“Broadband and information technologies are important not only because they are big global businesses in and of themselves, but also because they are critical to advancing productivity and innovation in every sector in the economy. The more you connect an educated population to the flat-world platform in an easy and affordable way, the more things they can automate, and therefore the more time and energy they have to innovate. The more they innovate, the more they produce things that improve the platform. It is a virtuous cycle, one that you always want to encourage to the greatest degree possible.
If the flat-world platform makes innovation and production so much more efficient, “but your people can’t take advantage of it, because they don’t have the infrastructure or the education to do so,” remarked Craig Mundie of Microsoft, “then sooner or later you are going to get hosed.”
Yes, economic competition in the flat world will be more equal and more intense. We Americans will have to work harder, run faster, and become smarter to make sure we get our share. But let us not underestimate our strengths or the innovation that could explode from the flat world when we really do connect all of the knowledge centers together. On such a flat earth, the most important attribute you can have is creative imagination—the ability to be the first on your block to figure out how all these enabling tools can be put together in new and exciting ways to create products, communities, opportunities, and profits. That has always been America’s strength, because America was, and for now still is, the world’s greatest dream machine. “