Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Future of America's Industry: 2020-2050

No industry stands alone in today's economy. They are all dependent on each other  –  the future of manufacturing is intertwined with that of transportation, energy, education, health care, construction, defense, banking, mining, information technology, telecommunications, retail and other industrial sectors. The following are links to web sites or documents laying out views and/or plans for the future with regards to specific industries and the challenges we face:

·         Agricultral Demand in 2050 - A report on "Estimating Demand for Agricultural Commodities to 2050" by John Kruse and the Global Harvest Initiative.
·         Banking in 2050 - A report on the future of financial services by PriceWaterhouseCooper entitled "Banking in 2050: How big will the emerging markets get?"
·         Energy & America's Future   - Securing America's Future Energy web site features a report entitled "A National Strategy for Energy Security."
·         Engineering Research & America's Future  - A report on the critical role of engineering research in maintaining U.S. technological leadership by the National Academy of Engineering.
·         Future of Health Care: It's Health, Then Care - A report by CSC/Leading Edge Forum on the future of health care and eHealth technological innovations helping  to drive and suport the changes taking place.
·         Health Care Horizons 2020 - The Health Horizons Program has been mapping the landscape of challenges and responses for health care in 2020.
·         Immigration & America's Future   - This report by the Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future addresses the need to meet strong economic and social demands for legal immigration and the imperative safeguard national security.
·         Physicists, Particle Accelerators & America's Future - This web site and associated report addresses the importance of physicists and particle accelerators in serving medicine, industry, energy, the environment, national security, and discovery science.
·         Postal Service & America's Future  - In their new action plan for the future, the Postal Service is now calling for greater flexibility so it can adapt its business model to serve the needs of 21st century customers.
·         Space & America's Future  - A detailed report of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board published by the National Academies Press on "America's Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs".
·         Supply Chain 2020: Logistics - An article in Industry Week about the Material Handling Industry of America conference and their discussions on the implications of the five macrofactors shaping supply chains in the future.
·         Teaching & America's Future  - The web site of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future
·         Telecommunications & National Broadband Plan for America - The National Broadband Plan which lays out a roadmap to America's future that will stimulate economic growth, spur job creation, and boost our capabilities in education, healthcare, and more.
·         Transportation & America's Future - Policy recommendations by America 2050 calling for a strategic national transportation plan that provides the underpinnings for robust, competitive and sustainable growth in the 21st century.

*** Check out the America's Future: 2020-2050 web site

If you know of other credible plans or reports that have been published recently on America's future please let us know about them. Share the link to them with us.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

America's Future - Web Site Enhancements

We continue to enhance the web site America's Future: 2020-2050 with new content. We have added a number of links to new studies and video presentations. The following are a selection of some of the special reports or studies we have posted on the site that provide information having a bearing on America's future:
Check out these reports and other links on the web site.  If you have other studies, reports, videos, links, etc. that you would like to suggest be added to the site, email

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The American Dream - National Defense & International Relations

Building on the previous blogs about America's Future, let's get down to specifics. Where do we want to go over the next 20 years? What do want to achieve? What should we be doing? What is the 'American Dream' of those who are alive today?

As you look over the web site associated with this blog – America's Future 2020-2050 –  you'll find a lot of links to articles, studies, reports, party platforms, etc. focused on America's future. Surprisingly  - or maybe not so surprisingly – I find the Democratic and Republican platforms actually lay out pretty good realistic ideas about the future we ought to craft for our country.

If only some compromise could be arranged letting the best ideas move forward.  Wait! Isn't that what the American political process was set up to do? And while many rail against it, the Constitutional process is still chugging along and does work pretty well – if you really think about it.

So rather than get into a whole debate about the pros and cons of our political process and trying to blame somebody because the outcome doesn't please a particular person and group of people, lets look at what the political platforms say and see if we can list those areas where there is agreement about what they want for our future – America's future and the American Dream. 

This will be the subject of the next several blogs. Let's start with what they say and agree upon in a couple of key areas – national defense and international relations, before moving on to health care, education, and other areas.

