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dkf

(37,305 posts)
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:24 PM Dec 2011

Thomas Friedman on hyper connectivity, the super wealthy and why being average won't get you far.

MR. FRIEDMAN: Well, you know, I think, David, if we step back, I think we can explain a lot of what's going on in the country and, and in the world by the fact that we've actually gone from a connected world to a really hyperconnected world. And what that's done, actually, if the world were a single math class, the whole global curve has risen. Because every boss today has access to more cheap automation, cheap software, cheap robotics, cheap labor, and cheap genius than ever before.

And as a result, average is over. Average is officially over. We've all got to find our extra, come with something new and extra to the table. So, on the one hand, that's creating a lot of anxiety, understandably, throughout the population. At the same time, that
hyperconnectivity is giving people the tools to, to organize and protest against it from the right and the left.

And, at the same time, that hyperconnectivity is creating these huge income gaps because if you do have the talent, if you are really, really above average, if you're J.K. Rowling, you know, you can now make more money in a totally connected world than ever before. So it's all wrapped up together in one process.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45785807/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/meet-press-transcript-december/#.Tvvb1vF5mSM

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Thomas Friedman on hyper connectivity, the super wealthy and why being average won't get you far. (Original Post) dkf Dec 2011 OP
Bullshit Prophet 451 Dec 2011 #1
Well I guess if you think it's Government's role to prevent people from becoming exceedingly wealthy dkf Dec 2011 #4
No, I think it is government's role... Prophet 451 Dec 2011 #6
It's not Government's role to prevent people from becoming exceedingly wealthy yodermon Dec 2011 #10
The government's role is what we, the citizens, say is its role. Fool Count Dec 2011 #30
Then it would seem that not enough of us have been saying that .... oldhippie Dec 2011 #34
Obviously. But that's your, Americans, problem. I live in Australia Fool Count Dec 2011 #37
It is government's role to keep thieves from stealing you blind. tsuki Dec 2011 #44
People Are Becoming Exceedingly Wealthy Because of the Fed's Loose Monetary Policies Yavin4 Dec 2011 #17
No, it's supposed to prevent income inequality from becoming too eridani Dec 2011 #20
What happens in a global world where there isn't one central government? dkf Dec 2011 #27
Obviously, there needs to be a central world government oldhippie Dec 2011 #35
Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your news letter. leeroysphitz Dec 2011 #42
well, that's falling into the new world order meme newspeak Dec 2011 #49
The governments that exist should then take the responsibility eridani Dec 2011 #43
Not exactly bullshit. Zalatix Dec 2011 #23
It's Illogical for Everyone to be Above Average Yavin4 Dec 2011 #2
Correct. Dawson Leery Dec 2011 #5
A functioning economy has to accomodate the F student. The majority are, by definition, C students. saras Dec 2011 #26
What a tool. girl gone mad Dec 2011 #3
Yet a person who sells to the world has opportunities beyond what they used to. dkf Dec 2011 #7
You're absolutely right, but ... dawg Dec 2011 #11
Friedman Uses a Fluke Example like Rowling and Presents It as if it's a Norm Yavin4 Dec 2011 #18
I've never been impressed with Friedman. dawg Dec 2011 #8
so by friendman, most of us are average newspeak Dec 2011 #50
Do I have to explain YET AGAIN why this guy is the most ginormous tool walking? HughBeaumont Dec 2011 #9
First of all price is a big part of being competitive. dkf Dec 2011 #12
I wonder how many Friedman Units until the entire world becomes Lake Wobegon? Fumesucker Dec 2011 #13
Why is it always us and ONLY us that has to "compete"? HughBeaumont Dec 2011 #28
IT Outsourcing to India Exists Solely Because of Cost, Not the Talent Level of Indian ITers Yavin4 Dec 2011 #19
Ding Ding Ding.....we have a winner......... Burma Jones Dec 2011 #33
K & R'ing your comment... freshwest Dec 2011 #21
That it why it is completely insane to exboyfil Dec 2011 #29
Shh thom over here nadinbrzezinski Dec 2011 #14
that sounds like something someone who enjoys listening to their own voice would say JI7 Dec 2011 #15
and yet if some CEO from some large Corp loses money they end up with millions of dollars JI7 Dec 2011 #16
Yeesh MFrohike Dec 2011 #22
Yes! HangOnKids Dec 2011 #38
Friedman supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Ichingcarpenter Dec 2011 #24
So, we all have to write Harry Potter... but, if we all did JCMach1 Dec 2011 #25
Somehow being well below average didn't prevent Friedman personally from enjoying Fool Count Dec 2011 #31
Horseshit. RUMMYisFROSTED Dec 2011 #32
Is Jamie Dimon richer than JK Rowling? dkf Dec 2011 #36
Who said it was wealth? RUMMYisFROSTED Dec 2011 #46
Being average.. sendero Dec 2011 #39
He Hit The Marriage Lottery! HangOnKids Dec 2011 #40
What a load of codswallop n/t Spazito Dec 2011 #41
I don't think I care for this man's ideas. Burgman Dec 2011 #45
How does Mr. Friedman justify his continuing employment in a money-losing endeavor, then? Romulox Dec 2011 #47
The entire world is run by "C" students. Ikonoklast Dec 2011 #48
it's amazing that one fekkin apologist for the 1% newspeak Dec 2011 #51
Tom Friedman has been wrong on everything he has ever said..... lib2DaBone Dec 2011 #52

