I’ve been a big fan of the TED Talks (here, here, here). I’ve also started reading the Marginal Revolution blog after reading Brooks article not long ago that reference an idea that the blog posted. I think I made a quip about having enough reading on my blog list and that they better impress or I’d drop them like week old kung po chicken in my fridge. The blog’s still in my fridge and it’s still tasty.
In any event, I read that Alex Taborrak, one of the authors of the blog and holder of the Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at George Mason University, had been invited to make a TED Talk about globalization. The talk, which I very much liked, is posted below and worth a watch (or listen — podcasts on itunes) since it is looking like we might be slouching off the hang-over from our last several bubbles and this so-called Great Recession.
His theme — economic development in other counties increases the most important marketplace, that of ideas which benefits all nations and peoples — is, I think, optimistic, forward thinking and (the sunnier part of me cries out) ‘spot on’. He likens the world’s population to a massive computer whose CPUs have been mostly off for lack of wealth driving education maximizing people’s potential. In other words, if all Einstein could have done would be to work in a farm field, would he have been able to develop and allow us all to benefited from his illuminating ideas?
In the last half the the 20th century, wealth creation throughout the world has been driven by the implosion of trade, communication and political barriers. This has been particularly robust for the peoples of China and India. And this explosion has transformed and expanded marks in human ideas — and certainly every other conceivable economic market. Even Africa is seeing a better future. (cf a related post of mine that discusses lost opportunity even in the United States educational system (here)).
And yet, another cynical part of me also looks back at the other history of the 20th century and I wonder if the walls and barriers to development could not go up again as fast as they have fallen. If you want to wallow in gloom, take a listen to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcasts of the WWII eastern front battles Ghosts of Osfronts I, II, III – available on itunes or here. But I, for one, won’t be Eeyore tonight. Check out his talk.