April 27th, 2009
It is about time! The first steps that President Obama took recently to open up the U.S. policy towards Cuba are long overdue. It has been clear to me for the past 15 years that the Federal Government’s policy on Cuba, instituted 50 years ago is a worn out relic of the Cold War era.
In the second half of the 20th century, at least until the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Americans were raised and educated that the bad guys were communists and that these communists threatened the way of life of the country and all that wanted freedom. Well, for several decades that might have been true, but those times are long gone. When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and the Soviet Union collapsed in the four years that followed, the eastern block collapsed and the global economy began. The number of potential consumers of the capitalistic way of live basically doubled. This led to economic upheavals that transformed China, Russia, South East Asia and Eastern Europe. It was generally accepted that the U.S. and the West, had won.
The world is getting ever more interrelated in all areas economic. It is getting ever more connected electronically. It is starting to realize that there are global problems that face us all. In such a new world, the idea that Cuba is a threat to the U.S, that Cuba is subversive is ridiculous. What could Cuba possibly do to the U.S? Let’s see, provide the …
July 20th, 2008
The economy has clearly become the primary subject today in America. It has become so not only because of all the issues discussed in the prior column, but also because it has also become the number one issue for voters in this significant election year.
In the “Forecast for 2008″ column on January 9th of this year I wrote:
“The U.S. Economy will not go into a recession as it has been traditionally defined. There will be a bumpy ride, particularly in the first six months of the year. The traditional conversation will be an either/or discussion: will there be a recession or not. While there will most certainly be economic indicators that will point to recession, there will be others that do not. The problem is not whether there is or is not a recession but rather the symptoms of a reorganization that is going on due to the flow to a global economy. The view of the economic landscape is still too often looked at through traditional, increasingly less valid historical national measurements that seem to no longer apply. There will be pockets of recession, such as in the state of Michigan, but the economic bumps in the road in 2008 will not fit into traditional national recessionary measurements”
There are a couple of points to be made here. First I was clearly underestimating the severity of the economic upheavals and equally importantly the negative mindset that would descend, courtesy of the media, upon the general sense of danger and risk. …
June 23rd, 2008
This will be the first of several columns on the state of transportation in the U.S. Regular readers of this column know that for years I have predicted the current high price of oil, the sales collapse of the truck and SUV markets and the need for electric cars. In addition it has been stated here that the future of U.S. transportation must include high speed trains, and a better integration of airplane, train and local mass transit. Finally it should start being clear to anyone paying attention [still too few of the population] that the now permanent high price â€” relative to prices since the mid 1980s – of gasoline will have a profound effect on behavior and our perceptions of where to live and work and how to live. Our culture, our society, our economy and the landscape of this country are about ready to undergo significant and massive change.
The recent news that SUV and pick up truck sales had plummeted compared to last year is worthy of comment. The obvious reason is the price of gasoline. As I wrote here recently, $4 a gallon gas is finally inflicting enough pain to change behavior. All the cars that showed the greatest sales growth year to year were small cars that get good gas mileage. For the first time in 17 years, a car, rather than a truck was the best selling vehicle. It is about time.
Decades ago trucks used to be …
June 4th, 2008
We have now entered the Shift Age, the global stage of humanityâ€™s evolutionary journey. What this means is that the U.S. must redefine itself within this new global age. During the second half of the 20th century, the U.S. was a super power, the super power that lead the Western bloc of nations in contrast to the Soviet Union which was the other super power that lead the Eastern bloc. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Union crumbled in the early 1990s the U.S. simply accepted victory and did not spend time reflecting what this meant.
What does it mean to be the sole super power? What does it mean to be a super power in this new global age? There was no national discourse at all on this subject. Where once we defined ourselves as the good guys against the bad guys, the country that stood for Capitalism against Communism we did not reflect on the fact that this definition of who we were had changed. We entered the new millennium without a new sense of what being a global power meant. Without a clear adversary to help define us, we lost our way. This has, in part, been part of the problem that has led us to have a greatly reduced stature in the world.
This has been a topic of conversation for me with numerous CEOs around the country in recent months. It will merit further discussion here in the months …
March 27th, 2008
[Note to readers: this column was written a number of weeks ago, but was in holding as I wrote columns about some more immediate travel related subjects. With the turmoil in Tibet this past week, it is clearly a topic in the news. I have updated the prior column to include the recent upheavals.]
When countries or cities submit bids for hosting the Olympics it is usually done with a great sense of pride and boosterism. The governments and economic vested interests all look to hosting the Olympics as a way to showcase their â€œworld class cityâ€. In the case of the upcoming Olympics in Beijing, it is clearly the goal of the Chinese government to make clear to the world that the formerly communist country is now a major player on the world stage. The world has recognized and accepted the growing economic might of the country. The Chinese government wants to make a further impression on the world that they are culturally and architecturally a world class nation.
I have written here about what has occurred in China over the last 20 years. Basically they have collapsed the 200 year timeline of the U.S. to move from an agricultural economy to an information economy to a period one tenth in length. This has never been done on such a magnitude, and as a result there have been many problems, as written here. I think that this will be the reason that the 2008 Beijing Olympics may turn out …