Investing in the Future

Thomas Friedman published a column today entitled Their Moon Shot And Ours.  The column is very bullish about China and its priorities and scarily bearish for the United States.  Don’t be misled by the title of the column and think that it is about a space race in the 21st Century.  The column is about “big, multibillion-dollar, 25 year game-changing investments.”  It’s about thinking well into the future and acting on these thoughts and looking at how we in the U.S. respond to these challenges and how Chinese policy makers react for the future.  To remain competitive we have to support change while seeking to change faster than everyone else.  Admittedly, we face challenges to the status quo that China does not face in looking forward – but look forward we must.  China’s policy makers understand that it must be a leader in responding to changing industrial opportunities.   Today it would seem that Chinese policy may well be ahead of U.S. policy in its drive to enhance its competitive position, however, a significant question remains as to the role of government policy in commercial and business innovation and whether or not U.S. industry will act without the support of economic and government policy to respond to global challenges. Will business and political leaders in the U.S. remain so tied to the status quo that they will act in their short-term interests while ignoring the long-term systemic challenges that must be faced to ensure their competitive position into the future?