What an iconic photograph from the Apollo Space Program! For the first time we had a stunning color picture of our planet from the vantage point of a different surface. Modern science and technology provided visceral proof that we are ensconced in a small, incredibly beautiful planet in a vast cosmos that defies understanding – that our individual destinies are inextricably tied together in a common fabric of humanity. We all call this place home.
Wise ancients always spoke of the human family as one (Sanskrit Vedas mention this often). Aristotle and Plato deliberated on it, the Lakota and Sioux emphasized stewardship of earth’s resources for generations yet unborn. Teilhard de Chardin predicted a thin technological membrane connecting everyone in a web. And John Lennon imagined it. Today armed with smart phones, cheap flights and broadband internet we feel the world is indeed a small place. The cozy familiarity of Starbucks at every street corner, common English vocabulary and baseball caps replacing turbans, fezzes, fedoras on a billion heads. At times globalization is uncomfortably claustrophobic – SARS, Ebola, terrorism and decent jobs cross national borders with impunity. Globalization appears inevitable and unidirectional. But historical facts do not support it. Globalization happens in fits and starts. Enormous progress in a short time is dampened by substantial lulls or even declines in globalization.
That said, we might be in an era akin to period before World War I when as John Maynard Keynes said in 1914 “we can order supplies from all corners of the world when sipping our morning tea” Clearly business and business people are important drivers in the scale, scope and speed of globalization. Perhaps more so than nation states. But ideas matter and individuals matter even more. You and I through our thoughts, words and deeds are more important than Fortune 500 behemoths. This is our world, our economy, our jobs and our time. If the global economy falls short – the fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves… The times require us to be informed, knowledgeable and asking tough questions. Rationality and humanity need to trump shoddy thinking and pettiness. This is a war on error. And we must win it.
As an Apple billboard near Route 101 once proclaimed the “joy is in the journey” – we should have some fun while doing this. Its useful to have a sense of humor. Poking mild-mannered fun at the absurdity of it all. The long dormant Super volcano under Yellowstone could erupt tomorrow (it hasn’t for half a million years but morose geologists still contemplate it) and our smart phones may not work! Good heavens. #HolySmoke!
At GbizQ we want to bring sanity, erudition and the long view to the ongoing conversation on globalization, technology, finance and business. But find time to chuckle. We hope you will join us in this grassroots movement.
See you around!