Dancing for Bees. (Vid)
Finished Anathem by Neal Stephenson yesterday evening. It’s still swirling around in my head. Some books leave a wonderful lingering aftertaste.
Friendman spoke to Chinese Car Guys – that last paragraph is what counts:
Yale Environment 360: Thomas Friedman: Hope In A Hot, Flat and Crowded World
Friedman: Well I answer that really with a story I tell in the book. Last year, I was invited to the China Clean Car Conference. China has a clean car conference â€” who knew? â€” in Tianjin, China, their kind-of Detroit, kind of a rather grimy city, the Marriott Tianjin.
And, I was the closing speaker. The audience was all Chinese car guys. All kind of grizzled Chinese car guys, all listening to me â€” nobody spoke English, they were all listening on headsets through an interpreter. And I thought, â€œWhat do I tell these guys?â€ And so, my basic message was this: â€œGuys,â€ â€” it was only guys â€” â€œguys, I have got to tell you, every time I come to China young Chinese say to me, â€˜Mr. Friedman, you guys got to grow dirty for 150 years. Now itâ€™s our turn.â€™ And my message to you, on behalf of all Americans, is to tell you, â€˜Youâ€™re right. Itâ€™s your turn. All the great change in history, positive change, was done by optimists.” Grow as dirty as you want.’ Because I think we just need about five years now to invent all the clean-power technologies youâ€™re going to need as you choke to death, and weâ€™re going to come over, and weâ€™re going to sell them all to you. And weâ€™re going to clean your clock. I donâ€™t know how you say that in Chinese, weâ€™re going to clean your clock in the next great global industry. So, please, if you want to give me a five-year lead, Iâ€™d love five. Iâ€™d prefer 10. Take your time. Because we are going to clean your clock in the next great global industry.â€
Now it takes about 30 seconds for the translation to get through â€” and thatâ€™s when you see everyone adjusting their headsets, eyes lighting up â€” and then about one second for them to understand exactly what Iâ€™m saying: That they basically have a choice. They can do what they did on telephony, which was to go from no phones to cellphones, and skip landlines, and they can do that in clean powerâ€¦ But unless they really change, theyâ€™re going to miss the new IT, which is ET.