In the summer of 1787, America’s founding fathers convened in Philadelphia under analogous circumstances. The country was broken and indebted to foreign powers. Our system of government was incapable of providing solutions to problems that threatened the viability of the Union. In a four-month brainstorming session, the nation’s best and brightest seized the opportunity to candidly debate the vexing issues of the day and examine a full scope of options. The result was a blueprint for governing that to this day is considered to be one of the world’s greatest civic achievements. They too faced ideological antagonism and entrenched interests. Yet, they understood that real solutions would not come from those in government who were perpetuating and benefiting from the status quo. So, they went directly to the people for their support to ratify a new Constitution for the United States of America.
And thus, we will begin at the beginning. Using America’s great and defining charters of freedom -- the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights -- as our guide, we will conduct our first major initiative, The Philadelphia Project. The purpose of this endeavor will be to examine the original intent of our form of government and the core, societal values it embodies. Then, we will apply those principles to craft modern national mission objectives based on our contemporary national needs. Taking into consideration all of our country’s capabilities, we will establish a new framework for government institutions that will enable those national objectives to be met by identifying the activities that government must do – no more, no less. As in any major management restructuring, the strategy for the transition will be challenging, but the interests of the American people will be better served with a cost model that not only balances the budget but actually generates sufficient funds to save future generations from the crushing debt we are amassing by the minute. National strategies would be helpful and would accelerate the progress but every community with the vision and courage has the power to shape its own destiny.
Since its inception in 2012, The American Millennium Society (AMS) has been concerned about the underlying shifts in the U.S. economy as we move through the 4th industrial revolution. Our institutions were not adequate for the task of supporting American global competitiveness and the resultant inequities are an existential threat to the middle class as well as to democracy as we know it. In April of 2016, this research was delivered in a speech at a Harvard global leadership conference that described in stark terms the fact that the level of concentration of capital was comparable to early 20th-century levels. To quote Ms. DiFrancesco, founder of AMS, “We were not at a stable point then and we are not at a stable point now.”
Fortunately, the Society has the tools and methods to illuminate the issues and the advanced management science that can help “crack the code” on the next generation of the economy that can redefine the great American Promise in 21st-century terms (https://www.americanmillenniumsociety.org/ams-innovations). This new basis for discussion enables polarized groups to find common ground using fundamentally American principles – our National DNA – and to develop institutions that are accountable to the American people for producing results for the American people. In our system of government, the American people are not subjects or customers; they are the shareholders of the Nation. They have the right to expect a government to understand the value of their interests that require a common defense, their welfare that government can genuinely promote, and how to secure the blessings of liberty for “themselves and their posterity” so that investments the government makes on their behalf show a return. After nearly a quarter millennium, it is time for a sober review of where we are as a nation and what it will take to bridge our society to a sustainable, prosperous next quarter millennium. For almost a decade, AMS has been developing strategic frames and analytic techniques to structure government around Constitutional principles and shape the dialog on the solutions to our most vexing problems in value-to-investment (ROI) terms. This is our Agenda for America MQ2.
“If you don’t know what it is worth, how do you know what you are willing to spend?”
A U.S. National Human Capital Strategy. This proposal is the first step in establishing one of the cornerstones of the Agenda, a National Human Capital Strategy (NHCS). The country is in the midst of historic challenges and is facing both a short-term crisis and a long term-structural shift. The issues from the pandemic response, unemployment relief, immigration reform, healthcare and public health system, the digital divide, systemic poverty, and erosion of democracy are big issues that are all connected to the lack of a comprehensive, integrated, and intentional NHCS. A strategy could provide a framework for developing policy, directing public investment, and leveraging private investment in a way that would maximize the value of the American people to the American people.
We tested these concepts in a recent set of Convenings in collaboration with the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) that included college presidents, senior corporate executives, non-profit organizations, and community leaders. The group concluded that not only was a comprehensive NHCS long overdue, but it would also be invaluable for helping to better vector investments – for both the private sector as well as for public policy and to accelerate our post-pandemic recovery.
The Convenings discovered some unintended consequences of current Biden Administration proposals and improved those ideas with a framework for decision-making that could unify Democrats and Republicans around outcomes that advance our global competitiveness as well as tax schemas that could get broad corporate support. The group agreed that we need a non-partisan National Commission that can combine sophisticated management science and decision support to formulate the “right” answers and act as a “sideways force” to help those inside government to transform government to create a sustainable foundation for a vibrant 21st-century economy.
Using methods and research provided to the project by the American Millennium Society (AMS), we conducted an initial round of facilitated discussions using the advanced analytic frameworks for valuing investments in our nation’s human capital. In partnership with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), participants in these convenings included university and college presidents, business and foundation leaders, economists, and other experts on the future of education, work, and the community.