"...we don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot." Thomas Friedman got it right in that it's : "Time to Reboot America". Unfortunately, the prescriptive solutions in the article are garbage.
America does need a reboot but it can't be achieved through top-down stimulus or reconstruction. It has to start at the bottom and grow organically.
NOTE: A reboot begins when simple core process is started which in turn starts another process and so on in series until the entire complex edifice of fully functional system is reconstructed.
So, what does this new, better core process look like? It starts at the community level with a wholesale reinvention that makes networked communities:
- Resilient to rapidly propagating global shocks (an inevitable outcome of a global system that is too large, fast, and complex to control).
- Highly productive in their ability to produce everything from food to products to energy (they produce wealth). Networked innovation.
- Extremely efficient and low cost. This stems from: shorter distances, less energy, less space, less time, less mass, and less information (as in, less management overhead required).
Fortunately, all the technological trends are leading us towards radical improvements in efficiency and productivity for doing real things at the micro level -- everything from high intensity small plot farming to personal fabrication to DIY synthetic biology to global tinkering networks to high efficiency local energy production. Even better, the ability to connect these communities via networks means that these new local powerhouses can work together synergistically. In short, the density of the improvements offered by this new model are akin to the quantitative and qualitative improvements (and the decades of opportunity space to improve capability exponentially) that we saw with the move from vacuum tubes to transistors in computational hardware.
So, how do we escape from our failing vacuum tube economy with its incredible inefficiencies and inevitable heat death? You start at the small. Find the model for the first design of the transistor-like local economy that can be copied throughout the entire global network. Once that model is found, you begin a process similar to the equivalent of the exponential improvements of Moore's law for the local and ride that curve to success.