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28 May 2008 @ 08:43 am
A Global Intelligence Briefing For CEOs  
This is one of the most fascinating analysis of the current world situation and changes that I've seen in a long time. His end conclusion is stated in a way that may put some peoples' hackles up, but I think his fundamental point is probably fairly on target. At any rate, I think it a good read, which is why I'm reposting it here. (rhylar, I think you'd find it interesting.)
 
 
 
Max Kaehn: Economicsslothman on May 28th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
One thing about that huge under-30 population in Iran is that they love to go to the nightclubs of Beirut on vacation. There are a lot of young Muslims who love music and dancing, and if we back off enough that they feel secure in demanding societal change, I think we’ll get those moderates in control there.

I find it odd that he claims the US has a Judeo-Christian culture and Europe doesn’t. He glossed over the failure of the social contract between employer and employee and between government and citizen; the principle in operation for the past thirty years has been “you’re on your own”, which doesn’t reflect the religious values of a Judeo-Christian culture. Businesses are moving to Canada right now because their health care costs are lower. He portrays the drop in birth rates as decadence and attachment to luxury rather than the need for women to enter the workforce in order to maintain standards of living that a single breadwinner could manage a generation ago, thus reducing a family’s flexibility to have someone raising kids at home.

(Note that this is a guy is a vintage Reaganite who believes we’re fighting a second civil war in this country, so bear in mind he’s looking at the world through heavily conservative-tinted glasses.)

Steffan Thomasrhylar on May 29th, 2008 01:39 am (UTC)
Commentary to be posted on my LJ.

Overall, raises good points, but makes some seriously flawed conclusions based on his bush-koolaid worldview.
wrendj on May 29th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC)
Interesting. But I'm not sure encouraging American people to have more kids is an answer we should rely upon. The "traditional American lifestyle" strikes me as 1) a myth and 2) extremely detrimental to the global economy if you define economy as the amount of raw materials (oil and other minerals, wood and other plant sources, labor, etc) that go into making something happen. For example, juice. Here we have lots and lots of juice, but the fruit is grown in other countries, and uses tons of synthetic fertilizers, which are washing into and toxifying water sources, and the mass-farming processes are leeching nutrients out of the soil, so now our juice needs to also be fortified, because the nutrients are no longer in the soil. And now - and I just noticed this today - its darn near impossible to find juice in anything but plastic. Plastic requires oil to make, and even "recyclable" plastic isn't as recycleable as metal or glass. Melt glass or metal, and you still have glass and metal. Melt plastic, and it changes properties and becomes a different kind of plastic. Over time, it degrades until its unusable. Assuming its recycled, which it often isn't. I fear I may come across as missing this person's point, and oversimplifying the message. My point is this: A lot of Americans are hugely wasteful, and in order to afford the lifestyle so many of us want to have (and I admit I'm guilty of this as well, so I'm not pointing fingers here), we're forced into joining the waste stream, which is trashing our planet - sound business practices or no. So, do I drink tap water rather than buying juice, because I can't afford the juice that comes in a glass jar? And at what point can I no longer drink tap water because a plastics plant upstream has polluted the land air and water as part of manufacturing those plastic bottles? Again, I don't mean to oversimplify - its just an illustration for the purposes of making a point. Finally, most of the people on this planet - and that includes the majority of Americans - can't afford the "American lifestyle" as presented to us in mainstream media. I see this not only in the Wal-Mart/Target/BestBuy shopping and thing-acquiring set, but also in the "save-the-planet-while-shopping-till-you-drop" set. And besides, even the two-wage family in this country is struggling to afford children, least of all provide some sort of hope for their future by having children. Add to that the kind of world picture being painted for the future, and who would want to subject their children to that?
But what do I know - I'm just one of those "vermin..."

On another note, in reference to the situation with China/Taiwan: We're screwed. If China attacks Taiwan, we're in a no-win situation, because our economy is so intertwined with cheap labor in China. They shut that down, and we either have to go somewhere else for cheap labor (where else has the infrastructure to create those manufacturing plants, and the large population to staff them?), or start making most of our "stuff" in-house. He already said that's too expensive, so it pushes the "American lifestyle" even further out of reach. What fascinates me is that we haven't had a revolution here yet (at least, not since the Civil War, and its that kind of scale I'm thinking of, rather than some of the cultural upheavals of more recent times). Not that I want to live through such a thing...

$0.02