Does the US Lead in Anything?

This is something like a rant or a pitting. But also, it is a request for factual answers.

I was watching The American Experience, Streamliners. In the 1940-something, the fastest trains in the world were American. Now the US is on the edge of a financial meltdown. Big American companies are collapsing, being nationalized or sold to foreign companies.

Hell, we cannot even get a memorial built in New York City.

What, if anything, does the US still lead the world in?

Other than overextended military might and the ability to destroy at will?

We are China’s largest trading partner still.

We still consume the most oil and coal.

I believe we still lead in pharmaceutical research.

There is more, these are the items I can think of fast.

Influenced by an excellent wine last night I began this train of thought. A friend of mine offered that Americans make the best automatic transmissions in the world. Wonderful.

The US has the strongest military in the world. Let’s not elect Obama so he can hope some change into this (yes he can!).

Yeah, cuz Bush did so well for us military folks. I hold personally responsible for the friends that I’ve lost in Iraq. Obama couldn’t possibly be worse than Bush.

Inhabited land area,

Diversity in both populations and environment,

Low Taxes (for a large country, excluding tiny tax havens),

Ready-to-go nuclear arsenal,

and, I’m sure, many other things.

Vox Imperatoris

Right, lets inject a useless and unreasoned campaign post into a thread that has nothing to do with it. Could you please post that worthless comment in one of the 300 threads about the campaign instead.


PC Operating systems;

Internet search engines;


construction and mining equipment

Just to verify, do you mean Motion Pictures as in Hollywood?

Good examples by the way.

Computers (except the hard drive which is pretty solidly Korean/Japanese) and software. Koreans are doing well with MMOs, but otherwise it’s pretty well all us.

Soft drinks.


Chain restaurants.


Fashion (or at least large portions of it like blue jeans and sportswear.)

Frankly, I’d guess that the US leads or is in the top three in all industries, it’s more an issue that it’s hard to think of all that many industries. Plumbing fixtures? Pencils? Staples? Who knows… The zipper is Japanese, but velcro is us.

IIRC there were articles mentioning that the last US manufacturer of guns for personal use closed shop a few years ago, did I imagine that?

If you still count the European Union countries separately, we’re the world’s largest economy.

Possibly the manufacture of large commercial airliners. (In any given year we’re either number one or in second place. And there practically isn’t a third place.)

Electricity production (and consumption).

Production of corn and soybeans; although other countries produce more, we are the leading exporter of cotton and wheat.

Militarily the U.S. is still very dominant; for example, we have about as many aircraft carriers as everyone else put together (and ours are larger).

We’ve got way more airports than anybody else, more roads than any other country in the world, and more railroads than any single country in the world (again not counting the EU here as a single country).

Exploration of the outer Solar System.


Thank you.

Colt, Remington, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, and probably many others are all still going concerns.

Perhaps we don’t have the largest single company–I don’t know–but we are still top of the heap in collective export sakes, and I’d imagine that our domestic to domestic sales are the highest as well.

The US is a lot of countries’ biggest trading partner depite the size of the EU. I can verify that it’s the leader in pharamceutical research; indeed, in medical research and treatment of all kinds, especially cancer.

And isn’t there some town with the largest ball of string?

Ok, after looking around with your cites, I think now that I got confused with the news of the closing of the Winchester rifle manufacturing plant.

Percentage of the population in prison: 715 per 100,000 people.

America continues to dominate the world in the single most important area. We produce the dominant share of world media. From sitcoms to music to movies every country is influenced by American culture. If we really cared to overthrow Iran and Cuba we just have to continue to pump America media over the airwaves and wait a while.

I really do believe this influence is more powerful than our military might.

The US probably has the best higher education system in the world. This sitelists the top 100 universities in the world, and the US has 37 of them. The list seems to me to be somewhat incomplete, given that there are no Indian universities listed. I didn’t look too deeply into the criteria, but this is general and not field-specific, so that may make a big difference.

The US leads in number of immigrants(946,000 in 2004, with the No. 2 country being the UK with 302,800). I don’t know whether this was legal or illegal or both. It does say that more people want to come to the US (and do) than anywhere else.

The US still leads in Nobel Prize winners (270 to 101 for the UK at No. 2). You can argue that this is due to previous years, but I think the US generally does pretty well, even in recent years.