Michael Malone issues a challenge to America:
We are about to experience the greatest, and most culturally challenging, consumer expansion since the discovery of the New World. In his new book, "Jump Point," Silicon Valley marketing veteran Tom Hayes reveals that the world's leading cell phone companies predict the world market for Internet users is about to triple. What had been one billion wireless users just a few years ago jumped to two billion by the end of 2007 â€“ and will jump again to three billion by 2011.
That timeline may be optimistic. But the U.S. needs to get its competitive house in order soon, or it will face a very tough world.
Most of Malone's prescriptions for meeting this challenge are sound:
"We need to be prepared for a world where knowledge workers around the world are hired online by the minute â€“ in other words, radically simplified employee contracts, payroll tax documentation and W-2s, and improved tax laws on home offices, part-time work, and self-employment. But most of all, we must not impede this inevitable transformation by doing anything to limit free trade...."
"Make education more open."
"Create a Fat Pipe....The U.S. needs to have the fastest, cheapest and most reliable Internet access on the planet, both inside our borders and in our connections to the rest of the world."
Other Malone ideas are clinkers, for example:
"Like the railroads and the interstate highway system before it, we need a program of direct investment, subsidies and tax breaks to assure that Americans always have the world's best Web access...."
But at least he knows just how integrated the world is becoming and that we need a new agenda to succeed.