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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thomas Friedman, "It’s P.Q. And C.Q. as Much as I.Q.": What Happens to "Losers" Who Refuse to Adapt?

Unlike a broken clock which is correct twice each day, Thomas Friedman is partially correct once in a blue moon.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "It’s P.Q. And C.Q. as Much as I.Q." (, Friedman begins by giving himself a pat on the back:

"In 2004, I wrote a book, called 'The World Is Flat,' about how the world was getting digitally connected so more people could compete, connect and collaborate from anywhere. When I wrote that book, Facebook, Twitter, cloud computing, LinkedIn, 4G wireless, ultra-high-speed bandwidth, big data, Skype, system-on-a-chip (SOC) circuits, iPhones, iPods, iPads and cellphone apps didn’t exist, or were in their infancy."

Facebook? If there is anyone out there interested in seeing pictures of my vegetable garden or of Arnold, my 150-pound Anatolian Mountain Dog, please let me know. I don't think so, and this is why I cancelled my Facebook account. That, and the fact that I was down to three friends, one of whom was dead.

Twitter? I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I just stepped out of the shower and am sipping coffee in my underwear as I type this blog entry. Yeah, I'm "hot," but no photographs please.

We live in an age of narcissism, and there are billions to be made catering to this personality disorder, which has become so prevalent and far-flung that it is being removed, as best I understand, from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

But back to Friedman's latest opinion piece, in which he concludes that we must all "adapt" to this new technology. How does Tom propose that we accomodate ourselves to these abrupt changes?:

"It will require more individual initiative. We know that it will be vital to have more of the 'right' education than less, that you will need to develop skills that are complementary to technology rather than ones that can be easily replaced by it and that we need everyone to be innovating new products and services to employ the people who are being liberated from routine work by automation and software. The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime. Government can and must help, but the president needs to explain that this won’t just be an era of 'Yes We Can.' It will also be an era of 'Yes You Can' and 'Yes You Must.'"

"Government can and must help"? Yeah, right. Surely you've heard the joke about the three greatest lies, which concludes with the punchline, "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you."

Obama "needs to explain that this won't just be an era of 'Yes We Can'" but rather of "Yes You Can"? Sounds almost like Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country." I repeat, almost. Never mind. I'll drag Obama away from his mirror and have it up on his teleprompter - yet another marvelous communications device in keeping with our Brave New World - later this morning.

And the tens of millions who can't adapt, even with help from the government? I know what happens to the "winners," but what happens to the "losers," who, unlike Arnold who is still a puppy, can't be taught new tricks? Or "losers" like me, who refuse to adapt and reinvent themselves?

I suppose there's always the vegetable garden.

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