Tom Friedman Ponders The New World And Dancing In A Hurricane
The following was the type of discussion our nation required this past year. Tom Friedman remains one of the great thinkers of our time. I so respect and admire this man. I wish there was a way to provide the video directly to this post, but that seems not to be possible. Therefore this link provides the full interview from the Charlie Rose show.
So if you look down from 30,000 feet you see that technology, globalization and, I would add, Mother Nature (in particular, climate change, biodiversity loss and the impact of population growth) are all accelerating at the same time, and feeding off one another: More Moore’s Law drives more globalization and more globalization drives more climate change. And together, climate change and digital connectivity drive more human migration.
I recently met with economic and climate refugees in West Africa who made it clear to me they didn’t want aid from a rock concert in Europe. They want to come to the Europe they see on their cellphones — and they are using WhatsApp to organize vast illicit migration networks to get there.
No wonder many in the West feel unmoored. The two things that anchored them in the world — their community and their job — are feeling destabilized.
They go to the grocery store and someone there speaks to them in a different language or is wearing a head covering. They go into the men’s room and there is someone next to them who looks to be of a different gender. They go to work and there’s now a robot sitting next to them who seems to be studying their job. I celebrate this diversity of people and ideas — but for many, diversity has too fast for them to adapt.
That’s why my favorite song these days is Brandi Carlile’s wonderful ballad called “The Eye,” the main verse of which is: “I wrapped your love around me like a chain/ But I never was afraid that it would die/ You can dance in a hurricane/ But only if you’re standing in the eye.”
These accelerations in technology, globalization and Mother Nature are like a hurricane in which we’re all being asked to dance. Mr. Trump and the Brexiters sensed the anxiety of millions and promised to build a wall against the howling winds of change. I disagree with them. I think the challenge is to find the eye.