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Reports of America's decline are greatly exaggerated

Here are six reasons why US economic clout will endure.

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Is America really in serious decline?

Hardly a day goes by that I don't hear someone say so. Even President Obama captured this anxiety in his inaugural speech, pointing to a "nagging fear" that America's "decline is inevitable."

Of course, America's problems – from banking and debt crises to foreign security threats – are very serious. But, as bad as things are, here are six reasons why America's starring role on the world stage isn't over.

1. Despite the recession, the US still has the greatest potential for cutting-edge economic growth. It ranks atop the World Economic Forum's latest global competitiveness study. And its companies remain the best.

According to the most recent Fortune Global 500 report, the US hosts more of the world's major companies (153, to be exact) than any other country. Even Japan lags way behind with just 64, while China is home to a meager 29.

The percentage of US companies in the Global 500 has averaged about 30 percent for most of the years from 1992 to 2008. That doesn’t suggest decline. [Editor's note: ]

2. It continues to lead organizations that it spearheaded at the end of World War II: the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. And that critical role enables it to capitalize on globalization better than can most major countries.


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