Iowa’s Governor has become a devotee of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman who wrote the best-selling book “The World Is Flat.” “If you have not read that book, I would suggest that you do so,” Governor Tom Vilsack says. Vilsack mentions the book in many of his public speeches, calling it a book that can “educate” readers on what is actually happening in the world.

Vilsack, as Friendman does in his book, argues that the development of the personal computer, the Internet and impressive software have changed the world forever.
Wealth will no longer be created simply by the manufacture of goods, Vilsack says but by the use of a communications infrastructure that the nation — and the state — build.

That includes the education system, which Vilsack says must teach children how to be lifelong learners, easily adapting to new technology and new jobs. “The middle class as we know it will be different in the future. The middle class that was built with the manufacturing jobs — people working for the same company, making a good wage, putting money aside for retirement, paying for college education, buying a home — will not necessarily be the middle class of tomorrow in America,” Vilsack says. “What we are today China and India will be. The challenge is for us to figure out what we will be next.”

Vilsack had the author speak at the National Governors Association meeting this summer in Des Moines and the governor went to Maryland earlier this month to meet again with Friedman and talk about the nation’s economic future. Vilsack says all about creating a new middle class in America. Vilsack says the new middle class will be made up of people who know how to adapt, explain and synthesize.