I recently read Friedman’s book Hot, Flat and Crowded, and came away with two main points:
1. The global warming phenomenon is far worse than we have been lead to believe.
2. There will be little incentive to invest in renewable and alternative energy sources in the U.S. until there is an economic infrastructure that rewards long term investment in these sources, as in higher energy taxes, carbon trading, etc.
The essence of his book is also contained in today’s NY Times column:
My fellow Americans, we can’t continue in this mode of “Dumb as we wanna be.” We’ve indulged ourselves for too long with tax cuts that we can’t afford, bailouts of auto companies that have become giant wealth-destruction machines, energy prices that do not encourage investment in 21st-century renewable power systems or efficient cars, public schools with no national standards to prevent illiterates from graduating and immigration policies that have our colleges educating the world’s best scientists and engineers and then, when these foreigners graduate, instead of stapling green cards to their diplomas, we order them to go home and start companies to compete against ours.
America still has the right stuff to thrive. We still have the most creative, diverse, innovative culture and open society — in a world where the ability to imagine and generate new ideas with speed and to implement them through global collaboration is the most important competitive advantage. China may have great airports, but last week it went back to censoring The New York Times and other Western news sites. Censorship restricts your people’s imaginations. That’s really, really dumb. And that’s why for all our missteps, the 21st century is still up for grabs.
Read the full column here.