New York Times Foreign Affairs columnist and internationally recognized author, Thomas L. Friedman spoke on key issues such as economics, digital globalization, and geopolitics at the sold-out venue of Parmer Hall on Thursday.
The three-time Pulitzer Prize winner’s TED Talk-like presentation was addressed to a predominately older Caucasian population but is no less relevant to anyone on Messiah’s campus, and beyond.
Freidman used his time to summarize and explore the overarching themes of his latest best-seller “Thank You For Being Late.” In this piece, he suggests how to overcome the stress and challenges of a world transformed by technology globalization and climate change.
In the span of under two hours, Friedman outlined how three components: Markets, Mother Nature, and Moore’s Law, impact five areas of Politics, Geopolitics, Ethics, Community, and the Workplace.
“Friedman poked fun at a variety of issues to lighten the mood and establish himself as approachable,” said Student Body President Todd Abbott. “He softened us to engage his harder-hitting points with intrigue and to open minds.”
Graph after graph, his slide show gave supporting evidence of how digital globalization, climate change and rapid population growth, and the advancement of computer-generated technology – or artificial intelligence – have surpassed the point of human adaptability.
Friedman delved into each complex topic to then discuss how it contributes to the process of revolutionizing life as we know it. The power of an individual, the power of machines, and the power of humanity are drastically enhanced compared to the pre-2007 era.
Offering a solution to an overwhelming dilemma, Freidman said “learning faster and governing smarter” is how people begin to adapt to change. “You’ve got to be willing to be a life-long learner in order to be a life-long employee.”
His transition into political topics was led by the single phrase: “Political parties all over the world are blowing up!” Freidman said, because of rapid accelerations in every industry, there are no longer stable or binary choices that fit the mold of a standard political affiliation.
“Our rival’s fall is now more critical than our rival’s success,” said Friedman, in relation to international politics and relations. “We’ve moved from being interconnected to interdependent.”
Friedman used an ongoing analogy to explain how the country that most represents Mother Nature will succeed. He highlighted factors such as adaptability, diversity, entrepreneurship, and sustainability.
In contrast to “blowing up,” the concluding point to Freidman’s discussion was that politics has the potential to work. Citing his multiethnic hometown of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Freidman testified to his experience of a unified community.
“I believe, we all – if we really put our minds to it and work together – we all can fix everything.”
Image retrieved from huffingtonpost.com