Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why can't America learn?

If our inability to learn from the other health care systems in the western world were not enough to sadden us, as T.R. Reid explains in the post below this one, our added inability to keep up with the rest of the world on the quest for energy independence, is but another sad, depressing example of the decline of America. Tom Friedman's column today is a must read reality punch. Money quote:

The other day, Splinter gave me a tour of the company’s Silicon Valley facility, culminating with a visit to its “war room,” where Applied maintains a real-time global interaction with all 14 solar panel factories it’s built around the world in the last two years. I could only laugh because crying would have been too embarrassing.Not a single one is in America.Let’s see: five are in Germany, four are in China, one is in Spain, one is in India, one is in Italy, one is in Taiwan and one is even in Abu Dhabi. I suggested a new company motto for Applied Materials’s solar business: “Invented here, sold there.”The reason that all these other countries are building solar-panel industries today is because most of their governments have put in place the three perquisites for growing a renewable energy industry: 1) any business or homeowner can generate solar energy; 2) if they decide to do so, the power utility has to connect them to the grid; and 3) the utility has to buy the power for a predictable period at a price that is a no-brainer good deal for the family or business putting the solar panels on their rooftop.

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