[Rushtalk] Quite Compelling..........

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at verizon.net
Wed Aug 21 00:06:06 MDT 2013



America 3.0: The Coming Reinvention of America

<http://www.american.com/author_search?Creator=James%20C.%20Bennett%20and%20Michael%20J.%20Lotus>By 
James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Filed under: <http://www.american.com/topics/big-ideas>Big Ideas
America is currently in a painful transition 
period, but once it emerges, it will be more 
prosperous and free than ever before.
[]


The United States of America is in crisis. The 
economy is supposedly in recovery, but it is the 
slowest and most painful economic rebound since 
the Great Depression. Unemployment is high and 
millions have dropped out of the workforce 
entirely. Many American families have suffered a 
collapse in their net worth since 2009. During 
the current administration, America’s debt has 
increased from ten trillion to sixteen trillion 
dollars. American businesses face a regulatory 
burden of well over a trillion dollars per year. 
Investment in start-up businesses is thwarted and 
innovation is far short of what it should be. The 
government is abusing its powers and attacking basic liberties.

All this bad news makes it easy to despair and to 
worry that the decline might just be permanent. 
But as bad as things are today ­ and they will 
likely get worse for some years to come ­ the 
future will be bright for the United States 
because we are, in fact, in a period of transformation, not decline.

Transformation not Disintegration

America has already once made a change on the 
scale of that which is happening now. That was 
when it transformed itself from the rural and 
agrarian society of the founding era ­ which we 
call America 1.0 ­ to the urban and industrial 
society that peaked in the mid-20th century ­ 
which we call America 2.0. That earlier 
transition, from roughly 1860 to 1920, was more 
painful than most people think. Yet the 
transformed, industrial America became the wonder of the world.
The American political and economic regime now in 
crisis was built for the world of America 2.0. 
Today, we are in the midst of a dramatic transition.

The American political and economic regime now in 
crisis was built for the world of America 2.0. 
Today, we are in the midst of a dramatic 
transition to a new technological and political 
configuration ­ which we call America 3.0. 
Institutions that once looked permanent are 
cracking at the foundations. Technology will 
drive the transition, and the shape of future 
technology can only be known in broad outline.

Most importantly, the cultural foundation of 
America, based on its unique type of family life, 
will remain intact. This is the continuous thread 
linking each of the three “versions” of America. 
Our deeply rooted orientation toward personal and 
economic freedom will allow us to dismantle 
America 2.0 and build a better, freer, and more 
prosperous America 3.0 in its place.

American Exceptionalism: Based on the American Family

American exceptionalism is based on our family 
structure, which has the following characteristics.
    * Individuals freely select their own 
spouses. There are no arranged marriages and very 
few limitations on whom a person can marry; 
essentially, only marriage to close relatives is forbidden.
    * Women enjoy a high degree of freedom, autonomy, and equality.
    * Parents are free to give more or less 
financial assistance to different children, and 
they are not required to treat their children equally.
    * Grown children leave their parents’ homes, 
marry, form new households, and create new families of their own.
    * Extended families are weak. People have no right to help from relatives.

These things seem normal to Americans, but many 
cultures have dramatically different customs. For 
example, in some cultures extended families act 
as protective networks and their members have a 
duty of loyalty and assistance to one another.

As a result of our family structure, American 
culture has the following characteristics.
    * Americans Are Individualistic. The American 
family pushes Americans to be autonomous, self-reliant, and freedom-loving.
    * Americans Value Liberty. Americans expect 
to be on their own, choosing their own spouses, 
making their own way in the world, and managing their own affairs.
    * Americans Are Non-Egalitarian. Americans 
have a comparatively low interest in economic equality.
    * Americans Are Competitive. Americans 
generally consider an economy with winners and 
losers to be fair. They believe in a minimal 
safety net compared to other communities.
    * Americans Are Enterprising. The family has 
been the engine of economic progress in America, 
creating America’s well-known “go-getting” and “hustling” spirit.
    * Americans Are Mobile. Americans form their 
own families, acquire their own homes, and have 
always been willing to move to where the work is.
    * Americans Volunteer. Because Americans do 
not have extended family networks, they have 
formed voluntary associations as the foundation 
of the economy and of civil society.
    * Americans Have Middle-Class Values. Most 
Americans, whatever their actual wealth, consider 
themselves to be middle class, and they are 
interested in public order and safety for their families and property.
    * Americans Have an Instrumental View of 
Government. They see the government as a tool to 
accomplish things that benefit them and protect 
the interests of the middle class.

