Chaffee asks right question
Ellen-Earle Chaffee in her insightful Jan. 6 column in The Forum asked, "What kind of state do we want?" Chaffee believes "sustaining growth requires more changes of historic proportions." She buttresses her beliefs with facts and identifies goal...
Ellen-Earle Chaffee in her insightful Jan. 6 column in The Forum asked, "What kind of state do we want?" Chaffee believes "sustaining growth requires more changes of historic proportions." She buttresses her beliefs with facts and identifies goals North Dakota may achieve to avoid becoming the emptied prairie National Geographic wrote about; a state in irreversible decline.
Years ago, Carl Sandburg wrote: "Always the path of American destiny has been into the unknown. Always there arose enough reserves of strength, balances of sanity, portions of wisdom to carry the nation through to a fresh start with ever-renewing vitality." Globalization, however, has made the world more competitive.
As Michael Reid, in his new book, "Forgotten Continent" writes, "If China was becoming the world's workshop and India its back office, Brazil is its farm - and potentially its center of environmental services.
"The country's leadership in nonfossil fuels and the unparalleled biodiversity of its Amazon rain forest make it a natural leader in the 21st-century struggle with global warming."
Roger Cohen in a New York Times article states, "Over all, however, (South America) has been left with a sense of U.S. neglect, sharpened by Bush's unfulfilled pre-9/11 promise of a new focus that would reflect the presence of more than 40 million Latinos in the U.S. The next president should make looking south a priority, with Brazil as pivot for intensified engagement."
Cohen also notes iron ore is another of Brazil's fast-rising exports. "China, which is investing heavily here, wants all it can get, just as it wants food (as does India) and energy. Brazil has an abundance of the latter, and could have much more."
As Chaffee recognizes, education is very important. Automation and outsourcing make more valuable those with flexibility, creativity and people skills. Powerful computers, advanced software and speedy communications have vastly increased the vulnerability of routine work.
The growing importance of nonroutine work increases the value of education. College graduates have steadily broadened their lead over the less-educated in earnings. College grads also have more stable employment.
Do North Dakotans have the will to pursue and achieve Chaffee's goals: best educated, most innovative economy, best work force, best quality of life and most harmonious diversity? What kind of state do we want?
Paulson lives in Fargo.
Chaffee asks right question By Terry Paulson 20080120