What Makes America Great?

Jeff Jarvis has a good post up this morning talking about what makes America great.

His nine reasons are on the mark and I agree with all of them.

But the two reasons that really hit home for me, being the venture capitalist that I am, are #3 and #5. To quote from Jeff:

3. An economy that powers the world with courage and capital and ingenuity and imagination.

5. An entrepreneurial class that has created, in just recent memory, Amazon, Google, eBay, Starbucks, Microsoft, Cisco, Apple, CNN…

What we have got going here in the US is an economic system that attracts the best and brightest entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists from all over the world. And we’ve got a capital markets system that takes risk, funds innovation, and rewards the incredible ingenuity and work ethic of these “best and brightest”.

There is a ton of hand wringing in Washington about off-shoring. My Senator, Chuck Schumer, who I like and admire, co-authored an op-ed piece in the NY Times in early January titled Second Thoughts on Free Trade.

I think free trade is not something we need to rethink. In fact, free trade is a big part of why America is so great. I really like what David Kirkpatrick has to say on this subject in his most recent Fast Forward column.

You can’t have closed borders to trade and capital flows and continue to attract the best and brightest to this country. A by-product of our ability to attract brilliant Indian, Chinese, Russian, and Israeli entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists to our country is their ability to learn from us and go back home at some point and emulate us.

And we’d better be prepared to let our capital flow back with them so we can continue to invest in and benefit from the innovation and ingenuity of these brilliant people, wherever they are.

My point is this – That which makes America great today is what will make the World great over the next century. Globalization is upon us. Let’s embrace it.

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