"Restore(s) a little sanity into current political debate" - Kenneth Minogue, TLS "Projects a more expansive and optimistic future for Americans than (the analysis of) Huntington" - James R. Kurth, National Interest "One of (the) most important books I have read in recent years" - Lexington Green
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The book’s authors, James Bennett and Michael Lotus, argue that things seem rough because we’re in a period of transition, like those after the Civil War and during the New Deal era. Such transitions are necessarily bumpy, but once they’re navigated the country comes back stronger than ever.
But as Bennett and Lotus note, the problems of America 2.0 are all soluble, and, in what they call America 3.0, they will be solved. The solutions will be as different from America 2.0 as America 2.0 was from America 1.0. We’ll see a focus on smaller government, nimbler organization, and living within our means — because, frankly, we’ll have no choice. Something that can’t go on forever, won’t. If America 2.0 was a fit for the world of giant steel mills and monolithic corporations, America 3.0 will be fit for the world of consumer choice and Internet speed.
Jim will be speaking on Monday, June 17, 2013 at . His topic: Envisioning America 3.0, CCU Beckman Center, 8787 W. Alameda Avenue Lakewood, CO.
Where is the voice of practical optimism to counter worries from both left and right that the USA faces irreversible decline? One such voice is that of James C. Bennett, historian, economist, space scientist, and futurist. Based right here in Colorado, Bennett is the originator of the Anglosphere concept and a Centennial Institute fellow. Join us on Monday evening, June 17, at 7:00 p.m. in the CCU Beckman Center to hear about the important new book he co-authored with Michael J. Lotus, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century – Why America’s Greatest Days are Yet to Come.
We have received many requests for an electronic version of our upcoming book America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century-Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come. We are happy to announce that there will be an electronic version of the book.
Mr. Bennett and Mr. Lotus received their copies of America 3.0 yesterday.
It is was strange, in a good way, to hold the thing in my hand, after all this effort.
I went back and looked at some old emails, which contains lines like “I am staying here today and tonight until I am done with Ch.5,” or Jim saying “I am working through the weekend, pretty much. Will take a break Sunday for the Broncos-Chargers game.” One funny thing is that we thought we would not have enough words, but we ended up having plenty.
In any case, I can now swear on oath that I have seen it, it exists, and if you order one, it looks pretty good, it’s legible, and it feels nice in the hand.
In America 3.0 we discuss the origins of the common law, and how it was well-suited to adapt inductively to changing conditions, in contrast to the more top-down Roman law that predominated on the Continent.
There is no eschatology in the common law: its purpose is to reflect changes in the cultural, social and economic structure, not to direct them towards an objective preconceived in the minds of cultured and erudite elites for our betterment. Likewise there is no eschatology in free markets: they are a tool for the allocation of goods and services according to ever-changing consumer preferences, not for directing them towards some imaginary ‘ideal’ allocation. Not only is there no ethical basis for the social and economic coercion which rational, artificial, imposed order inevitably involves; but also, because even a benevolent genius is trapped in the prison of imperfect information described by Hayek and others, it does not work.
Quite so. And that why is it is failing. And that is why the next iteration of America will be flatter, more networked, less coercive and better, cheaper and faster at everything that matters. But we have to get all this detritus out of the way, first … .
The Obama administration has a huge “management problem” with its spin of the nakedly partisan and highly illegal IRS denial of Tea Party non-profit tax status. One that makes the IRS scandal an “on-going criminal conspiracy” in the RICO sense and places “Nixon offense” impeachment charges in Pres. Obama’s future.
This is the IRS Tea Party Case Timeline Courtesy of ABC News:
This is my list of the Cincinnati, Ohio and IRS HQ management positions involved in Tea Party cases by title, location and first date mentioned from the linked document.
1. Determinations Unit Group Manager (Ohio?)  — 1 Mar 2010
2. Acting Manager, Technical Unit  (Ohio) — 16 Mar 2010
3. New Acting Manager, Technical Unit  (Ohio) — 1 Apr 2010
4. Determinations Unit Program Manager (Ohio?) — 25 Apr 2010
5. Determinations Unit Area Manager (Ohio?)– 26 Oct 2010
6. Technical Unit manager (Ohio) — 16 Nov 2010
7. Senior Technical Advisor to the Director, EO (IRS Washington DC) — 13 Dec 2010
8. New Technical Unit Acting Manager  (Ohio) — Jan 2011
9. Acting Director, Rulings and Agreements  (IRS Washington DC) — 1 June 2011
10. Director, EO. (IRS Washington DC) — 29 June 2011
11. -Title or titles unknown- in EO function (IRS Washington DC) Headquarters office — 5 July 2011
12. IRS Chief Counsel (IRS Washington DC) — 4 Aug 2011
13. New Acting Director, Rulings and Agreements  (IRS Washington DC) — October 2011
14. New Acting Group Manager “of the team of specialists” (Ohio?) — March 2012
15. Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement (IRS Washington DC) — 8 Mar 2012
16. Senior Technical Advisor to the Acting Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (IRS Washington DC) — 23 Mar 2012
17. Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement (IRS Washington DC) — 23 Mar 2012
18. Senior Technical Advisor to the Acting Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division Commissioner (IRS Washington DC) — 23 Apr 2012
19. Director, Rulings and Agreements (May be same as #10 above, IRS Washington DC)– 17 May 2012
20 -Title(s) Unknown- Quality Assurance Unit (Ohio?) — May 2012
21 -Title(s) Unknown- Operations Unit (Ohio?) — May 2012
22. New Acting Determinations Unit Group Manager  (Ohio) — 15 July 2012
In August March 2012 then IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman testified before Congress that the IRS was not harassing or making a special effort to deny Tea Party affiliated organizations their non-profit tax status. The above list either makes IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman a liar or a sock puppet for Obama administration IRS appointees who did lie. Douglas Shulman is going to need to lawyer up regardless.
The fact that there were, by my count three different “Manager, Technical Unit” and two “Determinations Unit Group Manager” in Cincinnati, Ohio involved over several years makes this Tea Party witch hunt anything but a “local IRS unit run amok.” This was an on-going criminal conspiracy involving IRS senior management over a matter of years.
A class action RICO lawsuit by the Tea Party against the IRS is very much on the table and the IRS won’t have sovereign immunity for “criminal actions taken under the color of law.” That point about federal government criminality was decided decades ago in various US Government high level nuclear waste dumping law suits before the Supreme Court.
Impeachment of President Obama for IRS-related “Nixon Offenses” is now on the table.
There are opportunities, but they require a deep understanding of risk and security. A livelihood with day-to-day low-level insecurity and volatility is actually far more stable and secure than the cartel-state one that claims to be guaranteed.
The burdens of Fed manipulation and the cartel-state rentier arrangements will come home to roost between 2015-2017. Those who are willing to seek livelihoods in the non-cartel economy will likely have more security and satisfaction than those who believed that joining a rentier arrangement was a secure career.
There is a price to joining a parasitic rentier arrangement, a loss of integrity, agency and independence. Complicity in an unsustainable neofeudal society has a cost.
Jim Bennett and I went back and forth with our publisher, Encounter, on this cover. We are grateful for their diligent work, and we are very pleased with the final version. Encounter had the original idea of three bands depicting America 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. The original picture for 1.0 was different, but this one works nicely. It shows a farmer plowing with animal muscle power. That is precisely the image that captures the A1.0 era. It was a time of family-scale farms, and it was before the introduction of mechanical power. The second image is of an industrial era auto assembly line. This is the epitome of A2.0. It is mass production, motor power, wage work not independent business ownership, big business, big labor and in the background, big government. It was a great world in many ways, but it is a past that will never come back. Of course, it is impossible to photograph the future, and unless we had the budget to make a “science fiction” picture, the top band, A3.0 could only be a rough approximation. Still, this pictures captures much of the story. It shows an exurban landscape, with a highway but lots of green. We anticipate that there will be much more dispersion of the American people across the landscape, for reasons we describe in the book, especially in Chapter 1: America in 2040. Also, the color scheme shows increasing brightness, indicative of the hopeful future we foresee for America.
