RE “WHY do nations fail?’’ by Gareth Cook (Op-ed, March 18): We forget that the United States enjoyed a unique advantage in the quarter century after World War II. We were essentially the “last man standing’’ after that war devastated much of the First World, and much of the rest of the planet was Third World. In addition, we could produce most of our needs from resources within our borders, and large sectors of the economy were propped up by the government out of fear of the Cold War. We flattered ourselves that we were somehow exceptional.
Now we are learning that other areas of the world are becoming, or already are, as motivated, clever, educated, and competitive as we are. In fact, some of these areas built modern infrastructure because they had nothing, whereas ours is becoming increasingly antiquated.
As long as our corporations retain a quarter-to-quarter mentality and our government can’t see beyond the next election, we may be doomed to fail. There is no American exceptionalism unless we earn it.