challenges facing America and how American has historically defied all expectations of doom, the author does show national bias and makes some inaccurate assumptions.
The author assumes that America’s secret to success such as welcoming immigrants is the only way to economic leadership and innovation but Japan is a great example of how a country can be ethnically quite homogenous and still a leading economic power as well as center of innovation. 98.5 percent of Japan’s population is Japanese, quite a contrast from the U.S. (CIA). The author also assumes that all problems are manageable because America has somehow successfully managed all problems in the past. While the latter may be true, future doesn’t always follow past. Italy and Spain are great examples of countries who have done well for quite a time but are now struggling. The problems facing America such as out-of-control debt and aging population may turn out to be bigger issues than any other. One hopes the author is right in the long term but sense of invincibility may turn out to be America’s greatest weakness and history shows even the mightiest empires are not infallible. The time has come to replace sense of invincibility with sense of emergency to increase the prospects of America retaining its economic and political leadership status.
- CIA. (n.d.). Japan. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ja.html
- Fallows, J. (2010, January/February). How America Can Rise Again. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/01/how-america-can-rise-again/307839/?single_page=true