The Economist: Riding High - The Lessons from America's Astonishing Economic Record
This new article echos many of the big arguments here at Hopium
The Economist’s US cover story this week is a remarkable read. It includes this passage:
Yet the anxiety obscures a stunning success story—one of enduring but underappreciated outperformance. America remains the world’s richest, most productive and most innovative big economy. By an impressive number of measures, it is leaving its peers ever further in the dust.
Start with the familiar measure of economic success: gdp. In 1990 America accounted for a quarter of the world’s output, at market exchange rates. Thirty years on, that share is almost unchanged, even as China has gained economic clout. America’s dominance of the rich world is startling. Today it accounts for 58% of the g7’s gdp, compared with 40% in 1990. Adjusted for purchasing power, only those in über-rich petrostates and financial hubs enjoy a higher income per person. Average incomes have grown much faster than in western Europe or Japan. Also adjusted for purchasing power, they exceed $50,000 in Mississippi, America’s poorest state—higher than in France.
The record is as impressive for many of the ingredients of growth. America has nearly a third more workers than in 1990, compared with a tenth in western Europe and Japan. And, perhaps surprisingly, more of them have graduate and postgraduate degrees. True, Americans work more hours on average than Europeans and the Japanese. But they are significantly more productive than both.
American firms own more than a fifth of patents registered abroad, more than China and Germany put together. All of the five biggest corporate sources of research and development(R&D) are American; in the past year they have spent $200bn. Consumers everywhere have benefited from their innovations in everything from the laptop and the iPhone to artificial-intelligence chatbots. Investors who put $100 into the s&p 500 in 1990 would have more than $2,000 today, four times what they would have earned had they invested elsewhere in the rich world.
This basic argument - that the economy in the US is far stronger than is understood, and that, implictily, Trump/MAGA’s “American carnage” narratives are insulting bullshit - is at the very core of our work here. It is what my big presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better, discusses in great detail. It is what you can find in my recent recap of yet another strong jobs report. It is why we have to keep being loud.
As I write in my Hopium Chronicles welcome message:
I am calling it Hopium Chronicles because I want this to be a journey guided by hope and optimism, of belief in ourselves, in love of country and a clear understanding of the nature of the conflict we are in. I have become convinced that part of Greater MAGA’s strategy is to intentionally poison our discourse with negative sentiment every day. They want us to feel bad about America, our democracy, our leaders, our institutions, our success, each other, ourselves. We cannot let them do that any more. While they talk American down every day, we need to talk it up. While they spread lies, we respond with truth and data. Hopium is a rejection of the darkness they are trying to spread. It is a way of standing up for our great country and its remarkable people. It is the key to how we win.
Loud and proud people. We live in a remarkable country, and are part of political party which has done so much good for so many, here, and around the world. Greater MAGA is trying to take all that away from us. We cannot let them. That’s why we are here at Hopium, together.
Keep working hard, and let’s all welcome the Economist to the resistence - Simon