America. The great melting pot. A country that frequently makes or takes the best the world has to offer, perfects it, and brings it to the masses. Don’t take this article as a sign of American arrogance, more American appreciation.
There are good things happening around the world, whether it’s German engineering, Swiss precision (The author’s favorite example of this), Asian cooking, African rhythms, or any number of different takes that we humans have in this life. But let’s take some time and look at what Americans do best.
America is one of humanity’s best experiments. Not without its flaws and foibles, America continues to produce a wide variety of the best. Beyond its physical resources, it’s the human resources that come from hundreds of years of people immigrating to what all people want. A better life.
15. Charitable Giving And Helping Others
In terms of total dollars given for charity, Americans have been generous with their money. The most interesting piece of information from the non-profit Charitable Aid Foundation is that Americans have the leading score when it comes to helping a stranger. UPDATE: The 2015 CAF World Giving Index 2015 was recently released and America has been lowered to the #2 position for charitable giving per capita. Myanmar, the Southeast Asian country between China and India (formerly know as Burma) is the new leader in charitable giving per capita. Myanmar’s culture of charity is often attributed to the predominance of Buddhism in the country. America, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia round out the second through fifth positions in the updated ranking.
American medical technology, research, and pharmaceuticals are superb and are global “besties.” The level of American medical and biological research produced leads all other countries by a factor of four, with the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and France taking the second through fifth slots.
It’s estimated to be a $130 billion dollar industry in 2016, with more than $50 billion of that amount slated for export.
And clearly, Americans know how to do drugs. The American dominance in pharmaceuticals and biotech is unquestioned, and it remains the hub of the world’s research and development, currently developing almost 70% of the world’s new and experimental drugs.
As the leading agricultural exporter in the world at greater than $120 billion annually, American “know how”, vast land and water resources, and agricultural technology all work together to easily make them a global “best”. The “food basket” of the world also provides $35 billion annually of products and commodities to global food aid. The U.S. has been a net exporter (exports more than it imports) of agricultural products since 1960, annually sending the world more than 2.5 billion pounds of beef, 5 billion pounds of pork, and a whopping 7 million pounds of chicken.
It started in America with IBM and Hewlett Packard, and made the U.S. the reference standard for computer and software development. Microsoft and Apple have propelled the country to a dominant world position. The technological revolution of the 90s catapulted America to the head of the class for computer hardware and software and the game changing development of the internet, this amazing technology that has connected the world and created the most egalitarian commerce platform in the world.
Aviation is part of the American pioneering blood. It provided a way to quickly span the ocean to ocean distance of its vast territory, and because of that, American aviation is not only the leading developer of aircraft and aviation technology in the world, it leads in even air traffic. There are 7,000 aircraft in flight at any given point in the American skies. And this massive aviation system runs relatively smoothly and dependably, not to mention safely (The drive to the airport is riskier than the flight). I mean, they make the G-6, you know what I’m sayin’.
10. Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions
When it comes to walking the walk regarding climate change, the Americans again lead the way. Of all the major producers of carbon dioxide emissions, no region has reduced their C02 emissions more than the United States. The country has increased its natural gas usage and lessened its dependence on coal. It’s also at the forefront of clean environment technology, and currently taking the lead in the development of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. While still remaining one of the largest CO2 emitters in the world, the Americans lead in turning it around and moving in the direction of a cleaner environment.
9. Space Travel
The government funding of NASA, since 1958, has launched America to the position as the undisputed leader in space travel. The agency’s mission has been not only civilian space travel, but also aeronautics and aerospace research, contributing to America’s leadership in aviation. The indirect effect of the American space program has been the spawning of a profusion of new materials, technologies, and scientific knowledge. Everything from cars, to materials, to medical technology has benefited from work originally done by NASA.
8. Military Hardware
When it’s time to fight the bad guys, American military technology is often the reference standard for the world. Whether it’s weapons, vehicles, aircraft, or battlefield technology, American military hardware has proven itself to be the best. This is the stuff everyone wants on their side, which of course is why the export of military technology is a highly controlled, regulated, and in most cases, prohibited activity. America’s dominance in military hardware has been an asset in closing the door on leaders with expansionist ideologies, and global thugs in general.
While America doesn’t produce the most cars anymore (China does), the country is still the leader in automobile production technology. Again, the melting pot analogy applies here also, as automobile manufacturers and suppliers from around the world have established significant American presences. And we’re not just talking about the big auto companies here. The American auto parts industry alone represents almost 4% of the entire U.S. manufacturing economy at $225 billion in annual shipments, and is responsible for the direct and indirect employment of over 3 million people. And that’s just parts! Oh, and then there’s Tesla. Need we say more?
Whether it’s the professional or college arena, or the neighborhood space where kids play, it would be hard to beat Americans in basketball. Why is the U.S. the team to beat in Olympic basketball? Ever since the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team of Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, and Patrick Ewing went to an 8-0 record in the 1992 Olympics, America has established itself as the best in basketball. American purchases of basketball equipment alone represent a greater than a quarter trillion dollar segment of the American economy!
Pizza, hamburgers, peanut butter. The “melting pot” that America is contributes to its food leadership. Nowhere in the world is the cuisine so culturally diverse. Pappadom to poutine, bouillabaisse to BBQ, the selection is more broad and diverse than any other country.
Clearly, Americans are the best at making pizza, everything from the $5 deal, to the $20 wood fired gourmet pizza. The country has taken the best of what the pizza world had to offer and incorporated it into anything you could ever want in a pizza. And then there is the venerable American hamburger, represented by a range from fast food burgers to the fois gras topped luxury burger. Bon appetite, y’all.
American beef deserves a mention separate from the food category. This author has personally eaten at tables around the world and will testify that there is none better when it comes to growing tasty beef. It probably has something do with wide open expanses and grain finishing. (I would have to say that a strong second place should go to beef from the Canadian province of Alberta. It can be exquisite.) The American steak, marbled, and grilled properly is perhaps the greatest carnivorous experience on the face of the earth.
3. Rock, Blues And Jazz
Hendrix to Hancock, Sinatra to B.B. King, and the comparative list could go on and on. The land of the free and the home of the brave has brought the world its best rock, jazz, and blues. The African-American influence on these genres of American music has been nothing short of profound. From gospels, to the blues, and on to jazz and rock, we again see the benefit of the multicultural American experience creating world leadership. America has provided the best selling albums of all time (by certified sales): Thriller by Michael Jackson, Eagles Greatest Hits by The Eagles, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac and The Bodyguard Whitney Houston. It goes without saying, the world rocks because of America.
The U.S. dollar is the reference currency for global trade. From Middle East oil, to manufactured goods from Asia, the currency is almost always the U.S. dollar. An estimated 65% of the world’s foreign currency reserves are held in U.S. dollars as it is the most trusted currency instrument in the world.
The primary reason that it remains the currency of choice is the government and people that stand behind the dollar, bolstering its value the world economy. And when it comes to making millionaires, America takes the #1 slot again. The number of households in America with $1 million of investable assets excluding the value of their primary residence was $10.1 million. Also, the country is home to more than 400 billionaires.
The best production, the best special effects, the best box office draws and more. American cinema. The top 5 modern worldwide grossing films of all time, Avatar, Titanic, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, and Marvel’s The Avengers, are all American films. Throughout cinematic history, films like The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, and The Godfather have held America in the position of top global film maker. It’s estimated that the U.S. movie industry adds in excess of $500 billion annually to the country’s gross domestic product. The American movie industry’s Academy Awards show alone is broadcast in 150 countries around the world, and purported to be watched by a billion people (This billion number may be an exaggeration).