Over the weekend, I watched a documentary style news program where Alan Greenspan was waxing philosophic about our current economic condition.
Mr. Greenspan said that our nation didn’t become great and prosperous because we had more resources than other nations. No, he said we became so great because we are smarter than everyone else. Of course this is a paraphrase because I wasn’t watching television with a notepad and pen.
I think Mr. Greenspan is a super smart and awesome dude, but I must disagree with him on both points, although clearly America has produced some of the hardest working, most resourceful, best and brightest.
When I was in college, I took two semesters on the history of science and technology and I learned that while England and the Old World had skilled labor, their natural resources were depleted after thousands of years of civilization. On the other hand, in the New World, we had more resources than we could shake a stick at, but not much in the way of skilled labor to take advantage of it. So, I think Mr. Greenspan is wrong – we did, and I think still do, have more resources than other countries. It’s anyone’s guess as to how long that will be true.
I also disagree with his point that we got where we are because we are smarter than other nations, and here, I will quote Lincoln who said it better than I ever could.
“But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”
~ Abraham Lincoln