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The 'Sputnik Moment' That Wasn't

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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 05:18 PM
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The 'Sputnik Moment' That Wasn't
Edited on Thu Jan-27-11 05:19 PM by kpete
The 'Sputnik Moment' That Wasn't
Jonathan Schell
January 26, 2011

Why has that moment, now more than a half century past, been dragged out of obscurity to define the present? And why was the associated theme of American competitiveness in the world market chosen as the theme of the presidents State of the Union speech? After all, no superpower is aiming terrifying new weapons at the United States, as the Soviet Union seemed to be doing with its ballistic rockets during the cold war. As a matter of fact, even this was an illusion. The Soviet lead in rocketry almost immediately gave way to clear US superiority, although the mistaken belief in a missile gap persisted for years and was in fact instrumental in producing the Cuban missile crisis.

Neither does any economic event or trend seem to explain the use of this historical reference point. Its true that the United Statess educational system is measurably slipping. Its also true that the countrys infrastructure has decayed badly. And yes, the United States would benefit from whatever technical innovation it can bring off, just as any country would. But none of those problems, needful of attention as they are in their own right, is the chief cause of the United Statess economic doldrumsits stubborn high unemployment, its persisting housing bust, its galloping economic inequality. These were the fruit of an economic crash brought on by a misguided, corrupt, incompetent, larcenous, unregulated financial establishment. The relevant remedies are not better technology or some contemporary equivalent of sending a man to the moon. (In any case, although Obama insisted We do big things, he didnt offer one.) The remedies needed are a re-regulation and reconstruction of the financial system, plus a major, Keynesian style stimulus program to create jobs and purchasing power, and so to jar the economy out of its stupor. But none of that was in Obamas speech. On the contrary, his proposal to freeze spending for five years threatened more economic stagnation.

It seems, then, that our new sputnik moment is no more real than the first one. The difference is that it took a while to puncture the illusion of the original while the emptiness of the remake is immediately apparent.

the rest:
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Newest Reality Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 05:38 PM
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1. I would rather consider the Venus Project or one of the
many other alternative proposals for reinventing how we live and function. Those ideas, considered and debated and finally, implemented would be more like a JFK, sending a man to the Moon initiative. We might even be able to pull something off and put economize back into economy that way, rather than just rape the planet raw until it is unable to support the artificial needs and rampant consumption model for profit.

The ideas are there, but you don't see them presented forthright and with concern and respect for a collective consideration. They are all mostly anathema to the current model of profit/control/profit and we carry that paradigm on our dying backs to our own demise.

Oh, but no, the rugged individualist model demands we stay away from what might threaten the bastions of the Status Quo and who gives a flying monkey poo about extinction? All we get are references to bygone "isms" as a means to support the current, dominant, cancerous "ism" that assures its own end, in the long run. Most people might be surprised at the amount of options and flexibility we could exercise if they were more prevalently exposed and considered, especially when you contrast that to where we are heading with the current, stubbornly-entrenched, system that increasingly reveals itself to be for the sake of those who espouse and promote its fantasy-filled benefits.
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 05:46 PM
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2. recommend
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 05:52 PM
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