From the NYT
Just over a year ago, the rock star Bono started Red, a campaign that combined consumerism and altruism. Since then, consumers have generated more than $22 million to fight H.I.V. and AIDS in Rwanda by buying iPods, T-shirts, watches, cologne and most recently — as anyone who watched the Super Bowl knows — laptops, with all of them branded “(Product)RED.”
According to Rwandan officials, Red contributions have built 33 testing and treatment centers, supplied medicine for more than 6,000 women to keep them from transmitting H.I.V. to their babies, and financed counseling and testing for thousands more patients.
Yet detractors say Red has fallen short. They criticize a lack of transparency at the company and its partners over how much they make from Red products, and whether they spend more money on Africa or advertising.
Full article here
From the IHT
Who is hiding under our umbrella?
By Paul Kennedy of Yale University for the International Herald Tribune
Published 30 January
Who is hiding under our umbrella?
This is a question that will be increasingly asked in the years to come. It is already being asked in a few circles, as we strive to understand the larger implications of the enormous surpluses of sovereign wealth funds, the soaring cost of raw materials (especially oil and gas), the weakening of Wall Street's once-great banks, and the increasing purchase of American assets by dollar-rich Asian and Middle Eastern enterprises.
The argument goes something like this: The United States has recently expended vast amounts of money, blood and energy in fighting two Iraq wars. On each occasion, the White House had its own secular reasons for going to war (to punish aggression, to protect American consumers from catastrophically high gas prices, and so on). But the chief beneficiaries were clearly our Arab allies like Saudia Arabia and the Gulf states, together with East Asia and Europe, which depend much more than the U.S. does on the uninterrupted flow of Middle East Oil. How convenient to live under the American strategic umbrella.
Yet all the fighting by the U.S. armed forces in those wars has not been able to prevent the great rise in the price of oil and gas, which hits petroleum-dependent Americans hard but puts billions of dollars into the pockets of certain free riders in the system. As the United States takes its economic hits - and while the White House insists on record defense spending to maintain its hegemonic "umbrella strategy" - foreign financial interests are steadily acquiring American companies, especially banks. And Wall Street houses now paying the price for their reckless stoking of dubious subprime loans have little alternative but to sell; as I write, some chief executive will be flying to Dubai or Singapore to sell off a chunk of the firm's assets.
Those bankers, and the free-market economists who service them, will assure you that such asset sales are perfectly O.K. Asian and Arabic sovereign wealth funds are extremely discreet and cautious. They do not play politics. They are not asking for a seat on the board. They have to invest their monies somewhere. So this is just a normal commercial transaction. Stop worrying.
Well, if you think that way, then nothing can be done to help you. But every sensible homeowner or farmer or small businessman knows that, once you take out a loan (mortgage) from another party, or sell a share of your property, a subtle or not-so-subtle power relationship has changed. To a greater or lesser degree, you have become dependent upon other players who can probably influence you more than you can influence them. And in this case, since hundreds of other companies and banks are doing the same, the collective result is that the United States is ceding influence.
Click here to read the full article
As the title say...real-time statistics on the world's population, economics, food, military and many more topics.
''Sources are carefully selected to include only data published by the most prestigious institutions in the world, such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, its data branch FAOstat, the OECD and others. Data is updated periodically as new reports are made available. We are currently working on dedicated pages where you can learn more and find sources for each topic.''
Fabrica is Benetton's creative research centre and most well-known for its magazine COLORS.
Pingmag interviews Fabrica's General Manager Alfio Pozzoni at the opening of its ''Les Yeux Ouvert'' exhibition at the Shiodome Italia in Tokyo.
Fabrica! Do we need to say more? Since 1994, the legendary Italian research centre has invited forty bright young artists from all over to its vast villa in Treviso (that just got a new makeover from acclaimed architect Tadao Ando.) Established by Benetton group founder Luciano Benetton and photographer and its then art director Oliviero Toscani, the institution serves as breeding ground for artists who devote themselves entirely to creative studies for one year. Now, after making a stopover in Milan and Shanghai, you can see Fabrica’s Les Yeux Ouvert (“Eyes Open to the World and the Future”) exhibition at Shiodome Italia in Tokyo, organised by the Pompidou Centre. It was a perfect opportunity for PingMag to grab Fabrica General Manager Alfio Pozzoni for a chat.
Click here for the full interview
What makes a Miracle
Some myths about the rise of China and India
By Pranab Bardhan - The Boston Review
Published 27 January
After more than a century of relative stagnation, the economies of India and China have been growing at remarkably high rates over the past 25 years. In 1820 the two countries contributed nearly half of the world’s income; by 1950, with the industrialized West having pulled away, their share had fallen to less than one-tenth. Today it is just less than one-fifth, and projections suggest that by 2025 it will rise to one-third. (In 2008 the World Bank is expected to issue revised numbers about cost of living in China and India, which may somewhat reduce these estimated income shares, both current and future).
The consequences of this expansion are extraordinary. The Chinese economy in particular has made the most headway against poverty in world history, with hundreds of millions of people moved out of the most extreme poverty within just a generation. (The environmental consequences are comparably remarkable, though perhaps proportionately disastrous).
What explains this strikingly rapid growth? The answer that continues to dominate public discussion in the United States runs along the following lines: decades of socialist controls and regulations stifled enterprise in India and China and led them to a dead end. A mix of market reforms and global integration finally unleashed their entrepreneurial energies. As these giants shook off their “socialist slumber,” they entered the “flattened” playing field of global capitalism. The result has been high economic growth in both countries and correspondingly large declines in poverty.
Via the IHT
An Asian Century?
By H.D.S. Green Way - IHT
Published 29 January 2008
Davos, Switzerland: When the World Economic Forum ends its annual meeting here, the high-test clientele drains away from this mountain town surprisingly quickly. This year they left an impression that the power and influence of Europe and North America were draining away too, inexorably shifting from the West eastward toward Asia. The structures that the United States had established after World War II were questioned as never before. The old trans-Atlantic order of the last 60 years seemed less relevant to many influential men and women who gathered here.
A general sense of pessimism wasn't helped by the fact that the panic of '08 was occurring just as delegates were packing their bags to come here. "Boersen Crash," was the headline of one German paper last week, and a new word entered the French language when I heard mention of "une crise subprime." Nor did the mood improve with the news from France of the greatest bank heist in the history of the world, a sum higher than the reserves of several nation states. As if in sympathy, a brief earthquake gave this town a sudden shake.
Although the great source of strength that the United States had been during the last six decades was not forgotten, the attention last week was on the power and ability of greedy lenders and foolish borrowers in America to bring down ruin on markets worldwide. The irony of the United States still being a leader but this time "of a global down turn," as one delegate put it, was not lost on the forum.
Although the erosion of U.S. power, both hard and soft, under the administration of George W. Bush has been common currency in recent years, it was still a shock to me to hear it said, and generally accepted, that America was no longer known for putting a man on the moon, but for Iraq and Hurricane Katrina, the "twin pillars of incompetence" - a country over-stretched militarily that had squandered its legitimacy to lead. The role of America "as the sun around which other planets rotated" was changing. It was not a multipolar world either, but a nonpolar world.
The simultaneous rise of China and India has been unprecedented, but neither is quite there yet. The United States could no longer set the agenda, either alone or with its traditional allies, as Europe and Japan were no longer the players they once were. Europe's share of the world's economy has declined in the last five years, while some were predicting that "by 2025 Asia will account for 60 percent of global production."
We are seeing "an enormous shift of power and influence in the world," said Singapore's foreign minister, George Yong-Boon Yeo. The sooner China and India were admitted to the club of industrial nations the better, he said. Others said that there should be a G-13 or G-14, to include rapidly expanding economies.
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has called for India to be admitted as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. But when I asked France's foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, if the European Union should be limited to one member on the Security Council instead of the current two, Britain and France, he told me that would be impossible because the EU member states couldn't agree among themselves, "not on Kosovo, not on Iran," and, with a shrug, he implied not on much else either.
It would be easy to nominate new members to the Security Council, said Henry Kissinger, but difficult with the increased number of vetoes. Condoleezza Rice spoke of hope and optimism, which she admitted usually made international audiences "groan." She said Americans didn't accept a difference between their ideals and their national interests, yet she admitted that the United States had "no reason for false pride and every reason for humility."
Most of the delegates gathered here still admire the United States, were happy with its leadership, and sad to see it decline. "America was the dream of the world," said a French delegate. After Rice had left a young German said his grandfather had been a prisoner of war of the Americans, but remained staunchly pro-American all through his life. The young man asked: Would that be true of an Iraqi prisoner of war today?
