America’s universal dominance

Even on this beautiful summer’s day, it is hard to be overly optimistic in Washington right now. The Marines are calling up reservists for combat duty, the Middle East seems to be going to hell in a handcart, and respected economists are predicting the imminent bankruptcy of the United States. Little wonder then, that more ...

607393_Graduation5.jpg
607393_Graduation5.jpg

Even on this beautiful summer's day, it is hard to be overly optimistic in Washington right now. The Marines are calling up reservists for combat duty, the Middle East seems to be going to hell in a handcart, and respected economists are predicting the imminent bankruptcy of the United States. Little wonder then, that more than two thirds of voters say the country is on the wrong track. But there is a reason for Americans to be cheerful: Their universities.

A ranking of the top 100 global universities in Newsweek International demonstrates just how dominant America is in the higher-ed field. Eight of the top 10 schools are in the States, as are 15 of the top 20. One state, California, has as many top 20 entrants as every foreign country combined. The only thing more dominant than America is the Anglosphere, which occupies the first 15 spots on the list and boasts 23 of the top 25 schools. 

When you consider how universities drive the knowledge economy, this ranking should cheer up even the most determined Eeyores amongst you. Equally, Europeans should be distressed by the results. If you exclude the United Kingdom, the highest ranked EU university is 43rd—directly below Canada's McGill University. As an op-ed in the FT this morning points out, if Europe doesn't reverse this situation, "it can expect a slow but inexorable erosion of the basis of its prosperity."

Even on this beautiful summer’s day, it is hard to be overly optimistic in Washington right now. The Marines are calling up reservists for combat duty, the Middle East seems to be going to hell in a handcart, and respected economists are predicting the imminent bankruptcy of the United States. Little wonder then, that more than two thirds of voters say the country is on the wrong track. But there is a reason for Americans to be cheerful: Their universities.

A ranking of the top 100 global universities in Newsweek International demonstrates just how dominant America is in the higher-ed field. Eight of the top 10 schools are in the States, as are 15 of the top 20. One state, California, has as many top 20 entrants as every foreign country combined. The only thing more dominant than America is the Anglosphere, which occupies the first 15 spots on the list and boasts 23 of the top 25 schools. 

When you consider how universities drive the knowledge economy, this ranking should cheer up even the most determined Eeyores amongst you. Equally, Europeans should be distressed by the results. If you exclude the United Kingdom, the highest ranked EU university is 43rd—directly below Canada’s McGill University. As an op-ed in the FT this morning points out, if Europe doesn’t reverse this situation, “it can expect a slow but inexorable erosion of the basis of its prosperity.”

Hat Tip: Norm

James Forsyth is assistant editor at Foreign Policy.

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