October 15, 2008
There's a new world order
America is in serious trouble. Brazil, China and India - along with other nations - are poised to assume significant leadership positions that have been provided by the United States. Several emerging populations are well educated and appear willing to work and work very hard. While the United States has evolved, for the better, in terms of creating and supporting opportunities for its underclass, one cannot be confident that other global powerhouses will operate in the same way. How will these newer economic giants respond to the laments of those left behind when there is a plea for equal rights for the new minorities, some of whom will be citizens of the U.S.? Free markets, once again, will measure organizations and individuals on the same three tested and proven criteria: productivity emerging from innovation, quality and price. Those unable to compete will suffer.
If you haven't had time to pray lately, consider offering up concerns for the plight of those who will need to upgrade their minds and skills, including language and cultural proficiencies, or run the real risk of being marginalized. Serious and practical education needs to take center stage throughout our society; from pre-schools to graduate studies, or jeopardize America's promise.
Unfortunately, insecure minds seek out and too often cling to conversations with those whose positions already appeal to them. Education as usual will not be adequate. In addition to not wanting to face these serious challenges, some would prefer to maintain walls, rigidity, self-righteousness and close-mindedness discouraging mature discussion. But, that will not work in a global competition, in which the playing field is becoming more and more level. Tom Friedman's latest writings talk about how America can regain its international stature by taking the lead in alternative energy and environmentalism. His insights assume an educated population with inspired leadership in both the private and public sectors.
While other parts of the world will grow using more traditional energy sources such as coal and oil (with larger carbon footprints); the United States has an opportunity to become the undisputed leader developing innovative energy-efficient approaches. To the surprise of no one, this requires serious education, research, discipline, sacrifice and relentless follow-through. Immediately and regardless of where one stands on global warming, renewable energy or political leadership, Americans will need to assess carefully what it means to change the way the world needs to build an effective economic engine in the 21st Century.
Demonizing those with whom we disagree spells disaster. Unless change occurs soon, my expectation is that newly emerging global powerhouses will prevail. The 2008 U.S. Presidential election is not singularly about winning the White House for either Democrats or Republicans; so much as it is about resurrecting and invigorating American society's integrity, innovation and productivity.