Are We Ready?

This past weekend Tom Peters Company had a meeting, and everybody there was encouraged to join our blog. So, though we know many of our readers want to hear more from Tom, there will be a group of new voices here. We think they have a lot of good things to say.

Dick Heller, President of Full Extension LLC, is a consultant and speaker who describes himself as "former Chief Inspiration Officer for TPC." He writes here on a trend towards isolationism in the U.S. Thank you for a great topic, Dick:

As we march towards globalization, or it marches on towards us, are the United States and our economy ready for the new world?

In Cambridge for an award from Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Wole Soyinka was interviewed by Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson. Soyinka, the Nigerian Nobel Prize winning writer, has had a voice on the global stage for many years. A novelist, dramatist, and poet, he was forced into political positions (and out of Nigeria) by his writings and has seen much of the world.

Recently author of Climate of Fear: The Quest for Dignity in a Dehumanized World, Soyinka finds the United States and our citizens insular, sorely in need of knowledge and empathy towards the broader world. We need to understand how and why all the other players in this drama act as they do. Soyinka says we should start by making the study of geography required learning, because geography "dictates the culture."

"Once people understand that," according to Soyinka, "you understand why Eskimos live in igloos, and you don't see that as backwards but as an intelligent use of resources. You understand why certain peoples eat horrible looking grubs and you recognize them as superior to hamburgers. Curiosity precedes critical thinking. If you're not curious, you can't think."

How curious are we Americans? According to recent data, it seems that only about 10 percent of native-born Americans even have a passport. What does that tell us about us?

Our US-centrism and ignorance of what goes on in the rest of the world, it seems to me, are dangerous behaviors in a constantly accelerating global economy.