From the linked piece...
And yet over these past five decades, that same laggard country has dominated the world of science, technology, research and innovation.
When I travel especially in Asia, (read China, South Korea, Singapore etc), I find better employment of technology than in USA right from the airport! This technology isn't necessarily American at all!
What I find we Americans have, is the view that we are at the epitome of the best. You can't compare the subway system in NY to that in Shanghai in terms of deployed tech for example! NY is in the dark ages. I know because engineers from NY go to Shanghai to "learn" how things are done on such scale.
The Koreans have come to dominate ship building not using western tech, but their home grown solutions to enormous problems.
What I find is that we in America are really one confident lot, right from school kids. We also have a spirit of "self congratulation." But trust me, those Asian folks beat us in many ways.