Sunday, July 12, 2009

On the Determination to Succeed

The top Economist correspondent to America,who writes a weekly column about the country, has gone back home. His (or her? You can never know with the Economist) final column is here. The thesis: America is somtime admirable, othertimes not. Yet it has a genius for climbing out of the bad spots and creating great things.
But there is fortunately a more solid reason for optimism. That is the country’s
taste for entrepreneurial capitalism, a taste that arrived with the first
settlers and is becoming an ever greater resource, as the global economy is
shaken by wave upon wave of disruptive technologies. America still has a genius
for incubating entrepreneurs and giving those entrepreneurs the wherewithal to
turn bright ideas into global behemoths. America’s biggest company, Wal-Mart,
was founded only in 1962; its sexiest, Google, was conceived in a Californian
dorm room at about the time that your columnist arrived on these shores. Even as
de Tocqueville despaired about the future of his half-adopted country in the
1840s and 1850s, the likes of Carnegie and Rockefeller were about to unleash the
greatest productivity miracle the world has seen. That is the America that still
promises much.

I've been wandering around the US for an intensive week now; tomorrow I'll make my way home,though given the distance this will take a bit. America is a rather glum place these days - though, if my anecdotal impressions have any value, it's not a terminal glumness. The people I talked to were all pessimistic in the short term but I didn't see anyone desist from making plans for the mid- and long-term. If you wish to see a society which has lost its fundamental vitality, go to Germany, or Austria, and probably many other places in Western Europe (not Poland).

This profound determination to work things through and come out intact on the other side seems to me a source of America's firm support for Israel: both sides recognize cultural commonalities, and these create affinities.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you read your way through the current Atlantic you find again and again that Europe does all kinds of things SO MUCH BETTER. On the other hand we benighted stay at home Europeans get informed by all those wise to the world travellers that elsewhere they do everything SO MUCH BETTER and are so much better people than we are.

I believe in the future of the US for a lot of reasons one of them being that because after all these stimuli have been priced in they are estimated to be at only 41 % of GDP while Germany guessed to be strongest of the EU-states will probably hit 70 % or more and that is not talking of Italy who was at more than a hundred even before "it" began.