Should the United States do more to remain the foremost economic power in the world?China has a growth rate most of the world envies, a steady 9% over the past several years. China produces many of...

Should the United States do more to remain the foremost economic power in the world?

China has a growth rate most of the world envies, a steady 9% over the past several years. China produces many of the goods America eagerly consumes, from iPhones to microwave ovens. It is projected that by 2039, China will overtake the United States in regard to economic output. Should the United States do more to remain the foremost economic power in the world? What might be the consequences of losing such a status for the United States?

Expert Answers
Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

China becoming the number 1 economic superpower could actually pose a major global threat. We must remember that China is a communist country, a totalitarian country, that has been known to do some pretty sketchy things with respect to the human rights of its own citizens and is on Amnesty International's watch list. If China becomes the leading economic power, China will become the leading global influence rather than the US. Author Gideon Rachman of Foreign Policy points out that India and Brazil sided with China during the climate-change talks and Brazil voted against the US in taking action against Iran.

China's military program is also rapidly increasing. Rachman also points out that China is developing "new missile and anti-satellite technology" that will threaten the US's military command of the Pacific.

In other words, if China becomes the leading economic superpower, it will also become the leading military power. A communist country becoming the leading military power could pose a serious global threat. Therefore, yes, the US needs to do all it can to prevent this from occurring, not just because the US needs a stable economy, but because we are the leaders of human rights in the free world, and the world absolutely does not want communist domination.


Michael Ugulini eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the United States should work on improving their economy as best they can, but doing it to remain the foremost economic power in the world should not be their only motive. Their initiatives should promote sustained growth, premier infrastructure, a strong military, and advancements in technology, education, and in natural resource development for the benefit of their citizens. If being the foremost economic power results from these initiatives, then so be it and good for the country.

The problem today is the incredible debt that is sapping federal, state, and municipal strength. This excessive debt is a heavy burden that limits the ability of these government entities to take the action required to further economic growth. Programs are being cut or reduced, cities are declaring bankruptcy, and the by-product of this is unemployment. Therefore, the United States must get their debt under control or economic expansion of the percentages the government desires will be unachievable.

eNotes - Economic Growth 

Economic Growth Idea



Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm of the opinion that, yes, the US needs to be attentive to safeguarding and increasing economic growth. When I say "US," I mean the people therein, not the government thereof (I don't know enough to speak to government policy measures).One of the two primary reasons I am thinking of is that economic strength and growth is the only way to safeguard the fulfilment of needs of workers and higher level employees (executives seem to be well provided for ...). The last thing we want in the US is a recurrence of conditions that dramatically divide haves from have-nots and force all middle and lower-middle class people into one-room tenements. A strengthening and growing economy that keeps pace with citizens needs is the only way to protect the work-a-day citizen.The second reason is that there is dramatically changing economic landscape; eNotes is itself an integral part of this changing landscape. If economic growth doesn't increase and increase in new directions, if economic growth continues status quo, then the changing landscape may become the avalanche mudslide that buries the US economy.

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most important thing the United States can do to ensure we will be a dominant force in the coming century is to balance our budget and begin to pay down our national debt.  This will be difficult, and many cuts will have to be made throughout our government to make this transition.  My husband's school district received a multi-million dollar federal grant for flooding that occurred on vacant land owned by the school district and my hometown was given a quarter million dollar grant to build playgrounds a few years ago that now stand in disrepair. 

Our government simply spends money without regard to the consequences.  Obviously some programs are necessary and play a vital role in the stability of our country, but billions of dollars are spent every year of pork barrel projects that could be cut.  We are nearing the point that the United States will never be seen as an economic superpower because other countries will soon possess the ability to crash the dollar by calling in our debt.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In 2011, the US still had a GDP double that of China. For all the truth to China's growth and to news of the somewhat shrunken state of the US economy, there is still a huge gap between the United States economic output and the next country in line, China. 

To answer the question at hand, I would say the US should not try harder to maintain an economic edge, doesn't have to, and should instead work harder to tell its story. There may be a continued period of recession in the US and in the world, but this is a relative recession in most places. 

The United States may not be in its most robust economic state, but there is reason for hope and reason for confidence. The world order is not broken. 

Refer to:


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, the United States should not do anything with the specific goal of being the richest country in the world.  There is no benefit that comes with being the richest country in the world.  What is important is that we continue to grow economically.  If we do so, it does not matter if China overtakes us (particularly given that they have something like 4 timex our population).  The important thing is not our relative wealth.  Instead, it is our absolute wealth and how it is changing.  As long as we are having economic growth at a decent level, it is alright if we are not the world's biggest economy.

shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Basically this question is asking, "How can we improve our current economy?"

We have been a strong economy for many years, although it's been rough recently. We need to continue to do the same things that have made us strong: Promote innovation and development and learn from out mistakes. China will probably go through several economic crises by the time 2039 rolls around. Where they will be by then is anybody's guess.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do not think it is necessary for the United States to be a superpower, but we do need a strong economy. We need to find a way to focus on our strengths, such as our creativity and services.  Those can be our competitive edge.