The world is changing, and, in general, for the better. Global hunger and poverty are down, and opportunities are being extended to people and places that never had them before. But the technology that helps make all this happen also creates challenges. The jobs and industries of today are different from those of our parents’ time, and those of the future will differ from the ones that exist now. The nations that once dominated the global economy no longer will, at least not to such a great extent. A global marketplace of goods, services, and ideas is emerging.
In this book, Alex J. Ross shares some of his observations as the former Senior Advisor for Innovation to the US Secretary of State (among other things). He tells us about Estonia, the little nation that could, and did. He talks about nations that could but didn’t, held back by outdated notions of centralized control or repressive cultures. He talks about emerging nations in which simple access to cell phones and locally developed applications for them have created new opportunities for many people. He provides no in depth analysis for any of these, and his first-hand observations come across as little more than anecdotal (and carefully worded) accounts, but his general conclusions seem sound enough.
In this new world, developing, sharing, and using information is the key to success. Nations that provide broad access to education and modern, stable infrastructures, which empower their citizens and attract new businesses, will succeed. Those that fail to do so will not.