H. D. S. Greenway's column appears regularly in The Boston Globe.
Via TIME Magazine
Why Davos Doesn't Matter
By Tony Karon of TIME Magazine
Published 24 January 2008
A decade ago, Davos was the most coveted invitation among the aspirants, wannabes and star-struck hangers-on of the world's power players. The annual shindig of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alpine ski resort assembled the corporate and political elites of the West — and those from the developing and former socialist worlds who were ready to accept their tutelage — to plot the future of globalization. The free market had become the uncontested economic model, free trade was the order of the day and dot-com visionaries promised that stock market exuberance was no longer irrational. The future seemed to belong to what Samuel Huntington (yes, he of the "Clash of Civilizations" fame) dubbed "Davos Man."
The fact that this year's gathering opened under the cloud of a precipitous global stock market slide and creeping recession may be symbolically apt, but it is not the only reason for the absence of triumphalist illusions at Davos 2008. The markets are telling us that the U.S. economy, and all whose wagons are hitched to it, are in for some very nasty times whose depth and duration nobody can predict. And the stalled global talks on extending free trade (the "Doha Round," which began seven years ago and remains unfinished) are a further sign that faith in free markets has its limits. But even outside of his immediate economic woes, it has become increasingly clear that Davos Man's authority is in decline.
The choice of the event's opening speaker and one of its co-chairs — respectively, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair — suggests that Davos Man is either out of touch, or else in a state of melancholic denial. For one thing, Rice and Blair arguably bear substantial personal responsibility for the catastrophic policies that have exacerbated the violent chaos spanning an "arc of instability" from Palestine to Pakistan. Their track record alone suggests that neither has much new, or interesting, to offer in a discussion about managing an increasingly dangerous world.
Track record aside, though, neither Rice nor Blair is a significant player going forward. Blair lost his leadership of Britain precisely because of his foreign policy choices, and is now confined to a role on the margins of a Middle East peace process that has the proverbial snowball's chance in hell of succeeding — and even then, he serves at the pleasure of a U.S. Administration whose lame-duck status is quickly rendering it largely irrelevant on the global stage.
Rice's recent tour of the Middle East along with President Bush confirmed that, politeness aside, Washington is now being substantially ignored by both friend and foe in that troubled region. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians, Saudis, Syrians and Iranians appear to set any store by the threats, promises and prescriptions of Washington. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert may flatter Bush with exaggerated praise, but he's not heeding the Administration on the question of settlements. The Saudis may shower Bush with bling, but they also firmly rebuff any suggestion that they should be isolating Hamas or Iran. And so on.
The decline of Davos Man is not simply related to a credit crunch or a U.S. election year. Even if America elects a new Administration dedicated to reversing the mistakes of the Bush team, it is unlikely to restore U.S. and Western primacy such as it existed in the golden years of Davos. The policy failures of the Bush years may have accelerated the decline of U.S. influence, but they are not its sole cause. In the years during which the U.S. became distracted by the "global war on terror," China's economy has grown to twice the size it was when President Bush first took office. It is to China — guarantor, by virtue of the trillion dollars and growing line of credit it makes available to the American consumer, of the American way of life — that U.S. investment banks turn for help when confronted by their losses in the subprime loan crisis. The very success of capitalism in developing and former socialist countries has inevitably weakened the grip of the West on the global political economy.
Today, market analysts contemplate whether the best hope for the global economy avoiding being dragged into the vortex of recession by the U.S . slowdown may be the "decoupling" from the U.S. economy that some believe could allow economies such as China and India to continue growing by virtue of momentum in their own economies. It's a theory, untested in crisis — and clearly the wobbles hitting India's stock market this week suggest its own investors are not convinced. Still, China has already become the key trading and investment partner in both Africa and in some key Latin American countries, offering a model of development quite different from the "Washington consensus" on issues of governance and economic management that might, as easily, have been dubbed the "Davos consensus." China is certainly not going to take direction from its debtors, and global energy prices have transformed Russia from obedient supplicant to swaggering challenger to the West.
The U.S. and its allies remain immensely powerful, but the limits of their ability to influence events have been laid bare in Iraq. Today, long-term traditional U.S. allies in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe can no longer be counted on to follow Washington's lead. At the same time, the Davos crowd has lost its near-monopoly on global political and economic power, which is increasingly being diffused across a variety of different power centers with shifting alliances. French foreign policy intellectuals of the 1990s, fearful of what they called the American "hyperpower," fantasized about a "multipolar world" where power was balanced across a variety of different power centers and interests. While economic "decoupling" remains an untested hypothesis, geopolitical "multipolarity" is today increasingly plain to see. And nowhere more so than at Davos.
