Wednesday, March 30

Wired/Barnett mashup

Update: Wired is posting some of the articles, so I'm going to move this back to the top again.

Wherein I institute a new feature, posting my thoughts on reading Wired through the grid of Thomas Barnett's view of the world. The new, April Wired is edition 13.04. When Wired puts up the URLs, I will link them. But if you're interested in Wired at all, you ought to just subscribe. The introductory offer is 10$/yr, and the renewal rate is only 12$.

+ The Outsourcing Myth
We actually insource many more foreign service jobs than we outsource. It makes a lot of sense once you think about it. But you don't hear about it, and you certainly don't hear us complaining. So if we get all protectionist when it comes to international outsourcing, the net result will be very negative.
+ China's Next Cultural Revolution
  • The demand for oil is rising faster than its price.
  • Pollution-related illness will suck as much as 15% of the GDP by 2030.
    • These kinds of pollution statistics are highly debatable, but this is a big number that's worth thinking about.
  • Beijing mandated some of the world's toughest fuel-efficiency standards in 2003. They plan to convert all public buses to compressed natural gas by the 2008 Olympics.
  • Lack of gasoline infrastructure might allow China to leap-frog the internal combustion engine.
  • The advantage of central planning: they could mandate, say, no internal combustion engines in Beijing.
  • Population will reach almost 1.3B by 2030. Only way to forestall economic calamity is 25 consecutive years of high GDP growth. That will require huge amounts of energy. China will have to double its oil imports by 2020.
    • This is something Tom harps on: the realities of China's growing energy needs and economy. They will be huge determiners of China's foreign policy in years to come. They already are.
  • Assertion in the article that dependence on foreign oil inevitably leads to war featuring a Mandarin pun: 'If you pump for oil, you have to fight wars for it,' where 'pump' and 'fight' sound similar in Mandarin.
  • The hope is to use alternative energy to replace 10% of China's energy demand by 2010 and 12% by 2020, up from 1% today.
    • That 2020 goal seems low, unless it's another 12%. The article isn't clear.
  • Pollution in China will make alternative energy necessary. 18 of the worlds's 25 most polluted cities according to the World Bank.
  • The goal is to mass produce hydrogen fuel cells by 2020.
  • In developing a strategy for their auto industry, they knew they couldn't compete with the West on the internal combustion engine.
    • If they beat us on hydrogen, goodbye Detroit. Of course, we can probably say goodbye to the power of Detroit in twenty years anyway.
    • Another assertion in the article, which I agree with from my reading of the previous article, is that hybrid auto technology will probably prove to be longer lasting than just a transition to hydrogen.
  • Significant hybrid development and market roll-out in China will require startup infrastructure, niche technology companies, and venture capital. But that's what Foreign Direct Investment is for.
+ La Vida Robot
  • Four undocumented Latino high school students won an underwater robotics contest, beating the likes of MIT. The tragedy here is that they have very few future options. One of them was in ROTC and wanted to join the military, but couldn't. One of them's a genius, but would have to pay out-of-state tuition.
    • We've got to get educations for these kids and all of those like them. Here's a modest proposal: Let them pay in-state for two years of community college if they graduate from high school with a C average. Give them two more years at in-state rates at a four-year school if they earn an Associates Degree. Think about the economic payback on a little investment like this. We need more workers people! Not to mention out need for soldiers.
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