Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

America Today

Topic: The Future of American Prosperity.

Michael Porter: We’ve prospered mightily. The U.S. accounted for one-third of all economic growth in the world in the last 20 years. We have been the driver of the success of all these other countries. On average, our standard of living has gone up.

The concern I have for the U.S. is that we’re polarizing into “haves” and “have nots” that can cope with this new economy that we’re in. This issue of inequality is a corrosive issue. And unless someone approaches it in the right way, it can just get you on a downward spiral into society. This is the reason more than a decade ago [in 1994] that I founded the ICIC – the Initiative for Competitive Inner Cities – because I was desperately concerned that we had to create a way to get our citizens to prosper in this market system, not start with the presumption that they couldn’t succeed and needed subsidies, and set asides, and preferences and so forth.

Intellectually, I think we’ve carried that debate; but I think as a society, we’re very much caught up in this question of really how to help all of our citizens prosper in a way that really deals with the fundamentals. I think our human resource issues in the U.S. are probably the most frightening issues – the fact that so many of our citizens are not really equipped to prosper in a knowledge-based economy.

If we were Hungary, it would be fine because the bar would be low. But to support the U.S. standard of living, you have to have enormous skill, you have to have enormous ability, and we’re not generating enough of those folks because we failed. We failed at reforming many of our institutions, and I think we failed on both sides of the aisle. Democrats and Republicans have both failed.

I think many of the same general issues apply to the U.S. The U.S. has been relatively prospering in the new environment; but as we look forward there are some real challenges.

I’ve recently led a 20-year review of U.S. competitiveness as an organization called the Council on Competitiveness that was founded some years ago [i.e. 1986] as a reflection of the first real concerns about U.S. economy which first occurred in the ‘80s. It’s been very interesting to look back and think about how we’re progressing as an economy. The general answer is, for us, pretty darn well. But there’s some underpinnings that one starts to worry about at this point in our history.

I’m very optimistic about the U.S. There are some things that we have that are so unique in this country. And thank God that we have them. And thank God that some smart people put in place a system that preserves it.

So what are those things? We’re very decentralized. You go to other parts of the world and people are always looking to somebody else to solve their problems. Here in the U.S., if Boston is having trouble, then people in Boston feel responsible. So we have a commission, or a council, or an effort or whatever to do something about it. If a community is doing badly, we have a sense of philanthropy in this country that people will give their time, and their energy, and their money. Whereas in other countries, they’ve been taught to depend on government, on outside forces.

We have the sense that we can change things in this country rather than be this fatalistic, “Oh my gosh, we’re doomed to this future forever.”

We have this basic, competitive spirit in this country. We really do believe in competition as being a good thing. You’d be surprised how rare that is in other parts of the world.

So we have some wonderful things which make me optimistic, but we have some very difficult problems that start with education and the basic education system that are the real scary things. Because all of these wonderful values and these wonderful institutions that we have won’t work unless the raw material is capable.

Recorded on: June 11, 2007

 

 

 

We lack a workforce that is up to our economic challenges.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

Videos
  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Keep reading Show less

Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Image by Yurchanka Siarhei on Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
Keep reading Show less

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Quantcast