Sometimes it seems that Americans are divided in countless ways—red or blue; black, brown, or white; rich or poor; male or female. What happened to America as the land of freedom and openness? In America the Principled, renowned Harvard Business School professor and bestselling author Rosabeth Moss Kanter tackles the hardest questions our nation faces, and challenges us to recommit ourselves to pursuing our nation’s noblest goals: equality and opportunity.
As our open minds, open markets, and open borders—our nation’s highest ideals—are besieged by ideologues and zealots, Dr. Kanter shows us how to recapture the American Dream. Artfully mixing practical ideas with compassionate guidance, she reminds us that the stakes have never been higher: Our economic vitality and democratic ideals are both at risk. In order to compete in the global market, we must invest in people and ideas, reward hard work, value dialogue and debate, and listen to dissenting voices. We must curtail our desire for worldwide empire, build bridges through citizen diplomacy, and pursue happiness instead of hegemony.
Dr. Kanter proposes six vital items on the agenda for restoring American strengths:
• Widening the net of prosperity by creating opportunities for people of all social and economic classes to participate in the science-based “white coat” economy. We can’t afford to have large segments of people—and areas of our country—existing outside the foundations of our future, innovation-seeking society.
• Supporting real family values through fair and flexible workplaces that reduce stress and close gender gaps, enabling people to earn a living, be productive, and have the time and energy for the other side of life
• Ridding the private sector of imperial excess by instilling a values-based capitalism of businesses that are well run, make lots of money, and do lots of good
• Reinventing government and stop denigrating it so that when the next Katrina strikes, we have the right people in place with the motivation, capability, and resources to deal with it
• Doing something about the “Ugly American” by earning back the respect that we have lost in the last six years through individual grass-roots engagement with people in other countries
• Moving from “me” to “we” through national service programs that tap both young people as well as aging baby boomers to create a community ethos that unites people behind common purposes
Empowering and surprisingly optimistic, America the Principled urges us to work together for a bright future we’ll be proud to share, having earned the respect of the world once more—and shows us how to do it.
From the Hardcover edition.