America's position in worldwide affairs is not what it used to be. China is rising while America is showing signs of aging behaviorally.
America is the hub of technological innovation, but much of it is generated by non-American- born people. We import a lot of our entrepreneurial spirit. Years ago I worked with Applied Materials, a company that prides itself on being the source of the information revolution. They manufacture the equipment that produces the wafers on which computer chips are made. While there, I realized that the leadership of the company was ninety percent foreign born.
Visit any leading university's department of engineering or science and look at the student body. Most of the students are Asian. Where are the American students? They are studying music, art, global studies, women's studies, or maybe business.
America is losing its leadership position in the world. As those we've trained and educated go back to their countries, we'll experience an escalation in competition that will accelerate our loss of leadership. There is no way of going back. We need to go forward, but in the right direction.
What is that direction?
In my judgment, small corrections will not put America back on track. Our situation calls for a comprehensive revision and a holistic redesign of the system. The theory of this remodeling of America is that representative democracy, our system of governance, does not work anymore.
What made sense in Athens, where democracy was born over two thousand years ago, does not make sense now. What made sense during the French Revolution and at the time our constitution was written and signed does not make sense now.
The conditions have changed drastically. We have a mushrooming government bureaucracy. Over two million people are employed by the federal government, and over five million people are employed by state governments.
Government expenses are ballooning, financed by going deeper into debt, and the time of reckoning is coming soon.
What made America great was a culture of mutual trust and respect. This is what allowed for a relatively peaceful civil rights movement, in comparison to other countries. This is what made our dollar strong. People trusted the government. This is no longer true.
The parties fighting for political dominance attack each other with viciousness that resembles an acrimonious divorce. The whole system of governance is becoming dysfunctional. As people lose trust in those that govern them, we will start to resemble a developing country. We are losing our most valuable asset: our culture of fair game, honesty, and of having a civilized discourse. This is serious. This "disease" will not be remedied with cosmetic changes. It is time for a holistic review and redesign of our system.
Will it happen? I doubt it. It is simply not bad enough yet for all of the political forces to agree to cooperate and redesign who we are and how we behave today. Expect further political, economic, and social crises. The time will come that we will have to redesign our vision, and preferably from scratch.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes