There has to be a fundamental shift in this country. We can't keep going on with this ridiculous mindset of working faster, not smarter. And we have to tailor our educational facilities to be more in-line with what's going on in other global areas. Our higher-learning institutions are still among the best in the world. But if we don't fix the mid-and lower level grade insufficiencies, eventually the universities are going to suffer. It'll be a sad day when we have to outsource college students, as well as manufacturing jobs.
Next, we have to get the business community back in line. Intelligent employees need to be valued. They need to be treated as an investment, instead of wholesale pork futures. Continuing education and training on the job needs to be emphasized, and more profit monies need to be funneled towards that end, instead of funding the CEO's new boat, 14th house in the Bermudas, etc., or 'smooth-saddling' the stockholders. Again, more focus on education, but give people the incentive to go to work. How many people in this country actually like their job? More than half the polls I see say people view their work only as a paycheck. Many hate where they work. That has to change. Corporate greed, and the resultant monetary powerhouse it generated has been the cornerstone of this country's affluence and influence. But as we all learned from the dot-com fiasco, it's a bubble that can pop. Versatile American intelligence will then be a key factor. Money by comparison as a commodity- while valuable, is pretty dumb intelligence-wise. Remember also that education requires lead-time. All the gold in the world cannot generate a genius, or a country of them- overnight. But be quite assured that high-level institutions and corporations in other areas of the world (Mid and Far East in particular) have been trying very hard to do just that for the last 12-15 years... and they're getting closer.
In addition, we're going to have to change our idealistic thinking that as Americans- we're "it", and always will be. It's simply not true anymore. There's no longer any magic barrier that protects us from anyone else from anywhere else who wishes to compete in the global economy. Technology advances (especially in communication) have become our "Berlin Wall". And like 'it', it's coming down.
Mike - Contributing Author