China vs. USA: Who will win the 21st Century?
July 14th, 2011
07:00 PM ET

China vs. USA: Who will win the 21st Century?

Editor's Note: The following is an edited excerpt from a transcript of Fareed Zakaria answering viewer questions online. Read more from Fareed Zakaria at TIME: China's New Parochialism

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

We’re clearly moving to a Post-American world. This is a world that is not dominated by the United States but not dominated by anyone else yet either.

The 21st Century is up for grabs and how the United States does depends on how well it can marshal the key ingredients of economic and societal success.

In the 20th Century, the key ingredients were labor and capital.

In the 21st Century, the key ingredients will be ideas and energy.

Ideas will be critical because manufacturing has been commoditized. That means that anyone can make anything. The only thing that distinguishes someone today is if that person or organization has new ideas and innovations. We need to create a better mousetrap every week. We need to do something different and unique.

Energy will be critical simply because everybody is growing quickly and everyone needs a supply of energy. Countries that have figured out the energy puzzle are going to do better and better.

So who’s better suited for this new world?

In an odd way, China is best suited for the 20th Century. They have cheap labor and huge amounts of capital coming in. They can make whatever you want them to make. But they haven’t yet been able to move up the value chain. They haven’t been able to generate the big, new ideas.

Like the U.S., China also struggles with the issue of energy. China is a consumer, not a producer of energy.

But they are quickly getting very smart on the energy front. They are becoming the global leaders of clean tech - whether it is solar or wind.

They are also aggressively trying to move up the value chain. They are laying the foundations to compete in the 21st Century. They are building a great university system and they are working to get research labs in place.

In America’s case, we have all the ingredients to succeed in the 21st Century. We have the most innovative companies in the world such as Facebook, Apple and Google. We have the best universities in the world. We have a nexus between universities and research-oriented companies. We have the most dynamic capital markets in the world. We have an incredibly flexible, diverse society, which is also very much a part of our inherent societal innovation and dynamism.

But what we don’t have is a political system that can harness all of this and execute.

You see this with regard to energy policy. America has no energy policy and hasn’t had one for thirty years. It’s not just that. We also don’t have an immigration policy. We don’t have a policy toward jobs and growth. We don’t have a policy toward the budget deficit.

Instead, we have an absurd political paralysis in Washington where everyone is more concerned with scoring points and maintaining their viability with their most extreme members rather than just coming together and solving problems.

There used to be a model in which you became famous as a lawmaker by making deals - by reaching out to the other side and doing some compromising, which you have to do because not everyone agrees with you, and moving the issue forward. Now the way you get famous and powerful in Congress is by not making a deal, by being a deal breaker rather than a deal maker.

You can see this in the Republican Party right now where the energy is all in saying “No, there’s no deal we could possibly accept.”

If “No” is where we end up as a country, we could have all the innovation and ideas and dynamism in the world and we’d still will have a society that is crumbling.

Look at California as an example. California has Silicon Valley and Hollywood. It has incredible private sector talent and creativity.

But after a while if every road is crumbling, every state university collapsing and every educational institution under-funded, people will no longer want to come there. They will no longer think that it is the place where they can make their American dream come true. In this case, having Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg there will probably not be enough.

Post by:
Topics: China • From Fareed • Ideas • United States

soundoff (867 Responses)
  1. Iva

    We are a gaggle of volunteers and starting a new
    scheme in our community. Your website offered us with valuable info to work on. You
    have performed an impressive process and our whole
    neighborhood will be grateful to you.

    Visit my site JPXp

    December 6, 2020 at 4:57 pm |
  2. 슬롯

    Best view i have ever seen !

    https://onlyfreespin.com/ko

    December 9, 2020 at 3:53 pm |
  3. detectives privados estepona

    detectives privados las rozas

    https://www.argadetectives.com/detectives-en-conil-de-la-frontera-cadiz.html

    December 10, 2020 at 12:35 pm |
  4. buy n95 masks

    Is it okay if I bud you on FB?

    https://center4familyservices.com/the-foolproof-protective-face-masks-strategy/

    December 12, 2020 at 1:12 am |
  5. buy face masks

    Sure.. in theory-unfortunately won't succeed in reality, never mind eh?

    https://tube0204.com/it-is-me-tijana-masks-and-protective-items/

    December 12, 2020 at 10:55 am |
  6. face mask

    Please share more like this? It's proven extremely useful for me.

    https://tube0204.com/as-an-alternative-of-worrying-about-face-masks/

    December 12, 2020 at 7:45 pm |
  7. face masks

    This article could say so much more 🙁 Will you write more about it in the future?