We are grateful for the kind words and support from these distinguished gentlemen.
“Many pundits—and, polls say, most Americans—think America’s best days are behind us. In America 3.0 James Bennett and Michael Lotus argue that our best days are ahead—if we take the trouble to understand our past. We need to build on the unique American institutions that enabled previous generations to produce the successful agricultural America 1.0 and the even more successful industrial America 2.0 and to cast aside elements which prevent us from creating an even more successful post-industrial America 3.0.”
—Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, American Enterprise Institute resident fellow, and coauthor of The Almanac of American Politics
“Capitalism, argued Joseph Schumpeter, relies upon creative destruction. In recent years, we’ve seen a lot of destruction while the creation has been less appreciable, at least in the eyes of many. James Bennett and Michael Lotus offer a glimmering vision: we are at the dawn of a miraculous era of creativity. This is a valuable book not just for its hopeful vision of America’s destiny, but for its concrete insights into the forces and trends pushing us to our rendezvous with destiny.”
“Obamacare just hasn’t caught on with the American people. It is still opposed and resisted by most Americans. That was not supposed to happen. Theorists of the blue social model (or America as Sweden) were confident that once in place, Obamacare would set down roots in American democracy and become immovable. But alternative models of health care—red social model alternatives—are increasingly demanded by the voters. That’s true in economics, social welfare, and almost every other department of government. James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus predict that America’s future will be a better version of its traditional past, rather than an imitation European Union. They argue their case brilliantly and persuasively. This book is in danger of giving conservative optimism a good name.”
Wretchard discusses recent notorious Type II system failures. The Colorado theater killer’s shrink warned the authorities to no avail. The underwear bomber’s father warned the authorities to no avail. The Texas army-base jihadist was under surveillance by the authorities, who failed to stop him. Administrators of the Atlanta public schools rigged the academic testing system for their personal gain at the expense of students and got away with it for years. Wretchard is right to conclude that these failures were caused by hubris, poor institutional design and the natural limitations of bureaucracies. The question is what to do about it.
The general answer is to encourage the decentralization of important services. If government institutions won’t reform themselves individuals should develop alternatives outside of those institutions. The underwear bomber’s fellow passengers survived because they didn’t depend on the system, they took the initiative. That’s the right approach in areas as diverse as personal security and education. It’s also the approach most consistent with American cultural and political values. It is not the approach of our political class, whose interests are not aligned with those of most members of the public.
The Internet is said to route itself around censorship. In the coming years we are going to find out if American culture can route itself around the top-down power grabs of our political class and return to its individualistic roots. Here’s hoping.
People at home feel isolated. That isolation can lead to depression. It’s rough being an independent contractor. There is a lot of rejection. Entrepreneurship is hard. It’s better to experience it with people in the same boat as you.
All of this is true in my experience. Working at home gets depressing. Getting a conventional office removes the distractions but you are still isolated. Working from someone else’s office removes the isolation, but typically you don’t have much control over your environment, and the fact that the other people in the office are a team while you are operating solo kills some of the social benefit. The best situation is to be part of a team that you lead or are a partner in. Next best is to work independently in the same physical space as other people who are working independently. Starbucks or the public library ain’t it. Businesses that offer high-quality flexible working environments at low-enough rates to make using them a low-thought decision for contractors and entrepreneurs should do well, going forward.
UPDATE: Another take on the same issue:
These are variations on a theme of tech-driven individual empowerment that’s closely related to the America 3.0 argument.