Prophet 451

(9,796 posts)
1. Bullshit
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:32 PM
Dec 2011

So what was creating these massive wealth disparities back in the Thirties then? You get massive wealth disparities primarily for one reason: Government that refuses to do something about them.

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
4. Well I guess if you think it's Government's role to prevent people from becoming exceedingly wealthy
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:47 PM
Dec 2011

then it's always governments fault if they let that condition exist.

Prophet 451

(9,796 posts)
6. No, I think it is government's role...
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:51 PM
Dec 2011

... to prevent massive wealth disparities. It does society no good for so much wealth to be concentrated in so few hands. I said nothing about preventing people from becoming wealthy.

yodermon

(6,143 posts)
10. It's not Government's role to prevent people from becoming exceedingly wealthy
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:59 PM
Dec 2011

It's Government's role to prevent people from becoming exceedingly poor.

 

Fool Count

(1,230 posts)
30. The government's role is what we, the citizens, say is its role.
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 08:44 AM
Dec 2011

If we say its role is to prevent the people from becoming exceedingly wealthy,
it better play it well or we will be getting ourselves a new one.

 

oldhippie

(3,249 posts)
34. Then it would seem that not enough of us have been saying that ....
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 10:46 AM
Dec 2011

.... based on recent history. More citizens must be saying the opposite, based on your statement.

 

Fool Count

(1,230 posts)
37. Obviously. But that's your, Americans, problem. I live in Australia
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 05:57 PM
Dec 2011

and was making a general statement in response to unsubstantiated proclamation
on what the government role is or isn't. To repeat, in a democracy the voters decide
what role their elected government should or should not play. If you like letting few
people to get filthy rich while most get poorer - that's fine with me. As long as you
live somewhere else.

tsuki

(11,994 posts)
44. It is government's role to keep thieves from stealing you blind.
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 08:08 PM
Dec 2011

The Axis of Weasels, Corzine, Dimon & the CME, did not pull their MF Global shit in Canada. The government stopped them.

Yavin4

(35,223 posts)
17. People Are Becoming Exceedingly Wealthy Because of the Fed's Loose Monetary Policies
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:55 AM
Dec 2011

and the government's active role in suppressing wages.

eridani

(51,907 posts)
20. No, it's supposed to prevent income inequality from becoming too
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:13 AM
Dec 2011

--extreme, as anyone who has ever played Monopoly probably knows. When one player gets all the money, the game comes to a screeching halt. The only way to start it up again is to divvy the cash among all the players.

