Friday, January 01, 2010
From the Christian Science Monitor:
A New Year’s resolution: Don’t accept US decline
The common conclusion is that the American sun has set, much like the end of the British, Ottoman, and Roman empires.
That’s, well, nonsense. (...)
Corporate spending on R&D may have slowed, but peek inside engineering schools and home offices. Innovation is humming. The Wall Street Journal reported recently a surge in “tinkering” as plummeting prices on materials and equipment allow individuals to turn their ideas into inventions. Engineering schools are reporting more students wanting to do hands-on work. “Hackerspaces,” where tinkerers can share ideas and tools, are blossoming across the country.
Financial upheaval in the late 19th century sparked a golden age of independent inventors in the US. Will that happen again?
It could be that individuals – as opposed to institutions – lead the way into the next decade. That wouldn’t be surprising. Americans are renowned for their can-do attitude and resourcefulness, and the Internet gives them more voice and opportunity. (...)
Many jobless Americans are doing their utmost to take responsibility for their lives. A December New York Times/CBS poll of unemployed adults found that over 40 percent had moved or were considering moving to find work. Meanwhile, 44 percent have pursued job retraining or other education. Online learning is growing, making it easier for Americans to improve their skills.
So, Americans will use "online learning" to "tinker" with cheap gadgets, and this will make the country predominant over the rest of the world?
This sounds like the last performance of the 'Triumph of America via the Empowerment of the Creative Individual Over the Failing Collective', first composed by Ayn Rand and popularized in the 1990s. Actually, the economy is increasingly dominated by the handful of oligopolies that survived the recent shake-out.
More unemployed (and marginally employed) means hacker-space-domes, blogs, co-ops, artist collectives and whatnot cheap ways to kill time when you're short on spending money: see England, 1970s.
sure, any joe blow can go out and invent google or kindle. and you can get rich off ebay, uncle dickie says.
speaking of cheney, another option to making money is to scam the government. i liked the cia contractor who could spot coded messages from al qaeda via al jazeera broadcasts that nobody else could discern or decipher.