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Foreign Affairs

Freedom Leadership: America’s Opportunity

October 15th, 2010 // 4:00 am @

Futurist John Naisbitt wrote in Mindset that success in the 21st Century will go to the opportunity leaders, not the problem solvers.

America hasn’t yet figured this out. The focus of our leaders — political, corporate, media — seems mostly on problems.

As Fareed Zakaria argues, the current debate in the United States is totally out of touch with the global reality.

The news covers Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea, as have weekly talk shows. Americans are “obsessed with issues like terrorism, immigration, homeland security, and economic panics.”

But these all represent a preoccupation with the global losers of the past twenty years. Zakaria argues that the “real challenges that the country faces come from the winners, not the losers, of the new world.” (See his excellent book, The Post-American World.)

Rising — & Falling — Stars

How much are Americans thinking of the real challenges ahead, from China, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, India and Russia?

These emerging powers are on the rise economically and politically, yet most Americans are alarmingly unaware. The economic growth of these nations is increasing their clout and “producing political confidence and national pride.”

The American people and the U.S. government are unprepared to deal with these new powers and their demands, choices and might. The central role of the United States in the world is about to drastically shrink, right when Washington sees America as the world’s last super power.

American political, economic and psychological letdown is inevitable.

Many of the rising powers have sectors with free economics, less regulation, lower taxes and more opportunity than the U.S. Entrepreneurs are increasingly courted and rewarded in these nations, while they are increasingly regulated and put down in the U.S. and Western Europe.

America’s Critical Choice

The United States has a great choice ahead: increase taxes to protect jobs and benefits or free up the economy in order to really compete in the decades ahead. The first is socialism, the second is free enterprise.

But here is the great challenge: the first is seen as “fixing the economy” and the second as scary, and probably depressionary.

A scarcity mentality is the cause of socialism; abundance is the foundation of free enterprise. Clearly, America today is caught in the grip of scarcity.

Welcome to our current irony. The story most Americans know is of a powerful but fearful great nation that leads the world against dark and sinister forces of jihadism and dictatorship.

What is left out of the story are the two dozen nations who are growing, prospering, and not affiliated with either side.

Washington will be forced to rethink its domestic and global strategy; forced not by its enemies but by its competitors. They are refusing to allow its meddling, and they are starting to attract those who are seeking free markets, opportunity and freedom.

On top of all this, at the same time that Americans are losing faith in their government, the new powers are experiencing a surge of nationalism; they want to be seen as strong and to spread their ways and power like the U.S. has for so long.

As the U.S. mires itself in the worst problems around the world, the new powers are attracting capital, technology and leadership by offering opportunity and freedom.

The Simple Solution

Of course, the U.S. can solve this all in one simple way — become the most inviting nation on earth. Get rid of massive regulation and simply re-establish freedom, free enterprise, free markets, true opportunity.

To do this, it will have to stop interfering in world conflicts and trying to be more socialist than Russia or Sweden.

If it fails in either change, if it doesn’t deregulate and stop policing the world, it will decline and collapse in power as did Rome, Spain, France and Britain — all of whom followed the same sick path to failure. China, Russia and India will be the new super powers.

But America’s biggest problem is that it has lost its purpose. It became the world’s leader by promoting freedom, and it lost its purpose when its major goal became power.

The freedom purpose had enlivened its domestic and international actions, and this made it great. Power as purpose — both at home and abroad — turned Washington into a place hated around the world and by its own citizens.

The United States is powerful in many ways but not in one critical way — legitimacy. Much of the world sees the U.S. as powerful, yes, but only powerful. Not good, or great, or standing for something.

What Do We Stand For?

For America to maintain a leadership role in the decades ahead, it must stand for something.

Thomas Friedman thinks it should stand for global Green. But I’m convinced that freedom is its only path to success. Without a renewed commitment to freedom, free government, deregulation, free enterprise, America doesn’t deserve to lead the world.

America must stop policing the world, and start standing for its greatest export: freedom. Unless this happens, it won’t solve its own problems or be able to help anyone else.

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Oliver DeMille is the founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

 

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Category : Economics &Entrepreneurship &Featured &Foreign Affairs &Government &Leadership &Liberty &Politics

The New Global Aristocratic Class & the Decline of Free Enterprise

October 14th, 2010 // 4:00 am @

While regulation increases and economic freedom decreases in America, other nations are going the opposite direction.

In order to remain prosperous and strong, America must revive the principles of free enterprise that made her great.

Three New Hotspots

In a two-day span, the New York Times ran two articles — “The Tel Aviv Cluster” and “Is China the Next Enron?” — on the strengths and weaknesses of China and Israel.

Written by Thomas Friedman and David Brooks, respectively, the articles arrived at surprisingly similar conclusions.

First, at the time of the articles, both nations were economic hotspots, primarily because of the high numbers of entrepreneurs within each.

Where America has become a capitol of employeeship, in Israel and China the American Dream of “making it” through business initiative and entrepreneurial enterprise is alive and well.

India could certainly be included in this.

Second, both are zones of technological growth. Of course, this stems from entrepreneurial innovation.