 

oldhippie

(3,249 posts)
35. Obviously, there needs to be a central world government
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 10:48 AM
Dec 2011

How else can we force equality around the world? And we need to run it.

newspeak

(4,847 posts)
49. well, that's falling into the new world order meme
Fri Dec 30, 2011, 04:13 PM
Dec 2011

but the corporate farts are the ones who think they are in control.

 

Zalatix

(8,994 posts)
23. Not exactly bullshit.
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 04:00 AM
Dec 2011

Hyperconnectivity has been a huge force in reducing pay rates for the working class. It has led to outsourcing of jobs to cheap labor countries, for one. Plus it also helps with automation, which has destroyed a lot of jobs.

The income disparities in the 1920s were caused by other factors. Every economic era it's a different tool that the Plutocrats use to extract wealth from the rest of society.

As for the hyper-marginalization of average people, well, that points to Malthusianism and Social Darwinism. There is a school of thought that says in a population this big, average people mean nothing.

Yavin4

(35,223 posts)
2. It's Illogical for Everyone to be Above Average
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:37 PM
Dec 2011

That's just not possible. What Friedman does not understand is that a functioning economy has to accommodate the C+ student as well as the A+ student.

In addition, you can be above average in something, but because there's cheaper labor out there, most companies will settle for average and cheap instead of above average and expensive.

 

saras

(6,670 posts)
26. A functioning economy has to accomodate the F student. The majority are, by definition, C students.
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 04:07 AM
Dec 2011

Fifty percent of people are below average. If you make everybody twice as good, this doesn't change at all.

What Friedman DOES understand is that he represents the 1%, the 99th percentile, and they really don't give a flying fuck about the average, the median, the mean, or the bottom, as long as they are conspicuously better off than everyone else. If making these noises come out of his mouth make a few more people support their candidates, that will be duly noted.

girl gone mad

(20,634 posts)
3. What a tool.
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:41 PM
Dec 2011

Rowling's big break came when a child begged her dad to take a second look at the Harry Potter manuscript.

For every success story, there are hundreds of above average writers who never make it.

And then there are way below average writers, such as Friedman, who somehow manage to get published again and again.

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
7. Yet a person who sells to the world has opportunities beyond what they used to.
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:54 PM
Dec 2011

How can they not? Maybe JK Rowling got lucky, but once she caught fire she created a worldwide phenomenon.

dawg

(10,590 posts)
11. You're absolutely right, but ...
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 11:00 PM
Dec 2011

Friedman tries to stretch this commonsense fact into something that it is not. There are thousands of work-a-day jobs that we will always need to fill, both in this country and others. Those who fill those jobs and work hard should be guraranteed at least a living wage.

The world doesn't function without the average, and those who think otherwise are living in a bubble.

Yavin4

(35,223 posts)
18. Friedman Uses a Fluke Example like Rowling and Presents It as if it's a Norm
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:59 AM
Dec 2011

It's similar to using a lottery winner as an example of why the lottery is a great investment. The entertainment world is a hit or miss prospect. There are many talented writers, actors, singers, dancers, etc. who never get their big break, and then there are flukes like Rowling.

dawg

(10,590 posts)
8. I've never been impressed with Friedman.
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:56 PM
Dec 2011

The world is not flat. And it ain't Lake Wobegon, either.

Average is *not* over!


(And Mr. Friedman is the proof. Ha! Ha!)

newspeak

(4,847 posts)
50. so by friendman, most of us are average
Fri Dec 30, 2011, 04:16 PM
Dec 2011

and average doesn't make it anymore--and some who are above average are only there because they can easily lie, cheat and steal--I guess the rest of us are SOL.