These factors led to one of America’s greatest 
achievements: the creation of suburbia. A house 
that fits one family and provides some comfort 
and privacy is the heart of the American dream.
We guesstimate that by 2040, America 3.0 will be 
in full flower. The painful transition period will be over.

Where did these cultural patterns come from? The 
short answer: England. America inherited its 
family structure from its mother country. It has 
been a critical factor in many of the political, 
legal, economic, and cultural developments in 
England, and then in America, for 1,500 years.

America 1.0, America 2.0

When English practices were transplanted to North 
America, the settlers simplified them into a 
versatile template to convert expanses of raw 
land into new, functioning, self-governing 
communities. Soon after their arrival, Americans 
were able to act as citizens, jurors, 
legislators, militiamen, congregation members, and entrepreneurs.

The Declaration of Independence and the 
Constitution are justly famous, but the Founders 
also provided a clear legal framework for the 
division of North America into real estate 
parcels sufficient to support English-style 
families. As a result, in early America millions 
of ordinary people achieved a prosperous and 
self-sufficient life. This was America 1.0, a 
world of family farms, small businesses, small towns, and limited government.

The Civil War launched America into a new age: 
one of a modern industrial economy, big cities, 
big railroads, big factories, and big businesses 
employing thousands of workers. This was America 2.0.

Revolutionary changes swept through American 
life, providing benefits to many but also 
removing most Americans’ capacity to be 
self-sufficient. Middle-class American life came 
to mean getting a “good job.” Millions of 
Americans suffered severe hardship during the 
frequent economic panics and downturns. The Great 
Depression was the great turning point, leading 
to the New Deal and to a permanently larger role 
for the federal government. President Johnson’s 
Great Society and President Nixon’s expansion of 
the regulatory state further solidified the growth of government power.

In recent years, American government has become 
increasingly dysfunctional and crushingly 
expensive. Moreover, it is failing to fulfill 
many of its most basic obligations. The America 
2.0 template no longer fits and no longer works.

The Emergence of America 3.0

As the 2.0 state fails, we are seeing increasing 
awareness, urgency, and activism in response to a 
deepening crisis. The emerging America 3.0 will 
reverse several key characteristics of the 2.0 
state: decentralization versus centralization; 
diversity and voluntarism rather than compulsion 
and uniformity; emergent solutions from markets 
and voluntary networks rather than top-down, 
elite-driven commands. Strong opposition to the 
rise of America 3.0 is inevitable, including 
heavy-handed, abusive, and authoritarian attempts 
to prop up the existing order. But this “doubling 
down” approach is doomed. It is incompatible with 
both the emerging technology and the underlying 
cultural framework that will predominate in America 3.0.
This 'Big Haircut' will likely require a one 
time, across the board debt restructuring, 
accompanied with realistic measures to get 
entitlements under control and unleash American 
productivity. The danger is being too timid or 
too tardy, not in being too bold.

Political change is likely to lead to real policy 
change in the governance of America. The existing 
system is likely to be replaced by pro-growth 
laws and regulations that will lead to a vibrant 
and growing economy. A key theme of any such 
policy proposals will be a radical 
decentralization of power to increase the options 
of individuals, families, businesses, 
communities, and states to choose their own 
paths. Economic regulation and taxation will vary 
across jurisdictions, permitting Americans to 
select the regime they want to live under. 
Historically, this type of “regulatory arbitrage” 
has been a great force for freedom and prosperity.

A major first step for successful reform must be 
the creation of an open and accountable process 
to unwind current government obligations at all 
levels, with protection to the extent possible 
for older Americans who have relied on government 
promises. This “Big Haircut” will likely require 
a one time, across the board debt restructuring, 
accompanied with realistic measures to get 
entitlements under control and unleash American 
productivity. The danger lies in being too timid 
or too tardy, not in being too bold.

Similarly, structural reform should include a 
“peace treaty” in the culture wars. In the 
future, cultural norms will not be imposed on a 
nationwide basis and communities will be allowed 
genuine diversity in the way they govern 
themselves. This will allow true diversity and a 
full range of options, so that the 400 million 
Americans of tomorrow can pursue their happiness 
freely. This is what our Founders intended.

