Where We Are and How We Got Here
When I think of all the evils that have befallen the American economy, I
can think of none worse than the concept espoused some years ago that
America had “advanced” from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-
based economy. At the time, I thought, “This is nuts!” How stupid. How
can a nation create wealth by servicing other people’s manufactured goods
unless we are the only people on the planet who have this magical abil-
ity (like the navigators in Dune who were the only entities who could “fold
space)? Since this is clearly not the case, the entire premise seems ridicu-
lous. Yes, there are some very sophisticated services available for which
people are willing to pay handsomely. But, and it is a big fat but, the people
who buy these services pay for them with wealth they already created for
themselves. So, who is the more advanced: the people who can pay to have
their yards attended to by a landscaping company or the landscapers? If you
said the landscapers, go to the back of the class and stand in the corner.
Those who promoted Americas advancement to a service-based economy
are at the root of our current economic problems. It is an erroneous mindset
that has been infused into our national fabric and has even corrupted the
starting point of our economic food chain: our education system. The empha-
sis for many years has been on building self-esteem, not creating determined,
gritty scientists and engineers. If you doubt this, look at the international test
results that compare math and science scores for the various age groups. Yes,
our 4th graders do OK, but then our kids begin to fall significantly behind by
8th grade, and score near the bottom by age 15 and later.
Some observers say our education system is improving, while others say
we have made no appreciable progress for years. In either case, what is the
difference? The most recent test results speak for themselves. We are not
cutting it, and our children are paying the price. I know many parents who

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