HughBeaumont

(24,461 posts)
9. Do I have to explain YET AGAIN why this guy is the most ginormous tool walking?
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:56 PM
Dec 2011

Last edited Thu Dec 29, 2011, 07:45 AM - Edit history (1)

Horatio Alger is BULLSHIT. Not every human being can be J.K. Rowling, particularly in the area of circumstance.

Thomas Friedman himself didn't even rely on the Horatio Alger nonsense he's spouting . . . he married INTO wealth.

The war shilling, job-offshoring tool known as Thomas Friedman bought into all of the utter booooolshite Indian execs sold him - "Americans better wake up and smell the coffee - innovate or die." "Free Markets" "Devote your lives to your work as we have". Also, to say that the problem rests solely on American schools and lack of motivation to learn math and science (using, in other words, the tired Repuke "blame the worker" canard) is silly and short-sighted.

This ignores the fact that the Third World also have universities, just like we do (they can even use ours). They have the same knowledge as we do. They can attain any degree that we can, and their numbers are far greater. They're only remarkable for their cost. They aren't more talented. They don't work harder. They're simply cheaper. Don't let anyone sell you a line of free market CEO horseshit - this is a zero-sum game all the way, and we will never be the winners.

In previous columns and in his numerous books about the wonders of globalization, free trade (and, implicitly, offshore outsourcing of American jobs,) Friedman celebrates the movement of industrial and high technology work out of the United States to nations such as India and China. He considers this situation a "win-win" for Americans but he can't point to "21st-century jobs" created in the U.S. for Americans as a consequence of offshore outsourcing. (Sorry Tom, the growing number of low-skilled and low-paying nontradeable services jobs in the U.S. economy are not the "21st-century" jobs you imagine.)

In his books, Friedman noted well-known "American" corporate branded products in use by Indian companies and employees engaged in doing work once performed in the U.S. by American workers. Based upon the simple appearance of some familiar brand names on the products in evidence, Friedman announced in triumph that "American products" were being consumed by Indians - a "win" for American workers.

The truth that Friedman forgot to share or was to ignorant to discern is that the only thing "American" about the products was their brand names; the computers and bottled water used by the Indian offshore workers were likewise made offshore with foreign labor. (Even the "innovative" and "knowledge age" development of the products is increasingly done offshore by non-Americans.)

He fails to either acknowledge or comprehend the fact that the very outsourcing and "free trade" policies he has breathlessly praised are at the core of why Americans cannot compete for the "21st century jobs". The "flattening" of which Friedman speaks is the result of political action -- laws which have enabled American corporations to simultaneously move work offshore while continuing to sell goods and services produced by foreign workers in the U.S. market without restriction. Businesses are able to offshore jobs and pay Third World wages while continuing to sell the goods and services at "American prices".

What are OUR new 21st century careers? Hate to break it to you, but these careers are going to require training. YEARS of training, not months. I need to know NOW what they are and make sure they're stayin' put for a while . . . at least until corporate America ships THAT overseas as well. Until you have something better than the mediocre-paying service industry (like Davy Dreier stupidly espoused in that report of his during the Bewsh years), you're pretty much buyin' into a gamble.

Competition has absolutely NOTHING to do with this problem. If that were the chief reason, why are so many IT/Telecom professionals either out of work or leaving the field entirely? It's all about COST. They're cheap. We're expensive. Well, not really, since the average American income has only risen $2,000 in real dollars since 1970 and we work 80 hours longer. $20-25k per year is a king's ransom over there. Here, it's poverty, even in Arkansas.
 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
12. First of all price is a big part of being competitive.
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 11:31 PM
Dec 2011

Second, this is his analysis of what he sees as the driving forces today. If you don't see his ideas as having merit then his conclusions about where we need to go won't make sense to you. Personally I think he has a point..not that it makes me happy that things are this way, but I think it's good to know what the possibilities are.

