Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What in the World is Going On?

Here's an article examining some of the major causes of change in our world. The author points to these four items as driving the majority of political, economic and current world events:

1. The War in Iraq
2. The Emergence of China
3. Shifting Demographics of Western Civilization
4. Restructuring of American Business

On the one hand, this makes the U.S. a magnet for bright and ambitious people.
It also makes us a target. We are becoming one of the last holdouts of the
traditional Judeo-Christian culture. There is no better place in the world to be
in business and raise children. The U.S. is by far the best place to have an
idea, form a business and put it into the marketplace. We take it for granted,
but it isn’t as available in other countries of the world. Ultimately, it’s an
issue of culture. The only people who can hurt us are ourselves, by losing our
culture. If we give up our Judeo-Christian culture, we become just like the
Europeans. The culture war is the whole ballgame. If we lose it, there isn’t
another America to pull us out.

I found the article to be thought provoking. I might have renamed the 'War in Iraq' portion to 'War Against Fundamental Islamic Extremists', since that seems to be what the author was referring. This has fallen from the forefront of most Americans minds, but it can be argued we are in the center of a clash of cultures whether we want to admit it or not.

The emergence of China is definitely a big driver of change...I assume it was only for simplicity and brevity that he did not include many of the other emerging economies (India for example). China is perhaps the most symbiotically linked economy to ours (especially among those we do not necessarily consider 'friends').

A large portion of many current 'first-world' countries are currently killing themselves off...by not procreating. The U.S. is only maintaining its replacement rate by large influxes of mostly Hispanic immigrants. Japan is a common example of the extreme nature of this phenomenon. Their extremely low birth rates, coupled with cultural reluctance to allow immigrants is quickly eradicating their population. Many followers of Malthus will welcome decline in populations, but if it is your culture disappearing... It brings up many existential questions...if you and your kin do not propagate forward, what exactly is the meaning of life? Not to mention the real life problems of large populations of aging citizens with smaller and smaller workforces to support them and their entitlements.

The changing landscape of American business may provide the flexibility to create solutions to many of these problems. The fluid nature of today's businesses may allow us to quickly switch to more localized manufacturing as transportation costs increase. It may bring up its own set of new problems, however. The traditional company had a stronger bond with its employee, providing guaranteed insurance and retirement benefits. As we transition to a more consultant based system, the employee will be more on his own. This has already begun, and I do not necessarily think it will be a negative.

Link to article:


About the Author:
Herbert Meyer served during the Reagan administration as special assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council. In these positions, he managed production of the U.S. National Intelligence
Estimates and other top-secret projections for the President and his national security advisers. Meyer is widely credited with being the first senior U.S. Government official to forecast the Soviet Unions collapse, for which he later was awarded the U.S. National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the intelligence community's highest honor. Formerly an associate editor of FORTUNE, he is also the author of several books.


fallout said...

It looks like Islam might be headed in the right direction to align with the rest of the world.


This might help one of the major transformations mentioned in Herbert Meyer's article.

Chief said...

I will be the first to admit my ignorance of Islam and most other religions, but obviously that sounds like really good news. I have a feeling these small groups of extremists will have a much harder time operating without the explicit or implicit support of their more moderate counterparts.