The point of this series is to make clear how the world has changed for the better since innovation and trade have taken off to provide increasing amounts of “More”, while the old standby of taking it from others ultimately results in “Less.” The problem is we either have to commit to adapting to a changing world with greater flexibility and efficiency or get caught in the downward spiral of government-directed economies invariably get snared. More government direction and you go down the road to “less.” The leaders promise “More” and maybe initially deliver by taking it from some and giving it to supporters, but ultimately they can’t adapt quickly enough and fall behind. The people get restless. The leaders grow fearful and clamp down on dissent. Maybe, aggressive foreign ventures are taken to distract from the leader’s failures. Sanctions for these actions or human right violations follow adding to the economic distress. The country is forced out of normal trade as unreliable in any supply chains. The economic situation gets even worse and the leaders have to be even more repressive. On and on it goes. Unfortunately, this is the history of every modern top-down government. If we wish to avoid this horrible fate we need to take certain steps:
- Our leaders have to level with us. The idea of a minimal education high school or less entitles you to get a lifetime job, never moving and leading a nice middle-class life was always on shaky ground. Today and going forward this is a truly unrealistic expectation. No matter what some politicians tell you, the odds are you will be affected by change. The job you have today may not even exist tomorrow. It’s been predicted 30% of today’s jobs won’t exist by 2030. Opportunity may decline around you but expand elsewhere. Anyone telling you they’ll protect your present job or worse bring lost ones back is probably a charlatan. On the other hand, we are for the most part living longer healthier lives. Do we want the same job in the same place for 40-50 years? Life is much more fun if we view it as an adventure with periodic change and challenge. What we need to do is realize we will always be contending with new things and prepare properly.
- Learning how to learn is essential to our ability to adapt to an ever changing world. It has to start with K-12 or sooner. To date far to many in the US are left behind. Without the proper foundation, some children will never have the life we wish for them. We know children learn differently, so why do we give one size fits all? It’s crucial children have choices to find the best way for each of them to learn. A recent Harvard Study shows our best return on public investment was in our children. True, but presently we get less per dollar invested than most of our competitors. A better approach would yield even better returns. We are finally at a point where”School Choice” in some places has been around long enough to be evaluated. Arizona an early adopter of School Choice was the subject of a study of the Federal National Assessment Progress Test results from 2005 to 2017. The Arizona gains on the test were roughly double the national average. This shouldn’t come as any great surprise, more choices are always better. Sweden’s youngsters out-perform ours at less cost. That nation simply gives each student a voucher and they cash at the school of their choice. To meet our changing needs, deregulating our educational system at every level at every age is critical.
- Mobility to gain better opportunities would seem to be a no-brainer to Americans. After all, we can all trace our family’s history to some other place of origin. So why is our mobility declining? In many cases, many things we have come depend on just aren’t easily transferable. As we have pointed out, health insurance, licenses, and safety net support are often difficult if not impossible to take with you. From Dave’s Plan (series available on this site) to Arizona’s groundbreaking recognition of other state’s licenses, there are practical remedies. We need to honestly discuss these efforts and others to enhance our journey to better lives. We need to ask whether an action or policy aids or impedes mobility.
- Efficient use of time by Government entities has to be addressed. There is simply no reason why the US isn’t even in the top tier of the “Best Nations to do Business.” This is even after Trump administration regulatory reform. This just shows how far behind we had fallen and how far we still have to go. In an faster-moving world, time becomes ever more important. We aren’t even close to the leaders for the time needed to accomplish such things as opening a new business or getting a building permit. We have recommended where multiple agencies and interests are involved, a triage system be used to assign one agency to take the lead and herd the others in coming to a timely just decisions. A properly functioning legal system is essential to our capitalist economy to work fairly and efficiently. The unfolding drama in Hong Kong is living testament to this point. While we have a reasonably fair legal system, it fails in the area timely adjudication. After all, “Justice delayed is justice denied”. Too often potentially productive actions are either abandoned or never even attempted simply out of fear it would be endlessly left in limbo. If we need more resources, provide them. It should start at the leisurely Supreme Court and improve at every level. We’re sure there are many other excellent ideas for making government act in a more timely fashion. The question that needs to be asked, “is can we do this in less time?”