Fumesucker

(45,851 posts)
13. I wonder how many Friedman Units until the entire world becomes Lake Wobegon?
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 11:39 PM
Dec 2011
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedman_(unit)

A Friedman is a unit of time equal to six months in the future.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] The Huffington Post cited it as the "Best New Phrase" of 2006.[9]

The term is in reference to a May 16, 2006 article by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) detailing columnist Thomas Friedman's repeated use[10] of "the next six months" as the period in which, according to Friedman, "we're going to find out...whether a decent outcome is possible" in the Iraq War. As documented by FAIR, Friedman had been making such six-month predictions for a period of two and a half years, on at least fourteen different occasions, starting with a column in the November 30, 2003 edition of The New York Times, in which he stated: "The next six months in Iraq—which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there—are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time."[11]

HughBeaumont

(24,461 posts)
28. Why is it always us and ONLY us that has to "compete"?
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 08:23 AM
Dec 2011

Why does no one ever tell the wealthy, like they tell the rest of us, "Life is tough. You have to accept and know what it's like to fail; otherwise, you'll become complacent and never get anywhere"?

Why is there no notion of "Cooperation"? Everything has to be about a contest and it's done us zero good in 30 years.

The thing about it is, I don't need to hear "solutions" from a guy who's pretty much never really had to work hard to get where he is in life, never really had to struggle, has networking skills and fell into all the right jobs (and eventually, married the right person). I don't think a person such as that should deem himself such an authority as to what American workers have to do to better themselves. I might as well listen to an Ovarian Lottery winner like Steve Forbes on the subject; it'd make about as much sense.

Friedman always tends to ignore the giant-elephant factors of wage stagnation, astronomical college costs, unrealistic expectations of Corporate America, unrealistic odds of "Horatio Alger" type success and just plain-and-simple bad luck.

Yavin4

(35,223 posts)
19. IT Outsourcing to India Exists Solely Because of Cost, Not the Talent Level of Indian ITers
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:03 AM
Dec 2011

If IT outsourcing was done based on talent, then the work would be going to Northern Europe. It's not going to Northern Europe because you would have to pay comparable U.S. wages.

exboyfil

(17,830 posts)
29. That it why it is completely insane to
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 08:32 AM
Dec 2011

tax dividends and capital gains at 15% (about the rate of fully loaded S.S. and not even including Federal Income taxes). The justification is the added risk associated with that income. It is much riskier to spend over $100-120K to get a 4 year degree, invest 4-5 years of your life (more if you include High School), and potentially be left with something that has no market value.

My kids are in 8th and 10th grade, and we have this discussion on a weekly basis. I don't have a crystal ball, but I am trying to facilitate their careers by looking at what they can do, their interests, and putting together plans to work towards that goal. Right now the older daughter is looking at Electrical Engineering/Film Studies and the younger daughter is thinking medical school (undergraduate in Biochemistry/Biology/Creative Writing). I see the ability to be creative and communicate, along with the technical skills, as being the best chance for a secure middle class future for them. I also told them to marry nice New Zealand boys who work with their hands (electrician, plumber, etc). Last part is a joke but not too much of a joke.

 

nadinbrzezinski

(154,021 posts)
14. Shh thom over here
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 11:44 PM
Dec 2011


Now that is an occupier... here is more...



You are right... but you are wrong, so wrong it is not even funny. The seed of the destruction into that system you pray too is precisely in that hyper-conectivity.

And just in time has a few issues... just ask oh Honda after the quake.

JI7

(89,055 posts)
16. and yet if some CEO from some large Corp loses money they end up with millions of dollars
Wed Dec 28, 2011, 11:53 PM
Dec 2011

when they leave.

MFrohike

(1,980 posts)
22. Yeesh
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 03:07 AM
Dec 2011

I'd love to say he's putting the cart before the horse, but the simple truth is that he's too dumb to tell the difference between them. The basis of the economy is law. It's not magical globalization or mystical economic forces or lazy adjective such as hyperconnectivity, it's law.

