Ah, These Clever Chinese
There’s been a lot of gloom and doom in the papers: America doomed! World Ending at 11! and so forth. Meanwhile, as happens during times of transition and profound change, out in the real world things are rustling in the shrubbery. Very clever people starting things up in their garages or, in the case of China – a behemoth with a ginormous garage – starting things up in a big way.
Check out the New York Times story at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/business/global/02electric.html?th&emc=th#
Unlike America, China has the unique ability to “decree” that things happen quickly and on a large scale. This makes them a formidable country. They also have the luxury of leapfrogging 19th century technology, thereby saving themselves a step or two in their progress. Interestingly, a couple of guys in Israel, I think, are also thinking about a similar plan: electric cars, public plug-in stations and battery switch-out shops. Drive in, switch out your battery, drive out. Slick.
As the story points out, China’s still stuck with dirty coal, however, I won’t count out a gazillion people who can be “decreed” to build stuff. Think of all that wind and sun out on the high Mongolian plains blowing the yaks around.
If America is going to stay in the race, we’ve got to seriously think about “decreeing” as well as figuring out ways for a bazillion kids tinkering in garages will be able to feed their clever inventions into a system that’s ready for them – not faced with government protected crony monopolies stamping out innovation and competition, hogging resources and stifling the wily and the nimble.
The 21st century race is going to go the smart and the flexible. It’s possible that the era of the plodding, too big to fail and too big to change quickly dinosaurs – GM, AIG, MegaCorps is over. More important, as discussion about reforming medical care heats up, maybe voters need to think about this: How many people would leave their present jobs and become an entrepreneur knowing their family’s health coverage was always there and not tied to a specific job? In short, make a change, start a business, invent a widget. That’s the stuff that made America a powerhouse and can do so again. Just takes a little smarts on the part of the voters and government alike.