Anderson is not merely making a technologically oriented argument , but a profoundly cultural one. In his view, the existence of the Maker movement, operating on the collaborative, “open-source” ethos is an iterative, accelerative driver of economic change that complements the technology. Anderson writes: “…In short, the Maker Movement shares three characteristics, all of which are transformative:
[B]y a singular chance, the expansion of that small society from Elizabethan times onward became increasingly identified with the central movement in the history of the modern world. No mere book can hope to do justice to the theme: it is written in the lives of men, in their work and arts, in the creations of their minds, in science and industry, in the busy tracks of the ocean, upon the landscape and on the face of the outer world. It was an extraordinary, an unimaginable, fate that befell the island people. Wherever we look in the world, or in modern history, we come upon evidence of the contribution they have made. Whether it is at sea, in the arts of navigation or maritime warfare from Drake to Nelson to our own time; whether it is in voyages of discovery from the Cabots to Cook and Scott of the Antarctic, in methods of planting and colonisation from Humphrey Gilbert and Ralegh, Captain John Smith and the founders of New England to Gibbon Wakefield and Cecil Rhodes; or in industry, trade, finance; whether it is in the experience of self-government, laid open for all to see, or in the essential traditions of the free world — personal freedom for the citizen, liberty of opinion and speech, the sanctity of individual life (the arcana of civilized society); or in the example of an instinctive and generalised morality of common sense and toleration, with its precious message of individual responsibility; whether it is in the gradual unfolding of the resources of industrial and mechanical power (the basis of modern industrial civilisation, worked out in this island), with its subsequent developments in atomic energy and in the air; or in the unceasing proliferation of its genius at once for literature and science — the experience of the island people has been more and more closely bound up with the essential achievements of the modern world, the most significant and certainly the most fruitful movements of the human spirit in the modern age.
In our upcoming book, America 3.0, Jim Bennett and I trace the roots of American freedom and prosperity back through British and English history to the conquest of the island by Angles, Saxons and Jutes fifteen centuries ago. But our focus is on America.
The quote from A.L. Rowse sketches a much larger theme which our (already large) book could not contain: the English impact on the entire modern world. A book on this subject may yet appear from Jim Bennett’s hand, and it will be the Big Book, which we have discussed for years, a history of the entire Anglosphere from its oldest Indo-European roots down to today and outward into the future.
The Perpetual Difficulty of Opposing A Corrupt Political System
And it is certainly plain that the man who gains by maintaining corruption is likely to make great habitual efforts to keep up a corrupt system, while the man who opposes it, who gains nothing by opposing it, but who gives up his time, his quiet, and his ordinary business, for the public good, is tempted at every moment to relax his efforts. This failure of continued energy is just what Demosthenes complains of in the Athenians of his day; and experience does seem to show that here is a weak side of democratic government. To keep up under a popular system an administration at once pure and vigorous, does call for constant efforts on the part of each citizen which it needs some self-sacrifice to make. The old saying that what is everybody’s business is nobody’s business becomes true as regards the sounder part of the community. But it follows next that what is everybody’s business becomes specially the business of those whose business one would least wish it to be.
Of course, we are faced with the exact same problem today, except it is now much worse because the corruption occurs at the national level, and frequently under color of law. It is indeed a perpetual “weakness of democratic government.”
What concrete steps can we take to mitigate this weakness, especially under modern conditions?
Jim Bennett and I cite to Freeman in our upcoming book, America 3.0.
Recently I was reading how a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago was arrested for bringing an unloaded handgun to work, and that it made the news media. I reflected briefly on the fact that you can bring a loaded, concealed gun with you in most places in many states in the US and it wouldn’t be news, it would in fact be normal activity, for instance in the adjacent state of Indiana.
Meanwhile, in California, it is common for people to smoke marijuana openly as is discussed here. Needless to say, this behavior would get you immediately arrested in many states particularly in the south and midwest.
Taxation is also highly variable on a state and city basis. New York and California have some of the highest taxes, particularly on income beyond a particular level (progressive taxes). On the other hand, states like Florida and Texas have a much lower level of taxation and a much freer business climate in terms of regulation.
Without getting into the hottest of hot-button issues, clearly there are differences in the types of marriages and reproduction rights / right to life on a state by state basis. These differences are narrowing in some areas and getting wider in others.
Some states have “right to work” laws which massively limit union power, and have flourishing and expanding manufacturing economies as a result. Visit Alabama, South Carolina, and Texas to see where all the former manufacturing might in the midwest and Northeast and West Coast migrated to (if it didn’t go to China or overseas). The enacting of “right to work” laws obviously sends an important signal to business leaders whether or not a state is a friendly place to do business for incremental investment (along with taxation).
