Its economy is bigger than the next four national economies combined. Its military spends more than the next 20 nations combined. Its human rights and democracy record are admired throughout the world. And in terms of pop culture, it’s arguably the “coolest” nation on the planet.
So how did the United States achieve all this?
History buff Balaji Viswanathan makes a pretty convincing argument on Quora. Here are his reasons:
- It’s the largest plot of usable land, well ahead of Russia, China, and Canada.
- It’s guarded by two oceans, which reduces its competitive exposure.
- It’s the single richest country of both oil and gas and water and agriculture, thereby reducing its foreign dependency.
- Given its remote location, only the most ambitious emigrants move here, increasing its brain power and economic drive.
- It values and invests in higher education more than any other nation.
- It rewards entrepreneurship and hard work over aristocracy, caste systems, and bloodlines.
- It’s never elected a tyrant.
- It’s home to the oldest continuous government which instills more stability and confidence than the 70 year old governments of China and India.
- As “back-to-back world war champs,” it didn’t have to rebuild its infrastructure and ego as much as others.
The only thing I’d add is the country’s idealistic or otherwise highly religious morals (not to be confused with manifest destiny). This is significant because although it exposes the country to greater hypocrisy, it also explains the nation’s overall reputation for being nicer and more inclusive to different ethnicities when compared to other world powers—the two glaring exceptions being our historical treatment of Native and African Americans.
What do you think? Why has America prospered for as long as it has and how long do you think it might last?