Like the proverbial blind squirrel, every once in awhile ChiCom fanboy Thomas Friedman rises above his simplistic pseudointellectualism and mixed metaphors to produce a column that makes sense.
His latest outing is full of CEO quotes about how the global economy continues to evolve, and how America is uniquely poised to take full advantage of it.
The Global Elites are losing their Grip
Continual fragmentation of ideas, manufacturing, and tastes, along with markets fracturing into micro-markets and specialty niches all conspire to make it harder for the global elites to homogenize every last aspect of our lives.
Fellow New York Times columnist, David Ignatius, a liberal who passes for a conservative over there, notes that the Davos Men are more disconnected than ever from us normal people, but he is instead pessimistic. I discount his gloominess because he himself is disconnected, a man in awe of the world elites.
Ignatius is cheered only because the ranks of the elites now include the red and yellow, brown and black, slowly wrenching global thought leadership from the Western White Man's oligopolistic grip. Reading it makes me long for times past when reporters hated the rich and powerful.
What you see here are some of the smartest business and political leaders in the world gathering to discuss common problems. It's a heady feeling, to see so much global talent in one place.
It's an inclusive elitism: The magnet draws the rising tycoons from developing countries and fuses them with the once-dominant Americans, British, Germans and French. That's the most likable feature of the forum, the way you see Chinese and Indians and Egyptians and Pakistanis shuffling down the streets in their snow boots, along with the Swiss hosts. They are part of the connected world, just as much as the old-line bankers and CEOs from the West. (David Ignatius)What Ignatius fails to realize is that the global geniuses may have outsize influence, but its the ingenuity of the locals that powers an economy, and we have plenty right here in the good ol' US of A.
Ignatius rightly laments the societal destruction globalism has wrought, but he's singing yesterday's tune. Friedman has the forward-looking view on this one...
Many C.E.O.’s, though, increasingly see the world as a place where their products can be made anywhere through global supply chains (often assembled with nonunion-protected labor) and sold everywhere.
These C.E.O.’s rarely talk about “outsourcing” these days. Their world is now so integrated that there is no “out” and no “in” anymore. In their businesses, every product and many services now are imagined, designed, marketed and built through global supply chains that seek to access the best quality talent at the lowest cost, wherever it exists. (Friedman)He cites a Hong Kong CEO...
Now, said Fung, the rule is: “ ‘Source everywhere, manufacture everywhere, sell everywhere.’ The whole notion of an ‘export’ is really disappearing.”Words from other CEOs:
Mike Splinter, the C.E.O. of Applied Materials, has put it to me this way: “Outsourcing was 10 years ago, where you’d say, ‘Let’s send some software generation overseas.’ This is not the outsourcing we’re doing today. This is just where I am going to get something done. Now you say, ‘Hey, half my Ph.D.’s in my R-and-D department would rather live in Singapore, Taiwan or China because their hometown is there and they can go there and still work for my company.’ This is the next evolution.” He has many more choices.Just like Toyota and other foreign firms manufacture products here for our consumption. That is the future. Less import-export of final products, and more build and sell in place when it makes economic sense.
America can thrive in this world, explained Yossi Sheffi, the M.I.T. logistics expert, if it empowers “as many of our workers as possible to participate” in different links of these global supply chains — either imagining products, designing products, marketing products, orchestrating the supply chain for products, manufacturing high-end products and retailing products. If we get our share, we’ll do fine.
The world is on the cusp of an information age equivalent of the Industrial Revolution, and America above all others is best positioned to take full advantage of this decentralize future.
Few deny that technology fuels economic growth as well as both social and lifestyle progress, the latter largely seen in health and environmental metrics. But consider three features that most define America, and that are essential for unleashing the promises of technological change: our youthful demographics, dynamic culture and diverse educational system. (The Coming Tech-Led Boom)We don't need no stinking national strategies
As usual with the rare Friedman column I agree with, he closes with a conclusion so absurd that I end up wanting to tear my eyes out in frustration...
"If only — if only — we could come together on a national strategy to enhance and expand all of our natural advantages..." (Friedman)Poor Progressive Tommy, always longing for the Strong Man to make the trains run on time...
National Strategy? How about a low tax, low regulation environment where you can manufacture things again in this country without 200 government bureaucracies crawling up your ass? That's the strategy we need.
Restore the Rule of Law and give the American workers and entrepreneurs a stable, predictable environment to invent, create and be free, and they will lead this nation again to the sunlit uplands of economic greatness and personal liberty. Personal liberty and economic freedom: You can't have one without the other.
Made in the World