- Our Relationship with the rest of the world needs serious review. The planet is now divided between nations ruled top-down by a relatively small number of people in relation to their population and liberal capitalistic countries. Now the world has been sharply divided before, but that was when people thought they could get “More” by taking it from others or feared others would take it from them. Today we should be under no illusion top-down command economies can provide “More” in a rapidly changing world. They inevitably fail, becoming increasingly repressive to stay in power and end up with “less.” It doesn’t matter whether their rational is socialist, religious, a strongman lusting for personal power or some combination, they lead to disaster. Most of these nations are presently under economic sanctions for aggressive actions against others or their own people. To stay in power they work constantly to undermine their liberal capitalistic neighbors in hopes keeping the “More ” gap between them from growing even larger and more obvious. We have to realize these nations can’t be relied on in supply chains and must be isolated as much as possible. Widening trade between liberal capitalist nations while excluding those not playing by the rules is a step in the right direction. The Transpacific Pacific Partnership is an excellent model. Further, we must take steps to smartly support the liberal elements within these nations. Nations leading the digital world can surely find ways to skirt government controls to communicate directly to the people the best ways to deal with the thugs keeping them in bondage. “Good for the goose, good for the gander.” Remember “More” for those oppressed doesn’t mean less for us. It will lead to “More” for everyone.
What we’ve endeavored to do in this series is to show how the world has changed and changes in the future will come at an even faster pace. How should we act in the face of these simple facts? We have proposed some policies to better position our nation for what should be an exiting future. Yet, we are entering the long election cycle without either of our major parties taking much notice. In fact, both seem to either ignore what is going on or attempting to go backward. For instance, China is turning away from the liberal capitalism opening that had brought it so much “More” and is starting down the road of the other top-down directed economies. This is accompanied by increasing repression. The touchstone is Hong Kong. The very idea of a prosperous free people dealing with its accomplished but subjugated people on a daily basis is an on going mortal threat to the governing regime. Trying to bend the City-State to its will has resulted not in submission but in a massive backlash, with millions in the streets. The ruling Chinese Communists are caught on the horns of the dilemma. If they give in to the people of Hong Kong there is every possibility of the freedom movement spreading to the mainland. The rulers would’ve been seen blinking. If they move in and massively crush the protests, they will have destroyed the city state in a horror for all to see. This is an enormous historical moment. Where are our leaders? Our President intent on making what probably be a worthless trade deal with his good friend Chinese president Xi Jinping, hasn’t uttered one word of support for the people of Hong Kong. His opposition is no better. The subject didn’t even come up in the recent Democratic debates. This appalling lack of awareness extends to most of our actions in the world. Remember both parties rejected TPP. Who is for free and fair expanded trade? Instead, we get self-defeating tariffs.
This myopia extends to domestic policy. Instead of aligning our policies with an eye to the future, both parties are looking either backward or not looking at all. Instead, they subsidize non-economic endeavors. They ignore free-market solutions to problems like healthcare and education. Worse both are intent on hurting successful businesses. Major Democratic Presidential candidates and the Trump justice department are threatening our major tech companies with anti-trust actions. For what? Making our lives easier by providing “More?” Wow, that will bring more investment to the US. The idea these are some sort of monopolies when each of them lives in fear of the next big thing making them the new America Online (AOL). Remember AOL was going to rule the world when it swallowed Time Warner around the turn of the century and the cries of AOL must be stopped were heard. Or maybe you don’t because in a fast-changing world it turned out to be no big deal. We forget the maxim “business goes where it is treated fairly” at our peril.
This lack of vision or even awareness by our two major parties is the reason for our proposal for the “Future Party.” We hope you will take the time to read the series on this site and see if you don’t agree.