Why has there been such astounding economic success in the United States?

How to illustrate the super-abundance produced in the U.S.? Perhaps this view of a corn field, knowing there are huge fields of corn for a hundred miles in every direction. “An Iowa Summer Carpet” by cwwycoff1 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Why these is so much economic output in the U.S. is a valuable question because once you can explain why the U.S. has seen such powerful growth for such a long time, there is a possibility, remote though it may be, for others to have the same prosperity.

Each of us has to search for the answer by yourself. I suggest you seriously consider the first chapter of An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power by John Steel Gordon if you want to get your arms around the answer.

It is not just that the US is a large country that goes from coast to coast.

It is not just the variety of geography.

It is not just the amazingly fertile soil in so many locations. (See photo above.)

It is not just a superabundance of natural resources.

It is not just a large population that is very well-educated.

The author points out that Argentina has all those things. In addition Argentina hasn’t been in a “protracted war” since 1870.

Using that cutoff, which excludes our Civil War, the United States has engaged in the Spanish-American war, World War I (throwing the balance against Germany), World War II  (our economic production carried the day against the National Socialists in Germany and fascists in Imperial Japan and Italy), hot war in Korea and Vietnam, and the Cold War (eventually burying communist Soviet Union). All those wars and massive foreign aid have not stood in the way of our economic prosperity.

In the meantime Argentina is struggling to stay in the category of a developed nation. They’re trying to stay out of the developing category.

Book says the GDP per capita in Argentina is below one-third that of the United States.

Something happened. What could it possibly be? Please, please try to find an answer for yourself.

In a series of posts I am going to highlight some of the astounding economic progress in the United States. Maybe that will help you sort through an answer to the question.

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