Today, laborers are quantified and codified based on measurable aspects of the human potential; a central parameter of the topic is the means by which our proven abilities are tested—the education system. On the fringe of a boundless international labor market, never has it been more important to strengthen America’s academic excellence. Key points for this discussion will be a comparison between the roles of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs and the creative arts and humanities, the increasing need for graduate degrees, and the difficulties in funding educational pursuits.

An analysis of labor dynamics and the expansive welfare state will be critical to understanding the impact that governments can have on human capital. The industries in which we work, the ages of workers, and the amount of work performed will provide necessary insight to discussions regarding minimum wage laws. Determinations of self-worth and happiness in a nation of immaterial poverty are complex; the confines of poverty are no less real in the shift from deprivation to entitlement. The effectiveness of various welfare programs and paternalism on the human condition will be under review.

Changing demographics will play an important role in the future of the American workforce. Questions to consider are the goals of our immigration policy and its effects on native workers, and the sustainability of the unfunded Social Security program as the working population ages.

Maintaining America’s martial prowess and developing effective leaders in a downsizing military are crucial to the continued success of our nation. The United States Armed Forces provide more than physical security and peace of mind; the American projection of power has established a global free market where international trade can flourish and benefit all countries involved. As stewards of the free market, the success of the United States military is integral to the economic success of people around the globe.

Finally, the most abhorrent form of human labor—slavery—will be discussed. Human trafficking thrives in unlikely corners of the world. Contemporary slavery devalues all people: if a person can be purchased it requires a monetary assignment be placed on everyone’s freedom.

America’s workforce faces increasingly qualified international competition. Hard work will be required to hone our nation’s productivity. Reinventing the manner in which our political institutions solve the problems faced by our citizens is our goal; we seek to reinvigorate the entrepreneurial spirit that has defined our nation; to ignite the human potential.