America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses.
-President Woodrow Wilson
We are in a period of great disruption. Technology is seemingly reinventing whole industries like healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and finance and insurance. The digitization of these sectors is improving outcomes and the speed and level of service. It is also simultaneously threatening to destroy millions of jobs.
Our national debate includes the perils and promise of global trade, an unstable Europe, wages and work rules, and taxes.
Whenever I am frightened by the future and what it may bring, I look to history.
In 1916, the United States was a young nation dealing with its place in the world. It was a year away from ending its neutral stance and entering World War I in Europe. The first 40-hour work week was started and the industrialization of America was just beginning. The country was encountering racial tension, domestic terrorism and defending its borders (the Mexican Revolution), and expanding them (occupying the Dominican Republic). Institutions like the Boy Scouts of America and the Boeing Corporation were started.
We can draw many or few conclusions from what happened a hundred years ago. My conclusion is that we should never doubt our capacity for great change.
Columbus 2020 Update
- This week, the Columbus 2020 team will travel to California to meet with companies and consultants.
- Back at home, we’ll gather with Columbus Region economic development leaders at Kenyon College for a retreat where we’ll focus on strategies and best practices for our communities.