Search This Blog

Sunday, May 5, 2024

American Strengths

Many posts have discussed energy, technology, and immigration.

Joel Kotkin:

Overall, natural resources account for more than half of all Canada’s exports and roughly one-quarter of those of the US. Together the US and Canada produce roughly twice as much oil as either Russia or Saudi Arabia. Fossil fuels, the demon rum of the green catastrophists, are not going away, even in Europe. They still account for a vast majority of all global power generation, and the demand for fossil fuels will remain high for the foreseeable future.

Europe, meanwhile, seems to be tilting towards ‘energy suicide’, thanks to the green-fuelled rush to shut down nuclear reactors, natural-gas plants and coal power plants. This has driven energy prices to unprecedented highs. In contrast, the US has been greatly empowered by the growing demand for fossil fuels. It became the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG) last year. Indeed, its LNG exports are expected to almost double by 2030 on already approved projects. And around two-thirds of those exports go to Europe.


Today, of the top 10 tech firms by market capitalisation, eight were located in the US, one in Taiwan and one in the Netherlands. Over time, the only substantive threat to North American tech dominance comes from China, where firms are shielded from competition with the likes of Google, Amazon and Meta. These protected firms could pose a challenge in artificial intelligence. But America’s firms, venture capitalists and universities maintain an enormous lead in developing cutting edge AI.
Over time, China’s authoritarian structures will likely stunt its technological rise. The Chinese Communist Party’s assault on property rights and the rule of law is making foreign companies reconsider their tech investments. Japanese firms, including Sony and Nintendo, have already moved operations out of China, as part of an exodus of over 1,700 companies in the past year alone. SoftBank, the giant Japan-based venture-capital firm, has seen its revenues crater as its Chinese investments fell due to government clampdowns. It has now suspended future investments in China.
Arguably the real ‘secret sauce’ of North American power lies in immigration. Of course, the recent surge in illegal migration at the southern border has brought many towns and cities to breaking point. But legal migration, on the other hand, has been a huge success story, enabling the US to attract some of the world’s brightest minds and best talent.

The US and Canada together have more foreign-born people than the next five countries combined. Migration has allowed the population to grow, if not rapidly, far more than any major European country. In fact, several European nations, like Italy, Germany, Poland, Russia and the Baltic states, are actually shrinking. China, Korea and Japan are all experiencing similar declines.