August 15, 2011
For all our stoic attitudes, our cowboy-mentalities, suburban homes, SUVs, and Randian philosopies, America is, ironically, one of the most dependent nations on Earth.
We import more goods and oil than any other country. To what use are we putting this temporary and enormous influx of raw wealth? Consumerism? Perpetuating our excessive lifestyle? Living lives where we are either working constantly or having a brief moment of leisure, with the hope that we will be recharged for our return to work?
America, like the world, is surfing a quick flash of energy into a ditch. We have oil, but we do nothing with it. We know we have problems, but the discussion in Washington is so irrelevant, they might as well just gossip all day.
Here are the 3 most important issues in our world:
- mastering battery technology
- creating a robotically-based manufacturing sector
- transitioning to a totally environmentally neutral society
Our world has no pilot, no driver, and is far off course from the best possible reality. A totally mobilized effort toward these 3 goals would produce the maximum benefit for the world. I’m envisioning the same desperate, busy enthusiasm that we had in the 1940s applied, instead of to war, to these 3 goals.
It saddens me to watch the government – the only entity with sufficiently broad power to pursue these 3 goals – drown in a pool of its own comatose drool. They exert such an influence over government that the super-rich actually pay lower taxes than the middle class. The government is a puppet for the corporate world. Indeed, the supposed “most powerful man in the world” recently sat down with corporate executives to ask, with all naive sincerity, how he could make life easier for them.
They’re worried about debt? Is that really the most pressing issue for our country? We’re so busy being worried about what to cut that we haven’t given any thought to the other side of the equation – how to boost revenue (or more accurately, government outsources this problem to private industry). These 3 above issues would so dramatically increase the efficiency of our country that our debt problem would cease to exist.
Unfortunately, our system is built to avoid creative problem solving. Instead, it rewards inefficiency with attention and money. Why are we apathetic toward obscene CEO compensation, yet passionately in opposition to any kind of government inefficiency? Private and public taxation are different only in name. Mandatory payments are taxes, whether they’re to the IRS on April 15 or to your landlord, the grocery store, your internet provider, garbage collector, local gas station, and so on. It makes no difference who, exactly, collects your taxes – the point is that you need to pay them.
CEOs collect taxes from the public and spend them on multimillion dollar parties. If a politician did this, he’d be exiled. No one ever accused the masses of using any scrap of logic beyond blind faith in authority, but this oversight is profoundly embarrassing for a populus that considers itself to be even remotely “educated.”
America, the most dependent country on Earth, needs to declare independence. We can do this if we have powerful, cheap, compact, portable, versatile, mass-produced batteries. We can do this if we have a robotically-based manufacturing sector, which combines nothing more than electricity, raw materials, and brilliant design to produce everything we need for our lifestyle, with little to no human oversight required. We can do this if we commit to building an environmentally neutral society, from the foundation up, including short and long distance transportation for humans and freight, and 100% carbon-neutral electricity production. These goals are possible within our lifetime, and any warm-blooded Pythagorean should consider anything short of these goals to be utter, abject failure.
If we focus on these 3 goals, 99% of the remainder of our problems will disappear. These goals apply equally well for any country, but national boundaries are ultimately irrelevant. This needs to be a world project. Those who have more power than idea should remember this carefully: battery technology, robotic manufacturing, and an environmentally neutral society. No other 3 priorities will carry us more quickly toward a global utopia.