February 29, 2004

Inductive Shrinking the Gap

You can go about things from general rules and move towards specifics. That's called deduction and is how Thomas Barnett's presenting the grand strategy I predict will become our new bipartisan consensus in foreign policy. But there is an alternative direction, inductive reasoning, going from specific examples to grand strategy. It's on display in Thomas Friedman's latest column:

Indeed, listening to these Indian young people, I had a déjà vu. Five months ago, I was in Ramallah, on the West Bank, talking to three young Palestinian men, also in their 20's, one of whom was studying engineering. Their hero was Yasir Arafat. They talked about having no hope, no jobs and no dignity, and they each nodded when one of them said they were all "suicide bombers in waiting."

What am I saying here? That it's more important for young Indians to have jobs than Americans? Never. But I am saying that there is more to outsourcing than just economics. There's also geopolitics. It is inevitable in a networked world that our economy is going to shed certain low-wage, low-prestige jobs. To the extent that they go to places like India or Pakistan — where they are viewed as high-wage, high-prestige jobs — we make not only a more prosperous world, but a safer world for our own 20-year-olds.   

This is the same fundamental insight that Barnett has distilled but Friedman is reaching through in discrete vignettes. A group of palestinian "suicide bombers in waiting" here, a group of Indian "1st worlders in waiting" there. Connectivity to the first world creates neighborliness and security for the US.

Posted by TMLutas at February 29, 2004 04:56 PM