A commentor recently pointed out that Th’ Gaussling was sounding off in a nationalist/socialist way. While I’m pretty sure I’m not a socialist, I must admit that I’m on a nationalistic bender at the moment. And by nationalistic, don’t think for minute that I get weepy and sentimental over Kenny Rogers flag waving ballads. I don’t.

But I do believe that, in the short and bloody history of humanity, this North American culture of ours has produced or advanced some truly amazing things. Like space exploration and antibiotics. Airplanes, transistors, synthetic chemistry, and cinema. We’ve had some low points as well. But in spite of our war-like behavior, much good has come from our industriousness. 

And, I am anxious to keep it much of it running. There is no return to a pastoral life in the Shire. We are electric hominids whether we like it or not. The very existence of life itself leads to disorder. Highly ordered organisms that we are, we create vast amounts of disorder to energize life and hold our molecules together in cellular membranes.  Practically by definition, we cannot help but leave a carbon footprint. The trick is to avoid adding carbon faster than the cycle can accomodate.

It is plain as day that the USA is trending in a bad economic direction. I’m not talking about economic indicators or some political movement. I’m talking about our business culture. I believe that our manner of doing business has gone astray.  We have come to value the wrong people and unhealthy organizational behavior. We have come to admire those who appear to generate wealth by the manipulation of financial contrivances and accounting machinations. Strangely, the notion of manufacturing as a desirable activity has become nearly obsolete.

We don’t need Grand Theft Auto IV or Microsoft Vista or better cell phone gimmicks. We don’t need more gadgets to give neurotic, hyperactive, workaholics 2X better web connectivity.  Somehow, we have become intoxicated with computer technology to the point where we feel we need to fill terabytes of disk space with junk data rather than going outside and planting a garden or talking to the neighbor.

The greedheads in banking, finance, and real estate have helped to construct a business finance machine that few understand. Greed as a virtue is the norm. The right to petition congress has come to mean a docking port for electronic funds transfer to the military-industrial complex. If gaming the system is possible, then it is manditory.

We don’t have to abandon the basic principles of laissez faire markets. Markets work. Even the Chinese communists realize this. But we don’t have to shut our brains off either.

We do need a comprehensive mass transit network covering most of the continent. We need better ways to generate and transfer electric power. We need to find ways to make sure that people in Honduras have clean drinking water.

We don’t need a better version of Excel or SAP. We need Spacely Sprockets. We need people to continue to go into the trades and build things. We need welders and electricians and machinists, millwrights and longshoremen.  This country needs to get back to the fundamentals of manufacturing tangible products.