From the NYT Magazine
Waving Goodbye To Hegemony
By Parag Khanna of the New York Times
Published 27th January
Turn on the TV today, and you could be forgiven for thinking it’s 1999. Democrats and Republicans are bickering about where and how to intervene, whether to do it alone or with allies and what kind of world America should lead. Democrats believe they can hit a reset button, and Republicans believe muscular moralism is the way to go. It’s as if the first decade of the 21st century didn’t happen — and almost as if history itself doesn’t happen. But the distribution of power in the world has fundamentally altered over the two presidential terms of George W. Bush, both because of his policies and, more significant, despite them. Maybe the best way to understand how quickly history happens is to look just a bit ahead.
It is 2016, and the Hillary Clinton or John McCain or Barack Obama administration is nearing the end of its second term. America has pulled out of Iraq but has about 20,000 troops in the independent state of Kurdistan, as well as warships anchored at Bahrain and an Air Force presence in Qatar. Afghanistan is stable; Iran is nuclear. China has absorbed Taiwan and is steadily increasing its naval presence around the Pacific Rim and, from the Pakistani port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea. The European Union has expanded to well over 30 members and has secure oil and gas flows from North Africa, Russia and the Caspian Sea, as well as substantial nuclear energy. America’s standing in the world remains in steady decline.
Why? Weren’t we supposed to reconnect with the United Nations and reaffirm to the world that America can, and should, lead it to collective security and prosperity? Indeed, improvements to America’s image may or may not occur, but either way, they mean little. Condoleezza Rice has said America has no “permanent enemies,” but it has no permanent friends either. Many saw the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as the symbols of a global American imperialism; in fact, they were signs of imperial overstretch. Every expenditure has weakened America’s armed forces, and each assertion of power has awakened resistance in the form of terrorist networks, insurgent groups and “asymmetric” weapons like suicide bombers. America’s unipolar moment has inspired diplomatic and financial countermovements to block American bullying and construct an alternate world order. That new global order has arrived, and there is precious little Clinton or McCain or Obama could do to resist its growth.
The Geopolitical Marketplace
At best, America’s unipolar moment lasted through the 1990s, but that was also a decade adrift. The post-cold-war “peace dividend” was never converted into a global liberal order under American leadership. So now, rather than bestriding the globe, we are competing — and losing — in a geopolitical marketplace alongside the world’s other superpowers: the European Union and China. This is geopolitics in the 21st century: the new Big Three. Not Russia, an increasingly depopulated expanse run by Gazprom.gov; not an incoherent Islam embroiled in internal wars; and not India, lagging decades behind China in both development and strategic appetite. The Big Three make the rules — their own rules — without any one of them dominating. And the others are left to choose their suitors in this post-American world.
The more we appreciate the differences among the American, European and Chinese worldviews, the more we will see the planetary stakes of the new global game. Previous eras of balance of power have been among European powers sharing a common culture. The cold war, too, was not truly an “East-West” struggle; it remained essentially a contest over Europe. What we have today, for the first time in history, is a global, multicivilizational, multipolar battle.
In Europe’s capital, Brussels, technocrats, strategists and legislators increasingly see their role as being the global balancer between America and China. Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, a German member of the European Parliament, calls it “European patriotism.” The Europeans play both sides, and if they do it well, they profit handsomely. It’s a trend that will outlast both President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, the self-described “friend of America,” and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, regardless of her visiting the Crawford ranch. It may comfort American conservatives to point out that Europe still lacks a common army; the only problem is that it doesn’t really need one. Europeans use intelligence and the police to apprehend radical Islamists, social policy to try to integrate restive Muslim populations and economic strength to incorporate the former Soviet Union and gradually subdue Russia. Each year European investment in Turkey grows as well, binding it closer to the E.U. even if it never becomes a member. And each year a new pipeline route opens transporting oil and gas from Libya, Algeria or Azerbaijan to Europe. What other superpower grows by an average of one country per year, with others waiting in line and begging to join?
