Although Americans may dominate the world of inventing, it's interesting to track the development of products and services once they have been successfully designed and produced, although it's not always in that order. They often provide an inordinately clear window into the foundational thinking of each culture in this now-shrunken world village that Senator Clinton wrote of.
The Israelis, as a rule, tend to seek ways to make it cheaper. The Israeli version of nobility is to do it cheaper without sacrificing quality.
The Japanese, as a rule, tend to miniaturize, preferring innovation over invention. Quality is most often associated with price, almost as reward and punishment in a post-modern version of class warfare. Cheap is cheap in both meanings of the word, and expensive is exquisite quality to a greater degree than is observable in other cultures.
The Chinese, as a rule, run crude copies on large scales and don't care who knows it. "Quality" is a rare word in that it does not translate readily into any of the five primary dialects in use throughout China.
The Americans, as a rule, find ways to make it better. Not better and cheaper, simply better. 1980 to 2000 represented twenty of the greatest years of expansion of the upper class's extant and newly-developed bloat thanks to the addition of "make it cheaper", simultaneous to suffering massive slough-offs in quality.
The selfishness of two overlapping generations of self-seekers in America is so intense that ideals are lost. Volunteerism on a per capita basis is lowered, commitment to community becomes little more than lip service, and, inexorably, like a Slinky toy moving down the stairs, quality drops and drops, and the consumer notices the drop in quality about as much as he notices the growth of his son. Each change is so small as to be imperceptible to all but the most observant (usually those who are paid to identify and measure changes in an assigned area of interest). Each change is like a wrinkle in a piece of aluminum foil: anticipation of return to way things were is unprofitable.
For those people silly enough to think that America is anything other than an oligarchy, who really believe that this is a democracy, rather than a kakistocracy, the changes, the lowering of quality of life -- and by the socially-applied principle of adhesion and cohesion the lowering of quantity that historically attaches -- is a self-perpetuating spiral that only massive intercession can decelerate.
All the holy books and science books do agree on a couple of things. One such feature is the notion that without a head, there can be no body; without a leader, there can be no nation. The trampling of America is not a multi-cultural or geographic or even political issue; it is purely financial.
Just under 500 human beings (472 at last precise count) were accounted to own or control some seventy percent of all the cash on earth. They are able to do so exclusively at the expense of the everyday citizen. For those who aren't paying attention (see above comment about oligarchy), that means you and your family.
From the California energy price gouging or Enron, Tyco and GE, the corporate rape of your pocketbook will not merely sustain, it will continue to increase for precisely as long as the citizens tolerate it. Americans got so worked up over comedian Bill Maher's nationally televised comment that the 911day hijackers were anything but cowards that his corporate sponsors had him fired from one of the most popular shows on television, "Politically Incorrect." Never mind that he reviled their act, he simply acknowledged that cowards do not fly jet airliners directly into buildings, his words set off a firestorm.
Yet no such outrage exists at genocides occurring around the world, or in the face of twenty-four thousand human beings dying every single day from starvation, the most preventable disease in history. No rage and no concrete action over American doctors killing patients at the insanely tolerated rate of six thousand deaths PER WEEK, week after week, month after month, and year after year, just from iatrogenia, which means "given to the patient by the physician," or in plain English, "DOCTOR ERROR."
Again and again, we see the citizenry getting worked up over non-issues and avoiding the issues that define a generation. It is specious to think that there is no deep and entwined set of connections between the degeneration of quality in our products with the quality of our governmental services. In both cases, the malaise grows distinctly and specifically due to tolerance. As long as Americans tolerate a CEO earning more than 100 times what an employee does, Americans will reap the pain of working more and having less, because what the CEO is not taking, the Senator is spending on cell phone bills.
The thread of quality in our products\services sector is inextricably entwined with the thread of quality in our life, the thread of ravelled care we experience as we arise or fall asleep each day with a feeling of fulfillment, or lack thereof.
The sooner that you stop waiting for your neighbor to reach out, the sooner you pick up your pen, the sooner you make that call, take that action, MOVE INTO THE FIRST STEP, the sooner you will personally and profoundly reverse the decline occurring in America. Fact is, it is not a national malaise; it is now a challenge for the global village called Earth.
Each member brings a unique set of skills to the table; every so often an actual talent will be revealed. Possessing them has little value until they are used. Use of them for solitary selfish benefit can rarely produce more than a single share of benefit, much like walking with a friend on opposite elevated rails of a train track, walking together yet quite alone. The moment that two people walking on separate rails join hands, the length and quality of the journey instantly triples. The members of our village have individual assets to offer which produce yields of exponentially greater quantity and quality when combined, yields that far exceed the hopes and reasonable expectations of any loner.
Talk less. Do more. Reap the fruits or reap the pain; as long as you understand that any result you like or dislike, any result you are satisfied with, or wish to improve, will never ever change... until your daily steps change. There is indeed a genetic connection.