Rebooting America?

Look in the mirror: G.M. is us. That’s why we don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot. We need a build out. We need a buildup. We need a national makeover. That is why the next few months are among the most important in U.S. history. Because of the financial crisis, Barack Obama has the bipartisan support to spend $1 trillion in stimulus. But we must make certain that every bailout dollar, which we’re borrowing from our kids’ future, is spent wisely.

It has to go into training teachers, educating scientists and engineers, paying for research and building the most productivity-enhancing infrastructure — without building white elephants.

Tom Friedman NY Times Op-Ed – Time To Reboot America

This idea of rebooting can be helpful – as long as it includes major system upgrades such as the ones John Robb recommends. Friedman doesn’t really offer an upgrade and if one reboots with the same software, the problems will keep coming back. That such a large percentage of the society has accepted constant rebooting is part of the problem. Perhaps a friend has shared their PC to Mac experience or you’ve seen the commercial

While Robb and Friedman disagree on the how, they both want to minimize the role of government. This is another notion that sounds good until you look under the hood. As Dan Shafer points out – it’s a job for government not robber barrons.  More significantly, minimizing for the sake of ideology or out of fear isn’t productive. What we need to do is fine-tune the role of government, to make sure it is a harmonious participant contributing to the achievement of our goals.

What roles should the government be playing? Infrastructure is on everyone’s list but most are vague about what purpose new infrastructure should serve or are talking about replacing(not upgrading) the old. At the beginning of this year in posts on the future of manufacturing(here and on The Rhythmeering Journal) I said:

When Manufacturing 3.0 arrives on the wings of robotics and nanotechnology, man-made items will be works of art and hobby – there won’t be many of today’s manufacturing jobs here or overseas.

… The next time the subject of manufacturing jobs comes up, ask people what those jobs will be like just 10 short years from now.We can’t wait until then to start dealing with the realities of Manufacturing 3.0.

The government needs to start informing the people and preparing for this future now.

Here’s to 2009 – the year of change. Happy New Year and thanks for stopping by!

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1 Comment »

  1. […] IBM’s Meshverse Mandate & the Coming Boom January 14, 2009 Posted by meshverse in Uncategorized. trackback IBM has been mentioned frequently here because they are broadly and deeply involved in meshverse technologies. Their recent Smarter Planet initiative is providing a much needed, practical focus on how meshverse technologies are key to dealing with critical problems the planet is facing. You may have seen the TV ads but if not YouTube has them. For the most part these ads do an excellent job of distilling very complex issues into comprehensible stories. For an insider perspective, see this interview with IBM execs. IBM is also connecting the technology with current needs for change. I am in full agreement with their idea that a mandate for change is a mandate for smart.  We clearly need  A Smarter(Virtual) World and the notion of an instrumented, intelligent planet is what I was getting at in Sensing the Coming Boom. A mandate for change is a mandate to upgrade. […]

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