Monday, January 11, 2010

I see by the snailpapers that Thomas Friedman, visiting Taiwan this week, told his audience in Taipei: " I'm gonna tell you a secret. Don’t let anybody else know,” he said. “There are too many Americans in the world today.”It is a blessing that so many people in the world can live like Americans, Friedman said, but “the good Lord did not design our planet for this many Americans.”

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2010/01/12/2003463307

CLIMADIPLOMACY: Visiting American writer Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times said "There are too many Americans in the world today." But read the entire story LINK and below to see what he really meant by this remark at a lecture in Taipei City on January 11, 2010.
Citing his book Hot, Flat and Crowded, Mr Friedman said the average global temperature had risen by almost 2ºC since the Industrial Revolution. Flat is Friedman’s metaphor for a world in which more and more people can live a middle-class American lifestyle, have their jobs and drive their cars. “I’m gonna tell you a secret. Don’t let anybody else know,” he said. “There are too many Americans in the world today.”It is a blessing that so many people in the world can live like Americans, Friedman said, but “the good Lord did not design our planet for this many Americans.”

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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

ACORE 2008: Thomas Friedman destroys his own argument, calls out GM's greenwashing

by Sebastian Blanco on Dec 4th 2008 at 7:53PM






New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman gave the keynote address. Now, Friedman has some good ideas sometimes (and drops the ball at others), but his presentation today just made it clear that he's not always the smartest guy in the room.

Friedman started by giving us a preview of an upcoming Sunday column (so keep it under your hat) where he's been thinking about Tom Brokaw's book "The Greatest Generation" and how his generation will be seen by those that follow. Will they become bubble generation? Will a kid today write a book about "how my parents saved themselves from their mistakes by charging it to my VISA card"? The world's troubles have been on his mind of late - he did just write Hot, Flat and Crowded after all - and his talk was a retelling of that book's main points.

Friedman is really, really good at rhetoric and public speaking. He knows when to slam the book shut for dramatic effect, when to throw in an "Oh, shit!" to get your attention, when to pause and look at the crowd (like Woolsey's speech, ACORE will be streaming Friedman's talk here and/or here within 48 hours). But, for me, his talk fell apart halfway through. I'll explain why after the jump.




Friedman's first part made a lot of sense to me, and the main gist was that, "there are too many Americans in the world today." He was being slightly facetious, but the rise of the middle class around the world is exactly what's putting such a strain on the environment. "If we, the original Americans, don't redefine what it means to be Americans for all these new Americans," he said, we're going to eat up and heat up the planet much faster than even Al Gore is worried about. There will be another billion people on the planet by 2020, for example, and a lot of them are going to want light bulbs and all that jazz. Friedman then went through his book's main ideas, which are available elsewhere; basically describing the world's problems in simple, attention-getting terms.

Friedman then went on to his rousing finale, and this is where the whole speech just falls apart like a house of cards built on a train going along a bumpy track. His warning was that, if the US does not own the coming ET (energy technology) industry, then the chance that our children will live with the same standards as we have "is zero." He said this like it would be a bad thing - but his whole premise in the first part of his speech was that people living like Americans is what's hurting the world. Huh?

Capitalism proponent that he is, Friedman said we cannot regulate our way to a solution, we can only innovate our way our of this mess. Friedman's not in favor of a Manhattan Project-type solution, but instead in letting the market provide the solution. The role of government should be to make "fossil fuels from hell" more expensive than the renewable energies.

The current green revolution is not a real revolution because in a true revolution, people get hurts. While BP is "beyond petroleum," when GM puts a yellow cap on the flex-fuel Hummer, it's not a revolution. It's a party. No, to really have a revolution, people need to get hurt (he claimed to speaking metaphorically) because that's when change comes. It's only when the word "green" disappears that we'll know the green revolution has been won. When there are no "green cars" or "green buildings," just cars and buildings that were built to the most efficient standards, that's when the world will have truly turned a corner. See, some good ideas and some half-baked ones.

Anonymous said...

Friedman's first part made a lot of sense to me, and the main gist was that, "there are too many Americans in the world today." He said same quote in 2008. It is from his book.

