Have you ever wanted to understand the role of government in investing? Do you know the historical role of government and investing? I recently ran across an article that list the top 10 U.S. investments, that the United States has ever made into the future of it’s economy. The article made me think about how our government interacts with our economy and helps sustain it. I also wanted to know if the success of the past could be duplicated in today’s market. In order to make an educated guess at where we are going, we have to realize where this country has been.
The first big investment of the 20th century.
One of the first investment decisions in modern times our country made, was to build Ellis Island. This project cost $1.5 million dollars in 1900 which equals to around $40 million dollars today. Imagine how those first immigrants to this nation felt knowing they were welcomed and accepted. The backbone of every nation’s economy is it’s workforce. Without a strong labor force manufacturing, construction, agricultural, and hospitality industries suffer. Today, Ellis Island is a museum and immigrants come to this country in various ways such as green cards, visas, diplomatically, and others. They all bring different cultures, prospects, and ideas. This also adds more wealth and allies to the American economy.
Why do we invest in IT so heavily?
The first article I read also stated, that from 1962 to 1999 the United States government invested heavily into DARPA,(Defense Advance Research Projects Agency), America’s answer to the Russian satellite program Sputnik. DARPA is now a small R and D team within the Department of Defense. Scientists affiliated with DARPA are accredited with the creation of stealth technology, GPS, and Siri. DARPA received an equivalent of over $3 billion dollars in today’s money over a 40 year period. This investment into technology allowed the United States to remain at the top of the world economy. According to the government run website Itdashboard.gov, by the year 2020 government investment in major IT projects may reach over $21 billion dollars, while minor projects may climb to $63 billion. Our government’s role is instrumental in the development of the technology we use everyday.
The investment that started NASA.
The lead article, also mentioned the Apollo space program, which was created in 1961 and lasted until 1969. It cost about $150 billion dollars in today’s money and employed over 400,000 people. That number of jobs can easily eliminate the unemployment in a small town similar to the one I grew up in, or any mid to small size town for that matter. The moon landing and other missions managed to bring so much more to our way of life than just jobs. The NASA program that came from this journey to the moon, (that some may argue with today); either way, over 1500 products and industries were created as a result. This includes solar panels, cordless power tools, and electrical sensors.
One of the greatest gifts to mankind.
The last topic the article spoke about, was the human genome project, that started in 1990. This was a joint project involving the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy. The first phase was completed in 2000 resulting in research that helps scientists fully understand how our genetics work. The human genome project was an important investment, into not only the American way of life, it also benefits the world too. The project cost around $4.7 billion dollars in today’s current market. Today, the pharmaceutical and biomedical markets are continuing to expand. It seems this research is almost priceless. This investment affects medicine creation, longevity of life, and just about every other aspect of modern medicine.
What can we learn from the history of our governments investing.
Originally, I wanted to write this article to understand how our government influences and invest into it’s people. I also wanted to learn what past lessons can help benefit a strong government in the future. Going back to the beginning of this report, immigration is a complex situation in today’s society. Back in the 1900s Ellis Island was a sort of “hub” for immigrants, and I believe this model can still work today. For example, we can build an immigration welcoming program alongside existing ones, that can help newcomers assimilate into American culture faster. We can also develop more cultural exchange projects that can bridge the gap, and we can use technologies such as social media, software programming, and government policies to complete this task. This alone can create jobs, promote growth, and invest into a stable future economy.
Inspired investing behavior.
After I read the top ten list, it inspired me to focus on investing into ventures that have greater challenges, potential for growth, and value to future generations. Every generation needs to have a goal that inspires the next generation. Our government has created jobs and opportunities across the world, yet we still face homelessness, unemployment, and under-education in record highs in our own country. In order for our government to balance these issues we must pool from the past successes. Can you imagine a world that has eradicated disease, or what benefits a generation after our lifetime, world hunger does not exist? The puzzle pieces of these social economic problems can be solved step by step over time. Our government leaders must be builders and entrepreneurs, because those are the people building our economy and connecting our world. Every area of country has different circumstances and lifestyles. Our government should reflect the goals of the communities in which it governs. I believe, if every government leads their nations, by investing into enhancing the lives of it’s people, the world markets become more stable. A balanced government that treats it’s citizens and neighbors fair can achieve great goals and become an example to the rest of the world.