Outlook: How to export the American way

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The Independent Online
The London media scene will soon be welcoming a new addition to its ranks - Robert Forbes, one of the four Forbes brothers who own and run the Forbes magazine publishing empire. He's here to spearhead the launch of a new international edition of Forbes, one of the US's top business publications. Normally such a move wouldn't warrant much more than a footnote in the national press, but because of what Forbes stands for, it perhaps has a wider significance.

Over the years, Forbes has prospered on an unrelenting diet of optimism and pro-business, pro-free market idealism. Editorially it doesn't pull its punches, but it also represents the American dream and the American model as perhaps no other business publication quite does - the belief that individuals should be allowed to prosper from their own enterprise, deregulation and generally rolling back the frontiers of the state. Above all it is a publication about entrepreneurs and businessmen for entrepreneurs and businessmen.

For Forbes to go international, then, is somehow symbolic of the triumph of the American model. Everyone now believes in free enterprise, free capital markets, flexible labour practices, sound public finances and an independently determined monetary policy. Furthermore, from Paris to Timbucktu, we all look jealously across at the success of the American enterprise economy, particularly at the cutting edges of technology. Where are the European versions of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Andy Grove? Where on the Continent doesprivate sector job creation compare with the US?

Britain took to the chase a bit before the others but there is little doubt that the businessman's view of the world, which the US economy so much epitomises, is emerging triumphant from the chaos of the post war years just about everywhere. America's most successful export these days is not the automobile or the PC, but its own free market economic model. In its own small way, Forbes is aiming to ride the wave.