American Exceptionalism

According to Wikipedia, American exceptionalism is one of three related ideas.  The first is that the history of the U.S. is inherently different from other nations.  The second is the idea that the U.S. has a unique mission to transform the world, as Abraham Lincoln stated in the Gettysburg address.  The third is the sense that its history and its mission give the U.S. a superiority over other nations.

Obviously, the ideas expressed above are subject to debate, particularly during the period of heated rhetoric that usually accompanies political campaigns.

Investors may want to take a somewhat different approach to the concept of “American exceptionalism”.  Consider the following:

  • The U.S. population is approximately 5% of the world total.
  • The U.S. accounts for approximately 25% of worldwide GDP.
  • China, on the other hand, represents more than 18% of the world’s population, but accounts for only 15% of the world’s GDP.
  • The majority of the world’s largest and most successful companies were, to quote Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the USA”.

All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA®