Friday, August 11, 2017

Future Outlook By New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman

With all of the events that have transpired over the last seven months in the world, one cannot help but wonder what will happen next?

Where are we headed as a nation (USA)?

Where is the world headed without the USA?

These are logical questions which do not have any immediate answers.  Although, reporters whose job is to predict based on prior reporting have a reasonable outlook -- some of the time.  At the very least, there is no harm done in entertaining questions and concerns raised by the front line reporters whose job is to keep us informed on such matters.

The other day, I ran across an article by Thomas Friedman of "The New York Times" titled "Climate Shifts Aren’t Limited to the Weather" in which he proposes that the word climate is not just limited to the scope of the weather and science -- which is huge to begin with.  Other contributors (some which operate behind the scenes) are extremely important and should be incorporated into our thinking about the future.  Here are two excerpts to think about:

Here is what I mean: We are in the middle of a change in the climate of the climate. We are going from “later” to “now.” In the past you could fix any climate/environmental problem later or now. But today later is officially over. Later will be too late. At some point, the deforestation of the Amazon is not reversible.
We are the middle of a change in the “climate” of globalization. We are going from an interconnected world to an interdependent one, and in such a world your friends can hurt you faster than your enemies: Think what happens if Mexico’s economy fails. And your rivals’ falling becomes more dangerous than your rivals’ rising: We will be hurt a lot more by China’s economy tanking than its putting tanks on islands in the South China Sea.
And lastly we’re in the middle of a change in the “climate” of technology. We’re moving into a world where machines and software can analyze (see patterns that were always hidden before); optimize (tell a plane which altitude to fly each mile to get the best fuel efficiency); prophesize (tell you when your elevator will break and fix it before it does); customize (tailor any product or service for you alone) and digitize and automate just about any job. This is transforming every industry.

The above shifts in "climate" are extremely important to consider in theory.  In practice and implementation, how do these shifts in "climate" appear in governing and technological development?  For China, Thomas Friedman states:

Which brings me to China. China takes governing seriously — in a cruel way and in an impressive way. Its leaders wake up every morning and ask themselves two questions. First, how do we stay in power? Their answer, which I find reprehensible, is: We’ll use technology to repress our people. I think in the long run depriving China’s people of freedom, a basic human right, will undermine their ability to realize their full potential.
But it has worked better than expected, up to now, because China’s leaders are just as focused on asking a second question: What world are we living in? Which leads to: What are the biggest forces shaping this world? And what kind of national strategy do we need so our people can get the most out of these forces and cushion the worst?
They know we’re in the midst of these three climate changes and have formulated a strategy — “Made in China 2025” — to thrive within it. It’s a plan for building the infrastructure, investments, education and regulations that will enable Chinese companies to lead in supercomputing, new materials, computer-controlled machine tools, industrial robotics, space and aviation equipment — including drones — clean cars, clean energy, biomedicine and next-gen medical devices.

The above are pretty typical of China given its history.  The overarching principle is domination through intimidation throughout history.  Although, China has been creeping up and starting to lead in developing clean energy (mass production) -- which I will write about soon -- based on a documentary.

Where does this leave America?

According to the article above, the following course is stated which seems likely given the events of the past few months:

By contrast, Trump hasn’t even named a science adviser. He pulled out of the Paris climate accord without any input from scientists, and he proposed a budget for fiscal 2018 that eliminated the Department of Energy’s innovation lab (the “Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy”) and slashed funding for all of our key national science and medical labs, which provide the basic research for the very next-gen technologies in which China is now massively investing.
He’s spending the money instead on a wall against Mexico. Is there anything more stupid?
And then you watch the health care debate. And then you realize that in addition to the executive branch, one of our two parties has gone nuts. For seven years the G.O.P. made replacing Obamacare, which needs improving, its top goal, and when it finally controlled all the levers of power, it was clear that it had done no homework on a better plan or built any intraparty consensus for it. It was all a fraud.

One could argue that the content above is from a so-called "fake news" source as a small base of this country likes to call the New York Times.  I choose to be open minded about the inputs from a variety of sources online.  I admit that I have a subscription to the New York Times which I receive daily -- as a disclaimer.  Nevertheless, the questions and comments regarding differing definitions of "climate" are valid and should be entertained by citizens of the world.

Take a minute or two and ponder the events that have transpired over the last 7 months and think about (from your perspective) where the world is going.  How far off are you from Thomas Friedman?  Are you in sync with him as I tend to be?  Regardless, he raises legitimate concerns about the future that each of us should start to educate ourselves on for future decisions which cross our paths.

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