This pandemic changes everything, we can’t go back to the way we were. That’s what everyone is saying. Well, not everyone, but I don’t know how many times I’ve read some version of that over the past month.
I would like to reflect on that theme, albeit in perhaps and oblique and impressionist manner. I want to begin by invoking a recent essay in which Marc Andreessen urges us to “reboot the American Dream.” Then I move back half a century and look at Walt Disney’s version of, well, the American Dream. I return to the present through an essay by Ezra Klein and conclude with a video in which Sean O’Sullivan talks of how he came to form an NGO that worked on building Iraq early in this millennium.
Marc Andreessen: Let’s Build Something!
Roughly two weeks ago a prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Marc Andreessen, issued a call to action, It’s Time to Build, which has been getting a lot of action, pro, con, and sideways. Here’s how it opens:
Every Western institution was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic, despite many prior warnings. This monumental failure of institutional effectiveness will reverberate for the rest of the decade, but it’s not too early to ask why, and what we need to do about it.
Many of us would like to pin the cause on one political party or another, on one government or another. But the harsh reality is that it all failed — no Western country, or state, or city was prepared — and despite hard work and often extraordinary sacrifice by many people within these institutions. So the problem runs deeper than your favorite political opponent or your home nation. Read more »