Article | Harvard Business Review | March 2012

The Looming Challenge to U.S Competitiveness

by Michael E. Porter and Jan W. Rivkin


The United States is a competitive location to the extent that companies operating in the U.S. are able to compete successfully in the global economy while supporting high and rising living standards for the average American. By this standard, U.S. competitiveness is in grave danger. The erosion of U.S. competitiveness began well before the Great Recession. The U.S. faces competition from a widening range of nations with lower wages and improving economic strategies. But a short-term focus in many businesses and political gridlock have prevented the U.S. from taking the steps needed to meet the challenge. The U.S. retains core strengths in areas such as entrepreneurship and higher education. However, these are increasingly nullified by weaknesses in the tax code, fiscal policy, K-12 education, and other areas. To address its challenges, America needs a strategy and a consensus on direction.  Government will play a crucial role, but business must lead the way.

Keywords: Problems and Challenges; Competition;


Porter, Michael E., and Jan W. Rivkin. "The Looming Challenge to U.S Competitiveness." Harvard Business Review 90, no. 3 (March 2012): 54–61.