Indian Institute of Technology, Tsinghua University of China, or one of America’s foremost universities. Some studies indicate still greater exchange ratios for engineers and scientists in Russia; however, the data on Russia are notoriously imprecise, as well as volatile.

Such disparities will presumably narrow when other economies and their citizens prosper, as indeed is already beginning to happen. But global wage equivalence appears to be a long time away—much longer than America can afford to wait before addressing its competitiveness shortcomings. There is also, as critics point out, the possibility of major political upheavals in developing countries that could have significant effects on the competitiveness of those nations—but it seems unwise to predicate America’s future on such destabilizing events. It thus appears highly likely that the United States will suffer a substantial wage disadvantage for many years to come and that some means will have to be found to offset that fundamental tilt of the flat earth away from America.

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