America fights over ideology as the rest (of the world) catches up


Arizona State University president Michael Crow is afraid. Really afraid that in his shower he thinks the U.S. will ‘learn a lesson the hard way.” The eye of the American population is “off the ball” as public discourse is fixated on ideological talk and tax breaks.

In a largely multi-polar world knowledge enterprises are dictating the way economies function. And, highly educated individuals are hot commodity. China is investing over one trillion dollars in education while the US with a 1.4 trillion dollar deficit is borrowing from Asian central banks. According to Crow, a highly energized, talented group of people built on capitalistic ideas are slowly becoming fading memory in the US.

 In his frank, tell-it-as-it-is style, Crow chided a group of Mesa businessmen last week saying that people want money the easy way. “Energy and talent is focused on making a buck without actually doing something that involves a transaction. In Arizona, it’s worse.” He said America is supposed to have capitalists who create businesses, develop a labor pool and new job opportunities.

He added that if Americans want to maintain their standard of living they have to retain top positions in every field.  “2010 is different from 1950 and 1960. Today, how good are your workers, how fast can you work, how focused is your work are key areas.”

“Our eyes are far off the ball. In the 1990s the US topped in math and sciences but now ranks 25th among developed countries.”  There are plenty of jobs available for highly educated people in the U.S.  “Economic return over a lifetime will depend on educational level and in 2010, a high school degree is a less valuable commodity than in 1970”.

As the US is having its eyes far off the ball, Singapore, Indonesia, Middle East and China are developing a highly energized talented group of people built on the ideas of entrepreneurism. Crow’s talk echoed Fareed Zakaria’s views in his book “The Post-American World.” The rest of the world, as Zakaria says is fast catching up and the U.S. needs to move faster.

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