One of the things I love about southeastern Michigan is the juxtaposition of liberal college towns like Ann Arbor all tossed in with old school Big Business Companies like the Big Three automakers. There’s some New Economy stuff happening here (I’m talkin’ to you, Ann Arbor branch of Google..call me! I’m lookin’ for a job!). There’s plenty of Old Economy to go around too- Twentieth Century industry that hasn’t gotten the memo that things are different now.
These worlds only rarely collide, and I saw such a collision last Wednesday afternoon.
I was fortunate enough, due to my sweetie’s intervention and string-pulling, to get a ticket to hear Thomas Friedman speak at an event sponsored by the Washtenaw Economic Club. I’ve not read Friedman’s most recent work, but I do read his column in the New York Times and loved his book on the Middle East from many years ago, From Beirut to Jerusalem. He’s a great writer, with an elegant but clear style that I really admire. Oh yah, and he has important stuff to say too. He’s style and substance, a real rarity. His latest work is entitled Hot, Flat, and Crowded. Here’s a brief synopsis:
As in The World Is Flat, he explains a new era—the Energy-Climate era—through an illuminating account of recent events. He shows how 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the flattening of the world by the Internet (which brought 3 billion new consumers onto the world stage) have combined to bring climate and energy issues to Main Street. But they have not gone very far down Main Street; the much-touted “green revolution” has hardly begun. With all that in mind, Friedman sets out the clean-technology breakthroughs we, and the world, will need; he shows that the ET (Energy Technology) revolution will be both transformative and disruptive; and he explains why America must lead this revolution—with the first Green President and a Green New Deal, spurred by the Greenest Generation.
–from Friedman’s website.
Friedman’s theories from this newest work provided the fodder for his talk to the Economic Club. I’m really not interested in recapping the meat of the talk, because a liveblogger did that for me. The collision of the Crunchy Granola folks and Suits was what captivated me.
(Part II forthcoming)