National Defense

The Republican platform opens by stating that its ideals are those that unify our country: Courage in the face of foreign foes.  An optimistic patriotism, driven by a passion for freedom. It then lists quite a number of additional recommendations. All Americans should affirm that our first obligation is the security of our country.  In dealing with present conflicts and future crises, our president must preserve all options.  It then lists a number of other platform planks related to national defense. It states that:
·        The security of our country is everyone's responsibility, from the Department of Homeland Security to state and local first responders, private businesses, and individual families. 
·        That effective, layered missile defenses are critical to guard against the unpredictable actions of rogue regimes and outlaw states. 
·        Intelligence is America's first line of defense.  We must increase the ranks and resources of our human intelligence capabilities, and then integrate technical and human sources.
·        We must significantly increase the size of our Armed Forces; crucial to that goal will be retention of combat veterans. 
·        Returning veterans must have access to health care, education benefits, job training, and a wide variety of employment options. 
·        We must prevail in Afghanistan to prevent the reemergence of the Taliban or an al Qaeda sanctuary in that country. 

In contrast, the Democratic platform opens by stating that our economy is struggling and that our planet is in peril. That a great nation now demands that its leaders abandon the politics of partisan division and find creative solutions to promote the common good. "The American Dream is at risk." It appears that the first obligation for the Democratic party is the American Dream. It then goes on to state the following:
·        We need to renew American leadership on the world stage. That this will require diplomatic skill as capable as our military might.
·        It goes on to be more specific, stating that we must end the war in Iraq, but will continue to combat terrorism of all types and keep our country secure.
·        That as we combat terrorism, we must not sacrifice the American values we are fighting to protect.
·        We must revitalize and support the military, keep faith with our veterans and do right by them.

The common ground seems to be on (1) maintaining a strong military and (2) keeping our faith with, and obligations to, our nation's veterans.

Both parties stress the importance of national defense. Republican put defense as their highest priority for the country. In their platform, they state that our first obligation is the security of our country.  On the other hand, Democrats stress meeting the needs of our people and improving the economy, in addition to supporting national defense.

The question is what other items in either the Democratic or Republican platforms should we totally commit to as a country? Increasing investment in missile defense and intelligence capabilities? When to end our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Priorities and level of commitment seem to be where the parties truly differ.

International Relations

On international relations and diplomacy, the Republican platform state that:
·         Religious liberty is a central element of U.S. foreign policy.  Asserting religious freedom should be a priority in all America's international dealings.
·         They also call for the development of a strategy for foreign assistance that serves our national interest. 

The Democratic platforms states:
·        We need to renew American leadership on the world stage. That this will require diplomatic skill as capable as our military might.
·        We will also not shirk our global responsibilities in such areas as human trafficking, global health, global warming, and more.

Both parties recognize the importance of using both diplomacy and the military in international affairs. The Democratic platform seems to place more emphasis on diplomacy than military might, while the Republican seem to place more importance on the use of military might.

The Democratic platform talks about our global responsibilities and working with others on the world's stage to solve some major issues facing us all. The Republican platform zeroes in on using religious liberty and our national interests as the key measures whenever we choose to work with other countries.

While we may each have a personal preference as to which party has the best approach, as a country we have already decided that the party we put in power at a given point in time should have the leeway to choose the approach they think is best. That appears to be the agreed upon 'American way' and it's working fairly well.  

So, the bottom line is –
·        Both parties want to maintain a strong military in support of national defense.
·        Both want to take care of our veterans - citizens who have served and protected our country..
·        Both parties recognize we need to use both diplomacy and military force when it comes to international relations.

Those positions taken by both major parties seem to fit into the American Dream.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Religion and the American Dream

I know many people don't like to bring up religion, BUT, building on my previous post let me talk briefly about Religion, God's Will, and the American Dream. I think it has to be brought up.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."            - Preamble to the U.S. Constitution

The American Dream was once equated with certain principles like freedom, liberty, safety, justice, equality, and happiness. Today, it is often equated with things – like prosperity, material comforts, home ownership, higher wages, or career success. My question is - What do we want the American Dream to really be?  Can we [Americans] reach a general consensus on the direction we want our country to take and what our highest priorities ought to be as we head further into the 21 century? Will we be fearful of the future, or will our American Dream be a positive, hope filled vision of the future for America? 

