Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tom Friedman and His Amazing Electric Cluelessness

Tom Friedman put me in an unusual position--agreeing with him--for the first part of his latest NYT peroration, yet another love letter to China's industriousness:
China is doing moon shots. Yes, that’s plural. When I say “moon shots” I mean big, multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing investments. China has at least four going now: one is building a network of ultramodern airports; another is building a web of high-speed trains connecting major cities; a third is in bioscience, where the Beijing Genomics Institute this year ordered 128 DNA sequencers — from America — giving China the largest number in the world in one institute to launch its own stem cell/genetic engineering industry; and, finally, Beijing just announced that it was providing $15 billion in seed money for the country’s leading auto and battery companies to create an electric car industry, starting in 20 pilot cities. In essence, China Inc. just named its dream team of 16-state-owned enterprises to move China off oil and into the next industrial growth engine: electric cars.

This contrast is not good...
So far, so good--as long as you disregard the fact that China can crush foes, including Uighurs, at will, so Muslim terrorists are disinclined to mess with them, while the USA, a democracy, can and does do no such thing. But no matter. Here (in bolds) is where Tom lost me:
I was recently at a Washington Nationals baseball game. While waiting for a hot dog, I overheard the conversation behind me. A management consultant for a big national firm was telling his colleagues that his job was to “market products to the Department of Homeland Security.” I thought to myself: “Oh, my! Inventing studies about terrorist threats and selling them to the U.S. government, is that an industry now?”
Oh, my! Does Tom really think terrorist threats are being manufactured and marketed like, say, his beloved electric cars? If so, he's even more clueless than I suspected.

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