In response to Marc Andreessen’s “IT’S TIME TO BUILD”, I composed a postmortem of the pandemic’s consequences and supplemented my ideas for moving forward in this new policy climate.

Marc is co-founder of the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Adreessen Horowitz (a16z), a firm that exudes excellence in its support for entrepreneurs, and I became an even bigger fan when they created a fund dedicated to Distributed Ledger Technology.

The visionary who realized “Software Is Eating the World”, also recognizes the need to build America back to its preeminence and lead the Western world to rediscover greatness.

Yet it begs the question, what are our current values? Is it enough to only ignite the desire to build pragmatic industriousness as a value, or what combination of values produces a legacy for future generations? Which values can create and sustain a long-term boom cycle and build America into the next golden age?

One technique to answer such questions is to examine what people valued post-World War II and compare that mindset to our values today.

The culture of America since post-WWII is dramatically different. However, the period of 1949–1971 is the last reference point for explosive growth throughout America, which also increased prosperity and security for many across the world.

So, let’s peek into the zeitgeist of the post-war era and glean a few nuggets of value that fueled their success.

Please keep in mind that observations are generalizations from the postwar era and do not apply to every individual person or entity.

  • Thankfulness: After the war, victor/survivor euphoria, relief, and belief in a new beginning without a menacing threat, motivated the thankful to build in light of not taking life for granted.
  • Enemy Concern: The collective “red scare” from a new Soviet Union-based power, produced healthy anxiety and motivated Americans to build quickly, stay innovative, and fund friendly developing nations to spread our influence and buffer them from the Communists’ Marxist ideas.
  • Belief: Americans believed the word of their fellow man more readily during post-war recovery. Business deals could be done on a handshake, and a person’s word was their bond.
  • Just Wages: The economy was open to more educated workers due to the GI Bill. Also, recognizing the Civil Rights of many citizens provided more access and opportunities for builders. Wages for the middle class increased at a healthy rate partially due to businesses with new-found prosperity, being willing to negotiate pay at an individual level, and being more liberal with ongoing raises and benefits.
  • General Trust: Most Americans trusted government entities to fulfill their duties and improve society. The public sector trusted American businesses that were helpful during the war to build and innovate, which helped the government gain successful outcomes either through services, goods, or tax revenue. People bestowed a higher trust for our institutions including social and welfare agencies, the press/media, education institutions, unions, the courts, financial institutions, the Church, corporations, and even content coming out of Hollywood.

Advantages we possess today over the post-WWII period.

“More people in more places can now compete, connect and collaborate with equal power and equal tools than ever before.”

— Thomas Friedman

Today, we have what it takes to build whatever we want. We have the tools, technology, processes, and means to connect with a large pool of talented humans quickly, as well as tons of capital (literally now).

The internet not only connected us and provided massive data to increase our shared knowledge at an exponential rate, but the expansion improved other areas of our economy as well, from manufacturing to farming.

We know optimal project management techniques, from waterfall to PERT to Agile. We have the tools and documented experience to work with remote teams in any time zone. We can source materials and products from around the world due to well-developed logistics. Oil is even cheap again if we purge ESG standards!

Lack of will, imagination, and complacency with the status quo are true shortcomings of the investor and political classes. However, I will add another crippling element that plagues every American industry, corruption.

Critics of our current elites express their views courageously. Leaders such as Marc Andreessen, Elon Musk, Glenn Beck, and Chamath Palihapitiya push for better behavior, new challenges, and greater risk-taking.

Once we move beyond Slow Moe Joe and complete the 2024 race, having a political leader who is about building efficiently (no red tape, bureaucracy, or heavy-handed regulations) will be a plus. Also needed are enough senators, house representatives, career government bureaucrats, governors, county judges, mayors, and city officials focused on building and willing to empower citizens. Political leadership is good for an initial jump-start, and after COVID-19 diminishes, we may be ready to fully cooperate with one another for a while.

However, this is not sustainable. Over a short period of time, parties will fall back into their trenches, and anyone who attempts to cross no man’s land will suffer greatly.

Business executives who listened to consultants’ advice on how to get more productivity out of their employees while keeping wages stagnate, will go back to their schemes for more bonuses, bigger share-holder dividends, and buy-back stock propping.

Those who figured out non-profit schemes will continue increasing overhead admin costs at the expense of their initial ground-level mission.

Architects and engineers who took cues from “The Big Dig” and numerous bridges-to-nowhere projects, taught these professionals to become specialists in budget overruns, delays, and skimming schemes. Even NASA suffered from such corruption. At its height, NASA’s budget was 4.41% of the Federal budget in 1966. After decades of steady downward cuts, now only 0.47% Fed budget goes to NASA, which in constant dollars is 50% less than the height (Wiki, 2020). Now, private sector entities make advances NASA gave up pursuing decades ago.

K–12 education will neglect the high-tech lessons learned during the Corona Virus lockdown and revert to the inefficiencies of industrial-age educational models. Universities will continue the pillaging of young adults’ future earnings to grant access to limited social club seats, for a certificate of professional career consideration.

Churches will stay in the small corner that secular society painted them in.

The media will continue toxic outlays of social gossip and political-fueled accusations instead of pointing to social advancements, providing useful guidance for those who want to build, or just get back to straight news reporting.

After the damage of COVID-19, Social Welfare agencies and political agents that back them will again over-reach with “helpfulness” and attempt to force their Utopian ideas on those lacking instead of listening to those they are helping or follow solutions that are proven to sustainably lift people out of destitute situations with dignity.

Once businesses begin to turn profits again, Unions will go back to old playbooks of agitation to push more concessions, creating a less competitive American business, or sap more dues from workers who are forced to join their roles by corrupt political fiat.

