North America the continent has been here for tens of millions of years. North America as a political idea never quite arrived. But North America the economic powerhouse has reigned supreme for nearly a century, becoming the largest and strongest in the world, an industrial dynamo, a commodities cornucopia and a magnet for millions upon millions of immigrants seeking a better life.
But we may be about to witness the end of the supremacy of that North American economy.
North America has prospered because Canada, the United States and Mexico are tightly integrated markets. Factories in Mexico produce goods for its neighbors to the north. Factories near the border of Canada and the United States are so dependent on each other that the parts of a North American automobile have crossed the border an average of seven times before it rolls off the final assembly line.
North America has also prospered because its populations have mixed and mingled. Those living on each side of our northern border have similar polyglot immigrant backgrounds, the same drive for success, the same frontier spirit that developed their great collective heartland. Those living on each side of our southern border share rich cultures based on faith, family and hard work.