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09/26/2011

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NEH

Jack, I think the author was speaking to just that issue. As for Scandinavia being "Socialist" that's a bit of a stretch. Although, I agree that they are much more socially aware and have much more advanced social programs that appear to be functional. Unlike the U.S. ...

Jack

NEH........ yeah, that's why I too used quotes around the word. Ha! in terms of total bill for taxes and 17% GDP for "H/C" (for some) plus state and local we're at least equally "socialist" in dollar terms with far fewer services.

But (drum roll) we ARE the best!

Jack

How about discussing this topical article?

Something’s Happening Here
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
When you see spontaneous social protests erupting from Tunisia to Tel Aviv to Wall Street it’s clear that something is happening globally that needs defining. There are two unified theories out there that intrigue me. One says this is the start of “The Great Disruption.” The other says that this is all part of “The Big Shift.” You decide.

Paul Gilding, the Australian environmentalist and author of the book “The Great Disruption,” argues that these demonstrations are a sign that the current growth-obsessed capitalist system is reaching its financial and ecological limits. “I look at the world as an integrated system, so I don’t see these protests, or the debt crisis, or inequality, or the economy, or the climate going weird, in isolation — I see our system in the painful process of breaking down,” which is what he means by the Great Disruption, said Gilding. “Our system of economic growth, of ineffective democracy, of overloading planet earth — our system — is eating itself alive. Occupy Wall Street is like the kid in the fairy story saying what everyone knows but is afraid to say: the emperor has no clothes. The system is broken. Think about the promise of global market capitalism. If we let the system work, if we let the rich get richer, if we let corporations focus on profit, if we let pollution go unpriced and unchecked, then we will all be better off. It may not be equally distributed, but the poor will get less poor, those who work hard will get jobs, those who study hard will get better jobs and we’ll have enough wealth to fix the environment.

“What we now have — most extremely in the U.S. but pretty much everywhere — is the mother of all broken promises,” Gilding adds. “Yes, the rich are getting richer and the corporations are making profits — with their executives richly rewarded. But, meanwhile, the people are getting worse off — drowning in housing debt and/or tuition debt — many who worked hard are unemployed; many who studied hard are unable to get good work; the environment is getting more and more damaged; and people are realizing their kids will be even worse off than they are. This particular round of protests may build or may not, but what will not go away is the broad coalition of those to whom the system lied and who have now woken up. It’s not just the environmentalists, or the poor, or the unemployed. It’s most people, including the highly educated middle class, who are feeling the results of a system that saw all the growth of the last three decades go to the top 1 percent.”

Not so fast, says John Hagel III, who is the co-chairman of the Center for the Edge at Deloitte, along with John Seely Brown. In their recent book, “The Power of Pull,” they suggest that we’re in the early stages of a “Big Shift,” precipitated by the merging of globalization and the Information Technology Revolution. In the early stages, we experience this Big Shift as mounting pressure, deteriorating performance and growing stress because we continue to operate with institutions and practices that are increasingly dysfunctional — so the eruption of protest movements is no surprise.

Yet, the Big Shift also unleashes a huge global flow of ideas, innovations, new collaborative possibilities and new market opportunities. This flow is constantly getting richer and faster. Today, they argue, tapping the global flow becomes the key to productivity, growth and prosperity. But to tap this flow effectively, every country, company and individual needs to be constantly growing their talents.

“We are living in a world where flow will prevail and topple any obstacles in its way,” says Hagel. “As flow gains momentum, it undermines the precious knowledge stocks that in the past gave us security and wealth. It calls on us to learn faster by working together and to pull out of ourselves more of our true potential, both individually and collectively. It excites us with the possibilities that can only be realized by participating in a broader range of flows. That is the essence of the Big Shift.”

Yes, corporations now have access to more cheap software, robots, automation, labor and genius than ever. So holding a job takes more talent. But the flip side is that individuals — individuals — anywhere can now access the flow to take online courses at Stanford from a village in Africa, to start a new company with customers everywhere or to collaborate with people anywhere. We have more big problems than ever and more problem-solvers than ever.

So there you have it: Two master narratives — one threat-based, one opportunity-based, but both involving seismic changes. Gilding is actually an optimist at heart. He believes that while the Great Disruption is inevitable, humanity is best in a crisis, and, once it all hits, we will rise to the occasion and produce transformational economic and social change (using tools of the Big Shift). Hagel is also an optimist. He knows the Great Disruption may be barreling down on us, but he believes that the Big Shift has also created a world where more people than ever have the tools, talents and potential to head it off. My heart is with Hagel, but my head says that you ignore Gilding at your peril.

You decide.

NEH

Jack, "We ARE the best"? I hope you're being facetious. If we are, then there is no reason too do anything, except let the "dogmas of the quiet past" carry us into an unknown and less than rationally controlled future.

