Quote of the Day

“The Americans have not had to deal with a true economic rival since the British more than half a century ago. America today is as unaccustomed to global economic competition as the British were at their apex. The U.S. often seems lumbering and ill-suited to the demands of economic rivalry.

“The only way to avoid Britain’s fate and meet the challenge of China is to reinvigorate economic life. This is a multiyear endeavor that must be done primarily through innovation, not legislation. America needs to retool its domestic economy to build on the global success of many U.S. companies. It must focus on inventing new products and generating new ideas, rather than defending the rusty industries of yesterday. Fights over health care and climate change are the cultural equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns.

“China thrives because it is hungry, dynamic, scared of failure and convinced that it should be a leading force in the world. That is why America thrived a century ago. Today, such hunger and dynamism seem less evident in American life than petulance that the world is not cooperating.

“The U.S. is in danger of assuming that because it has been a dominant nation on the world stage, it must continue to be so. That is a recipe for becoming Britain.”

— Zachary Karabell, The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2009

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