Is it because we haven’t had strong leadership driving change? Personal political views aside, I think its safe to say that throughout history, we’ve had some good leaders so I don’t think the speed at which we change as a country is driven solely by the strategies set by our leaders.
Is it because we have the freedom not to change? After all, we can choose to change or not change without fear of retribution. This could again be part of it but I still don’t think it’s the main reason.
I would put forth the old adage, "no pain, no gain". I think America, as a society is slow to change because the pain of not changing isn’t greater than the pain of changing.
Why, well look at the auto industry. Until now the pain of not changing has been less than the pain of changing. Gas hasn’t been $8 a gallon and we haven’t yet run out of oil.
Yet, despite the fact that an American company called Better Place (www.betterplace.com) has put together a holistic and new infrastructure for electric cars based on the model used in the mobile phone industry which makes owning electric cars more convenient and more affordable than owning gas powered cars – we don’t hear much about it.
Other countries, some of which seemly have very rigid cultures have been much quicker to change. Israel, Denmark and Australia are all moving forward with the model before the U.S. It seems that their governments recognize the no pain, no gain theory. They are taxing emission cars at much higher rates (100% in some cases) than electric cars to instigate change.
Maybe the tough love message sent to Detroit in the past few weeks was meant to make the pain of not changing greater than the pain of changing and change will truly finally arrive…in the auto industry at least.