One of my recurring themes is that Americans have become too good at consuming, down to the point of consuming their children’s futures through deficit spending, and have not done enough to invest in the future. This is an important legacy of the current Bush administration which has repeatedly mortgaged the future in order to achieve their short-term political goals.
China has done a somewhat better job of investing in education and infrastructure; the recent snowstorms and transportation breakdowns in central and southern China have shown that even though large amounts have been spent, there is still a long road to go before China has a modern transport infrastructure which can serve the needs of its 1.3B citizens.
At one time, Americans were respected worldwide for their ability to make things. Now, these capabilities have been largely outsourced. Instead, American politics is much more focused on fractious issues which have little or no substantive meaning, but are manufactured to capture air time on television or on the Internet. The result: an increasingly polarized society where people increasingly talk at each other, instead of to each other.
For this reason, I was very pleased that a group of concerned Americans have set up a website to debate the future of science in the US, and the platforms of the respective presidential candidates on the issue.
If you are concerned about the future of American science, then you should take a look at it.