U.S. Competitiveness

The World Economic Forum recently released their latest Global Competitiveness Report and after years of decline the US finds itself back in the top five at…#5. This time around, America falls behind Germany (#4), Finland (#3), Singapore (#2), and Switzerland (#1). Gains over the Netherlands and Sweden provide reason to hopeful. What stands out, however, are the things that the survey identifies as America’s biggest hindrances to competing in the global economy: tax regulations (the US was #69 in “Paying Taxes” in the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings), tax rates, and inefficient government.

Pic from James Pethokoukis

Food for thought.

2 thoughts on “U.S. Competitiveness”

  1. But these things don’t really stand out at all when accounting for like economies and systems of governance.

    Some combination of complaints about taxes and bad bureaucracy head up the lists for Germany, Finland and the United States. Switzerland is pretty similar as well. To be expected in Western democracies where corruption, crime and theft, and inflation haven’t been issues for some time. First world problems! What else is there to complain about?!

    What really stands out is how low “Inefficient government bureaucracy” ranks for Singapore. Not so much with the freedom there, but they get it done! And since Singapore recently traded the world’s last supposedly free-market healthcare system in for their own version of Obamacare, you have even MORE reason to be hopeful! :)

  2. It might be worth pointing out that the Economic Freedom of the World 2012 report put Singapore at #2: http://www.freetheworld.com/2012/EFW2012-ch1.pdf

    Of course, this looks at a variety of variables.

    Economist Steve Hanke of John Hopkins also has a really good Globe Asia article on Singapore on the WB’s ‘Doing Business’ ranking: http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/doing-business-singapore-style

    Forbes on Singapore’s healthcare system: http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2012/03/09/the-myth-of-free-market-american-health-care/

    The last article touches on some significant details. There are ways for a government to use market-oriented processes, just like any organization. I really think conservatives and libertarians need to get over the government scare word approach. A government can be effective or ineffective. And that can only be measured by the nation’s goals.

    “First world problems! What else is there to complain about?!”

    This is actually a really good point. Kind of goes back to the absolute vs. relative standards we’ve discussed before.

Comments are closed.