Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why India and China have nothing on the US

America wastes no talent
Conventional wisdom holds that America’s global competitiveness is driven by geniuses flocking to its shores and producing breathtaking inventions. But America’s real genius lies not in tapping just genius — but every scrap of talent up and down the scale.

A 2005 World Bank study found that the bulk of a people’s wealth comes not from tangible capital like raw resources and infrastructure. It comes from intangible wealth: effective government, secure property rights, a functioning judiciary. Such intangible factors put the equivalent of $418,000 at the disposal of every American resident. In India and China, it's $3,738 and $4,208, respectively.

America’s vast intangible wealth makes everyone more productive and successful. Personal attributes — talent, looks, smarts — matter only on the margins. Having witnessed the life trajectory of many Indian immigrants, what’s striking to me is that, with some exceptions, it doesn’t matter whether they are the best or mediocre in their profession in India: They all end up with similar standards of living here.

Other factor’s – effective infrastructure, something like 75% of India’s population doesn’t have electricity, a lack of extreme poverty, high literacy rates, and a society without real elites and the conclusion that the article reaches is that China and India may nibble at the edges just from sheer size but they can’t really supplant us.

h/t Instapundit

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