America 1.0 was the combination of America’s English cultural and institutional roots with American frontier conditions. It was a world of animal and muscle power, difficult transportation over continental distances, family farms and small businesses with limited market participation, and governance that was limited, local, and face-to-face. America 1.0 set the trajectory for American life, and it has never lost its grip on the American imagination.
America 2.0 was the transformation of American life by powered machinery. The shift toward corporate labor, and away from individual and family autonomy, led to economic insecurity for families and tradespeople. Americans demanded protections they had not needed in the past. At the same time, face-to-face local governance was replaced with increasingly distant and unaccountable bureaucracies, difficult-to-manage large cities, and the entanglement of government power with private business. The costs and burdens of this powerful, centralized state are becoming ever clearer. We are living in a period of crisis, as America 2.0 collapses around us.
Yet America 3.0 is already emerging. We have already begun to adapt our institutions and to forge new arrangements that are appropriate for a post-industrial, networked, decentralized society. The transition will not be smooth, but it is the only path forward. This book provides a roadmap to the American future, illuminated by fundamental insights into our deeply-rooted underlying culture of freedom and liberty.