Homo sapiens are innovators and builders by nature, programmed by our creator to use our talents and abilities to survive and advance. We are innovators and undertakers of great challenges, rivalling the ants and bees and other industrious species on this planet. Without mandate, we build hospitals and schools and undertake other praiseworthy work. In crisis, we rally together and rush to the side of the afflicted. Our enterprises look to the stars and we innovate over generations to accomplish great things from small beginnings. Innovations in computing have made technology thousands of times more powerful and a hundred thousand times less expensive than just a few short decades ago. Futurists like Ray Kurzweil have written extensively about the exponential growth rate of technological innovation (from computing, to medicine and everything in between) and how immortality beckons just around the corner. All these advancements, and all of this innovation, is driven by human will and passion. With so much going for us, why are we in such fiscal crisis? Why do health care costs continue to skyrocket? Where is our national business strategy? Why are we so divided when we share so many common values?
As I look at the magnitude of the challenges facing us, I keep asking why we cannot innovate and work our way out of this. Can government innovate? It can when its belt is tightened and it is forced to. Can government mandate innovation? Not effectively, but it can implement policies that are friendly to enterprise and innovation, including policies that promote education and investment. What about retirement, can we face the future and innovate now to both empower the young and protect the old? I think so, but we need a real national strategy to become a wealthy nation where retired citizens clip coupons from real accumulated personal and national wealth, instead of just borrowing our way to oblivion.
While I do not have all the answers to these difficult questions, I know for sure that special interest government is not capable of innovation, and that unless we the people threaten the power base of special interest government, it will continue to ignore the challenge and crash the train. The long road back to sustainability starts with innovation. Innovation starts with you and a little enterprise. Don’t let the King’s men fool you.