Here's a thought: in order for America to succeed in the twenty-first
century, we need to reduce our costs. This is partly because of the
rising cost of energy, partly because of the increasing participation
- and competition - of other nations in the world economy. As we
compete with nations whose cost of living is far lower than ours, we
can't afford to throw money away profligately.
This is one of the great challenges America faces as we enter the
twenty-first century: reducing our cost of living without sacrificing
our standard of living.
What is the answer? Reducing our use of energy is a clear necessity,
but I don't believe there is any one best way to do that. If we
look around the world, we can see many examples of people who enjoy
life, live comfortably, and have plenty of options for education,
entertainment, travel, worship, health care, and recreation, all at
lower costs than ours.
Should we try to copy some other nation's living
style? I don't think so. But we can observe the best practices of many
other nations and synthesize them to create our own patterns, our own
solutions, our own models. We can also look within our own country at
examples of lowered cost of living that doesn't reduce standards of
And we can do more than that. We can invent our own patterns. We can
use our "American ingenuity" to find solutions and create models of our
Let's keep that in mind as we plan for the rest of the twenty-first century. Meanwhile, in my next post I'll talk about an example of lowered cost of living that doesn't directly involve reducing energy use...