He was being slightly facetious, but the rise of the middle class around the world is exactly what's putting such a strain on the environment. "If we, the original Americans, don't redefine what it means to be Americans for all these new Americans," he said, we're going to eat up and heat up the planet much faster than even Al Gore is worried about. There will be another billion people on the planet by 2020, for example, and a lot of them are going to want light bulbs and all that jazz.

Anonymous said...

Northward Ho: I see by the snailpapers that Thomas Friedman ...1 hour ago by dan
CLIMADIPLOMACY: Visiting American writer Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times said "There are too many Americans in the world today." But read the entire story LINK and below to see what he really meant by this remark at a lecture ...
Northward Ho - http://northwardho.blogspot.com/


ACORE 2008: Thomas Friedman destroys his own argument, calls out ...4 Dec 2008 by Sebastian Blanco
Friedman's first part made a lot of sense to me, and the main gist was that, "there are too many Americans in the world today." He was being slightly facetious, but the rise of the middle class around the world is exactly what's putting ...
Autoblog Green - http://www.autobloggreen.com/ - References


F2C: Freedom to Connect » Blog Archive » Covering the Conference31 Mar 2009 by judi
... America is exploding with innovation from the ground up — experience from last 6 months of book tour; There are too many “Americans” in the world today — we have to re-define that lifestyle for the rest of the world ...
F2C: Freedom to Connect - http://freedom-to-connect.net/ - References


News Kontent: Friedman on Lateline (ABC TV)26 Mar 2009 by kevin
The full thought is that there are too many Americans in the world today. Then I say, of course I'm being facetious, it's a blessing there's so many more people, whether in Australia, in Russia, Brazil, Argentina, China and India, ...
News Kontent - http://news.kontentkonsult.com/ - References


Some Hits, Some Misses, as Friedman Discusses Climate Change and ...8 Jun 2009 by Alexander Winslow
“There are too many Americans in the world today,” Friedman joked. And as for crowding, this writer notes that today's global population is 6.5 billion and that while it took all of human history until 1830 to reach the first one ...
Climate Change Update - http://aw-climatechange.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I've read some commentary blasting him for his thoughts on the environment. Apparently he came around on the topic of climate change in his last book, but I gather his books are generally a defence of Republican-style globalist capitalism.


Searching for information about him -- which I shouldn't really be doing right now! -- I was heartened to discover he's a critic of the war in Iraq, and I like his insistence that any car manufacturer to be taken seriously must... oh, now I've stumbled into a denialist spouting off in his Amazon book reviews, and I realise it's time to shut down the web browser and do some work!

Anonymous said...

dEAR SIR

I saw the tAIPEI TIMES story, and while I agree with Friedman, that Americans consume too
> much,..... I also have the impression that Friedman from the other things that he
> said is basically a "suck up academic." ....One that figures out what people
> want to hear or is popular and tries to play that.
>
> Did you read the part where he said that Ma should be nominated for Nobel
> Prize etc.?......
> He and Ma were made for each other......
> I was ready to barf.
>
SIGNED

PROFESSOR x

Anonymous said...

Friedman was the first to insist that environmental problems were the
business chance, I suppose. And in a university lecture a few years
ago, he got thrown pies by the students. Yo'ichi Masuzoe (Japanese
economist) have repeated his words. "Business chance" became a mantra
in Japan.


Sensei in Tokyo

mbabbitt said...

And just think how many Americans Mr Friedman represents when you consider his extravagant house and lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

NYT columnist Friedman to Taiwan: 'I'm gonna tell you a secret. There are too many Americans in the world today'

-- CLIMATE DEPOT headline

www.climatedepot.com

Nat said...

Julian Simon would be proud knowing he was right and the Paul Ehrlichs' of the world were never right about their claims for so many years.. The environmental juggernaut is taking a serious hit with the mask coming off the face of Global Warming... The trillions in "new" taxes will be saved and the phony jobs promised will be replaced by "real"
ones.....

dan said...

Nat

check back with this blog in 500 years when your world is gone..... 25 billion people will be reduced to just 200,000 climate refugees living in polar cities in the north......to serve as breeding pairs for the human race......see my POLAR CITIES work on Google or look here: http://pcillu101.blogspot.com

Dan

Anonymous said...

Thomas L. Friedman and the high cost of speaking
ON THE MEDIA

The New York Times columnist returns a $75,000 speaking fee.
May 13, 2009|JAMES RAINEY

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