Sleazy attorneys will continue to take advantage of our court system. Unscrupulous judges who take frivolous lawsuits, promote an over-litigious society. Thus, the legal system will continue to cripple itself and hurt American businesses.

There is not enough paper on the planet to talk about all the disgraces of Hollywood. Hope for many different stories being told through the arts that reflect the values, graces, and noble fights within much of America has little to no chance of being funded by film studios.

Will financial institutions go back to their Wall Street ways? Will they continue suppressing fintech innovations, stifling cryptocurrency advancements, locking out investment opportunities, not bothering to bank the current unbanked, continuing money surveillance practices for government overlords, and continuing to use the pen to rob value from the masses only to suffer minor fines from the same overlords they report citizens’ and businesses’ information? Yes, they will.

Before we can fulfill the utilitarian goals laid out by Marc Andreessen, these problems must be addressed.

So, what do these problems have in common, what’s lacking?

A Moral Imperative:

“We cannot live only for ourselves… A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”

— Herman Melville

To be fair, most problems that led to a lack of building in this nation are systemic problems. Even if individuals realize the dysfunctions within their industry, there is little one-off individuals can do to reform entrenched systematic rot.

However, with any major change, all that’s needed is a 1/3 population sample. From the American Revolution to abolishing indoor cigarette smoking, 1/3 of the population will resist your ideas, 1/3 don’t care, and all that’s needed is 33% of the population in agreement.

Thus, a unified effort is needed for lasting change. The people to lead us into the next age of builders must not only know what to do but also foster the best mentality to sustain the gains.

Are those with 7 generations worth of wealth in their coffers afraid of losing it all, or their woeful children losing it all? Are they so complacent and indulged that they believe everyone in America is comfortable and OK? Or, do they despise people not in their social circles so much, that instead of deploying capital to bolster talent, they would rather build bigger gated community walls at any sign of social disturbance?

The Church (every believer in traditional Western theology) is the most important institution in which Americans are losing faith. Why? I list several of many reasons below, but primarily, the impetus to do “the right thing” when no one is looking, must come from a code that is more important than anything this world has to offer. A code that has no respect for a person and is consistent for everyone, at all times, and in all places.

Before expounding further on the importance of Judeo-Christian ethics, I must emphasize that moral integrity truly exists with atheists, agnostics, or those who are part of other major religions. However, I am contrasting the differences in modern America versus post-WWII America, and in post-WWII America, the vast majority of citizens were Christians (Catholic, Anglican, Protestant) or Jews, of whom the Bible/Torah primarily informed them of ethical and work behavior.

What we value today:

Listing the same values of Americans post-WWII, let’s explore a few changes.

  • Thankfulness: An attitude of gratitude is not the primary description for the average American today. Are too many of us over-protected within this litigious society and expect someone else to be at fault for any problems that arise? Maybe it’s because we are insulated from major difficulties, even from the experiences of our recent wars. Could our exposure to constant click-bait panic-inducing media, political leadership crises, and an education system that constantly pushes American cynicism to cause a bit of cynicism? Are activist groups causing anxiety and anger, so people feel they must fight an unending string of Social Justice causes before they can see anything around them to be thankful for and constantly improve upon?
  • Enemy Concern: The closest common concern to the USSR is Communist China. However, before COVID-19, many of our elites were China apologists who want to get along with the regime for business opportunities. A large percentage of our populace does not fear the detriments of Socialism or full-blown Communism. With no common enemy, many are not motivated to improve America’s standing. Many in the West no longer value an individual’s sovereignty and the importance of self-expression without fear. These values act as a buffer against tyrants who are quick to seize private property and steal productivity from its people.
  • Belief: American belief in our neighbors, business dealings, or institutions is reflected in our litigious society. Every agreement must be accompanied by documentation. Even personal relationships, such as marriage, are engaged in less and with more prenuptial agreements.

Still, among all American women over 15, less than half (47 percent) are married today, the lowest since the turn of the 20th century, and down from a peak of 65 percent in 1950, the report found.

— (Megan Gannon, 2013)

  • Just Wages: Wage stagnation was once reserved for difficult industry periods or universal economic downturns. However, wage stagnation is a common technique used by companies today. For most workers, the only means to a pay increase is to leave and work for another company. I saw the trend in the early 1990s as H.R. departments benchmarked pay rates based on geography. So, if a professional in Mississippi performs the same tasks as a similar credentialed person in New York, the New York person may be paid up to 40% more simply based on location, even if the employer is an international entity, not bound by geography. Overall, this is only one technique used by unscrupulous companies to squeeze productivity at a lower and lower cost. Conferences are conducted to share ideas on employee workplace happiness techniques, non-monetary perks, productivity motivations, and worker retention without a pay increase.
  • General Trust: Trust is broken in most areas of American life as expounded above. The best hope to establish functional financial and legal systems is to introduce a Trustless system.

The Way Forward:

A covert figure named Satoshi Nakamoto invented Bitcoin. Why was this necessary? Satoshi Nakamoto recognized the need for a different system of value capture and transacting outside the auspices of central authorities. A few years later, Vitalik Buterin envisioned a need for contractual agreements between two individuals or entities without a middle agent.

Many other sincere freedom developers work on blockchain technologies that provide solutions for structural Reset.

A reset retools and improves every industry in which we have lost trust, and builders can unify behind a clear vision with many milestones yet to accomplish.

The only ones who can sustain • next-generation internet • self-banking systems • smart contract binding agreements • secure and portable medical, educational, and ID records • encrypted and private communications • organizing and securing A.I. and robotics • time stamping content to blockchain • safety audits via logistics tracking from source to final destination • new energy distribution and credits.

If built with integrity, tomorrow’s powerful, whether A.I. or a super-rich elite, will obey a foundation that demands justice, optimizes opportunity and provides equal treatment under the law of code.