One Overarching Goal

Many problems and potential fixes are being considered and debated to address the pandemic, associated economic slump, and economic and social inequities. Climate change is hovering in the wings.  How do all these potential initiatives fit together? I think we can integrate all of these ideas by thinking about how they all support pursuit of one overarching goal: Foster a healthy, educated and productive population that is competitive in the global marketplace.

Who plays an important role in pursuit of the goal?  Every aspect of our economy and society has an important role to play in achieving this goal.

Health & Wellness Services need to invest in keeping people healthy — physically, mentally, and socially – and engaged in the economy and society.  Minimizing the population of those unhealthy and unwell will greatly reduce economic burdens. This will result in both money earned and money saved with everyone healthy and productively contributing.

Educational Institutions need to invest in fully educating 100% of the population to have the knowledge and skills to gain fulfilling and rewarding employment. Society needs 100% of citizens to be capable of contributing to rather than consuming public resources. Poor education undermines the nation’s talent stream, undercutting productivity needed for competitiveness.

Energy Providers need to invest in energy infrastructure that will keep everyone productive, affordably healthy, transported, and heated or cooled as needed.  Ignoring the impacts of climate change will incur $ trillions of remediation costs – repeatedly.  Prevention and early mitigation are more affordable and will create much innovation and many good jobs in the process.

Security Agencies need to invest in protecting the national and economic interests of the US against all competitors & adversaries.  A priority should be to avoid poached competitive advantage, which subsequently provides little if any advantage. Oppressed peoples need help if they are to become talented strategic partners.

Industry needs to invest in training and job aiding to enhance workforce productivity and quality of work outcomes.  Poorly trained and poorly paid workers are marginally productive, at best.  Investments in technology should be used to augment rather than replace human workers.  Such workers will become the backbone of the skilled technical workforce resulting from achieving the overarching goal.

Government, of course, has a role in all of the above. One role is leadership in getting the wide range of stakeholders to commit to a national agenda for success.  This includes communicating the vision for how the overall goal can be achieved.  Finally, it also involves incentivizing and often investing or co-investing in initiatives to advance towards this goal.

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