By the year 2026 China will surpass America as the world's dominant Superpower (more on this in a future post). Shortly thereafter, India will also surpass America and the idea of American exceptionalism will, most likely, be put to rest. We had a great run, but history keeps marching on andthe globe's power, that in the past was so heavily concentrated in the West, will continue to shift East for a new era. But what happens next? How do we remain relevant on the global landscape when our economy will soon be dwarfed by larger and more rapidly growing nations?
I don't have a great answer, at least not one that will sit well with everyone, but I will offer my thoughts anyway (because this is my blog damnit!). Let me start by saying that I firmly believe that our nation should strive to set a global example, just as we have since our birth as a democracy for the people, by the people. It always has and I believe it is our obligation that we continue to do so in the future. Since the end of WWII, America has held the torch that guided the world into the unknown that is the future and unless we want to pass on that torch, we need to redefine what it is that will make us a great nation. We cannot depend on our wealth and our wealth alone to command the respect of our global family. Instead we must challenge the very notion of the role of government. Here is how:
I believe we have to rekindle the America's love of science. When we put a man on the moon, America began to imagine the wonders that universe might hold. There was a huge boom of young children who grew up to become scientists and engineers, but today, it has become increasingly hard to get young Americans into fields of scientific discovery. The US already spends the most money on scientific discovery than any other country in the world, but when you realize that only 2.04% of the global GDP goes towards scientific research and discovery annually you have to ask: Why?
Think of all the amazing advances we hear about every day, in all sorts of fields. Stories about the health of our planet and the health of our bodies. Stories about space discovery and physics. We hear about new species being discovered that live today or that lived long, long ago. We are inundated with scientific news, but imagine what we can do if governments around the world united and decided to pursue science and all of it's hard questions. If the global society chose to encourage our children to engage in the wonders of science and gave adequate financial support to what is probably the most important issue for every person on the planet... continuing human progress. Scientists are begging for better funding.
In America we are continuously having debates about whether it is even worth funding research at all! It is baffling. Every modern advancement in medicine and technology is a result of some form of science, it is the most valuable resource America has to offer and we are not doing anywhere near enough to ensure it stays that way. The United States may not be the wealthiest nation in 2026, but we should strive to be the very smartest. We should aim to be the most advanced. And, we should be the country that brings the science of the future to the rest of the world.
How do we do this? Well, here comes the hard part. I propose that America reduce its military funding by 75% as well as reducing the size of its Naval fleet, its standing military and its nuclear stockpile accordingly. We can use that (over) 449 BILLION dollars on unlimited scientific funding while we also rebuild all of our infrastructure and revamp higher education in this country. These three elements will undoubtedly LAUNCH America and then the rest of the world into a Renaissance the likes of which we have never seen.
The obvious problem that many will have with this idea is the prospect of weakening our military might. But that idea may not be as valid as some would think. We are living in the most peaceful era of recorded history the world has EVER seen. There is less need now for a massive military than there has ever been. Weapons of the future will be hackers waging economic battles and drones silently striking from above. Infantry and warships are not the tools of modern warfare. Diplomacy will win out in this age of peace. America has nothing to fear with our modern warfare tech and our nuclear missiles.
( Here is a fun video about how peaceful the world is at this very moment.)
Here is an aside. I was terrible at science in school... and I found it INCREDIBLY boring. I think those two things are related. We haven't exposed our kids enough to science outside of the classrooms. We need initiatives to better publicize science and engage the youth of America. We need to show them all the wonder and excitement the world has by being the first country that dedicates most of its resources trying to unlock sciences greatest secrets.
I hope I live to see a day where we prioritize finding out why life exists and what our role in the universe is, rather than worrying about our GDP.
If you like this idea, hate this idea, please reach out to me. Follow me here on twitter