Living in a Post-American World

Just as the writer Mark Twain once famously quipped, “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” the rumors of the demise of American supremacy have been greatly exaggerated. In his book, The Post-American World, journalist Fareed Zakaria argues that while the living standards and incomes of other countries outside the US continue to rise, America still plays a vital role in the changing global landscape.

In a recent Commencement address at Duke University, Zakaria observed that in 1979, only 30 countries were growing at greater than 3% annually; contrast that with today, where even after the global recession, over 90 countries have annual growth rates greater than 3%. Some countries which had never been part of the global economy are now growing faster than many of their developed world counterparts and are flexing their economic muscles.

But rather than “the rise of the rest” diminishing the role of America, Zakaria extols Americans to adapt to the new dynamics of an increasingly global economy and embrace the emergence of other countries and their economies.

There are a number of trends and characteristics in this “post-American world”:

  1. Continued growth of emerging markets (China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Russia)
  2. American recognition of its own capability for energy production
  3. American policy goals that focus on greater openness and collaboration
  4. America seeking greater diversity for responses to global crises
  5. American business interests growing in emerging market economies

So with these points in mind, is there opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses in America to learn and to thrive in the post-American world? In the next four weeks, I will share my views on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for American business and reflect on its place in the new global economy. I hope you will find these posts interesting and enlightening from a business perspective, and welcome your thoughts or comments.

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