Disregarding his ideological blinkers for a moment, his argument is trash on its own merits. Is he really trying to argue that the entrenched pillaging of America by the financiers (marvelous old word) while bribing the political class is really above average behavior? Honestly, it's little more than bribing the cops to look the other way while you sell crack. Using his logic, Nino Brown was a great innovator of modern economic behavior and a model for emulation.

Ichingcarpenter

(36,988 posts)
24. Friedman supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq,
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 04:02 AM
Dec 2011

Friedman wrote that regime change was the proper justification for the war:

In his September 29, 2005, column in The New York Times, Friedman entertained the idea of supporting the Kurds and Shias in a civil war against the Sunnis:

An advocate for 'clean coal'


among other things

I've seen him on Bill Maher's show a few times
he's very shallow and I wonder why anyone takes his shit seriously.



JCMach1

(27,523 posts)
25. So, we all have to write Harry Potter... but, if we all did
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 04:05 AM
Dec 2011

(because we are hyperconnected) wouldn't that just devalue all the fantasy stories.

Friedman, who is normally comprehensible, steps into it here I'm afraid.

 

Fool Count

(1,230 posts)
31. Somehow being well below average didn't prevent Friedman personally from enjoying
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 08:55 AM
Dec 2011

a comfortable life without exerting himself too much. When a dumb hack like Friedman, who
couldn't get it right if he recited the multiplication table in his column, can get so lucky, the least
he could do is to enjoy his luck humbly instead of spewing crap about how the rest of us need to
be geniuses just to feed our kids.

RUMMYisFROSTED

(30,749 posts)
32. Horseshit.
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 09:13 AM
Dec 2011

They're not successful because they're hyper-talented. For the most part, they're successful because they have no scruples.

And it's not J.K. Rowling that's the problem (she's selling art, not necessities of life or the life savings of necessity), it's Jamie Dimon, Rupert, and Blankfein.

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
36. Is Jamie Dimon richer than JK Rowling?
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 04:00 PM
Dec 2011

Maybe it's not wealth that is the problem but what people do in the pursuit of wealth.

sendero

(28,552 posts)
39. Being average..
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 06:33 PM
Dec 2011

... seems to have worked out OK for Friedman. His brilliant observations are laughable, he is a joke.

 

HangOnKids

(4,291 posts)
40. He Hit The Marriage Lottery!
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 06:37 PM
Dec 2011

I take umbrage with Tom being called average, clearly he is BELOW average.

 

Burgman

(330 posts)
45. I don't think I care for this man's ideas.
Thu Dec 29, 2011, 08:13 PM
Dec 2011

He's essentially suggesting that the "average person" like me suck it up and bow to our new overlords just because we're, uh, average. Feudal 2.0.

Romulox

(25,960 posts)
47. How does Mr. Friedman justify his continuing employment in a money-losing endeavor, then?
Fri Dec 30, 2011, 03:40 PM
Dec 2011

Mr. Friedman's own theory suggests he is living on borrowed time.

Ikonoklast

(23,973 posts)
48. The entire world is run by "C" students.
Fri Dec 30, 2011, 04:12 PM
Dec 2011

Friedman is a fucking joke.

Nothing he writes is even remotely the truth; it is apologia.

newspeak

(4,847 posts)
51. it's amazing that one fekkin apologist for the 1%
Fri Dec 30, 2011, 04:24 PM
Dec 2011

is the one who's economic fairy tales have helped gotten us into this mess. Well, we know why the rich, the corporations and our politicians listen to his BS, it validates their greedy perceptions on how to make a profit and money for themselves while pretending the "average" and "below average" don't exist, unless they can be further exploited. Where's Keynes when you need him.

 

lib2DaBone

(8,124 posts)
52. Tom Friedman has been wrong on everything he has ever said.....
Fri Dec 30, 2011, 07:39 PM
Dec 2011

So why does he always end up on TV with his sorry-ass opinion?

Tom Friedman married money. Real Estate money.... from his wife.

Friedman is JERK who never worked a day in his lazy life.

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