Janan Ganesh is one the FT’s finest columnists and here he uses a Michael Porter-type competitive advantage framework to explain the decline of the USA. Ganesh says that until the 1990s, America could boast that its openness to immigrants, free & fair elections and its free market economy were unique strengths. Now, almost all significant economies barring Russia and China can say that they too have free markets and democratic elections. Furthermore, most of the OECD economies plus city-states like Singapore and Dubai have shown that they can assimilate immigrants successfully. In short, over the last 30 years many other countries have more or less copied the things that made America stand out. In fact now these countries can highlight things that they have but America doesn’t eg. long histories and “preponderant ethnic majorities”. And around such comparisons now hinges the jockeying between nation states intent upon reversing the tide of American exceptionalism.

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