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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Alice in Wonderland

Okay, so I didn't win the lottery last night.

What I did do is some research on today's topic, the narrow-minded thinking of our politicians, businesses and society in general.

I call this article 'Alice in Wonderland' because it is about the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, also known as micropsia. The condition is one where the brain processes the senses like sight and sound oddly, making things seem further away than they really are. For those suffering from it, it can be very dangerous. Imagine trying to cross the street, thinking a car you see is a block away, and it is really just a few yards away. This is very much how our society views our current crises like our economy and environment.

Case in point -

Flatpanel displays, currently used extensively in the computer industry, were invented by an AMERICAN inventor. When he tried to get American computer companies interested in the idea, he met with the proverbial stone wall. Only then did he approach Japanese companies with the invention and was welcomed with open arms and enthusiasm. The net result? American companies all but lost out on the notebook computer and flatpanel monitor industry with literally millions of dollars going instead to Japanese manufacturing companies. Believe me, the executives who turned down the idea have been kicking themselves in the pants ever since.

Another point is more personal.

I originally got involved with computers in the early to mid-eighties as a teenager. When I tried to further pursue the industry, my father discouraged me from it, having been personally convinced that microcomputers were a fad that would never catch on. As a result of his discouragement, I left computers behind for many years, losing out on being a part of the wildfire industry that ensued. I have, for the past ten years, been playing catch-up on the computer industry and my computer skills. Because of my father's narrow-mindedness, I all but lost out on a great career.

My point is this: Because of narrow-minded resistance and out-and-out opposition to developing projects and ideas and selfish, self-serving mentalities, America is losing its competitive advantage.

The United States was once THE producer of the finest automobiles in the world, lost to Japan and Italy because the automakers in America didn't like the idea of building more efficient and powerful automobiles. The net result? Entire communities that are decades later struggling economically because of the loss of jobs.

The United States was once THE producer of high-quality electronics, lost to Japan and Germany again through the rejection of new ideas and inventions. Again, communities that once thrived on the industry have been decimated by its loss.

Now we are loosing our information technologies leadership through rejection of new ideas and corporate greed taking good paying IT jobs to third world nations where pay rates are pennies-on-the-dollar by comparison. Have our politicians and businessmen learned nothing?

Our politicians and businessmen try to defend themselves by pointing out that the United States has, to date, been able to bounce back by developing new, emerging technologies and industries, but as things progress this is becoming more and more difficult, particularly when U.S. companies seem hostile to any idea or invention that they did not personally come up with.

This is narrow-mindedness at its worst, and America is paying for the foolishness of our leaders. Truly proof that we as a nation are suffering from the worst form of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.

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