There's the "imminent" threat to American economic pre-eminence from China and India. There was a similar, "on our last legs" threat 25 years ago from Japan. And economist and former MIT biz-school dean Lester Thurow claimed a decade or so ago that Europe would eclipse us in the years (or was it weeks?) to come.
There were the all-important management pronouncements of Peter Drucker—peaking in the 60s or early 70s. There was Michael Porter, and perhaps yours truly, in the 80s and 90s. There was the Carter-Reagan recession. The Bush I recession. The Bush II recession. The Internet-new economy moment—and subsequent implosion. The savings and loan crisis, the sub-prime crisis. The Latin, and Asian, debt crises.
In the meantime, and despite the startling rise of others (Japan and Southeast Asia and Europe, now China and India and Eastern Europe), the Good Ole American Economy just seems to mimic the Energizer Bunny. In "The Future of American Power" (Foreign Affairs, vol. 87, no. 3, May/June 2008), Fareed Zakaria delivers these fascinating statistics on the United States' share of global output:
Recession. Bubble. Drucker. Porter-Peters. Doesn't seem to matter much—the train just keeps on rolling. As I said or implied, pretty damned amazing that, as huge parts of the world have gotten wealthy, our overall share has not declined ...
Save that for another day.
The goal here: The world as "we" (Americans) know it ain't exactly coming to an end in the next few weeks—so, with good conscience, fill up the tank (ha!) and head to the beach, or at least the couch, for some old-fashioned summer relaxation and, uh, Kindle reading.