Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tom Friedman's brilliant solution:

To what ails us economically:
Ultimately, though, good jobs at scale come only when we create more products and services that make people’s lives more healthy, more productive, more secure, more comfortable or more entertained — and then sell them to more people around the world.
That's all there is to it. Plus, he says:
[We should] leverage modern technology so that one American can do the work of 20 Chinese and, therefore, get paid the same as 20 Chinese.
Simple and elegant, because nobody else in the world (including the Chinese) will be thinking of that.

Finally, what about the worker without special skills? Friedman offers:
What about your nurse, barber or waiter? ... Everyone today ... needs to think of himself as an “artisan” — the term used before mass manufacturing to apply to people who made things or provided services with a distinctive touch in which they took personal pride. Everyone today has to be an artisan and bring something extra to their jobs.
Because when your waiter is an artisan, that "something extra" brought to the restaurant table will guarantee a decent income and solid retirement.

But Friedman is no Pollyanna. He issues this caution:
... just doing your job in an average way — in this integrated and automated global economy — will lead to below-average wages.
Is Friedman doing his job in an average way? Or even below-average? Is his writing jejune? Let's hope not or he'll end up below-average economically.


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