JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 216 : 4 September 2006

Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.

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11 mins.

China Rising - facts & figures

Many think that China will inevitably follow the same paths of socio-economic-techno convergence as most other developing countries in the global village. But, with Chinese inclination towards patience and long-term thinking, can this emerging giant choose its own, different path to the future?

China, India, Brazil and all fast developing countries are facing the same question. Does globalization mean Americanization? How to remain different?

Someone said that Britain taught the world how to produce in the 19th century, and America taught the world how to spend in the 20th century. In the 21st century, will China teach the world how to achieve balanced, sustainable development?

Some members of the Association of Professional Futurists have recently been traveling in China and sending back interesting reports. To frame the discussion, APF member Rohit Talwar [rohit@fastfuture.com] posted this summary of facts and figures from the forthcoming FastFuture report on the Future of China's Economy. Read this, to help understand how China is rising.


  • About 10% a year for the last 20 years
  • 172 of China's cities have populations of over 1 million
    (compared with 9 cities in the US)
  • Plans to spend $17.4B constructing airports in next 5 years
  • Number of aircraft will rise from 863 today, to 1580 by 2010 and 4000 by 2020
  • The World Health Organization says that China has 16 of the 20 most polluted cities on the planet
  • More than 400 Chinese cities have water shortages
Foreign Trade
  • Share of world exports will rise from 6% to 10% by 2010
  • Growth of 15% in 2006 to about $1.7 Trillion
  • First-half 2006, foreign trade reached $795.7B, growth 23% with trade surplus of $61.5B - 55% increase from 2005
  • Now the world's largest manufacturer of personal-computers
  • In 2001, US manufactured exports were more than double China; In first-half 2006 China passed the US, with $404B, compared to $367 billion for the US
  • 2005 high-tech exports $220B (passed US high-tech in 2004)
Technology & Innovation
  • Goal to achieve technological self-sufficiency within 15 years
  • 419 million mobile phone users, 440 million by end of 2006
  • In June 2006 China had 123 million Internet users (150 million including wireless).
    About 20% increase from June 2005; still only 9.4% of the population.
  • 77 million broadband users in June 2006, 45% jump from June 2005.
  • By 2020 the Chinese middle class is forecast to double to over 40% of the 1.3 B population - 520 million people.
  • Luxury goods market is forecast to grow 10%-20% annually until 2015
    - overtaking the US.
  • 4 million graduates in 2006 - including over 800,000 in engineering.
  • Estimated 320,000 dollar millionaires in 2005
What next for the China economy? Recent report cites 5 major factors:
  1. Embrace of market forces.
  2. Opening of the economy to trade and inward investment.
  3. High levels of saving and investment.
  4. Structural transformation of labor force - decline in agricultural workforce from 70% to 50%; freedom to choose jobs;
  5. High investment in primary school education.

Click China Economic Review - July 2006

Click Business Week, Jan. 19 2006 - Learning from China's Export Boom

Click Ind. Week - China's High-Tech Export Threatens US Competitiveness

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The technology treadmill

Technology keeps accelerating to force change, even on those who are unwilling to cooperate. I never thought that techno-geek, gadget-freak Pinto would be in that category.

I have a cellphone that's 2 years old, and Cingular tells me that I can exchange it for a brand new model - at zero cost (provided, of course, that I sign up for another 2 years). Now, I am happy with Cingular (largest provider in the US, with the broadest coverage - I got a good signal during my recent trip in N. Dakota) and I don't expect to change. But, I can get a free, new cellphone anyway.

So, I went to take a look. I always go for the latest gadget; but, tell the truth, I was confused. I didn't want a slimmer phone with a camera and CD music, and I didn't want to browse the Internet everywhere I go with a more bulky cellphone/camera/PDA in my pocket for an additional $40 a month. So, I've still got my antique 2-year-old cellphone.

In 1990, the tech-prophet George Gilder wrote a book called "Life After Television" which declared that TV was dead. TV still seems to dominate many American living rooms, with big-screens and HDTV still showing significant market expansion. But, the shift to small screens (iPods and cellphones) is making major impact on TV network plans and projections.

Meanwhile, sales of conventional CDs are declining quickly - fewer people listen to music via regular, cumbersome CD players. I have a 12-CD player in my car, but changing the discs is too much of a hassle compared with clicking through playlists with thousands of songs on my iPod.

