Wonderings and Ramblings


At one point, the United States was ranked #1 in innovation. How could we have allowed ourselves to fall to #40? When we were #1, Americans referred to themselves as workers. Today, we consider ourselves consumers. Are we no longer proud of what we do but rather what we can consume? Do we measure our self worth by what we can buy rather than what we can accomplish? The article “Is America Losing its Mojo?”, states that “America is not producing the kinds of workers needed in a knowledge-based economy.” Does that mean we are going to slip even further?
How many of our business decisions are driven by money? Dr. Pillay explained how the drug companies focus on producing items like Viagra that are highly profitable rather than expending their efforts on developing a cure for HIV/AIDS. Mr. Morris explained how oil companies will not report oil as being available if the cost to extract is higher than the current selling value of oil.
Even though the intention of the “Walls” article was to stress that “we are all connected to each other,” it seemed to spend more time explaining how we try to keep ourselves isolated from each other to protect our individualism. There are borders, fences, walls, etc. all over the world built for that reason. This act of segregation can become quite dangerous. There are several examples to prove this throughout history. One such example was covered by our guest speaker, Mr. Morris. At the soccer game described, the crowd was physically separated by empty seats in an attempt to keep the fans of the two teams isolated from each other. This separation and the addition of security guards did little to protect the two groups from the animosity that grew between them during the game and taunting that persisted. Would the fans have felt as powerful if they had not all been grouped together but rather seated amongst each other? Would the violence have erupted?
In contrast to the Walls article is the idea of the world being flat. With the age of connectivity everyone is our neighbor. The virtual world has no walls. We can quickly receive information on any topic from sources around the world. I experienced this when working on the Geo-Genius questions. I did not know the answers before, but the power of the internet allowed me to find the answers relatively quickly and as a result learn new things. In addition to knowledge sharing is the ability to share physical products. Products can be shipped anywhere in the world. Because of this flattened world, we are broadening our experiences. Would our grandparents have ever imagined they could eat sushi in Quincy or talk to their grandson in Afghanistan on Skype?
In order to be successful it is important to set specific goals with target dates. President Obama shared some of his goals for the U.S. and Afghanistan in his speech Tuesday. These goals will help to insure that the U.S. is eventually able to pull out of Afghanistan. Even the United Nations “agreed to achieve by the year 2015” a list of Millennium Development Goals to insure we are working towards building a stronger world. Will we be successful and be in a stronger position in 2015?

Posted at 11:03 PM by Amanda Hanlin