America Is Still Number One

Edited by Natalie Clager

The U.S. hasn’t been on a winning streak the past few years, to put it mildly. It is the country where the global economic crisis started.

It is a country that runs up debt at an alarming rate and risks plummeting from the fiscal cliff. Last but not least, it is a country increasingly diverging from the Founding Fathers’ ideals. In spite of all this, it would be stupid to write America off. It still has an enormous potential, which is reflected, for instance, in the rankings of the most powerful companies. On the list of 500 companies having the highest market value there are as many as 173 from the U.S. The growing Chinese power, the world’s second biggest economy, is represented by only 38 companies. China still has a long way to go to dethrone the U.S.

What’s behind the strong position of American companies? Let’s take a look at the first ten places. Apple is first on a list which that also includes Google and Microsoft. They represent the U.S.’s creative and innovative power. Though the legends about poor education in American schools are well-known, the U.S. still is a technological power. It maintains its advantage thanks to the fact that companies, universities and the state can identify talented people, offer them appropriate work conditions and let them implement revolutionary ideas. The second on the list is, admittedly, a more traditional company—oil and gas corporation Exxon. However, the American oil and gas industry is also a business of the future. It broadly takes advantage of the technologies that make the slate gas revolution possible. Thanks to this, the U.S. could be the world’s biggest oil producer in ten years.

However, we should remember America’s weaknesses. They are shown, for instance, in Wal-Mart’s high place on the list. The chain symbolizes America’s Achilles’ heel: Mindless consumption of Chinese goods bought on credit.

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