America 3.0’s reforms will come to pass in the 
coming years because they are consistent with the 
technological changes that are undermining the 
employment and manufacturing foundations of 
America 2.0, or what is left of it in the private 
sector. Just as 1.0 institutions no longer met 
the needs of the industrialized America of 1913, 
2.0 solutions are failing the emerging 3.0 
America today. America is fortunate to have 
deep-rooted social characteristics that are 
inherently compatible with the needs of the emerging 3.0 society.

A New Morning

We guesstimate that by 2040, America 3.0 will be 
in full flower. The painful transition period 
will be over and 400 million Americans will be 
living in a prosperous and free society marked by 
rapid and exciting technological change. We 
anticipate many such changes, including:
    * Network technology will allow us to work 
anywhere, and with anyone, remotely. Individual- 
and family-scale businesses will be far more 
common and immensely more productive.
    * Driverless cars and other innovations in 
transportation will revolutionize how we travel 
and where we live and work, allowing us to 
disperse across the continent into exurban and semi-rural living.
    * 3D printing and related technologies will 
lead to an “internet of atoms” with localized and 
even in-home manufacturing. There will be a 
manufacturing renaissance in the United States 
and the factory floor will be everywhere.
    * Medical technology will transform health 
care, with great gains in health and longevity 
achieved through enhanced diagnostics, 
custom-tailored drugs, and fewer medical emergencies.
    * Education will be delivered through a 
variety of media and methods, and traditional 
brick and mortar schools will be far less important than they are today.
There will be a manufacturing renaissance in the 
United States and the factory floor will be everywhere.

The foregoing are only a few, rather 
conservative, guesses about the future economy. 
Moore’s Law will remain in effect, allowing 
technologies we cannot even imagine today. We can 
only guess what productive breakthroughs lie a 
few decades before us, waiting to be awakened by 
the creative powers of the American people.

Without some sort of major shock, external or 
self-inflicted, an unreformed America might drift 
on for quite a while ­ certainly another 25 or 30 
years ­ without facing and tackling the 
fundamental problems facing it. The institutions 
of America 2.0 can survive a while longer by 
borrowing irresponsibly, defaulting silently on 
creditors through inflation, squeezing taxpayers 
with more thorough intrusion and coercion, 
confiscating the private savings of Americans in 
the guise of “rescuing” them, eating our seed 
corn by confiscating medical facilities and 
running them down without proper reinvestment, 
and in general stripping and looting the country.

But the political and economic model we now live 
under cannot go on forever. Some shock may force 
reform. Let us hope disaster doesn’t strike 
before we can replace and rebuild our current 
rickety system. The best course would be for the 
American people to find the will and the leadership to build something better.

We will get through the painful transition to a 
new economic and technological age, as we have 
done before. And the bedrock of our 
freedom-loving and hard-working culture will 
remain, evolving but continuous, as it has for over a thousand years.

James C. Bennett is a writer and entrepreneur who 
has written extensively on technology, culture, 
and society. Michael J. Lotus writes as 
“Lexington Green” for the Chicago Boyz blog on 
history, politics, and books. He practices law in Chicago.


FURTHER READING: Arthur C. Brooks asks 
“<http://www.aei.org/article/society-and-culture/free-enterprise/are-you-optimistic-about-americas-future/>Are 
You Optimistic About America’s Future?” and 
Charles Murray writes 
“<http://www.american.com/archive/2009/march-2009/the-europe-syndrome-and-the-challenge-to-american-exceptionalism/>The 
Europe Syndrome and Challenges to American 
Exceptionalism.” Josh Good looks at 
“<http://www.american.com/archive/2013/july/rediscovering-american-exceptionalism>Rediscovering 
American Exceptionalism,” James Pethokoukis blogs 
“<http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/08/the-washington-post-and-obama-says-america-needs-to-get-used-to-slower-growth-no-it-does-not/>The 
Washington Post (and Obama) says ‘America Needs 
to Get Used to Slower Growth.’ No, It Does Not!” 
but Michael Auslin calls this 
“<http://www.aei.org/article/foreign-and-defense-policy/the-age-of-reduced-expectations/>The 
Age of Reduced Expectations.”

Image by Dianna Ingram/Bergman Group
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