Thomas Friedman Asks “What’s the matter with big business?”

Source: C.E.O.’s, M.I.A. – New York Times.

What’s the matter with big business?

America faces a huge set of challenges if it is going to retain its competitive edge. As a nation, we have a mounting education deficit, energy deficit, budget deficit, health care deficit and ambition deficit. The administration is in denial on this, and Congress is off on Mars. And yet, when I look around for the group that has both the power and interest in seeing America remain globally focused and competitive – America’s business leaders – they seem to be missing in action.

Yet, with a few admirable exceptions, American business has not gotten out front on these issues. In part, this is because boardrooms tend to be culturally Republican – both uncomfortable and a little afraid to challenge this administration. In part, this is because of the post-Enron keep-your-head-down effect. And in part, this is because in today’s flatter world, many key U.S. companies now make most of their profits abroad and can increasingly recruit the best talent in the world today without ever hiring another American.

So with business with its head in the clouds, labor with its head in the sand, the administration focused on terrorism and Congress catering to people who think "intelligent design" is something done by God and not by Intel, it’s not surprising that "we don’t have a strategy for making America competitive in the 21st century….