This is another question where the tacit assumptions and implicit conditions are of critical importance to rational discourse. Until such terms as and are explicitly defined, you will generally find yourself in a circular argument.
For example, enormous increases in productivity have occurred in many areas of US manufacturing, yet the compensation and benefits for the typical US worker have decreased while their work time has greatly increased. Is this progress, or no?
In the past, increasing trade and increasing economy activity/employment were highly correlated, to the extent that a cause/effect relationship has been assumed, thus has been allowed to become a good and end in itself. An additional [increasingly wishful] assumptions based on 100 years or less of is that when nominally American companies do well, this means their US employees and the American economy will do well. Post hoc ergo propter hoc [After this, therefore because of this] is a classic error of logic, which in this particular case is compounded in that it may have partially true at one time.
It is by no means clear [at least to me] that *ANY* nation-state [as we know it] in this period of exploding trans-national capitalism has any more future [or function] than the hereditary manorial system did in the time of the ascendancy of the nation-state and mercantilism.
Indeed, this segues into another semantic quagmire: The typical response of should be a red flag in these types of discussions, both to the speaker and the listener(s).
===================================== Are there other countries we can look
===================================== IMO, neither one is much of a model for the US. They've both emerged from strong welfare-state socialism without any permanent scars, and Sweden now appears to be doing quite well. But neither one has an economy large enough to indicate how *we* would do with similar programs.
Most of the countries that are doing well in terms of growth are doing so from a base of per-capita GDP far below ours, and that gap often is a major reason that they're able to grow quickly now. That applies to countries at extreme ends of the social scale, with China at one end, for example, and Australia at another.
Ed Huntress ======================================