If you listened to the critics, you might think Lady Liberty a wash up. Past her prime. A nation in need of a facelift. Expanding Economic quagmires. Political intransigence. Declining competitive spirit. The American Century, they would have you believe, is in decline.
Or not. At 235 years of age, America may be the new China.
In a recent piece titled, World Power Swings Back to the U.S., Telegraph columnist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard posits that the American phoenix is set to rise. Again. And to plan for a post-American century may be a perilous choice, indeed.
Evans-Pritchard explains that the shale gas revolution has turned American into the world\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s top producer of natural gas. Hydraulic fracturing, the technology used to break rocks with jets of water and so extract the massive energy outputs of hard-to-reach shale covering much of the nation\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s vast western territory, have established the possibility of severing the U.S. reliance upon foreign energy producers.
The U.S. already meets 72 percent of its oil needs, up from 50 percent a decade ago. The ramifications of the United State becoming energy independent are massive. The U.S. can focus less time, attention and resources on the volatile middle east. Rededicate itself to what it does best. Innovation and progress. Reestablishing itself as the world\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s growth engine.
Further, Evans-Pritchard thinks that the pendulum of power between the U.S. and China is swinging back towards the west. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Re-inshoring\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" is the current trend as continuing Chinese wage inflation has employers considering the \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Made in America\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" moniker all over again.
Computers. Electrical equipment. Machinery. Cars and car parts. Metal parts. Plastics. Rubber. Furniture. All are at a tipping point whereby a lot of the work imported to China over the last decade could be brought back stateside.
Boston Consulting forecasts that 800,000 manufacturing jobs will return to the U.S. by mid-decade, with the multiplier effecting adding up to 3.2 million new jobs, total.
While the long appreciating euro currency has \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"hollowed out\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" Europe\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s industrial base by forcing firms to redirect their foreign investments to less expensive, more productive regions, the U.S. suddenly appears very competitive with its global peers in terms of attracting foreign capital with well-priced infrastructure and a productive, educated work force.
Additionally, the U.S. university system remains the epicenter of global innovation and development, with sixteen of the world\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s top twenty universities.
And, Evans-Pritchard points out, the U.S. fertility rate remains well above that of Europe, Japan, Korea and Russia-all of which will suffer the demographic decay of a smaller workforce taking care of a larger elderly population.
And finally, let\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s not forget that, unlike the saga currently playing out in Europe, the United States sports a common language and cultural heritage. The U.S. has proven, effective systems capable of allocating capital, rewarding risk and effort, and enforcing the law. These systems, when confronted with the technological innovations bubbling to the fore in energy, information tech and biotechnology, to name a few, will only prove to be more effective than ever.
Lady Liberty past her prime? Not so fast, Nostradamus.
She may have traded her white dress for a three piece Armani suit and six-inch heels, but her prospects appear to be as effervescent as ever. Bet against this savvy dame at your own risk.