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Visions 2000.

I should warn you I am not a raving optimist. In fact, I am filled with trepidation for the future of the U.S. economy and the U.S. technical infrastructure.

I see a gradual erosion of industrial capability, segment by segment, and increasing dependence on foreign countries for high-technology products. I see a lot of transplanted factories putting products together here, but the key work, the high-tech design and development work, is all being done abroad. There is more. Our educational system is continuing to drift sideways. The U.S. no longer seems to have the foresight or the will to improve and maintain its infrastructure: roads, communications capabilities, airports--all are deteriorating.

All this bodes pretty poorly for our wealth-creating ability and therefore our standard of living over the next several years. If these trends are not addressed soon, I believe our standard of living by the end of the century will be no better and probably worse than it is today.

The good news is that we still have the strength and the capability to turn things around. What we need is a national reindustrialization drive. We need determination that our nation's technological capabilities will be second to none. We need to do that because we want to leave a legacy to our children, and a standard of living that will improve rather than deteriorate. Those two things go hand in hand in an industrialized society. So a drive toward reindustrialization is what I would go after.

In 1957, shortly after I got here from Hungary, the Soviets unveiled Sputnik. This led to a panicky realization in the U.S. that another power had passed us by in technological capability. We launched a national movement, spanning two decades, to regain national superiority in space, computers, and other related technologies.

Admittedly, the drive to be the first to the moon captures the national imagination more easily than the fact that our telecommunication technologies in this country are in pathetic shape. People view technology as somewhat esoteric; so there isn't a huge groundswelling of national concern around the issues of technological infrastructure and improved manufacturing, but these are issues that nevertheless need to be addressed if we want to be competitive.

But this doesn't mean that the citizens of the U.S. don't understand the urgency of this issue. They see what products they can buy, they see what their salary brings home, they see their grown kids having to take $ 5- or $ 6-an-hour jobs because the $ 15- and $ 17-an-hour jobs have all disappeared. The average person understands more about the need for revitalization of our national economic energies than many of our politicians that we send to Washington.

This problem is big enough that it requires government action to even stabilize the situation, let alone turn it around. And the U.S. goverment is the one place where the depth of this crisis has yet to be felt fully and honestly. If often seems that our government prefers to try patchwork solutions rather than launching an all-out attack on the problem.

A drive toward national industrial excellence, toward reindustrialization, is what we need in this country. But it can't be like the other "wars" our government spon-
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:part two
Publication:Chief Executive (U.S.)
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:N.B.
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