Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Crossroads Nation

America has a great future. And it’s because of our people.

Let’s begin with one basic principle: the most important activity we perform as a nation is generating economic wealth. Wealth makes all good things possible. To generate economic development, we must organize to make maximum economic use of our national talent. That means pushing aside our top-down governing elite, and promoting job creation from the ground up. We need small business capitalism, not government-engineered social democracy.

I value Thomas Sowell of Stanford’s Hoover Institution for clarifying why decentralizing economic decision making helps our economy flourish:
How [is it] possible that transferring decisions from elites with more education, intellect, data and power to ordinary people [leads] consistently to demonstrably better results? One implication is that no one is smart enough to carry out social engineering. . .
We learn, not from our initial brilliance, but from trial and error adjustments to events as they unfold.
[E]xperience trumps brilliance. Elites may have more brilliance, but those who make decisions for society as a whole cannot possibly have as much experience as the millions of people whose decisions they pre-empt. The education and intellects of the elites may lead them to have more sweeping presumptions, but that just makes them more dangerous to the freedom, as well as the well-being, of the people as a whole.
And I value Arnold Kling of the Cato Institute’s pointing out that:
linking expertise to power . . . diminishes the diversity and competitive pressure faced by the experts. . . We should . . . resist the temptation to give power to government experts, and instead allow experts in business and nonprofit institutions to grope toward solutions to problems.
In our search for new ways to release expertise, Forbes’s Joel Kotkin reminds us that
immigrants are 60% more likely to start a new business than native-born Americas. . . the immigrant experience . . .encourages innovation—[they have] the advantage of non-acceptance.

the uniquely international cast of American business [means] leading American firms will not have to go to graduate school in international training; they will have received theirs at home, talking to [their] parents or grandparents[, tapping] the global market, and culture, in ways other countries . . . just can't match.
And right now, I like how David Brooks puts it all together. Brooks understands how America’s reliance on innovation and immigrants can benefit not just the U.S, but an entire peaceful and prosperous world:

creativity is not a solitary process. It happens . . . when talented people get together. . . imagine you are [a] creative person . . . living in some small town . . . foreign or domestic. You long [for] a place where people . . . think about the things you are thinking about, creating the things you want to create. . . you’ll want to be in America. . .because English has become the global language. . . because American universities lead the world in research and draw many of the best minds . . . because American institutions are relatively free from corruption[, because i]ntellectual property is protected [and h]uge venture capital funds already exist. . . the United States is a universal nation [with] people . . . with connections all over the world. A nation of immigrants.

America hosts the right kind of networks — . . . one of those societies with high social trust. Americans build large, efficient organizations [unbound] by the circles of kinship and clan. . . Americans are not hierarchical. American children are raised to challenge their parents. American underlings are relatively free to challenge their bosses. . .you’re less likely to have to submit to authority.

the U.S. is well situated to be the crossroads nation. . . Building that America means [to]: improve infrastructure to ease travel; fix immigration to funnel talent; reform taxes to attract superstars; make study abroad a rite of passage for college students.

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