When it comes to the future, things aren’t
always as they seem. BY JIM WOOD
Historians, here at the dawn
of the 21st century, will
conclude that the most
important thing to happen was
the merger of globalization
and information technology.
I ThINk WE CAN all agree the world is changing faster now than ever before. But do we agree on how it is changing? Consider the following: 1. The most significant thing that’s happened in
the 21st century is 9/11. 2. The middle class is
disappearing worldwide. 3. Political parties
hinder progress. 4. Google Glass, the head-worn computer, is the next newest new thing.
5. Nowadays, only a fool would invest millions
in a daily newspaper.
Those are valid statements, right? Not if
you absorbed what was said at the Next New
World forum recently presented by New York
Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas L.
Friedman in San Francisco.
Friedman, a Pulitzer Prize–winning
author, opened the proceedings by saying
this: “I believe historians, here at the dawn of
the 21st century, will conclude that the most
important thing to happen was the merger
of globalization and information technology.
This huge inflection was overshadowed by
9/11 and the subprime crisis, so we’re all liv-
ing it, every school, industry and job is being
touched by it — yet no one at the political level
is helping us navigate it.”
And that, Friedman concluded, was what
the Next New World Forum would be all about.
First up was Moises Naim, senior associate
of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, international columnist for the Financial Times
and several newspapers throughout Europe
and Latin America and author of the current
best seller The End of Power.
Naim said world population is growing by
two billion every 20 years; the world economy
has doubled in the past 10 years; and in 2010
there were more than one billion people who
traveled as tourists from one country to another.