    https://flyinterchange.com/new-stability-to-manufacture-face-masks-for-healthcare-employees-amid-coronavirus/

    December 13, 2020 at 5:26 am |
  8. YesBet88

    Best view i have ever seen !

    https://yesbet88baccarat.com

    December 13, 2020 at 11:32 pm |
  9. online casino

    Best view i have ever seen !

    https://sanopk.com/yesbet88

    December 14, 2020 at 12:12 pm |
  10. bitcoin to paypal

    Transfer from bitcoin to paypal very fast and low cost.

    https://exchanger24.org/xchange_btc_to_ppusd/

    December 15, 2020 at 7:58 pm |
  11. o poder do chá de sumiço livro

    3613 Me gustó mucho tu artículo, felicitaciones. Gran sitio, gran contenido. 279883409

    https://opoderdochadesumico.com.br

    December 16, 2020 at 3:04 pm |
  12. Roscoe

    First will be the explosive bomb that is designed carefully from the different engineers in Wo
    – W. One time, while bidding on a car, I designed to make signal for any six (thumb within the air) but made the signal
    to get a seven instead (crooked pointer finger). So keep
    an eye out if you are asked any queries that may infringe on the privacy.

    Feel free to visit my web blog 대법원 경매차

    December 17, 2020 at 4:20 pm |
  13. Inger Eggington

    Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and all. But think about if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, "pop"! Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this site could definitely be one of the greatest in its niche. Terrific blog!

    https://extraproxies.com/high-quality-pbn-baclinks-320-web-seo-for-450/

    December 20, 2020 at 2:02 pm |
  14. Dante Vanwhy

    I just added this webpage to my rss reader, excellent stuff. Can't get enough!

    https://extraproxies.com/what-tool-gives-you-the-pa-and-da/

    December 25, 2020 at 7:13 pm |
  15. Randa Hammontree

    Is it possible to install multiple joomla site on one wamp server?

    https://www.facebook.com/KateKowalskyWebMarketing

    January 1, 2021 at 6:48 am |
  16. Plumbing Services San Diego you can find out more

    Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such magnificent info being shared freely out there.

    http://news.morningrelease.com/story/325731/ace-contractors-plumbers-handles-all-local-plumbing-service-needs-in-san-diego.html

    January 1, 2021 at 10:52 am |
  17. blackjack

    Best view i have ever seen !

    https://blackjack88.pro

    January 3, 2021 at 9:57 am |
  18. Dakota Guilbeaux

    I beloved as much as you'll receive carried out proper here. The comic strip is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an shakiness over that you would like be turning in the following. sick indubitably come further until now once more as precisely the similar nearly very ceaselessly within case you shield this increase. Learn how to earn Bitcoin for free: https://www.no1geekfun.com/how-to-earn-free-bitcoin-in-2020/

    https://freebitco.in/?r=8707530&tag=no1

    January 3, 2021 at 6:31 pm |
  19. Archie Seabrooke

    yeah bookmaking this wasn't a risky determination outstanding post! .

    Proxyti.com/buy/500-private-proxies

    January 3, 2021 at 6:39 pm |
  20. Latonya

    Thanks for sharing such a pleasant idea, paragraph is nice,
    thats why i have read it entirely

    my homepage http://www.25hour.cn

    January 4, 2021 at 1:44 am |
  21. Jordan Lazier

    How to transfer files from my old computer to new computer?

    https://bookeworm94.tumblr.com/

    January 4, 2021 at 8:43 am |
  22. Ardis Bigg

    I do not even know the way I finished up right here, however I thought this put up used to be good. I don't recognize who you are however certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you happen to aren't already 😉 Cheers!

    https://Dreamproxies.com/buy-proxies/200-private-proxies

    January 7, 2021 at 4:08 pm |
  23. Hong

    Greetings from California! I'm bored to death at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during
    lunch break. I love the info you present here and can't wait to take a look when I get
    home. I'm surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile ..
    I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, superb site!

    Look into my web page; 카지노사이트

    January 9, 2021 at 7:18 am |
  24. Gerard Golian

    Hi there very nice site!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I'll bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally…I'm happy to seek out so many helpful information here within the publish, we'd like develop more strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

    https://dreamproxies.com/buy-proxies/400-private-proxies

    January 10, 2021 at 10:36 pm |
  25. Anita

    Hello there! This post couldn't be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

    Here is my webpage: 카지노사이트

    January 11, 2021 at 5:35 pm |
  26. Willard

    I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody
    else know such detailed about my problem. You are incredible!
    Thanks!

    My web page – 크레이지슬롯

    January 12, 2021 at 5:28 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.