The DeHavilland Blog

Monday, December 05, 2005

Tom Peters: The sky is not falling

Just took a look at Tom Peters' blog - the man is both brilliant and prolific. (I'd be happy being either :-) ). He writes here about the buzz over the precarious state of America's economic future, and how the sky is not, in fact, falling due to our lackluster education system. He makes a pretty good case in a very few words. The core of his post:

Many lament (correctly, in the main) our declining share of engineering
graduates and science majors. True enough, but I contend there is (still, for
the foreseeable future) a Magic American Potion of: Lotsa smart, motivated
people + New immigrant blood (never discount this) + Incredible research
universities (and Gov't R&D infrastructure) + A generic/genetic
entrepreneurial "instinct" to die for (including an almost unique American
desire to make-a-ton before 40) + Wide and deep financial entrepreneurship (VCs,
Angels, etc, etc) to die for + A deep-seated competitive (genetic again) urge to
be/stay #1 + A generic capitalist "spirit" 300 years in the making and nurturing
+ Genetic openness (called "freedom" and "democracy" in the U.S.A. and the West
in general) + Etc. (Or some such.)

Do I think China can be "stopped"? Of course not, save for the
"democracy-openness problem" (major). Do I think Kmart and GM can be
resurrected? Never. Do I expect as many Googles-Amgens in the future as in the
past? Much as I'm fearful of going way out on a limb, I will anyway: Count on
it!

He ends by saying:

An open, entrepreneurial society with a propensity for risktaking, and an
infrastructure to support it, are as well positioned as possible. Frankly, I
think the raw quantity of engineering degrees produced is pretty close to
irrelevant.

This doesn't change the need to education reform; there's still a huge disconnect between the society we live in versus the society we prepare kids for through our education system. Nor, for that matter, does it change the need for smart governance in general (such as addressing the trade and budget deficits). But it is nice to hear someone saying that our country won't be a smoking pile of wreckage in the next few years.

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