Reprinted with permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., from Make It In America by Andrew N. Liveris. Copyright (c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons. All rights reserved.
Meanwhile, in the United States, we operate as if little has changed. Our faith in the wisdom of markets may be shaken, but not at a fundamental level -- even after the markets have shown they're not always so wise. We assume that because of our greatness, companies will continue to invest here, just as they always have.We are wrong. Not about America's greatness, but what it entitles us to. It is time to recognize that if we don't act soon, if we continue to let markets rule in every instance, we will become the global economy's biggest bystander, and potentially, its biggest drain. Our consumers will find themselves with more debt and less money to spend; our businesses will have fewer resources for research and development; our future generations will lack opportunities. It's time for us to recognize the cost of inaction--not just for the United States, but also for the entire global economy. It's time for us to recognize, whether we like it or not, that for now, in certain key areas, we actually need more government, not less. As CEO of one of the most global U.S.-based corporations, I can tell you, without qualm or question, that I want government more involved. I need it more involved, for the sake of my employees and shareholders. Not as an overzealous regulator, but as a thoughtful partner to thoughtful business -- in a shared effort to strengthen our economy. Risk is inherent in business. I accept that. In fact, I embrace it. There's no upside without a downside. But any smart company anywhere in the world will do what it can to reduce the uncertainties of doing business, just as individuals do what they can to reduce risk in their lives. Other nations, recognizing this, are working closely with companies to mitigate risks, to create predictability so that businesses can plan and invest for the long term. Together, the public and private sectors set goals, and create mechanisms to ensure those goals are reached. These countries see what the United States, sooner or later, must realize: It's a false choice to say that you can be either pro-business or pro-government. The old ways of thinking don't apply to the new global economy. Indeed, today, more than ever before, being pro-government is a prerequisite for being pro-business. They must work in concert.