We Can And Will Do Better

I am constantly searching for a good set of metrics to evaluate the performance of Brand America on the world scene. In the past, I have written about several.


Brand America Repeats As The #1 Most Admired Nation

Brand America’s Global Ranking

Brand America Rated #1

Brand America Must Do Better

The Changing American Dream – Back to the Future

Is Brand America’s Promise Losing Authenticity?

The American Dream

Brand America’s Global Competitiveness Declined in 2008

This is a topic I find concerning. But to be honest, a good friend raised my concern even further after I watched a new, short (3:26) video he sent to me.

As background, this video is the beginning scene of an HBO series entitled “The Newroom”. It depicts a town hall meeting where a college student asks the seemingly innocent question – “Can you tell me what makes America the greatest nation?” The answer is disquieting.

YouTube Video titled – The Most honest 3 Minutes of Television, EVER (caution, some strong language)

In addition to watching the video, take a few minutes to skim the comments that viewers wrote. The reaction is certainly polarizing.

One viewer suggested George Carlin’s lecture on the American Dream was even better. Here is a link to it so you can judge. Both strike emotional chords and in my opinion both are very polarizing.

George Carlin – The America Dream (caution, some strong language)


Candidly, the videos made me very uncomfortable. I can’t argue with the factual data presented, but I am not sure I agree with the doomsday sentiment. My sleep loss issue is that the speeches may be more directionally right than I am willing to accept.

I am personally far more optimistic than these two videos. But I do agree that we need to, can, and will do better.

Brand America is facing a real challenge. It is important we determine how to succeed in an increasingly competitive and globally interdependent world. Many of the systems and processes we have in place today are optimized for winning in this new world order. Consequently, we need to productively address the shortcomings and move forward with confidence.

One thing I do believe strongly is that the promise of Brand America is as relevant and competitive today as the day our nation was created. When we do strengthen the authenticity, then the legacy we leave will be remarkable not sad.


What is your reaction to the two videos? What are your thoughts on positive steps we can take to improve the probability of success for Brand America?  The only thing i I ask is that you please try your best to ensure your comments are constructive and as apolitical as possible. My goal is to stimulate practical suggestions on how to improve Brand America’s global competitiveness for foreign direct investment.  It is not my intention to create a political debate. Thanks in advance for your consideration.

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Category FDI, Leadership

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2 Comments so far

  1. Steven

    July 11, 2012

    It is unfortunate that America is not taking the lead in this global index. Even more so that this is occurring at a time when we have elected a president who won based on PR. I do feel that this is more about perceived America than the real America, and that the only economic indicator that needs to change in regards to this information is the unemployment rate. However, that will also indicate that industry has picked up speed again, now is not the time for industry to seek to sell within the United States, but to begin hiring service jobs that focus on creating exportable commodities, and intangible commodities. Even companies that engage in Foreign Direct Investment see a return on investment in their home communities or American HQ’s. It is just time for us to start doing what we do best, again.

  2. JIm Samuel

    July 11, 2012

    Somewhat unsettling videos to say the least, but I am one who believes in American Exceptionalism. In regard to the HBO Newsroom trailer, it will draw controversy and I assume that will drive its viewership which drives its revenue, that is after all capitalism. I can’t quibble with the string of data points the actor spews, in fact I am sure they are all accurate. But back to my point on American Exceptionalism; most of the countries he mentions owe their freedom to America and with the exception of Australia and Canada, American soldiers twice bled on those lands for their freedoms in the last century. The real strength of the video however is not the seemingly negative comments about the Nation but those he directs at the college student, union head and I assume business executive. Too many have their head in the sand about the future of the country and need to get more engaged. If data is what drives action, then those data points should be assessed, and addressed. More and more views like this are going to be expressed if our country’s true position of strength – our economic power – wains in the current world climate. That is were we need to engage the nation and get people back to the self sufficient, entrepreneurial spirit that built the country, and away from this victim-oriented, eliminate-risk culture that is growing in our midst.

    As for George Carlin, he is a crass comedian with very offensive viewpoints (listen to his rants against religion), but his point about lowering test scores to make people feel better is humorous and sadly correct in too many occasions.

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