Fred Kaplan at Slate wrote an article describing why America may not realize another “Sputnik” moment even though President Obama used that metaphor to describe our time of need.
He correctly describes that “there are plenty of threats that science could address”:
- Climate change
- Cyber security
- Food and water shortages
I would greatly expand and alter the order of that list.
Then he says those threats are not tangible? What? By that he means that it may be difficult to associate cost and return on cost? For some reason, he thinks a beeping Sputnik was more tangible. Sputnik was then, and now the world has grown up, I think.
He said that back in the 1950s, there may have been greater consensus among scientists.Today, he cites global warming as an instance for which scientists duel about its meaning and importance. I would argue that politicians duel paying scientists to back up their claims.
At last he gets to a significant point and that is well-funded interest groups, lobbyists, block anything that is “progressive.”
He concludes that America has lost its sense of urgency.
I believe that Americans have a sense of urgency, though they have been lulled into complacency as a means of avoiding panic. We don’t have FDR in the presidency; we have nothing to fear but greedy bastards.
I would argue that a more mature America needs rebranding.
For some, “rebranding is the creation of a new name, term, symbol, design, or a combination of them for an established brand with the intention of developing a differentiated (new) position in the mind of stakeholders and competitors.” — Wiki
I have performed a lot of rebranding in my career and offer a more expanded idea for rebranding America that may sound more like Mitt Romney than Barack Obama.
- Protect the best
- Divest the rest
- Become best at what’s new
Protecting the best includes recommitment
- Capitalist system, abridged — Capitalism and the free enterprise economy provides needed incentives and is aligned with our high value for individualism, independence, and self-reliance with the caveat that capitalists and entrepreneurs recognize their responsibility for economic growth and development. Ideally, the capitalist model operating under constraints — population and resources, regulation, and contribution to social well-being is the way forward.
- Sustainable economy — abridging capitalism means determining 1) limits set to ensure a clean and healthy environment and ecology, 2) producing renewable energy solutions for 100% of our needs.
- National security — ensuring 100% security for Americans and home and a high degree of security for Americans abroad.
- Social security and affordable healthcare for all Americans.
- No persons living in poverty with all persons having equal opportunity for personal development.
Optimizing return on national resources is the primary imperative for government.
Divesting the rest — This action requires taking an inventory of all of the things that we have been doing and are doing that are nonessential and expendable given that those things we are protecting are optimally working.
This requires the systematic dismantling of things we do that we no longer need. It includes auditing such things as foreign policy to ensure that Americans are receiving high return on cost as represented by 43% of the Department of Defense budget for instance.
Become best at what’s new — The best part of rebranding comes from new initiatives the create the foundation for American free enterprise to become best at what’s new and for government to commit to high priority investment in new product and new business development by creating policies, regulations, and incentives.
“Can America Ever Have Another “Sputnik Moment”?
Our amazing response to Sputnik made America richer and stronger. But here’s why it would be almost impossible to duplicate that today.
By Fred Kaplan Posted Monday, June 4, 2012, at 6:25 AM ET
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