Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sonic Boom: Globalization at Mach Speed

Another book on Globalization, the catchword of the year: Sonic Boom: Globalization at Mach Speed by Gregg Easterbrook. Easterbrook highlights 11 cities to illustrate points about the coming era, each one an example of globalization. Very interesting reading, highlighting some incredible feats of creativity and regeneration. Easterbrook concludes the following:

This is not the first moment of upheaval and will not be the last. "people have always extolled the past and feared the future. in nearly every case, the future has turned out be better place to be."

Your boss will be you. " This will bring a sense of freedom, but also new forms of anxiety. you'll never really be away from work. If things go poorly, you will have no one but yourself to blame."

Home and work will merge. "In the 21rst century, an ever increasing amount of work will return to the home, and to larger, more comfortable homes than those of the past. Commuter time decreases while the sense of "never be off" does as well.

Falling Backward will become a greater risk. "As the global economy becomes more volatile, the future may hold as much fear of falling down the economic ladder as promise of climbing up."

Most things will get better for most people- but unless you live in a poor nation, don't expect that to make you any happier. And this really is the thesis for the entire book - that the world is getting "better" from a standard of living, resource availability, democratic freedom, respect for women, cities are miasmas- places of creativity and invention pov. But the dynamism that is inherent to that will cause an increasing sense of anxiety and unsettledness.

Health Care must become assured - like Zakaria, Easterbrook states that the penalties built in to our current health care system stymy the coming boom. Self employment and pre-existing conditions are penalized by health care privatization.
Every life must include some college- "Universal higher education will be as important to the world's fortunes in the 21rst century as public education was to the West's in the 20th century.

Lastly, Easterbrook claims that your town is now a "market." Building on Florida's work, your place of residence is no longer defined by the limits of it's parameters but considered by region. Within your market, understand that "education will matter more than ever before, international trade and communication will continue to expand. Social insecurity in the form of job turmoil, the economic roller-coaster, financial bedlam, media superficiality, celebrity inanity, political blather, targeted advertsising, scream and shout discourse,e the paving over of nature- it's all gonna get worse. A lot worse, in some cases." And at the same time prosperity will increase, democracy will flourish, information and knowledge will proliferate as never before.
"The terrific aspects and the anxiety producing aspects will be intertwined, and we're just going to have to live with it."

Along with Florida and Zakaria, and oddly enough, Gregory (The Last Christian), this book foretells the world that is coming at mach speed. It's not all bad news but the complexities that we'll be dealing will challenge us in new ways. For instance, neural implants: as someone whose reading glasses are never farther away than the top of her head, I might be all for that. A simple surgery designed to enhance one's ability to see; Yes! How many physical disabilities could be "fixed" by coming technology. But otoh, where does it in? Transhumanity? And what if an EMP were detonated. What would be the effects of that on a computer chip implanted in the brain?
And what does all of this mean for people of faith? I think it heralds a huge opportunity to let people know about a way of living that proposes anxiety free living, (Phil. 4:6) and community. There is a vast opportunity here, but one that will demand that the church, and the individuals claiming it, be authentic and live with integrity.

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