Friday, October 9, 2009

Unique Strengths of USA:Why USA will continue to lead the world for a very long time

Four key reasons I think USA will continue to lead the world for a very long time:

Unique culture of Innovation and melting point of the best brains in the world

USA is the home for the best brains in the world. It's not that the average IQ of an american is by default higher than that of people from other countries, america has successfully created an environment where the best brains of the world come and collaborate. Best of the class talents from different countries come to america and call it their home for rest of their life. That's how America can invent the best practices, products or services long before other countries can do so. US universities and private entrepreneurs are the key to this innovation journey. US has undue competitive advantage in this front which is very tough to replicate for other countries.

Strength of US Dollar

Still US Dollar is the reserve currency of the world and although its long term value may depreciate the process will take a very long time. During the Economic crisis US FED could just print money(I would say Free money) and the whole world was ready to accept dollar loans without any value depreciation of the USD. I don't think the model where US consumers continue to consume without creating similar amount of value and the rest of the world supply money and services to them is sustainable in the long term. But till the time we see an alternate global currency US dollar and as a result of that US will continue to dominate world economy.

US Military Power and strength in Global political diplomacy

US has unmatched military power and because of that it enjoys unmatched political supremacy. The might is always right and hence it can push for laws and sanctions which give them an undue advantage.

Scale of Operations

'Bigger the better' or 'Big is Beautiful' is not always true. But it is true that this american philosophy has helped america to create unique scale of operational efficiency, infrastructure development and use of Technology.

The more I see america, the stronger is my conviction that we will see more americanized world. This is not a perfect system but probably one of the most successful experiment done in this world.

How to stop the wastage Slowly but surely

We waste a lot starting from food, energy, water and other resources. Why do we do that? Are we fundamentally bad and don't care about our earth and limited natural resources? I think it this is not always a good or bad problem, it is a problem of accountability.

Most of the wastages are done when we are not accountable for those. For example consider wasting food in a office party(company pays it) or wasting water in our bathroom(we pay a fixed price for water and utilities and don't care how much we spend the water or how much garbage we generate).

Now consider the scenarios where we care. We care to drive in the right way(because if we get a ticket, our insurance premiums will increase) or when we buy food for ourselves in restaurant we buy within our capacity or at least pack it for next day.

It may sound simplistic, but I think the best way to solve the wastage problem is to make user accountable. We need to eliminate any free lunch. Let me discuss my idea with few examples.

We need to introduce pay per use pricing and remove any fixed pricing(at least some mixed model where variable component is present with a minimum fixed price). Let me start with water, utilities and garbage collection. Instead of a fixed monthly price let's meter the usage and price per the usage. Similarly let's consider healthcare cost. Our insurance covered model allows us to waste money in unnecessary tests etc. We should reduce the insurance premium and increase the co-payment or co-insurance. That way we can ensure accountability. Also we should have a guarantee program where the providers will provide guarantee of any treatment done from their facility. That way they will also make sure unnecessary costs are not involved and proper care is taken during the treatment.

We have huge business wastage. This is simply because nobody cares when the money involved is not personal money. I propose to introduce personal responsibility in corporate resource usage. The accountability should be at the most granular level and any cost save will have direct connection to that person's remuneration. This is a delicate balance but this will work.

Ownership of any transaction and personal accountability are the key here...