Friday, May 02, 2008

The Cognitive Age

David Brooks has an interesting column in the New York Times. He quotes William Overholt of the RAND Corporation as saying that "between 1994 and 2004 the Chinese shed 25 million manufacturing jobs, 10 times more than the U.S."
The globalization paradigm emphasizes the fact that information can now travel 15,000 miles in an instant. But the most important part of information’s journey is the last few inches — the space between a person’s eyes or ears and the various regions of the brain. Does the individual have the capacity to understand the information? Does he or she have the training to exploit it? Are there cultural assumptions that distort the way it is perceived? …

It’s not that globalization and the skills revolution are contradictory processes. But which paradigm you embrace determines which facts and remedies you emphasize. Politicians, especially Democratic ones [he can't resist bashing Democrats], have fallen in love with the globalization paradigm. It’s time to move beyond it.

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