Robert Kagan famously said that America hails from Mars and Europe from Venus, but in reality, Europe is more like Mercury — carrying a big wallet. The E.U.’s market is the world’s largest, European technologies more and more set the global standard and European countries give the most development assistance. And if America and China fight, the world’s money will be safely invested in European banks. Many Americans scoffed at the introduction of the euro, claiming it was an overreach that would bring the collapse of the European project. Yet today, Persian Gulf oil exporters are diversifying their currency holdings into euros, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has proposed that OPEC no longer price its oil in “worthless” dollars. President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela went on to suggest euros. It doesn’t help that Congress revealed its true protectionist colors by essentially blocking the Dubai ports deal in 2006. With London taking over (again) as the world’s financial capital for stock listing, it’s no surprise that China’s new state investment fund intends to locate its main Western offices there instead of New York. Meanwhile, America’s share of global exchange reserves has dropped to 65 percent. Gisele Bündchen demands to be paid in euros, while Jay-Z drowns in 500 euro notes in a recent video. American soft power seems on the wane even at home.
And Europe’s influence grows at America’s expense. While America fumbles at nation-building, Europe spends its money and political capital on locking peripheral countries into its orbit. Many poor regions of the world have realized that they want the European dream, not the American dream. Africa wants a real African Union like the E.U.; we offer no equivalent. Activists in the Middle East want parliamentary democracy like Europe’s, not American-style presidential strongman rule. Many of the foreign students we shunned after 9/11 are now in London and Berlin: twice as many Chinese study in Europe as in the U.S. We didn’t educate them, so we have no claims on their brains or loyalties as we have in decades past. More broadly, America controls legacy institutions few seem to want — like the International Monetary Fund — while Europe excels at building new and sophisticated ones modeled on itself. The U.S. has a hard time getting its way even when it dominates summit meetings — consider the ill-fated Free Trade Area of the Americas — let alone when it’s not even invited, as with the new East Asian Community, the region’s answer to America’s Apec.
The East Asian Community is but one example of how China is also too busy restoring its place as the world’s “Middle Kingdom” to be distracted by the Middle Eastern disturbances that so preoccupy the United States. In America’s own hemisphere, from Canada to Cuba to Chávez’s Venezuela, China is cutting massive resource and investment deals. Across the globe, it is deploying tens of thousands of its own engineers, aid workers, dam-builders and covert military personnel. In Africa, China is not only securing energy supplies; it is also making major strategic investments in the financial sector. The whole world is abetting China’s spectacular rise as evidenced by the ballooning share of trade in its gross domestic product — and China is exporting weapons at a rate reminiscent of the Soviet Union during the cold war, pinning America down while filling whatever power vacuums it can find. Every country in the world currently considered a rogue state by the U.S. now enjoys a diplomatic, economic or strategic lifeline from China, Iran being the most prominent example.
Without firing a shot, China is doing on its southern and western peripheries what Europe is achieving to its east and south. Aided by a 35 million-strong ethnic Chinese diaspora well placed around East Asia’s rising economies, a Greater Chinese Co-Prosperity Sphere has emerged. Like Europeans, Asians are insulating themselves from America’s economic uncertainties. Under Japanese sponsorship, they plan to launch their own regional monetary fund, while China has slashed tariffs and increased loans to its Southeast Asian neighbors. Trade within the India-Japan-Australia triangle — of which China sits at the center — has surpassed trade across the Pacific.
At the same time, a set of Asian security and diplomatic institutions is being built from the inside out, resulting in America’s grip on the Pacific Rim being loosened one finger at a time. From Thailand to Indonesia to Korea, no country — friend of America’s or not — wants political tension to upset economic growth. To the Western eye, it is a bizarre phenomenon: small Asian nation-states should be balancing against the rising China, but increasingly they rally toward it out of Asian cultural pride and an understanding of the historical-cultural reality of Chinese dominance. And in the former Soviet Central Asian countries — the so-called Stans — China is the new heavyweight player, its manifest destiny pushing its Han pioneers westward while pulling defunct microstates like Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as well as oil-rich Kazakhstan, into its orbit. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization gathers these Central Asian strongmen together with China and Russia and may eventually become the “NATO of the East.”
Via the IHT
I hope the Beijing Olympics will be great for China and the rest of the world, but I'm quite sure that China's obsession to script and control everything will backfire. The Chinese government has already arrested many people who might cause upheaval, but the video below shows that protests or unscripted events might come from unexpected corners.
