Freethinking. I still love the idea of the US going from a population of 290 m to well over 500 m in the next 15 years using a work-to-citizenship program. Imagine bringing 210 m of the most motivated, intelligent, and capable people in the world to the US (regardless of proximity to US borders). Our economy would boooooom (can you say double digit growth rates). The social security and budget failures would fade to oblivion as young workers outpace retired workers 15 to 1 (or more). The trade deficit would reverse! Offshoring would disappear. Real estate prices would zoom to provide monster nest eggs for current residents. It would even help the rest of the world as these people flowed back to their countries of origin with money, experience, and connections (to the US). The perception of the US globally would shift mightily in the right direction. [John Robb's Weblog]
Enough to drive the ZPGers crazy. The challenge -- a the key to doing this in a way that build rather than drains fundamental prosperity -- is to do with attention to radical resource productitivity improvements, so the US of 500m would be using fewer resources, emitting less pollution, and eating less of the seed corn than the US of 290m. Or even of 150m.
Possible? Why not? What if we could mirror a fraction of the magic of Moore's Law to the macro world? Those who figure out how will laugh all the way to the bank.
The 'factor four' folks in Europe talked about producing double the value with half the resources (2x2=4), before they decided the goal was too limited, and transformed the vision to Factor Ten. The Europeans won't be sitting back and counting their toes while the US grows. We should expect profound productivity challenges from the. And, as I've said, from China and India, who will be only too happy to leapfrog Europe as well as the US.