Jim Manzi: Keeping America’s Edge – National Affairs


The United States is in a tough spot. As we dig ourselves out from a serious financial crisis and a deep recession, our very efforts to recover are exacerbating much more fundamental problems that our country has let fester for too long. Beyond our short-term worries, and behind many of today’s political debates, lurks the deeper challenge of coming to terms with America’s place in the global economic order.

Our strategic situation is shaped by three inescapable realities. First is the inherent conflict between the creative destruction involved in free-market capitalism and the innate human propensity to avoid risk and change. Second is ever-increasing international competition. And third is the growing disparity in behavioral norms and social conditions between the upper and lower income strata of American society.

via Keeping America’s Edge > Publications > National Affairs.

  • HarrySpringer

    There is a close relation between unsustainable bubble economies and so-called innovation.

    Whereas the introduction of appliances like washing machines & refrigerators led to a domestic revolution that persisted for 100 years, the introduction of digital innovations creates much shorter commercial success runs, often a year or less… to date none lasting an entire decade.

    A 100 year sustained market for hard goods enables predictable lives to center on their production, and around their use, building society.

    A mere single year sustained market lacks the power to uphold lives, and can be rightly called a fad.True, a series of interlocking fads, each of short duration, but in total sustaining over several decades, can appear in aggregate similar to the former revolutions, but with each promotion lacking the longevity that could create universal kept wealth, it becomes clear the “digital revolution” is nothing more than a series of induced bubbles.

    Inured to a repetitious series of bubble promotions, society loses cohesion not over wealth disparities, or ethnic disparities, but rather over the inability of the ordinary citizen to develop lifeways teachable to younger generations, younger generations seeing only the latest bubble as relevant, and all other aspects of life as less relevant.

    Assaulted on all sides by the trivially new, younger generations hear no message of persistence, sacrifice, dependability… and discount these qualities as being of no merit. With no teaching of forebearance in any of its aspects, society drifts to the rags-to-riches paradigm as a root mythos, generating reality TV stars by the sickening dozens, millionaire athletes lacking basic socialization skills, and politikoes dedicated to the art of pandering to the delusions of the naive.

    Rather than the putative “National Guilt” described by Mr. Manzi, I see the driven search for “Bubble Next” as the main acid dissolving society from the middle down, creating a gated wealth-world for stars & bubble kings, and a paltry desert of hand-held digital trinkets for all the impoverished rest.