Thomas Friedman & Michael Mandlebaum raise familiar issues and if you read Friedman's "The World is Flat" you will follow this theme. When Friedman wrote that book in 2005 there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no 3D printers and few smart-phones. These and many more changes have become a part of our environment in the past six years. The authors repeatedly ask what is the United States doing to ensure its' citizens have enough education and resources to compete in the new global environment? What happens to our workforce as routine work is shifted to anyplace on the globe or to a machine? In 1970 my first employer, New York Telephone, employed 106,000 people just for New York State and today Verizon has 194,400 for over half the country. NYT once employed 32,000 phone operators all of which are gone with some having been replaced by a machine.
I started listening to Friedman's 16-hour audio book but soon realized it required a hard copy to reference. A lot of information some of which is intense. The authors attempt to put a positive spin on the problems that are accumulating in the US but one reviewer noted that simply describing the problems makes solutions seem overwhelming. This book is an excellent compendium of the major challenges that must be resolved. At the heart of their thesis is information technology and the internet have changed everything and the US is slipping behind that curve at an accelerating rate.
For example: On Sunday our washing machine broke. On Monday I called the company who serviced it five years ago. On Tuesday a repairman arrived. If the machine was unrepairable they would give me a $50 credit for a new machine which they would deliver, install and remove the old machine. I asked if they are still in Teaneck, NJ so I could see what they sold. "Henry" told me they closed all their retail stores four years ago and everything is now done on the internet. They would email me links to recommended machines and I could choose one that would be delivered by a third party. I asked if he was in India and he said no, but how can I know? The repairman arrived, diagnosed a defective water pump, took a picture of the plate with serial and model numbers on an iPhone, emailed it back to dispatch and told me it would cost about $300 to repair. The replacement water pump was manufactured in China.
In essence I am dealing with a virtual company and I learned that the repairmen are all contract employes who are dispatched like taxicabs and obtain parts from a central depot. This is the new business model and an significant percentage of our adult population is or will be unemployed as a result.
Note I ordered Friedman's book book from a Seattle company on Saturday and it was delivered with free-shipping for $15.23 on Tuesday afternoon originating in a warehouse somewhere over the rainbow. The audio version was downloaded from Audible and arrived three minutes after placing the order. If you are in the CD &/or Book business (like Borders, Sam's, Circuit City and Tower Records) you are history along with the careers of many otherwise good people.
Our national goals must have much much more majesty than elimination of government and lower taxes. If our national objective is only inwardly focused reductions then our children and grandchildren are guaranteed to drive on roads with potholes, slow trains that run off schedule, intermittent power, diseases brought about by unprocessed sewage from broken filtration plants, increased social unrest, high energy prices, bosses with foreign accents, more Homeland Security initiatives and no meaningful future such as the one many of us found back in the early 1960s when we entered the workforce.
This book is not for most people. The plot is not terribly good and the storyline goes far afield. The underplot however is all about contemporary hackers and what they can do and how they break into secure data. The best I can compare it to is some of the very different kind of people I worked with 30+ years ago who, even then, marched to their own drummer. Every computer organization had one or two of these very bright "go-to" guys; even IBM which demanded white shirts of its public people but their back-office genius folks could do as they wanted. I am certain that remains true to this day.
This audio book is loaded with facts, data and information about the current epidemic of mental illness. 3.5 million children on Ritalin; 250 people a day going on Social Security Disability for various mental health issues. The solution has been to use truckloads of pharmaceuticals to control behavior or provide relief. The author presents a very convincing case that our systematic overdosing on these drugs is exacerbating a problem, indeed turning young children who act out in school into drugged young adults who, in some cases, have a life long dependency problem.
Until 1960 most of the modern psychological diseases that are prevalent in the US did not exist. Once big pharma ( the people who fill the evening news with chemical solutions for what ever ails you) cranked up its marketing machine it became essential for many of us to find the "right" pill.
This is an important book for anyone who has children or friend/relatives who may be taking or considering modern psychotropic drugs. This book makes a compelling case that the cure may be worse than the disease.
This is an extension of the previous John Corey stories. Corey's leaps of deduction strain credibility but it is a fun read. A familiar plot whereby one person has all the blinding insight and shares little with his colleagues or boss then goes on, with the aid of his wife, to defeat the forces of evil. Hey, its fiction and its fun! Scott Brick, as always, does a good job with the narration.
This is a truly scary read. Buchanan traces the historu of immigration in America. He notes that our borders were essentially closed from 1924 until 1965 when the laws were rewritten as part of "The Great Society." The unintended consequences include 12 million illegals and 20 million legals which are now demanding parity, benefits and the right to bring an unlimited number of their friends and family.
The paper book has 27 pages of footnotes and a 9 page index. There is a lot of data quoted to support his thesis and it is impossible to keep it all i a listner's head. The hardcover details his sources.
This is a politically incorrect book that is bound to stir controversy and accusations of racism. Buchanan is a man who does not mince words. The topic is important and it is made clear that the government is willing to commit billions to overseas adventures but unwilling to staunch the invasion of over 1 million illegals on our southern borders. We can only hope that he is wrong.
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