Video On Demand

Online Event: Understanding the Crucial Role of Standards for American Prosperity

May 13, 2020 • 10:00 – 10:45 am EDT

Standardization of products and processes is the foundation for American prosperity.  President George Washington outlined this as a priority in his first communication to the Congress.  The separate states would never become a united country until commerce was reliable and predictable.  A pound of gunpowder had to weigh the same in Pennsylvania and in Georgia.  A dollar had to have the same purchasing power in Boston as in Charleston.  Setting objective and transparent standards was the foundation for American colonies to grow together as a united nation.  As commerce became international, standardization became even more important.  Units of weight had to be predictable if ordered from a distant continent.

America’s approach to developing standards and monitoring compliance is different from other nations.  America relies on the private sector to establish standards.  Other countries consider that a governmental function, but America instead relies on a consensus of producers and customers.

There is no central management authority for standards-setting and compliance monitoring, but there is a major private sector organization that coordinates, educates and promotes objective standardization—the American National Standards Institute.  ANSI is a coach, an umpire, a coordinator, and a central player in key areas.  Joe Bhatia is the head of ANSI, and he will be our guest for a moderated discussion on the importance of standardization for America’s prosperity.

John J. Hamre
CSIS President and CEO, and Langone Chair in American Leadership