For years, the United States held the position as “the leader of the free world.” Now, when we look at various current statistics, it is difficult to make that case.
The United States has fallen behind in some key areas that are critical to its competitiveness on the world stage.
For years, we have reported about the deficits in the U.S. system of education, especially compared to other countries. According to the most recent assessment of students by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States ranks 25th in math and 21st in science among students from 30 member countries.
The solution begins with early childhood education. According to the Partnership for America’s Economic Success, no other investment in society comes close to the 16 percent return realized when these investments are made.
Our schools need to emphasize the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math).
The performance of the United States in the area of health care is even more dismal. Despite having the highest percentage of gross domestic product spent on health care in the world (16 percent), the United States has the second highest rate infant mortality, 6.30 per 1,000 births, behind China at 21.16. America is seventh in life expectancy at 78.14 years, behind France (80.87), Sweden (80.74), Israel (80.61), Norway (79.81), Germany (79.10) and the United Kingdom (78.85). Singapore even beats France at 81.8 years.
Moreover, when it comes to digital infrastructure, Internet access and cell phone coverage, the United States does not rank well either. All of these shortfalls reflect serious vulnerability.
At some point in the future, U.S. government leaders will realize the seriousness of this situation and take decisive action. What is needed is much more than a Band-Aid.
The situation demands systemic change. Unfortunately, the current economic situation may well postpone that response.
From The Herman Trend Alert, by Joyce Gioia-Herman, strategic business futurist. www.hermangroup.com