Enabling Innovation in America

Innovation depends on several critical elements: Education, Incubation, Opportunity, Motivation, Human Energy. But all of those depend on an end to corporate control of the American political system. Yes, corporations are important. They are the most powerful engine of progress ever invented. But, like a chainsaw, they need to be under control, to be sure they are doing more harm than good. Finally, we need a way to implement the solution to that problem — a solution which can be implemented.

Originally sent as a letter to the Obama administration, in response to their request for ideas that would help to foster innovation in America.
This is an edited and expanded version.

A. Education

  • Academia has historically been a place where the most active minds come together. In the exchange of ideas, new thoughts are stimulated and partnerships are formed — often forged in the heat of battle as project teams compete for supremacy.
  • Recommendation: Make it affordable, make it available.

B. Incubation

  • The Small Business Administration is great for small businesses.
  • What is the equivalent for innovation?
  • The Sloan School at MIT and Stanford entrepreneurial forums are terrific.
  • But what about the rest of the country?
  • Recommendation: Make such programs available everywhere.

But incubation is more than about guidance.
It’s about having the means to pursue your dreams.

C. Opportunity

  • Opportunity = freedom (the only really good reason for being rich — having the freedom to pursue your dreams).
    • It’s the reason for women’s suffrage and equal opportunity movements — to remove the limits on who can contribute to society.
    • In Scandinavia, becoming educated is a job. You can get PAID to go to school.
    • That’s real opportunity.
  • Opportunity was the reason for public libraries and public schools.
    • But public education has fallen victim to gangs.
    • How will we solve the problem?
    • Only by creating REAL opportunity in low income areas.
      (I grew up in one. There is little opportunity, and no real belief that opportunity exists.)
  • Recommendation: Make opportunity available to everyone.
    How, you ask?

    • Europeans pay 50% in taxes. So do Americans. We just pay it in several forms, in the form of federal, city, state, county, property, and sales taxes, which come pretty close to 50%.
    • But Europeans don’t pay for their education, child care, or health care.
    • They have security and opportunity, so they are better able to pursue their dreams.
    • Clearly, taxes are a big part of that equation.

D. Motivation

  • The profit motive isn’t the only motive in town.
    • There are altruistic motives, like the desire for recognition, and Utopian visions.
    • These things spur big ideas.
  • How about engineering domestic tomatoes and wild tomatoes to get great taste that thrives anywhere?
    • [Goal: Make the Earth into a Garden of Eden)
    • Who will fund that research? Government doesn’t do that anymore, and there is no profit for corporations.
    • Their focus is on tomatoes that withstand strong pesticides, that can only be grown from seeds they sell.
    • All of that increases profit.
    • But how does it benefit society?
  • How about research into preventing cancer with diet and nutrition, instead of trying to “cure” it, after it has developed.
    • One is low cost, and has a significant benefit to humanity.
    • The other produces high levels of profit in the form of costly drugs and profitable food-like products, and even in the form of “Cancer” research. (In actuality, drug research.)
  • How about research into the causes and cures for various conditions, instead of research into drugs that control symptoms?
    • Drug companies have a lot of reason to find drugs that control symptoms.
    • Each patient represents a lifetime cash cow.
    • Given the choice, that’s much more profitable than finding a real cure.
  • Recommendation: Support truly beneficial research of the kind that reduces profit, and serves humanity.

E. Human Energy

  • The difference in disease rates between the U.S. and other industrial countries can be traced directly to the additives that are allowed
    into the U.S. food supply.
  • Before it creates disease, it saps energy.
  • No energy = no motivation.
  • Recommendation: Clean up the American food supply, both to prevent disease and to increase levels of human energy.

F. Ending Corporate Control of Government

  • But the FUNDAMENTAL problem is that corporate money dominates congress, forming an impediment in EACH of those areas.
  • In the end, the goal of a corporation is simply to make money.
    • Taking care of their employees is not their number one goal.
    • Neither is taking care of their customers.
    • They exist purely and simply to make money.
    • It is important to ensure that they are taking care of their employees and providing a benefit to society, in the process.
  • That’s why, in Europe, a board of directors is required to contain company employees, as well as members of the local community.
  • It’s not just composed of CEOs from other companies, all of whom are voting themselves enormous pay raises.
  • Recommendation: Restore corporate governance to people, instead of the almighty dollar.

G. Implementing the Solution

  • Ending corporate control of government allows the other problems to be solved.
    • It provides the tax revenues it needs to fund truly beneficial research.
    • It provides the revenues necessary to ensure true equality of opportunity.
    • It allows the government to phase in changes to the makeup of corporate boards, who are responsible for corporate direction and compensation policies.
  • Of course, as long as corporations control government, as they do now, such changes will never happen.
  • And as long as money is necessary to win elections, corporations will remain in control of government.
  • But there is a way to solve that problem, using social media.
  • That solution is a Voting Advice System that allows people to give and receive voting advice freely.
  • Such a system lets corporations continue to drive, but it provides for traffic lanes, traffic lanes, and the policing needed to keep speeds under control.
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