Friday, May 2, 2008

Welcome To The Cognitive Age

Today's New York Times features a valuable read by columnist David Brooks called The Cognitive Age. It reminds me of the American political discourse back around the time of the Ohio presidential primary. In the campaigning leading up to that primary, current and former presidents, both Democratic and Republican, were being blamed for allowing cheap foreign labor to cause manufacturing job losses in Ohio resulting in that state's current economic problems. I know of what they speak. I visited Ohio last summer. I drove from Cincinnati to Toledo. What I saw looked like the graveyard of the Industrial Age. But, I don't consider it the fault of either President Clinton or Presidents Bush. The Industrial Age is just over in Ohio (and elsewhere, so take note.)

Brooks writes that according to William Overholt of the RAND Corporation between 1994 and 2004 the Chinese shed 25 million manufacturing jobs, 10 times more than the U.S. during that period. This statistic makes me consider something that I heard Dan Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, state in his presentation in Memphis last year. Pink used this story to make his point: if you tell an average American that you got an Indian accountant to do your taxes, the listener is likely displeased about the consequences for an American accountant. But, if you tell the average American that you did your taxes on TurboTax, the listener will think it great; how high tech! No sign of empathy for any unhired American accountant. American's are all for savings due to technology but we disfavor savings due to cheap foreign labor. According to Pink, TurboTax does many more US tax returns than Indian accountants do. Brooks and Pink both make the point that technology is impacting America more than cheap foreign labor. No one running for President is going to change the new realities of the world economy. American is moving into the Cognitive Age. Maybe, we should give a little more attention to understanding the ways of the New World and prepare accordingly, rather than continuing to lament the loss of the old ways and trying to return there. Move on, Buckeyes! Welcome to the 21st century and the Cognitive Age.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Baby Boomers need to move out of the way. We are holding change back ... keeping it in a box. Its time for the new Psychology and Culture to be unleashed. Teaching that will be the challenge.