From the article in the IHT:
The matter in question arose last month when Hu Ziwei, a well-known Chinese television personality, burst onto the stage during a lavish ceremony where the state broadcaster, CCTV, was inaugurating its new Olympics sports channel.
There stood Hu's husband, Zhang Bin, who is also a well-known sports anchor, and suddenly, the neatly dressed woman began speaking in a calm voice about her supposed discovery of his love affair with another woman.
From the outset it was clear that Hu was a surprise guest, and her message, too, was way off script. "Next year is an Olympics year, and people all over the world will be watching China," she began calmly, her hands folded in front of her. Quickly, several men approached to try to get her off of the stage, but Hu held her ground, shaking off their attempts to grasp hold of her.
From the perspective of a government that obsesses over control of what is visible and what is not, what can be expressed publicly and recorded for posterity and what cannot, even in these first instants the makings of a nightmare were readily apparent. Voices could be heard offstage, "Please don't take any pictures," but it was already too late. Not only could one clearly hear the sound of snapshots being clicked off, but also within hours video footage was spreading on the Internet via Chinese Web sites, which the government attempted to block, and via YouTube, which it could not.
Hu continued, citing the words of an unnamed French diplomat, saying: "Until China is able to start exporting its values, it won't be able to become a great power. For us to appear so prim and proper, yet Zhang Bin can't even be brought to face his own - he won't even face his hurt wife. I think China, as a - to succeed as a great power - don't any of you have a conscience at all?" The men in suits approached yet again attempting to remove her, but the diminutive lady was having none of it. "You let me go," she exclaimed, pulling herself free. "We're so far from being a great country."
TED Talks are popular videos from the 15-20 minute presentations given by elite speakers at its annual event. They usually bring well-argumented and/or funny messages accross and TED's visual flair helps to make these videos inspirational and exciting to watch.
Now Big Think joins the fun with short 3 minute video interviews of public intellectuals in areas such as politics, law, science etc. Big Think is positioning itself as the ''Youtube of ideas'' and aims to trigger debates about issues that matter in this world. It claims to take a more bottom-up approach compared to TED. Another site offering intellectual videos is Fora TV. It is comparable with Big Think, though their videos are longer. All sites aim to implement social networking features, though I'm not sure if that is something to be so happy about...
Big think is not short of coverage upon its launch in part because former Harvard President Larry Summers is a minority investor. Click the links below for more on Big Think and other players in the intellectual video arena.
I checked out the site and thought I'd try and find a video related to something light: life and death. Unfortunately, there are no experts in this field yet?! I watched a video interview with Richard Branson on ''giving back to society'', but was quite disappointed. I think 3 minutes is very short to really say something and the speakers don't really seem comfortable either. Moreover, the added value of video becomes less when the message is so short without any backgrounds or slides to show. So great ''IDEA'' with potential but still poorly executed in in my opinion.
From ''Backlight'' VPRO, The Netherlands
Very interesting edition of ''Backlight'' on Dutch television tonight.
Investor Jim Rogers spoke about commodities and the future of the East (China). He is moving or has moved to China and wants his kids to grow up in the continent of the future: Asia. He sees the 19th century as the century of the UK, the 20th century as that of the USA and the 21st century as the century of China. He has sold his US dollars, predicts the fall of a once great nation and tells us to learn Chinese ASAP! I personally don't think this will happen as quickly and dramatically as he claims considering the size and still growing American economy and its growing population, though he did predict the housing bubble in 2002 and also wrote a ''visionary'' book on rising influence and cost of commodities. Most importantly, he has made a fortune by these predictions. His advice for 2008: puts on anything related to Wallstreet and studying a profession like farming or chemistry rather than an MBA.
Futurologist and business strategist Peter Schwartz spoke about several major topics such as global warming, religion, demographics and more. It was interesting to hear his analysis on how global warming does indeed affect global peace (so perhaps Al Gore's Nobel Prize is justified after all). Also, he predicts Europe to face major tensions as religion will become increasingly relevant with the influx of immigrants from Asia and Africa. Living in Holland with 1 dead politician and 1 dead filmmaker and French riots in the sub-urbs not too far away this prediction is already a reality today. When I heard Peter Schwartz speak in front of a group of marketers in Gent Belgium, I thought it would be quite interesting to do this kind of work. Trendwatching normally focuses on the short-term as is often not very well argumented. His work puts things in a much larger perspective.
The video only shows a small part of both interviews. More info on Backlight's website.