The American Dream

James Truslow Adams (1878-1949) was an American writer and historian. He coined the term "American Dream" in his 1931 book The Epic of America. His American Dream was "That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."  - See

I believe to achieve the American Dream, we must put God and His Will first and everything else is secondary. When we have our hearts centered upon what is really important from a universal perspective, our real individual purposes and plans begin to function correctly, as our personal perspectives and lives begin to line up with God's Will.

God has a plan for the world and we are a part of the plan and ought to be striving to help the plan become a reality.  To get in line with the plan, we need to follow God's Will - as individuals and as a country.

Definition: Will - Something expected, desired, or required of you, i.e. action, thought.

Now let's try to get down to specifics. What should we be doing? What actions and thoughts should we have or be doing to be in line with God's Will? He wants us to seek wisdom, knowledge, insight, understanding, and then we are to pursue righteousness and do 'good' in this world carrying out God's great commandments to:  'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind' and to 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  -  Matthew 22:37-39

Read the detailed article about "God's Will and the American Dream" available online. It lays out specifics on what it means to do God's Will. What we need to be doing and not doing in our personal and professional lives.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The American Dream and Our Future

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."            - Preamble to the U.S. Constitution

The American Dream was once equated with certain principles like freedom, liberty, safety, justice, equality, and happiness. Today, it is often equated with things – like prosperity, material comforts, home ownership, higher wages, or career success. 

My question is - What do we want the American Dream to really be?  Can we [Americans] reach a general consensus on the direction we want our country to take and what our highest priorities ought to be as we head further into the 21 century? Will we be fearful of the future, or will our American Dream be a positive, hope filled vision of the future for America? 

What are your thoughts? Please respond.

If the topic interests you, consider visiting the web site - America's Future: 2020-2050 at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Notes on the Future of Health Care in America: 2020-2050

The health care industry will continue to grow in importance, both in the U.S. and around the world. New technologies, in particular, will play a key role in dramatically changing the practice of medicine and improving people's health. In addition to the National Health Information Network (NHIN) in the U.S., global health information exchange networks will be put in place by 2040 to support the continued growth of the global health care industry and to fight global pandemics. 

Do we have a long range national plan and strategy to position the U.S. to be a major player in this arena? What should it be?  (I was surprised at the scarcity in the number of documents I could find substantively discussing long range health care plans and strategies for America)

The following are excerpts from strategic health care plans and various reports on the future of health care in America produced by a number of public and private organization:

·         Almost 100 percent of Americans will have health coverage of some sort by 2020. About half of the the population will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Veterans Health and/or the Military Health systems. Most of the remaining population will purchase subsidized coverage through the new state health insurance exchanges.
·         The emphasis in health care will shift to disease prevention and health promotion, and reinvigorating the public health system over the next several decades.
·         The emphasis on ambulatory care and long term geriatric care in the U.S. will continue to grow over the next several decades.
·         There will be a continuing shift to personalized health care. By 2020, patients will have become empowered, involved participants and will start to better manage their own health care. As a result, patient adherence to prescribed treatments will improve.
·         By 2020, the process of health care will be substantially digitized and electronically enabled. Managed care will switch from a restrictive gatekeeper approach to one of highly automated care management.
·         Technology will enable managed care to better coordinate treatments in a more most cost-effective way.
·         The most pervasive change in the new millennium will be how technology empowers patients to take control of their healthcare. Internet-informed patients will become partners in the promotion of their health in partnership with their health care providers.
·         The growing acquisition and use of electronic health records (EHR), personal health records (PHR), health information exchange (HIE) networks and other health information technologies will have a tremendous effect on the business of health care and people's health.
·         EHR systems connected to HIE networks will result in quicker notice from hospital emergency departments to patients’ primary care physicians.
·         Information technology will help patients to access the health care system on a "7x24" basis, at their convenience.
·         There will be major advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology, diagnostics, information technology, stem cell treatments, vaccines, and organ transplants by 2020.
·         By 2020, telemedicine will play a much bigger role in health care. New physician-to-physician and physician-to-patient communications and health care processes will have developed and been accepted.
·         By 2020, medical decisions will be based on better data. Technology will improve clinical decision-making and quality of care.
·         New wearable body sensors that capture continuous physiological data streams during daily routines--as opposed to discrete data captured at isolated moments in time--will provide clinicians with greater context and enable them to diagnose based on robust evidence.
·         Medical advances will include: teeth regeneration; cures for hearing loss; stem cell R&D; major advances in genomics and preventive care; use of implantable medical devices and nanobots; and much more.
·         Complete organ replacements grown from stem cells will become possible in the 2020-2030 timeframe leading to growth of a major new bio-industry.
·         Recent breakthroughs in remote surgery, gene manipulation, cloning, and molecularization of microchips have opened a world of untold possibilities.
·         By 2020 about one in five health care dollars in the U.S. spent on people ages 50-69 could be consumed by obesity-related medical problems -- up about 50 percent from 2000, according to a RAND Corporation study.
·         Home health care and self care will grow. Diabetics are already measuring their blood sugar continuously; other continuous sensors, such as Corventis "smart bandages," which measure seven vital signals, including heart rhythms, are en route.
·         By 2020 scientists may even be able to customize drugs for their patients based on their genetic make-up.
·         Technology will help coordinate care results and yield consistently better outcomes.
·         By 2020, technology will result in better measurement of outcomes which in turn will result in improved clinical guidelines and documentation of 'best practices'.
·         Large quantities of hard data collected by EHR systems transferred to public health data repositories via HIE networks will result in improved medical research.
·         More robust public health data repositories will result in improvements in monitoring public health, responding to potential threats (e.g. pandemics), etc.