The “fracking” revolution has unleashed vast wealth in some states, and in other states it has been banned or severely curtailed. Meanwhile, California is going in on its own with carbon regulations and highly aggressive “green” energy targets, while other states are heavily reliant on traditional (and cost effective) technologies.
The differences on a state-by-state level on these different dimensions seem large and growing. They are much more subtle (though often correlated) with the Red / Blue analysis. An attempt to classify these vectors could be done as follows: Energy Freedom – the ability to extract and use cost effective technologies (like natural gas, fracking, and coal) and a state’s willingness to invest more for reliability or the requirement to use expensive (green) technologies and curtail energy use even at the expense of industry competitiveness and reliability. California is likely on one end and Texas is on the other side, although many others have large freedom including Pennsylvania. Safety Freedom – the right to defend yourself at home, in transit, at work and during study or whether that is assumed by the state. Sadly the most restrictive is Illinois and there are many candidates on the other side throughout the south and midwest (Indiana). Personal Substance Freedom – the right to smoke, the right to drink, and the right to use various drugs or stimulants. Some odd states (like Colorado) are leading the way on this, it isn’t always the traditional Red / Blue divide. Freedom to Work & Hire – the right to work and not be forced to join a union, and this is also tied with local laws and practices that limit the ability to hire and fire and direct hiring or limit firing in various dimensions. Freedom to Build / Live / Rent – Houston is famous for having very limited zoning while other states and municipalities have highly restricted zoning practices. The New York co-op concept also severely limits new entrants along with rent control. These laws can also include whether you can work or have a business in your home. While subtle, these practices can have a large impact on prices and how the region functions. Freedom From Excessive Taxation – Some level of taxation is necessary for government to function but high tax levels have severe intended and unintended consequences of under investment and evasion. Taxation includes state, local, city, sales, estate, property, and “sin” taxes. These vary significantly by area but are highest in California and the East Coast and likely the lowest in the South. Freedom of Marriage Choice – A larger portion of states are recognizing marriages beyond the traditional marriage, and this varies by state Freedom of Reproductive Rights – There are a wide variety of approaches and trends on a state level and then there are practical impacts, as well. This is highly variable by state in practice Freedom on Medical Rights – an emerging model will be how each state approaches new medical practices and funding methodologies, along with the practical availability of doctors that subscribe to the state’s controls and funding methods. This area will grow exponentially in the near future
I believe that these sorts of analyses on a state by state level are much more useful than the traditional Red / Blue view (although they are often correlated) and when you start to dig in to the differences on a state and municipal level they are staggering, particularly when you view the extremes.
It would be interesting and useful to begin to put together the various data sets to analyze states and municipalities along these continuums, and others that I’ve likely missed.
Few people have the leisure to undertake a systematic and thorough study of history, but every one ought to find time to learn theprincipal features of the governments under which we live, and to getsome inkling of the way in which these governments have come into existence and of the causes which have made them what they are. Some such knowledge is necessary to the proper discharge of the duties of citizenship. Political questions, great and small, are perpetually arising, to be discussed in the newspapers and voted on at the polls; and it is the duty of every man and woman, young or old, to try to understand them. That is a duty which we owe, each and all of us, to ourselves and to our fellow-countrymen. For if such questions are not settled in accordance with knowledge, they will be settled in accordance with ignorance; and that is a kind of settlement likely to be fraught with results disastrous to everybody. It cannot be too often repeated that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. People sometimes argue as if they supposed that because our national government is called a republic and not a monarchy, and because we have free schools and universal suffrage, therefore our liberties are forever secure. Our government is, indeed, in most respects, a marvel of political skill; and in ordinary times it runs so smoothly that now and then, absorbed as most of us are in domestic cares, we are apt to forget that it will not run of itself. To insure that the government of the nation or the state, of the city or the township, shall be properly administered, requires from every citizen the utmost watchfulness and intelligence of which he is capable.
