...I’m not ready to cede the 21st century to China just yet...there are still two really important things that can’t be commoditized. Fortunately, America still has one of them: imagination...Who would cede a century in which imagination will have such a high value to an authoritarian society that controls its Internet and jails political prisoners?
But while our culture of imagination is still vibrant, the other critical factor that still differentiates countries today — and is not a commodity — is good governance, which can harness creativity. And that we may be losing. Why? Because at least six things have come together to fracture our public space and paralyze our ability to forge optimal solutions:
1) Money in politics has become so pervasive that lawmakers have to spend most of their time raising it, selling their souls to those who have it or defending themselves from the smallest interest groups with deep pockets that can trump the national interest.
2) The gerrymandering of political districts means politicians of each party can now choose their own voters and never have to appeal to the center.
3) The cable TV culture encourages shouting and segregating people into their own political echo chambers.
4) A permanent presidential campaign leaves little time for governing.
5) The Internet, which, at its best, provides a check on elites and establishments and opens the way for new voices and, which, at its worst provides a home for every extreme view and spawns digital lynch mobs from across the political spectrum that attack anyone who departs from their specific orthodoxy.
6) A U.S. business community that has become so globalized that it only comes to Washington to lobby for its own narrow interests; it rarely speaks out anymore in defense of national issues like health care, education and open markets.
And, while I'm passing on interesting New York Times pieces, this one on economic recovery viewed as self fulfilling prophecy.