India Emulates and Supports American Exceptionalism

Our friend Tom Friedman of the highlights that it is morning in India, not America. While an observational piece from an opinion journalist, there is enough credible evidence elsewhere to support his take on India enthusiasm for work, growth…. the future! From Friedman:

Saurabh Srivastava, co-founder of the National Association of Software and Service Companies in India, explained that for the first 40 years of Indian independence, entrepreneurs here were looked down upon. India had lost confidence in its ability to compete, so it opted for protectionism. But when the ’90s rolled around, and India’s government was almost bankrupt, India’s technology industry was able to get the government to open up the economy, in part by citing the example of America and Silicon Valley. India has flourished ever since.

“America,” said Srivastava, “was the one who said to us: ‘You have to go for meritocracy. You don’t have to produce everything yourselves. Go for free trade and open markets.’ This has been the American national anthem, and we pushed our government to tune in to it. And just when they’re beginning to learn how to hum it, you’re changing the anthem. … Our industry was the one pushing our government to open our markets for American imports, 100 percent foreign ownership of companies and tough copyright laws when it wasn’t fashionable.”

If America turns away from these values, he added, the socialist/protectionists among India’s bureaucrats will use it to slow down any further opening of the Indian markets to U.S. exporters.

It looks, said Srivastava, as if “what is happening in America is a loss of self-confidence. We don’t want America to lose self-confidence. Who else is there to take over America’s moral leadership? American’s leadership was never because you had more arms. It was because of ideas, imagination, and meritocracy.” If America turns away from its core values, he added, “there is nobody else to take that leadership. Do we want China as the world’s moral leader? No. We desperately want America to succeed.”

via It’s Morning in India –

Research Update: Entrepreneurship & American Exceptionalism

I have spent the last month going deeper into the concept of American Exceptionalism and also reading more commentators on Turner. I am just about done with a The End of American Exceptionalism by David Wrobel.

The book looks into the era surrounding Turner’s development of and presentation of his Frontier Thesis. The end of the frontier was the end of a 300 year period of expansion and Turner was not the only person concerned with what it meant. From sociologists and politicians to economists and media outlets, the end of the American frontier received great amounts of investigation.

Beyond the academics and policy makers thinking, speaking, and writing on the ‘end of the frontier’, much of the American public reacted to this fundamental shift in America’s development and also its view of itself and its uniqueness. From calls for expansion abroad to demand for Western novels and art, the ‘frontier anxiety’ was real for decades after Turners presentation at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, Il.

Zoltan Acs Interesting Theory on American Capitalism

I attended a really intriguing talk by Zoltan Acs earlier this week where he discussed his latest research on American Capitalism. His basic thesis is that the US exhibits such high rates of entrepreneurship, innovation, and growth because of philanthropy.

Philanthropy in the US is much larger and intertwined in the US social and cultural institutions than other OECD countries. Zoltan argues that it is the mechanism of philanthropy that reconstitutes opportunity (via the wealth accumulated by US entrepreneurs) back through society. Philanthropists have used  foundations (Ford, Gates, Rockefeller) and world leading universities (ie Duke, U of C, Stanford) to improve society and expand opportunity in a variety of directions.

In most other countries it is the government that takes accumulated wealth and decides where it goes. Or elites keep wealth and live behind big walls. Or in some cases it is a combination of both. The US system that Zoltan describes appears unique.

I find Zoltan’s ideas pretty compelling and it doesn’t hurt that they fit within the frameworks of American Exceptionalism that I am making use of for my dissertation.

(I am looking for any of Zoltan’s writings on the topic and will post when I find).