We are genetically programmed to grow, we are also genetically programmed to age… and die. Why is this the case? As much as I hate knowing that I am programmed to age and die (I´ve grown already) I can see how death is essential for evolution. Death, whether we like it or not, is the measure of our evolutionary success. If evolution is the survival of the fittest, timing of death is the metrics of survival or non survival. If a specie was evolved in a way that it´s individuals lived forever, then how could we know who the fittest individual is?
designed to incite to lust or depravity
So whatever incites lust or depravity is obscene, sex for example is obscene, or is it?
After living in America for 18 years and in Europe, for 10 I can argue differently. Sex is obscene in America, but in Europe money is more obscene. Spain has a reputation for being a Catholic country. And it used to be. But the latest statistic is that only 14% of the Spaniards under 25 consider that catholicism plays an important role in their lives. In Franco times the answer was 66% according to El Pais. In Spain sex was obscene…in Franco times. Now the only obscenity left is money. And the same is true in France, in Italy or in Germany. In America women don´t uncover their breasts while sun bathing. In Europe they do. Walk around Paris during a sunny day and you will see plenty of topless women sunbathing. Same is true in Spanish beaches. There´s nothing obscene about this. For Americans, however, obscenity is closely associated with nudity. Jesse Helms, the right wing American senator who was once asked to define pornography and he simply said “I can´t define it but I can certainly recognize it when I see it”. Still I would imagine that the former leader of the Moral Majority of the United States would consider obscene to see topless women sunbathing in American cities. Europeans clearly don´t.
I just read this in the latest McKinsey Report on Offshoring:
While 11 percent (161 million jobs) of the 1.46 billion service jobs worldwide could be performed remotely, only a small fraction of employment that could potentially go offshore will do so. The number of jobs companies are actually expected to locate offshore in low-wage countries by 2008 will reach 4.1 million, or 1 percent of total services jobs in developed countries. Across sectors and occupations, potential and actual offshoring varies widely, as documented in eight in-depth industry cases (automotive, health care, insurance, IT services, packaged software, pharma, retail, and retail banking).
I oppose America bombing people into democracy. Saddam was a genocidal dictator reputed to have killed over 200,000 of his own citizens. But with casualties of the Iraqi war exceeding 100,000 we can hardly make a case that we, in the “West”, don’t have blood on our hands. I have no doubt that continuing to contain Saddam would have been a better policy than bombing the Iraqi people to the polls. Iraq is still in chaos and the almighty US Army is now one more armed band operating in the Middle East, unable to achieve concrete results.
But while I oppose the tactics of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, I do share with them their stated objective, namely the establishment of democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Thirty years ago in China there was no competition. Even in 1988, when I first visited China, there was very little competition. But after a failed experiment with Marxism, the Chinese started in the late 80s a much more successful trial of Ricardean economics and…it worked. China as we all know has been growing at a sustained of over 8% per year for 15 years in a row and is now the main consumer of most of the world´s commodities. Now that the Chinesehave experimented with competition in business with such enviable results I believe that it is a matter of time until China experiments with competition in politics.
OpenBC is a super succesful web site that links business people around the world. It is relatively new and growing fast. I joined a month ago, encouraged by my friend Ola Ahlvarsson from Sweden, and did not think much of it. Surprisingly, two days after joining, an executive from a large multinational contacted me with a project that they wanted to do teaming up with an entrepreneur. Even more suprisingly, I found the project so interesting that we now have a letter of intent signed and hopefully I will soon be able to announce that we are launching it.
I lived in the States for 18 years. During that time I completed my schooling at NYU and Columbia University and my first 10 years as an entrepreneur. Overall I loved living in NYC, this city has some of the best universities and most remarkable entrepreneurial opportunities in the world. Everything is there. Unfortunately everthing includes a serious impediment to business: expensive American law firms. Americans called Europe beaurocratic and that is true. But at least European beaurocracy is mostly free. American beaurocracy comes in the shape of law firms and it´s outrageously costly. Lawyers in America are as priviledges as members of the Communist Party of China: they are people who walk around charging $400 an hour to talk to each other while they make rules for all the rest of us to live by.
But wait, there´s hope for this abuse and it´s in India. Some American entrepreneurs have realized that the “knowledge” that American lawyers have can easily be replicated in India and there are now people in India who are receiving an American Legal Education. Imagine the education institutions now focus on turning out amazing software engineers coming up with a new training, American Law and graduating lawyers who can do most of the legal work that needs to be done supported by a few coordinators in America who yes, could bill $400 an hour but for very very few hours. And after that, how would you like to have Indian lawyers trained in American law working for you over the net at $10 an hour? Well, it´s coming. Soon one of the most important useless drains of cash for American businesses will stop… in India.
I think it´s time the United Nations, that so frequently criticized yet so very needed institution, did something concrete for education around the world. I propose this simple idea.
Children (those fortunate to go to school of course) spend around 10,000 hours at school from from ages 6 to 17. Now, if they do spend 10,000 hours at school studying different subjects around the globe, learning sometimes inflamatory educational content that makes them prejudiced later on in life, isn´t it time that at least 100 out of those 10,000 be the same for all children in this planet? No matter how local we think we are we all share planet earth. So what about 100 hours out of 10,000 in which students follow a United Nations curriculum that is the SAME for all kids in the planet. My proposal is that during this 100 hours students learn the basic principles of human rights, understanding and respecting others, and as importantly learning about our fragile environment and how to protect it. That´s it, 100 hours. If we implement this, any person in the planet who meets anyone else will in the future have at least 100 hours of a common background.