American Business Today

Topic: American Business Today

Robert Hormats: American business has become very international. American companies have become an integral part of the global economy in terms of exports; in terms of producing abroad; in terms of financing themselves abroad; in terms of importing from the rest of the world. American companies are really at the forefront of global economic change in many respects.

I think American companies also are very innovative. American companies are still very entrepreneurial. Americans know perhaps better than many cultures how to create a multicultural, multiethnic, multinational workforce, in part because we are as a country so ethnically diverse that if you understand the importance of an ethnically diverse workforce at home, it’s just one more step to integrating the workforce of people from different countries, and different cultures, and different religions, and different racial groups globally. And American companies do that very well.

I think American business is very innovative, global, and still highly entrepreneurial; but I also think it’s true that companies elsewhere in the world are also very hungry. They’re developing global economic and financial skills. They’re becoming more entrepreneurial.

And as a result this enormous lead that American companies and the American economy had 20 years ago or 30 years ago has been narrowed in many, many respects. And in some areas foreign companies have leaped ahead of American companies in many aspects of technology.

In general I think the U.S. still has a lead; but that lead is far narrower than it was a decade ago. And if we don’t continue to work very hard, be more innovative, educate our people for knowledge-driven jobs of the 21st century, it’s going to be hard for the United States to retain that competitive edge that we pride ourselves in.


Recorded On: July 25, 2007

American business has become international, Hormats says.

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
Keep reading Show less