November 25th, 2008
In the last column here, I suggested that any bailout of the Big Three include alternative energy metrics against which the three companies compete for better loan repayment terms. In the week since that column was published there has been much discussion about whether America can afford to allow its’ auto industry to go down the tubes. This implies that the Big Three represent the totality of America’s automotive production.
Of course there are the U.S. based factories of the German and Japanese manufacturers, which, while they produce cars here, are controlled and largely owned by other countries. These factories have nothing to do with the Big Three except they are producing cars here but are making a profit. Even beyond these companies, I would like to suggest is that the future of the automotive industry in the U.S. may well lie largely outside the Big Three.
In the early part of the 20th century there were initially dozens of companies that produced automobiles. Up until Henry Ford created mass production, Americans purchased cars from numerous producers that supplied limited scale but provided a great variety of internal combustion engine vehicles. The history of the automobile business through the 20th century is essentially one of consolidation so that by the last decade there were three standing. During this last decade these three companies were exclusively focused on selling big vehicles with internal combustion engines that produced big profits. Prisoners of legacy thinking, all three of these companies were content to enter this …
November 18th, 2008
There has been much discussion in Washington and in the media about what to do with the Big Three. One school of thought is that the country cannot afford for GM, Ford and Chrysler to fail and fall into bankruptcy so they must be bailed out The other line of thinking is to let them fail as they have run the companies into the ground with an ostrich-like approach to strategic planning.
I have written a few columns about the Big Three, GM and the Chevrolet Volt. I have written about how Ford has created a car manufacturing plant in Brazil that points the way to effective and profitable car production. I have been a strong supporter of the limited efforts of the Big Three to move to a new paradigm that is required to become a future, most clearly represented by Larry Burns. In spite of all that there is much to be angry about.
If, in 2006 I could see that oil would reach $125 a barrel in 2008, why couldn’t Detroit? If Toyota can prove that selling a hybrid that gets up to 50 miles per gallon is a popular and profitable idea, why can’t Detroit produce such cars? Well those are very valid questions. The only answer is that the eye on the profits generated by gas guzzling trucks and SUVs was such that the Big Three had a myopic strategic view on the vehicle marketplace. That is …
November 12th, 2008
We are now in the transition from the Information Age to the Shift Age. In recent columns I have positioned the recent financial melt down and global economic collapse as the beginning of a painful transitional restructuring between ages. Just as the 1970s with all its stagflation and unprecedented turmoil was the transitional period between the Industrial Age and the Information Age, so is this time a transitional period between the Information Age and the Shift Age.
The election of Barack Obama, predicted by this observer over a year ago, is the political manifestation of this transition to the Shift Age. In just one week, there has been a palpable shift in America. On several deeply significant levels there is the beginning of a sense of something new taking root across the country. The immediate point, made universally by all observers, and most poignantly represented by the tears streaming down the face of Jesse Jackson- who witnessed Dr. King’s death – in Grant Park on election night, was that a black man has just been elected President. [As someone who attended Dr. King's funeral, and actually marched part of the way to the cemetery with Bobby Kennedy and for whom Dr. King was a great hero, I too wept at this triumph begun more than 40 years ago in the South] Maybe, just maybe America, after more than two centuries of racial trauma is beginning to move on as we move into this new century and this new Age. That in …
November 6th, 2008
Barack Obama is now the President Elect of the United States. For all the reasons that have been mentioned across all the TV channels and in all the newspapers around the world, that is an incredible statement.
I am thrilled by this historic and transformational event. It is nothing less than that. I have much to say about this event and will do so in subsequent columns. There are shifts in consciousness, politics and perception that have already happened in the U.S. and around the world.. There are many more that will take place due to Obama’s victory on November 4, 2008. I will write about them in subsequent columns.
As a futurist, as I have often written here, there are two experiences I regularly have. The first is that people often ask me about predictions or forecasts I have made that have come true, and that is fair to ask. The second experience is often a type of dÃ©jÃ vu experience, when something I have forecast actually happens. It feels as though I am reliving it. This historic victory by Barack Obama provides me with an answer to the question and the experience of reliving a prediction.
In the Fall of 2007 I started predicting in speeches and conversations that Barack Obama would be the next President of the United States. On January 1, 2008, in this column I finally put that in writing in this column, before the Iowa caucuses. Then, on July 24, 2008 I wrote:
“On election night the headlines …