THE BLOG
04/27/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Country, Inc. Vs. The USA: A House Divided

While most industrialized countries collaborate with their corporations, the U.S. government and its companies are deeply involved in ideological warfare. Most industrialized countries provide healthcare and pensions and for its people. Sharing the burden of these social infrastructure services among their populations gives their companies a large competitive advantage and a deeper feeling of security in their society. Our companies are at war with our government while businesses within "Country, Inc." countries collaborate and get support from their governments.

We in the U.S.A. believe in competition at most levels of society, but this approach often wastes lots of time and resources in unproductive social and political warfare. Additionally, the U.S.A. spends much of its resources in overseas military wars and presence. The British Empire overextended itself, spending valuable resources on military, so did the U.S.S.R., and before them, Rome and countless others. Military occupation or support of other countries is very expensive. But at least the above mentioned subsidized their costs by plundering the resources and/or creating political alliances that generated tremendous wealth for themselves. The U.S. receives very little from the countries it is involved with. In fact the U.S., despite generosity in many areas, mainly receives the contempt of much of the world.

How long can we compete as "a house divided" in the world of the 21st Century? I would say, "Not for long." We in the U.S.A. had better wake-up from the dream of the post war era, where both Asia and Europe were destroyed by war, and India was not yet developed. The partisan-constituency based models of the past will not compete in the 21st Century. We need more collaboration between our government and business.

Our physical and social infrastructure has been neglected over the last 30 years, while Asia is rapidly building both. Europe has spent most of their resources building both their social and physical infrastructure since World War II. We have a lot of catching up to do; yet we are stuck in old 20th Century arguments. Our political parties are more interested in being elected than solving problems and have used skills developed from our advertising industry, to take advantage of the ignorant, and polarize the people of the country. People and politicians consistently say things they know are not true to influence public opinion, and ignore economic and social realities.

At one time the U.S. a model for the most progressive and powerful economic system ever created. But, now, as was true for many fallen empires, we cling to a model that worked in a world that was totally different. Our considerable momentum has been dulled by the financial crisis; our education levels are falling behind the rest of the industrialized world. We are fighting wars for countries that don't really want our help, while our "Country, Inc." competitors are spending on self-development. Will it take another major crisis to wake us up? Was being "Weeks away from a global financial meltdown" not enough to snap our leaders out of these old battles? It does not seem so. It seems like our own self-interest as a country takes a back seat to selfish desires at every level of our society. We want better education, bridges and lives, but we don't want to pay for it. At times it seems like we are spoiled children, who will soon be surpassed by the hungry children of the rest of the world.

We, in the U.S. need to shift our competitive spirit to a global playing field instead of fighting with each other. We no longer have a head start. We need to step down from our self appointed role as "Super Hero." The reality is we in the U.S. have to change our approach before we fall further behind. Do you have any suggestions?