* For more information on a Vision for America through 2050, visit

Let us know about any other studies freely available on the web about the future of health care in America. Do you have notes to add to this blog based on reliable sources or information?  

National Priorities for the U.S. over the Coming Decades

National priorities for the U.S. ought to include – ensuring national security, providing clean and affordable energy, protecting the environment now and for future generations, educating an engaged citizenry and a capable workforce for the 21st century, improving our health care system, maintaining a leadership position in global economic competitiveness, and working internationally to build a safer world. In addition, a common element across all these urgent priorities is the key role that research and development (R&D) and technological innovation will play in solving problems and advancing our national interests across the board. 

The following are a selection of special reports or studies one ought to read that provide information that may have a bearing on America's future:

If you know of any other good studies or reports that are available on the web, please let us know.  What are the other high priorities that you see for our country?

Monday, September 20, 2010

America's Future: 2020-2050 - Blog Start Up

According to the author of the book "Betrayal of American Prosperity", China's number one export to the U.S. is $46 billion of computer equipment (we used to be number one); the number one export from the U.S. to China is waste - $7.6 billion of waste paper and scrap metal. The U.S. is rapidly losing its basis for leadership, wealth, and power in the world.  All Americans need to be more concerned about our future and hold our business and government leaders at all levels accountable for taking positive action to reverse the course of the past decade and putting us back on a path to a brighter future .

We need to be retain our leadership in innovation, build up our industrial base, become energy independent, care for our people, place justice and righteous behavior above greed and immorality, protect our country and our constitution, and …??!!  Let's not be fearful about the future. Let's be serious, thoughtful, and hopeful about our future. Let's discuss the future and see if we can reach a general consensus on the positive direction we want our country to take and what our highest priorities ought to be. Let's revive and reshape the American Dream to help guide us to a better tomorrow.

So may of our business and government leaders seem to have lost their way and don't really have a vision for the future of our country that we can get behind.  They're too focused on the next fiscal quarter or the next election. They focus on the negative and constantly harp on the topic of fear. America is supposed to be the home of the brave, not the home of the fearful. There are still a lot of hard working, creative, and hope filled folks out there trying to make a difference and move us forward. They are helping to create a new vision of the future for America. 

This blogging site and the America's Future: 2020-2050 web site tries to raise issues, provide information, and give you links to credible web sites where other discussions about the future are taking place and answers are being generated. I have tried hard not to provide links to web sites that offer no solutions or are simply fronts for political campaigns and posturing. Where political parties have put together a serious plan for our future, they have been included - whether Republican or Democrat.

Peter Groen
Charles Town, WV