Where the U.S. trains most of the world’s attorneys, Chinese, Israeli and Indian students dominate many engineering and technology enrollments in many of the world’s leading schools.

Entrepreneurship, Technology & Progress

China has low interest rates, easy credit for private and business capital, and lots of investment money flowing.

Israel, as Brooks puts it,

“…has weathered the global recession reasonably well. The government did not have to bail out its banks or set off an explosion in short-term spending. Instead, it used the crisis to solidify the economy’s long-term future by investing in research and development and infrastructure, raising some consumption taxes, promising to cut other taxes in the medium to long term.”

Friedman wrote that China has:

“…a mountain of savings…China also now has 400 million Internet users [in context, the entire population of the U.S. is just over 300 million people], and 200 million of them have broadband…Now take all this infrastructure and mix it together with 27 million students in technical colleges and universities⎯the most in the world…Equally important, more and more Chinese students educated abroad are returning home to work and start new businesses.”

Brooks wrote that:

“Tel Aviv has become one of the world’s foremost entrepreneurial hot spots. Israel has more high-tech start-ups per capita than any other nation on earth, by far. It leads the world in civilian research-and-development spending per capita. It ranks second behind the U.S. in the number of companies listed in the Nasdaq. Israel, with seven million people, attracts as much venture capital as France and Germany combined.”

Challenges Coming

Third, both China and Israel appear to be on the verge of major shifts.

The Chinese challenge ahead is to bring its political institutions up to speed with the rapid spread of economic liberties.

The Soviet Union collapsed because it tried to reform by expanding political liberty while maintaining a command economy.

Traditional Chinese communism also rejected freedom at all levels, and the attempt now is to offer economic freedom while keeping a totalitarian government.

The huge amount of savings, including “$2 trillion in foreign currency revenues” available to the Chinese government gives it a lot of power into the future.

What kind of volatility is ahead for a nation with an authoritarian and oppressive government which also has the world’s largest entrepreneurial class?

As for Israel, the challenge is that increased economic and technological success further widens the gap between Israel and its already estranged neighbors. This is a huge destabilizing factor.

As Brooks says, “Israel is an ‘astonishing success story, but also a highly mobile one.’” He suggests that if the region destabilizes, the entrepreneurial class already has connections and homes in Palo Alto, for example.

American Decline

Perhaps the most telling message of these articles is the contrast with the U.S.

We’re cutting technology programs and increasing the regulatory, tax and red-tape obstacles for entrepreneurs.

Positive gains in U.S. social justice since 1964 have unfortunately and unnecessarily coincided with the dismantling of American incentives for entrepreneurial free enterprise.

Current levels of U.S. business regulations don’t allow many American entrepreneurs to compete with their international counterparts.

Trends in China, India and Israel provide more evidence for one of the most important developments in our world: The rise of a new global aristocratic class.

Interestingly, Friedman and Brooks have both written books about the new elite (see The Lexus & the Olive Tree, On Paradise Drive, Bobos in Paradise, and others).

For example, Friedman introduced the concept of the “Electronic Herd,” a new, highly mobile elite class that manages the world’s capital from their laptops and lives in places like Mediterranean beach towns on the Spanish or French Riviera, Ashland (Oregon), Austin (Texas), the Bahamas, Buenos Aires, London and so on.

This group parties in Manhattan and Switzerland, reads the great classics of humanity and today’s latest financials, and has little connection with or allegiance to any government.

Rediscovering The American Dream

America became known around the world for two great ideals: 1) freedom, and 2) a classless society where anybody could become whatever they were willing to earn and achieve.

Together, we often called these ideals “The American Dream.”

As the U.S. regulated away our free enterprise strategic advantage — especially since 1989 — its cities become more and more like the class-based European models that many American cultural elites idealize.

Today, America’s “aristocrats” are likely to be less loyal to the United States than to their corporate connections, and Americans who consider themselves patriots are likely to be dependent on job wages and living paycheck to paycheck.

Canada and various other nations are in the same situation.

The irony here is thick.

Those who care about freedom (many of whom are Independents) may have more to learn from examples like Israel, China and India than from contemporary Washington D.C. and its increasingly Europeanized institutions, dreams and objectives.

The Effectiveness of Liberty

Just like during the American founding era, freedom in our day will flourish again in any place emphasizing entrepreneurship, free enterprise initiative and major deregulation of small business and class-oriented structures.

While many nations can learn from America’s current example of religious and racial freedoms and freedom of the press, the U.S. needs a healthy renaissance of economic and political freedom.

Until our leaders, institutions and laws once again lead the world in allowing and incentivizing entrepreneurial initiative, our freedoms and prosperity will decrease.

It is time for America to import its most valuable resource: A widespread belief in free enterprise.

The world needs less of a growing elite class and more nations where freedom is adopted and applied.

Learn More:

To learn more about the current state of geo-politics and economics, and how to revive freedom, read The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom and listen to The Four Lost American Ideals by Oliver DeMille.

***********************************

Oliver DeMille is the founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

 

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Category : Aristocracy &Economics &Entrepreneurship &Foreign Affairs &Liberty &Technology

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