The key change that is occurring is software - hardwired TV, telephones and music-players are giving way to software adaptable "teleputers".

At the recent AlwaysOn Innovation Summit held recently in Stanford, California, tech-guru George Gilder exercised his usual hyperbole: "At the center of the network will be world wide webs of glass and light, and all of the action will move to the edge of the network, ushering in the life after telephony".

Click Webcast of the Gilder's "Life After the Telephone?"

Click Technology treadmill shows no signs of slowing

Click Intel's Craig Barrett on the Digital Future

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The possibility or probability of global calamity

In this first-decade of the new century (and millennium) things are definitely heating up. An increasing number of significant events point toward big changes in the near future.

The most significant trends:

  • Climate change (rapid shift of global weather)
  • Shrinking global oil supply (new energy era)
  • Dwindling supply of drinking water
  • Possibility of a global pandemic
  • Terrorism escalating (world is reactive, instead of pro-active)
Framed in the context of a fragile international financial system, a major disruption within the next decade is almost a certainty.

Over past centuries, many religions have warned about "Armageddon" and the final days. Now many leading scientists are warning about end-of-the-world possibilities, and even probabilities.

This past week, you may have seen ABC 20/20 coverage of the biggest threats which may bring about the end of the world. (Link below) Several of the world's top scientists described the deadliest threats to humanity. Some can destroy the planet; others may render humanity extinct.

The 7 deadly scenarios:

  1. Global Warming/Climate Change
  2. Germs/Disease: Plague and Bioterrorism
  3. Nuclear War
  4. Asteroid Strike
  5. Super Volcano, including one in Yellowstone National Park
  6. Machines - Artificial Intelligence
  7. Death of a Star: Gamma Ray Burst and Black Hole

Click ABC 20/20 - Last Days on Earth

Click UK Guardian - Forecast Puts Earth's Future under a Cloud

Click Washington Post - More Frequent Heat Waves Linked to Global Warming

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The balance between Masculine & Feminine

Meanwhile, while forecasts of calamity keep clamoring for attention, where is America going?
  • Our response to 9/11 was to launch a war in Afghanistan. Then, when that was futile, we launched a "pre-emptive" war in Iraq, declared "Mission Accomplished" within 3 weeks, and 3 years later are still stuck in a dead-end.
  • Our huge anti-terrorism efforts seem vulnerable to almost any amateur plot. Our response is wildly reactive; the slightest rumor generates expensive and debilitating over-reaction. How much more can we take?
  • Meanwhile, airline freight and containers at sea ports are admittedly susceptible to delivery of much more deadly bombs.
  • The media amplifies empty rhetoric; America threatens Iran, while we continue to buy their oil.
  • Financial markets float with fragility. Imagine where the Dow, S&P and Nadaq would go if there was another serious terrorist attack on the US mainland.
It seems to me to be clear that there can be no end to this path we're on - no clear solution to ANY of the above problems. And, least of all through more macho statements like, "Bring 'em on!"

In January 2006, Georgie Anne Geyer wrote in the San Diego Union,

    "The modern world, if it is to be sane, is going to have to be much more of a woman's world than a man's. The operative words are not kill, but negotiate; not hate, but understand; not riot, but institutionalize."
Men and women represent two different aspects of humanity:

Masculine Feminine
Logic Feelings
Safety before Sympathy Sympathy before Safety
Love means DO-ing Love means sharing
Buy a house Build a home

Here's an interesting exercise: Write down as many Male and Female attributes as you can. Then review them against specific people you know, men and women. You'll find that many people have qualities from BOTH sides. It's NOT a matter of sexuality (being hetro or homosexual); it's having a "human" balance.

Modern business is completely masculine - businesses compete and win by "beating" the competition. One-upmanship is masculine. I play chess, or backgammon, to win; my wife plays to share my company. I beat my chest to proclaim victory, and sulk when I'm defeated; she enjoys playing together.

Terrorism is masculine - seeking to destroy. No one can compete by being more masculine. The Feminine ethos tries to recognize that terrorists are human, and tries to understand their view with the aim of understanding and negotiation.

Survival depends on development of a balance between the Masculine and Feminine Ethos.

