Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:
Indians are fascinated by successful nations of all types. In fact, we celebrate anything successful (students, businesses, nations, etc.). Success is the currency. When I grew up in 1980s, Japan was the rage. Singapore used to be the big topic of discussion in th 1990s. In the present era, China is the most discussed topic. There is nothing wrong about being fascinated by the positive attributes of other countries.
In the medieval period, Europeans were fascinated by India and China. They risked their lives to reach our lands and trade with us. On the other hand, we were smug and never tried to understand their culture nor visit Europe to see why those guys were so interested in trading with us. We quickly found the folly of such an approach. The Europeans learned the best practices of all cultures, while we were left like a frog in the well to eventually become slaves.
Moral of the story: the person who tries to understand other cultures and bring the best stuff back to theirs own wins, while the person who lies fixated on his/her own culture loses.
Why is the US celebrated so much?
- Economy: It is a sheer economic powerhouse. Its GDP stands at $15 trillion. That is more than its top 5 competitors put together. An average American earns 10 times that of an average Chinese citizen and more than 20 times than the average Indian. In terms of aggregate size, the GDP of just the state of California is bigger than all but 8 nations.
- Education: It hosts more than 80% of world's top 100 universities. That is a mind-boggling number given that only 5% of humanity lives in the US. We can talk all about our ancient universities, but the fact of the matter is that at present we don't have any institution to compare with Stanford, Harvard or MIT.
- Technology & Communication: It is still the fountain of innovation and well ahead of others in bringing new startup ideas to the market. Think about this: The majority of the world's Internet communication is managed by a handful of companies (Google, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Pinterest) located within miles of each other. Not just social media, but a variety of great serious ideas spring out of the US.
- Markets: New York sets the pace for world's financial markets. It has the world's largest stock exchange and close to half of the world's market cap is tied to the exchanges in New York. Although London, Frankfurt and Tokyo are also important for some of the individual markets, New York still rules like a king.
- Transparent systems: US has historically developed an economic system that is more transparent & trustworthy. It has a more rigorous accounting setup and failures like Enron are the exception rather than the norm. This inspires the world's investors to associate themselves with the US markets. On the other hand, Indian and Chinese systems are less open, less transparent and they are less rigorous by accounting standards.