“Future Stars” will develop their knowledge adoption and production capabilities so that when disruptive technology opportunities appear, they will be able to advance. This group will see some degree of cooperation between government and industry with an eye towards the eclectic promotion of technologies that will best position the society for the future.
In the same way that water flows to the lowest point, investments flow to areas where the greatest returns are expected. Today we see India, China, the Philippines and other parts of Asia ascending. In 20-30 years they will be confronted by maturing South American and African economies and witness investment flow to those regions.
“Inertia Driven” societies risk falling into the “troubled” category unless they can revitalize their knowledge-generation capabilities through the cooperative efforts of industry and government. The problem is that these societies have high standards of living and powerful military capabilities, but they are no longer sustainable. The benefits to society are being accrued due to the inertia of patents, brand recognition, government intervention, borrowing funds and other artificial non-sustainable means.
“Troubled” societies are languishing due to their inability to generate knowledge. The causes will include war, famine and other forms of strife. They represent a rich labor pool that, if tapped, can begin the course of maturation and knowledge generation.
From the U.S. perspective, we stand at a dangerous precipice, as we are Inertia Driven at this point. If we follow our current path we will be irrelevant within a century because we are losing core persistent skills that transcend technologies. The United States can recover if decisive, purposeful action is taken.
Part of our national agenda must be a partnership between government and industry aimed at maintaining our ability to generate meaningful knowledge both now and in the future.