I thought you might enjoy reading this poem by Rudyard Kipling:

    The Female of the Species

    When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
    He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
    But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
    For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

    When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
    He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
    But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
    For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

    When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
    They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
    'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
    For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Click Voices of Women: International forum for non-military solutions

Click Looking to female leaders for healing

Click Overview of the Masculine-Feminine Duality

Click eFeedback, Aug. 10 2006 - Dora Pinto, The Feminine Ethos

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The great Blimericks (Bush Limericks) contest

Hey, join the Blimericks contest: write your own Bush limericks on Blimericks.com. Entry is free and includes left/right, conservative/liberal, pro/con/neo-con, whatever.

Here are samples to tweak your urge to contribute:

  • Merle Borg, San Diego, CA.
      Our president - Dub the Decider
      A lot of us wish he were brighter
      The decisions he makes
      Are all heinous mistakes
      Come November we'll make his leash tighter!

  • Al Bell, San Diego, CA. USA
      Of Iraq, Bush says "Don't cut and run!"
      The chaos that follows won't be fun
      But Iraq is so stinkin'
      That I have been thinkin'
      Let's shout "Enough!" and be done

  • Sally Rosoff, Laguna Woods, CA. USA
      Behold our new king, the Decider
      Laws aren't for him, this divider
      He lies with impunity
      Flaunts his immunity
      While the rift in the country gets wider

The prize stands at $210 and grrrrowing; first prize gets 40% of the pot, with 5 second-prizes and 10 third-prizes.

Go take a look - already lots of good Blimericks posted.

Click Go read the Blimericks or write one yourself

Click Take a quick lesson on Limericks

Click Like Limericks? Here's another Limerick Contest

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Ted Mohns, MD [drtedmohns@yahoo.com] responded to our recent editorial (10 Aug. 06) about America's dead-end problem:
    "To me, the outcome of the Iraq war was utterly clear before it even began. The USA plowed full steam into bin Laden's trap for us better than bin Laden could ever have hoped for. Bush emerged as a kind of mirror image of bin Laden - a fundamentalist full of hate, devoid of scruple, prosecuting a religious 'crusade' and indifferent to indiscriminant killing. Bush was able to resonate with the worst elements of the American character - bloodthirstiness, desire for massive revenge for 9/11, and proving that the USA is still #1 despite ominous trends in the global economy. 'Shock and Awe' indeed.

    "Since the USA failed to learn the moral lessons of Vietnam, we are doomed to repeat the colossal mistakes. I feel shame, and am increasingly troubled by paying Federal taxes which contribute to the murders of huge numbers of civilians

    "In terms of personal emotional low-points, I have to say that, for me, Bush's re-election was rivaled by the Supreme Court's appointment of Bush in 2000. That crushed me - the one leg of the three legs of our democracy where I had hoped, perhaps child-like, to find some basic integrity.

    "Reading the per curiam unsigned decision in Bush v. Gore was horribly informative. The arbitrariness and the multiple gaps in logic are plain for even the untrained to see."

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Trayton Jay [JayT@meau.mea.com] agrees that short-term financial mind-sets must change, but wonders about the alternatives:

    "Regarding American business, the challenge may be finding a suitable alternative. There is risk in following any new or existing business strategy, and it seems that only those in private companies have the option to operate with a long term view.

    "While those in a public company may know 'in their hearts' that they are 'doing the right things for long term success', this does not become proven to shareholders, board members and other managers until positive financial results manifest.

    "In a public environment, how would one handle interim judgment about performance on strategies that takes several years to manifest significant positive results? What are your ideas on suitable alternatives to the current model?"

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Don Hudak [buckhill1@hotmail.com] is compassionate about the differences between human lives:

    "All human life does have equal value - equal as having equal inherent worth. And yet all of us are different. We have different talents, different behaviors, different lots in life. Some don't even make it past childhood. Some go on living well into old age. Some are born and live life with incredible advantages (genes, parents, freedom, luck, etc.) and others have lives of tremendous disadvantages (poor health, abusive homes, no education, etc.)

    "Equal value and yet with huge differences in life are not contradictory. It is the human condition. Nor should it be our collective mission to make everyone have the same lot in life. It should be our collective mission to love one another and have tolerance for our differences. Love can be helping and comforting. Love can also be accepting.

    "We struggle when confronted with the many inequities of these differences, but the nobler challenge is to love and learn from each other."

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