It’s an old-fashioned study in contrasts, to look at the two of them, Abraham Lincoln and Sam Houston; both political giants, both of them a linchpin around which a certain point of American history turned, both of them men of the frontier. The similarities continue from that point: both of them almost entirely self-educated, as lawyers among other things, and from reading accounts by their contemporaries, it is clear that each possessed an enormous amount of personal charm. In their own time, though, each of them also acquired equally enormous numbers of bitter enemies. In fact, for a hero-founder of Texas, Houston attracted a considerable degree of vitriol from his contemporaries, and a level of published vilification which was not bettered until Lincoln appeared on the national scene as the presidential candidate favored by the north in the 1860 election. And both of them had ups and downs in their political and personal lives, although it’s hard to argue that Lincoln’s personal story arc was anything as eventful as Houston’s – the ADHD child of Jacksonian-era politics. Read the rest of this entry »
These findings are consistent with the claims that Jim Bennett and I make in our upcoming book America 3.0.
Americans stand out relative to Westerners on phenomena that are associated with independent self‐concepts and individualism. A number of analyses, using a diverse range of methods, reveal that Americans are, on average, the most individualistic people in the world (e.g., Hofstede, 1980; Lipset, 1996; Morling & Lamoreaux, 2008; Oyserman et al., 2002). The observation that the U.S. is especially individualistic is not new, and dates at least as far back as Toqueville (1835). The unusually individualistic nature of Americans may be caused by, or reflect, an ideology that particularly stresses the importance of freedom and self‐sufficiency, as well as various practices in education and child‐rearing that may help to inculcate this sense of autonomy. American parents, for example, were the only ones in a survey of 100 societies who created a separate room for their baby to sleep (Burton & Whiting, 1961; also see Lewis, 1995), reflecting that from the time they are born, Americans are raised in an environment that emphasizes their independence (on unusual nature of American childrearing, see Lancy, 2009; Rogoff, 2003).
The extreme individualism of Americans is evident on many demographic and political measures. In American Exceptionalism, sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset (1996) documents a long list of the ways that Americans are unique in the Western world. At the time of Lipset’s surveys, compared with other Western industrialized societies, Americans were found to be the most patriotic, litigious, philanthropic, and populist (they have the most positions for elections and the most frequent elections, although they have among the lowest voter turnout rates). They were also among the most optimistic, and the least class-conscious. They were the most churchgoing in Protestantism, and the most fundamentalist in Christendom, and were more likely than others from Western industrialized countries to see the world in absolute moral terms. In contrast to other large Western industrialized societies, the United States had the highest crime rate, the longest working hours, the highest divorce rate, the highest rate of volunteerism, the highest percentage of citizens with a post-secondary education, the highest productivity rate, the highest GDP, the highest poverty rate, and the highest income-inequality rate; and Americans were the least supportive of various governmental interventions. The United States is the only industrialized society that never had a viable socialist movement; it was the last country to get a national pension plan, unemployment insurance, and accident insurance; and, at the time of writing, remain the only industrialized nation that does not have a general allowance for families or a national health insurance plan. In sum, there is some reason to suspect that Americans might be different from other Westerners, as de Tocqueville noted.
Seventeen years ago, Bernard Connolly foretold the misery that awaited the European Union. Given that he was an instrumental figure in the EU bureaucracy and publicly expressed his doubts in a book called “The Rotten Heart of Europe,” he was promptly fired. Mr. Connolly takes no pleasure now in having seen his prediction come true. And he takes no comfort in the view, prevalent in many quarters, that the EU has passed through the worst of its crisis and is on the cusp of revival.
As far as Mr. Connolly is concerned, Europe’s heart is still rotting away.
3D printers, driverless cars, nanotech: the 21st century looks to be even more different from the 20th century than the 20th was from the 19th. American politics and institutions are going to change much more rapidly than most pundits and politicos can yet understand.
Walter Russell Mead’s wicked good blog Via Meadia has many posts which track closely with the arguments Jim and I are making. I am sure all this great material will end up in a forthcoming book by him about the demise of the Blue Model (a term he invented) and what is coming next.
