Wiki Response 02: Rising Above the Gathering Storm
One way to interpret the outsourcing of jobs away from the US in the last handful of years is that the global economy is experiencing a divide between the "thinkers" and the "do-ers". As we move farther and farther away from our agrarian and industrial roots and into the era where information (intellectual and factual) is power, it may be unsettling to see "our jobs" being shipped abroad. There may be some solace in thinking that is part of the last stage of our transformation from an industrial to informational society, much like molting, but the truth remains this is a perspective that only those of us immersed in information-rich resources can afford. Much of America still relies on vestiges of agrarian-age and industrial-age standards to put bread on the table and make ends meet.
The role of government is to move society towards a society of thinkers who can "afford" to see jobs of "doers" go elsewhere. The idea isn't to increase the global gap between thinkers and do-ers, per se, but to lead the charge for change and let others occupy our seat once we move on and are better able to help those who may need our help.
Education would play a major role in shifting values away from basic, repetitive skills, towards collaborative problem-solving tasks centered around students and the world (natural and social) they live in. Curriculum would be content-driven (science, math, social science, arts, etc.) while basic communication skills (reading and writing) would be learned and refined in the context of communicating ideas based on content. Skills remain important as thinkers still need to know how to "do" the job, but skills and hands-on applications would not be the end, rather a means to an end.
A society of thinkers would allow the US to lead and play host to innovation of ideas and solving of problems at a global scale until we can achieve a "wants-free" global society that resembles science-fiction writer, Gene Roddenberry's vision of mankind's future as explorers of the unknown and seekers of knowledge.
Link: California's response (2007) to the original Rising Above the Gathering Storm report.