US drops yet again on global economic competitive list

AFP Photo/Karen Bleier
Politically-dividing disagreements and record-breaking debt are being blamed for the decline in global competitiveness of the United States after the World Economic Forum declared America the seventh most competitive economy this week.

On Wednesday, the WEF released their annual listing of the world’s leading economies arranged in order of most- to least-competitive, and the numbers aren’t anything for Americans to write home about. The United States, at one point the country behind the world’s most competitive economy, has slipped down the report and is now listed as the seventh in terms of its competitiveness, despite still being the largest in the world.

Last year, the US placed at number five.

“There is … continuing concern about the macro-economic environment, continuing debt levels – the inability to get the spending under control and really political deadlock about how to even deal with this issue,” the report claims.

The WEF goes on to report that political problems in Washington are, “leading to concern about political institutions in general,” and “inefficient government bureaucracy” is considered the number one reason for the problematic nature of doing business with America today, ahead of tax rates and regulations at second and third place, respectively.

"In addition to the burgeoning macroeconomic vulnerabilities, some aspects of the country's [United States] institutional environment continue to raise concern among business leaders, particularly the low public trust in politicians and a perceived lack of government efficiency," the report’s authors say, adding elsewhere,“So, the business sector has concerns about its confidence in politicians to make the sorts of decisions that are needed going forward.”

The WEF adds, however, that the United States remains "extremely productive" and boasts one of the best centers of innovation in the world. According to the forum, though, they were no match for the competition this year: ahead of the US on the list’s ranking were Switzerland, Singapore, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany.

Rounding out the top ten this year behind the US were the UK, Honk Kong and Japan. The US has been dropping in placement on the last for four years straight.