I am going to shamelessly recycle this: “the 21st century looks to be even more different from the 20th century than the 20th was from the 19th.” This is a very pithy observation which captures our vision of America 3.0, which of course we cannot really predict with a lot of detail. As Bruce Sterling wisely said:
Nothing obsolesces like “the future.” Nothing burns out quite so quickly as a high tech avant-garde. Technology doesn’t glide into the streamlined world of tomorrow. It jolts and limps, all crutches and stilts, just like its ancient patron, the god Hephaestos.
Still, we have to imagine the future, not so we will be correct then, but so we can plan, think, and act now. We also have to imagine the future so we don’t think today’s setbacks, as serious as they may be, are the apocalypse. Everyone reading this will be dead in 100 years, but our descendants will be alive, and they will have in part what we passed on to them. They will see us as living in a patch of history with a label and summed up in a few paragraphs. This is a phase, as is every other period in history.
I will confidently predict, as Mead does, that the pace of change will be faster than ever before. Moore’s Law will be in force for a long time to come, I hope.
What is particularly cool about the Mead quote, almost suggesting some kind of brain-meld via the astral plane between Mead and Bennett-Lotus, is the reference to “3D printers, driverless cars, nanotech” — each of these figure prominently in our first Chapter, America in 2040. One muse, three authors?
It is increasingly clear that the liberal welfare state is not sustainable in its current form, and its costs and inefficiencies are increasingly present and real and are putting huge burdens on our economy at every level. This can’t really go on. From here on, the Left has mostly to play a defensive game of retrenchment and reaction, and this is an exhausting game, especially for liberals.
The liberal welfare state is long past its peak. The question is, what next? We offer some predictions. But the main thing to consider is the transformative nature of the era we are living through. Both sides of the political spectrum are still stuck in 20th Century thinking, both thinking that the Blue Model can be tinkered with. It can’t. The challenge for Conservatives will be to figure out what they want to conserve and how to adapt their principles to the times. Progressives will need to figure out how to preserve their goals of protecting the weak and powerless using new methods, since the old ones are not working and will not continue to be popular once voters understand the burdens and costs.
In our upcoming book, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century – Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come (available for pre-order here), Jim Bennett and Mike Lotus paint a word-picture of America in 2040, which is less a prediction and more an exercise in hopeful and forward-looking thinking for conservatives and libertarians. We include predictions regarding the impact of distributed manufacturing.
Right now we think of manufacturing as happening in China. But as manufacturing costs sink because of robots, the costs of transportation become a far greater factor than the cost of production. Nearby will be cheap. So we’ll get this network of locally franchised factories, where most things will be made within 5 miles of where they are needed.
It is a safe bet that the highest-earning professions in the year 2050 will depend on automations and machines that have not been invented yet. That is, we can’t see these jobs from here, because we can’t yet see the machines and technologies that will make them possible. Robots create jobs that we did not even know we wanted done.
It is important to remember that technological change destroys categories of jobs, and creates new ones that literally cannot be imagined yet.
We are going to be facing a tidal wave of creative destruction in the years immediately ahead.
Our book offers some ideas about why we are well suited to benefit from these changes, and how to navigate the rapids to get from here to there.
All such early orders would be very greatly appreciated.
The book is coming out in May. Promotional plans are chugging away. Any ideas anyone may have would be very much appreciated, and can be left in the comments on this post or future posts related to the book.
A friend asked for a three sentence summary. This is what I came up with:
America’s greatest days are yet to come. Just as the world of family farms and small businesses, America 1.0, gave way to the industrialized world of big cities, big business, big labor unions and big government, America 2.0, we are now moving into a new world of immense productivity, rapid technological progress, greater scope for individual and family-scale autonomy, and a leaner and strictly limited government. The cultural roots of the American people go back at least fifteen centuries, and make us individualistic, enterprising, and liberty-loving, equipping us to prosper in the upcoming America 3.0.
We will be posting frequently in the months ahead (both here and on the book’s own blog) about the America 3.0 and its arguments, and how the themes in the book relate to current events, to efforts to devise a long term strategy for the political Right in America, or to other writers or books which interest us or influenced us.
We anticipate setting up a Facebook and Twitter account for the book as well.