This time, writing from Guilford, England just outside of London, I'd like to offer a personal view on what is the real challenge facing us in an international economy. Usually, we read about the economic challenges we face because of the cost of labor, the government, or the work ethic. It is true that we have challenges like what to do in the Middle East; how to keep up with India who is producing 35,000 engineers with Ph.D's every year; and how to deal with the new middle class in China now using more fosil fuel than ever before!
In addition to those obious challenges, I propose a greater challenge: Can Americans ever have enough? Is there no limit to personal and corporate greed? Do corporate profits have to be 500 Billion. Or is 300 Bilion a year enough to live on?
Is there ever an acceptable limit on personal freedom? Does every American need an unlimited view of freedom where the individual is more important than the whole of the country? Or can Americans do what is right for the "common good" of the country even if it costs each individual a little more money and a little freedom.
From across the pond, it is amusing to see constant fights in the US over proposals for a national view of health care, a national view on energy, a national plan for prevention of disease, a national plan on education and the use of labor, a national plan on the economy...etc. etc. Most other counties, including the most successful democratic economies in the world, have national plans on just about everything that is ultimately good for ALL the people.
From across the pond, its funny to see constand fights over small or minor increases in taxes when everyone in the world pays more tax than we do - especially at the high income level.
From across the pond, its sickening to see the excess of so many Americans with seemingly unlimited amount of money. When did it start that a family needs a million dollars to buy groceries, gas, and an occasional night out? When did it start that we need retirement incomes over 100K a year.?
So when is enough enough?
The biggest challenge to America in dealing with the world is our own greed. Our greatest challenge is to be able to act for the common good instead of individual gain.