American history has essentially been on the same tradectory since the end of the Civil War. The two mega-trends have been industrialization and the drive for efficiency and expansion and exploitation of our land. Its gone really, really well for us!
Bad Ass USA
The 20th century has been dubbed the ‘American Century’. The US proved it had the best system of government (representive democracy with checks and balances) the best system of economics (market based capitalism). Our land and seemingly unlimited opportunties made individual mobility a real option (and the main difference from Europe). We basically kicked ass and took names for over one hundred years.
It’s All Good
This is not a doom and gloom piece, I promise. The thing is the 20th century party is over. We don’t have the land to exploit anymore, the opportunities to reimagine ourselves are limited and we look more and more like Europe in the 19th century. What we need to do is acknowledge the end of one era and begin a new one.
Shiny is nice
The new era is one of new urbanization and managment of resources. Cities or connected high density areas are the most effiecient way humans can live together (that’s why they cropped up!) High density living facilitates the spreading of ideas, the distribution of resources and historically is the engine of economic growth. As Americans we have to change the paradigm of our dream. No longer can view the ideal home as a single family, 2 story house with two cars and everything in driving reach. It is an ineffiecient way to live! We can’t afford to push that story anymore. We need to be mobile, have the option for gasoline-free travel and live closer to one another.
Paired with our spatial living change, needs to be a change in our economics. The last 30 years have not been good for the blue collar worker. Their wages have been flat, their unions have been stomped and opportunities shipped overseas. The communities built around their factories have vanished and their children are moving back to the smelly, rotting cites their grandparents fought so hard to escape from.
No, Really Winning the Future
We need a long term strategic plan to bring these great hardworking people back into the fold. And no, its not just ‘better education’ is ‘new education’. We need to educate people on creative thinking and the management of people. The US needs to become the worlds manager. We need people in the US who can direct, lend expertise and bring effieciency to our international production partners. We need to become the foremen of the whole world.
Set Amount of Time to Write
My train ride is ending and my allotted 25 minutes of writing are up. Please leave comments… they make me so happy!
Originally appeared http://laurent-courtines.com/dear-20th-century-thanks-but-its-time-to-go from http://laurent-courtines.com