National Success isn't free

kids drawing with chalk
Photo courtesy of Darin and Sharri

I need to rant this morning. After coming back from Ireland earlier this month I noticed a remarkable trend that I haven't seen in trips as recent as 3 years ago. The number of things that you couldn't do overseas has dropped drastically. Not only has the stuff of a typical American life arrived overseas, but better stuff is starting to show up there first. Here are some trivial but telling examples:
*) In Dublin I could get really good coffee from a number of chains all over the city. I had never heard of a single one of the stores and there was no Starbucks in sight.
*) In 5 minutes I was able to get a local cell phone account without having to sign a contract or get a new phone.
*) The hotels all had Wi-Fi from a carrier that was all over the city. So when I bought a subscription at my hotel I could use it throughout the day.
*) My colleagues were getting on a $15.00 flight back home to England (total cost).
*)The local music scene was everywhere and better quality at lower cost. AC/DC covers, traditional Irish fiddle, a random Irish harp, music in every restaurant.

The point of this is just a wake-up call inspired by a gut intuition that the U.S. is losing it's edge and it's starting to be noticeable in business, in technology and in culture. I care because I have a stake in the U.S.'s success - I live here, I am employed here, I enjoy the successes of my country. I am also involved in educating the next generation and I'm not sure that they understand that 4 billion people want their job, their lifestyle, their education, their culture and their stuff.

Here is a post that underscores my point:

723 The Creativity Imperative: A National Perspective
" At one of our recent meetings, John Young, the founder of the Council on Competitiveness and former CEO of Hewlett Packard, explained, "Our standard of living is not a birthright. We have to earn it in the marketplace every day." Today the United States has the highest standard of living in the world. The flip side of this is that we also have very high labor costs compared to other countries. We will never be able to compete directly with countries like China and India on the basis of cost, and, as low-wage nations around the world develop skilled workforces and adopt cutting-edge technology, we can no longer assume that we will win on quality either. "

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Huzzah! Huzzah! Think a general attitude of dependency has been caused by a reliance on foreign agencies? Foreign, as in not personal creativity, hard work and ambition...

Posted by: Nate at May 26, 2006 4:23 AM

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