As for the second response, it looks as if the works of the Futurists Alvin and Heidi Toffler are beginning to go mainstream. Some of their seminal works: "Future Shock", "The Third Wave", "Power Shift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century" and "Revolutionary Wealth" has picked up some cachet and validity given the "Crises" we are experiencing as of late.

Perhaps, the is some truth to the theory of "Sociopolitico Economic Waves". As the Tofflers have put it, "well, we have come through the First Wave, through the Second Wave, and are now well into the Third Wave". Whether this third wave carries us into a bright and shining New Age or drags us into the Abyss of a "Brave New World" only time will tell, but let's keep our fingers crossed and take the necessary rational actions to guarantee that we end up at the destination of the bright and shining New Age instead of driving our jalopies over the edge into the Abyss...

NEH

Oh, BTW, I forgot to add the theory of Kondratiev Waves (of which the Tofflers seem to have picked up on), the various variations on the theme and it's consequent pickup by Joseph Schumpeter that colored a lot of his work. Not too mention it's minimalization by most mainstream Economists today.

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The greatness of Rome... another society where the very few lived well at great expense to their slaves.

Using slavery and profiting by slave wages

Jack

This all calls for a longer discussion. I read all of Toffler 'back then" but admit I had to go Wiki to remind myself of his theories.

Seems today, a lot of "pop" names for "things" like "post-industrial" though today we mfg much more than then, albeit with far fewer employees that, I should add, are still getting a much thinner slice of the pie than did their parents.

Mass produced? vs customization? Well, the net in some ways has lived up to its promise -- I can shop for a (kinda) custom shirt or suit or reach out for a tail light for my 1937 Super-charged, front wheel drive Cord. But? we've not only the standardization of McD's but a host of others going well up into the fine dining level.

I'd think Toffler would haves expected all these means of bottom up communication (no more of Reagan shouting down a protester with "I PAID for this mic...." with all the bloggers, tweeters and cams without which Rodney King's laments of police brutality would be just another "Saturday nite thing.."

Still, and not to pick only on the Repub attempt to find a viable candidate, what we're seeing is largely pap ginned up in the, formerly smoke filled rooms where bundles of millions can the raised over-nite to spew propaganda coast to coast and if need be narrow cast it to solicit the appearance of grassroots support in a particular locality.

But.... is the debate any better, or is democracy (the republic if you prefer) better served? Can spewing poll tested sound bites with the partisan power of $10 million media buys begin to match Lincoln and Douglas debating for days on a platform built by the community?

Well....... it's tough to even critique the future seers like Tofflers, much less refute whatever it was they were saying, but that made for good reading and ruminating at the time.

............ some things are as puzzling as why our Profs have a short time limit on constructing a post.

NEH

As for new commentary, they are some of the Luminaries of our age and their opionions are held in high esteem by those of greater import than students. Especially given these Crises we are currently trying to survive. Or it could just be "Fall Break". ;)

As for the Tofflers, they seem to have a more accurate "Crystal Ball" than most who profess to be versed in Futureology.

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Jack, Yep. It's the dichotomy that exists. On the one side of the coin, there's the "Public Value" and the other "Private Value". As an ancient Roman once put it, "The reason Rome is great, is that the true Roman believes in Public Magnificence and Private austerity". Something we could do well too learn today...

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Having higher numbers of occupants per existing structure doesn't bode well for selling off the homes having fallen or about to fall into the laps of bankers.All of the sci-fi stories pointed to a shorter work week, more leisure time and industries developing around increased leisure time coupled with the income to enjoy it. We have nothing like that in place or even in mind. Instead those desperate for any kind of job are to work longer hours for less pay and be appreciative for their opportunity.

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Having higher numbers of occupants per existing structure doesn't bode well for selling off the homes having fallen or about to fall into the laps of bankers.All of the sci-fi stories pointed to a shorter work week, more leisure time and industries developing around increased leisure time coupled with the income to enjoy it. We have nothing like that in place or even in mind. Instead those desperate for any kind of job are to work longer hours for less pay and be appreciative for their opportunity.

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We have nothing like that in place or even in mind. Instead those desperate for any kind of job are to work longer hours for less pay and be appreciative for their opportunity.

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The bitter truth is that the employment prospects for a recent college grad are far more grim, especially full-time employment in their field of study.

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The Occupy Movement and everyone else worried about earnings inequality should be emphasizing the need to find ways to encourage more high school dropouts and high school graduates to get the required background and study habits so that they can, and want to, continue on for a college education.

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Thank you for such an informative website and post on the EU debt crisis. German tax-payer will react to the prospect of higher taxes oer many years to bail out weaker EU member nations. This is particularly the case when there seems to be constant and volatile opposition in these weaker EU nations to austerity measures.

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All of the sci-fi stories pointed to a shorter work week, more leisure time and industries developing around increased leisure time coupled with the income to enjoy it.

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There‘s always going to be people that hurt you so what you have to do is keep on trusting and just be more careful about who you trust next time around.

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Global demographics instruct that manufacturing job growth in nations with emerging economies will continue to outpace manufacturing job growth in America.

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