The US remains the world's most technically innovative economy. Its culture embraces entrepreneurship like no other. From Google to Facebook to Twitter to the very invention of the internet, its unrivalled array of superb quality, well endowed universities, together with venture capitalist backers, and a vigorous skill pool generates more heavyweight start-ups than the rest of the globe put together. It still captures an extraordinary proportion of all scientific Nobel prizes, thanks to its vast research capabilities.
In the late 1980s various professional pessimists wrote off the US as a fading power, and predicted that Japan would soon overhaul it to become the world's largest economic force. Today the American economy is twice the size it was in 1990; Japan's economy is no larger than it was then.
A big driver of America's recent resurgence has been the shale gas boom. This new method of extracting natural gas — colloquially known as "fracking"— will soon make the US the world's largest producer of the stuff. And expansion of "tight oil" and deep offshore well production could mean the same for petroleum. Both advances will substantially reduce US dependence on expensive energy imports.
Of course America has serious issues. It needs to reduce government spending to cut its federal deficit. It must reform its healthcare system, which is wasteful and litigious. Its political system is semi-paralysed, and requires more pragmatism and less extremism — from both sides. It should cut military spending and rein back much of the paranoid madness of Homeland Security. Vested interests and the lobbying machine should play smaller roles in political decision-making. Its tax code is over-complicated and could benefit from simplification. Its schools need more freedom, while its teaching unions should be challenged. And there are plenty of other imperfections.
But no other nation has anything close to America's manifest destiny, resources or abilities. Its energetic citizens, with their can-do attitude, optimistic approach and raw ambition, are unmatched at wealth creation. It invents and pioneers for the whole world, be it new pharmaceuticals, means of communication or 3-D printing. I believe America has regained its confidence, and is once again a tremendous engine of prosperity and progress.