Can a country be like a marriage that has run out of cash and steam, resulting in the inevitable frank discussions about just who is pulling his or her own weight? Eventually, even those who love each other sometimes conclude they cannot stay together.
Juan Enriquez’s unique insights into the financial, political, and cultural issues we face will provoke shock and surprise and lead you to ask the question no one has yet put on the table: Could “becoming untied” ever happen here? It’s a question made especially relevant when we are faced with such unpromising facts as:
• At no other time have we had the unwelcome convergence in which the three key sectors of business, government, and consumers are so tapped out due to debt that each lacks the financial wherewithal to come to the rescue of the others.
• Most assets are not being used for productive purposes but for speculation, resulting in people lacking incentives to create real wealth, focusing instead on buying, selling, and flipping real estate.
• As religion starts to mix with politics, we have a culture that allows us to fall behind what were previously third world nations, because we are now treating science the way we did sex in the 1950s, banning or burying evolution theories and research into promising lifesaving areas such as stem-cell research.
When the enemy was outside—for example, the threat perceived when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik and people feared America would lose the brain race—we rallied. Now the enemy is within, and we polarize. Defaming the legitimacy of people on the “other” side becomes the currency of the day, where people in blue states are seen as godless liberal elitists and those in red states are seen as, well, rednecks.
Citizenship, Enriquez says, is like buying into a national brand. If the brand promises one thing and delivers another, could it then have the same fate as a tired product on a supermarket shelf, eroding, losing support, even disappearing? Countries, even one as powerful and successful as America, live on fault lines. When a fault line splits, it’s near impossible to put things back together again. What America will look like in fifty years depends on what we do today to act on the issues raised in The Untied States of America.
Also available as an eBook
From the Hardcover edition.
About Juan Enriquez
Juan Enriquez has a career that spans business, domestic and international politics, and science. He was the founding director of the Life Sciences Project at Harvard Business School, a fellow at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs, and a peace negotiator during Mexico’s Zapatista rebellion. He has appeared on 60 Minutes, is the author of As the Future Catches You, and has published his work in Harvard Business Review, Foreign Policy, Science, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Boston Globe. Mr. Enriquez is the CEO of Biotechonomy, a life-sciences research and venture capital firm.
“Persuasive, thought-provoking, and, ultimately, deeply unsettling.” —Eugene B. Skolnikoff, MIT
“Priority number one for all of us these days, from the White House to Main Street to pillow talk about our lives and careers, is thinking deeply about uncomfortable truths and possibilities. I guarantee that Untied will bring on a big case of the intellectual fidgets and provoke deep thought. . . . It is a masterpiece.” —Tom Peters
“If you think you know North America, then you need to read this book. You will learn things that shed a fresh light on who we are and what are the choices for our continent. Freshly written, provocative, and informative.” —Senator Bill Bradley
“With an outsider’s eye and an insider’s knowledge, Enriquez is a modern-day de Tocqueville, carefully observing daily customs and mores in a country that is increasingly divided between those who understand and embrace the future and those that seek to maintain yesterday’s status quo. This is the best book I have seen on what could happen if we do not immediately address the growing divisions within our society.” —J. Craig Venter, sequenced the human genome in 2001, cofounder of Synthetic Genomics, Inc.
“This is a surprising book, different in format than any you are likely to see. Enriquez has an important message: that nations are always beset with pressures from both outside and within, while history teaches that invariably they do not survive in their original form or size. He convincingly does not exempt the United States. But he presents his arguments with great originality in staccato form, with an astonishingly wide range of data, quotes, and speculation; in sum, persuasive, thought-provoking, and, ultimately, deeply unsettling.” —Eugene B. Skolnikoff, professor of political science, MIT
“Brilliantly researched . . . a must-read for all Americans from red and blue states and for policymakers on both sides of the aisle. Interesting, factual, scary, and entertaining—don’t miss the opportunity to see our future, read this book.” —Russ Howard, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (retired)
“Juan Enriquez makes connections and observations that elude other intellectuals of our day.” —Paula Stern, U.S. trade representative and member of the Clinton Administration Cabinet
“Juan Enriquez delves into the social gaps caused by ethnic discrimination and inequality of wealth, highlighting the unspoken fissures that sooner or later could threaten the unity of the United States or Mexico.” —Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica, winner of the Nobel Prize
“A cold shower of wit and wisdom, revealing the power of nonparadigmatic thinking.” —George Lodge, Jaime and Josefina Chua Tiampo professor of business administration, emeritus, Harvard Business School
From the Hardcover edition.