The gloom that surrounds the future of the US is interesting.
Many have said that US will slowly cede superpower status to a country such as China.
People make reference to how England gave way to USA after WW1 and esp. after WW2.
My take is different.
I do believe that the US shall suffer the most because of this crisis, but America is an interesting creation. It was made by immigrants and is still being reinvented by immigrants. The legal system, the innovative nature of the American people, the cultural distinction that America possesses - all of these are unparalleled.
People try to compare China and India to US - clearly laughable.
As an Indian I truly believe that India will never become no.1 or even no.2 in the world. The only metric may be GDP based on PPP. India has an awful legal system, insane political system, fragmented population (& culture), and more than everything - I do not see the collective will.
Will India be much stronger than what it is right now? Definitely.
China is an enigma :)
The world is still largely clueless about what is happening inside that country. The strength of that country is in its political and nationalistic will. That can only be a short term measure or at most, ensure a better standard of living within the country.
However, the intelligence that we know of, that America possesses is not in terms of ingrained raw brain power like mathematicians or scientists. It is, in fact, the education system in the US, the immigrant population, the largely tolerant nature of its society that has allowed brains to function more effectively and use resources to create better outputs.
There was a debate, I believe 2 years ago, about how China shall 1 day surpass the US in the number of research papers published. Nowhere will they ever mention the quality and contributive nature of those papers, not to mention that those papers may well be published in Mandarin and therefore difficult to verify by a global audience.
Military might, natural resources might, the sheer strength to pursue a national objective or an infrastructure project - China rocks.
And this is exactly what I imply; China can do well - but I do not see it living upto the expectations that people currently have of it, in the long run.
An example of the strength of America - Buffett and Goldman Sachs, today decided to contribute $500 mn to aid small businesses run in a better way. One could argue that with the fall of CIT, may be the small businesses do need a guiding hand and in effect, Buffett and Goldman could very well be acting in their own interests. But I do not see that as a problem. I see that, in the end - all 3 entities ought to benefit.