Nation Building — At What Cost? May 7, 2008   Leave a comment

Nasa Image — The Blue Marble

Nation Building Should Not Come at the Expensed of Building Our Own Nation

At some point, if not now, tomorrow or later, most Americans will be asking, “Who Moved My America?” paraphrasing Spencer Johnson’s “Who Move My Cheese?” Yes, like the “Hem” and “Haw,” we live in a maze that represents our environment, America. In Johnson’s little book cheese represented happiness and success, and one morning they wake up to find out that there was no “cheese.”

The environment that has created the conditions, which have allowed us to generate happiness and success, is changing from what allowed us to become a nation of power and wealth. Our cheese is being moved, and we are a nation in denial. We are not listening to those who know we need to change – “If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct!”

For those comfortable with our environment, they need to look around and take note of failing infrastructures (transportation, utility, health, construction urban planning), lack of investment in more efficient factories, food and water costs, easy credit, inadequate regulatory protections, etc. As Tom Friedman wrote in a recent column, “How could this be? We are a great power. How could we be borrowing money from Singapore?”

The World Future Society has forecasted that although globalization and technological innovation are driving an increase in prosperity (The world will have a billion millionaires by 2025.), the challenges to prosperity would become even acuter, i.e., water shortages that will affect two-thirds of world population by 2025. (Water will be in the twenty-first century what oil was in the twentieth century.)

Waking up to the fact that the cheese has been moved will be dealt with effectively by those staying attuned to changes impacting America as long as their combined field of force can outweigh that of those who are more like the frog in a pot of water on the stove. For Friedman, it’s a question of “Who will tell the people?” 

I do believe that we can get back to work on our country. Call me idealistic, but I believe as does Friedman, ‘ . . . because millions of Americans are dying to be enlisted – enlisted to fix education, enlisted to research renewable energy, enlisted to repair our infrastructure, enlisted to help others. Look at the kids lining up to join Teach for America. They want our country to matter again. They want it to be about building wealth and dignity – big profits and big purposes. When we just do one, we are less than the sum of our parts.”


Posted May 8, 2008 by kenneturner in Commentary

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