US Business: Adrift in a Global Marketplace

By Weidenbaum, Murray | Harvard International Review, Winter 2013 | Go to article overview

US Business: Adrift in a Global Marketplace


Weidenbaum, Murray, Harvard International Review


The forces of trade protection in the United States are on the rise--yet again. The presidential campaign has provided a new opportunity for some to take a more isolationist position on issues of international commerce. However, these interest groups overlook the many ways in which a global marketplace generates, directly and indirectly, very positive long-term effects on American consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and on the nation in general.

The international business outlook facing citizens of the United States is a promising balance, with a combination of serious threats and substantial opportunities both in the short run, and especially in the longer run. This warrants further explanation.

At the outset, consider where the United States stands. Almost every way you measure it, the US business system is still the largest and most successful in the world. Far more often than not, US businesses are the trend-setters. In industry after industry, US-headquartered companies lead their competitors on a worldwide basis. This is so whether you examine high-tech aerospace design and production, where Boeing has been in the lead for decades, low-tech soap and detergents made by household giant Procter & Gamble, or companies in between the extremes of the technological range, such as EoconMobil, the number one petroleum company worldwide.

On a more micro level, individual brands and company names like Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Microsoft generate instantaneous worldwide recognition. In fact, Cadillac has nearly become an adjective, denoting a top-of-the-line product. FedEx is often used as an active verb to indicate delivering an item as rapidly as you can. Nevertheless, all this good news does not mean that US-based companies--or any other firms competing in the global marketplace--can rest on their laurels. Some historical perspective helps on that score.

Back in the early nineteenth century, European companies--especially those located in Britain and France--dominated international commerce. Then, a rapidly expanding newcomer in North America (the United States) elbowed its way into the club of leading world economic powers. In absolute terms, the economies on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean continued to expand substantially. But Europe has never regained its dominant share of the world market.

In the second half of the twentieth century, Japan played a role similar to that played by the United States a century earlier. It became an important member of that club of economically advanced nations. Japanese companies such as Sony and Toyota became strong global competitors. Major Western industries continued growing, often rapidly, but many lost some market share.

Today, we are in the midst of yet another such fundamental shift in the array of global economic and market strength. China has rapidly become a powerful force in the international marketplace. By some measures of gross domestic product (GDP), it is already number two, second only to the United States. However we calculate it, the US lead is rapidly diminishing. The fact that the United States initiated the most dangerous global credit crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s does not exactly enhance perceptions of US leadership in either economic or financial matters. Nor can the United States take much consolation from the sad current experiences of the Eurozone countries.

Forecasts are inherently fragile. That is a kind description from this veteran prognosticator. So I will state the point carefully: there is a reasonable likelihood that, in the next several decades, China will surpass the United States as the largest economy in the world. That shift is surely not inevitable.

Historians remind us that in the middle of the previous millennium--around 1500--China was the most culturally advanced and economically powerful nation on the globe. That is, until one misguided emperor decided to reduce foreign influences by cutting off trade with most of the rest of the world. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

US Business: Adrift in a Global Marketplace
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.