An unfinished legacy: President Reagan and the Socrates Project

President Reagan saw that if the US could generate and lead the automated innovation revolution, America’s competitiveness and economic health for many generations would be ensured. The Socrates team did design, build and demonstrate a proof-of-principle version of the automated innovation system.

The Socrates automated innovation system was also designed to generate one other major benefit for the US. It would enable the public and private organizations throughout the US to work together in a self-determined, highly symbiotic fashion. As a result, technology and the full range of other resources throughout the US would be utilized in a highly coherent but flexible and independent fashion, further increasing the competitive advantage of the US and all its private and public organizations — all fully compatible with America’s democratic principles and belief in free markets.

President Reagan saw that the Socrates automated innovation system needed to be built, so he created a new government agency that would support all US industry and the government agencies. But before the executive order could be signed, President Reagan’s term came to an end, and he left it to the incoming President Bush to continue the mission. When Bush came into office he abolished the Socrates Project.

With the US now losing industry after industry and Americans’ standard of living on a rapid decline, now is the time to complete the task that President Reagan saw as the key to America’s future. We need to generate and lead the automated innovation revolution, and we need to do it before it is too late

Michael Sekora is the former director of the US government’s Socrates Project.

  • DCPodinski

    This article doesn’t really go into much detail about why Pres Bush abolished Socrates. I looked it up and according to wikipedia- “Project Socrates was labeled as “industrial policy”, and began to fall from favor”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Socrates

    Industrial policy, eh? Considering who this is coming from (Bush I), I’ve got to wonder what else was really behind the cutting of this program…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Nellis/658073624 Jason Nellis

    I think this is relevant, and amazing. One of the core ideas is about technology being the answer, how we have the means to unite, to eliminate greed… From a very old movie, the amazing Charlie Chaplin giving a rare speech (in character)- this is so poignant and relevant and from what I gather shares the same core values as this project’s long-term goals, I believe.


    “Let us fight for a world of reason! A world where science and progress will lead to all man’s happiness.”

  • DeannaLawson

    Wow, how is it that the Socrates Project became so buried and never really reached the public ears? (Well, guess that *was* the era before internet/Wikileaks, etc…ha) But in all seriousness, it makes you wonder what the nation/world would be like today had the project been allowed to go on as planned.

    • rachelgarratt

      Yes, my boyfriend is a handsome techie, and we’ve talked about it as well. How impacting a group focused ENTIRELY on creating strategic moves against non-allied countries would’ve been. The wars that could have been avoided. Can you imagine the health of our economy??!!

      • DeannaLawson

        hehe, a handsome techie? 😉 I could use one of those myself 😛
        But as for the topic– it sounds like a good idea, but a pretty idealistic one, don’t you think? I mean, when have *any* politicians been able to agree, cooperate, and work together long/well enough to accomplish a feat like that? Unless you don’t mean a group of *politicians*?

        • rachelgarratt

          Ha! Get your own nerd. Ya, hence why they didn’t get it off the ground. Stupid politicians just get the way. It just makes too much sense to do it, hence why they dropped the ball. Ya think?

    • DCPodinski

      Deanna– if you look @ the Wikipedia article I linked, you’ll see that Socrates was under the DIA… So basically, it was all classified. Explains why no one knew anything about it.

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  • toddwinstontoo

    I’ve always wondered why the government is always about tax cuts and less about making our country competitive. Just like the fed printing more money, tax cuts are not doing much as long as we ignore our real problem. We are getting beat and headed towards the U.S becoming a third rate country. China is knocking on our backdoor folks, and our defense is tax cuts?

    • rachelgarratt

      I think the tax cuts will offer some temporary relief but yes I agree. Get rid of the IRS, and put this project together then at least we’ll have some guidance or direction in both the federal and private sector. But ya, I agree, it sounds very neat.

      • DeannaLawson

        Yeah agree it would be good to have the program but problem is, is there even a single politician in Washington who can see the big picture in this way? who is not totally blinded by a)current long-held system of economic based planning & b)their own personal agendas???

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