Updated: 5/16/2006; 3:20:53 PM.

Current events
Post-9-11 events and analyses


daily link  Monday, March 07, 2005


The Sharecropper Society: Excerpts from Berkshire Hathaway's annual report.  "Berkshire owned about $21.4 billion of foreign exchange contracts at year end [i.e. 2004], spread among 12 currencies. As I mentioned last year, holdings of this kind are a decided change for us. .. The decline in [the dollar's] value has already been substantial, but is nevertheless likely to continue. ..

other countries and their citizens now own a net of about $3 trillion of the U.S. A decade ago their net ownership was negligible .. Should we continue to run current account deficits comparable to those now prevailing, the net ownership of the U.S. by other countries and their citizens a decade from now will amount to roughly $11 trillion. And, if foreign investors were to earn only 5% on that net holding, we would need to send a net of $.55 trillion of goods and services abroad every year merely to service the U.S. investments then held by foreigners. At that date, a decade out, our GDP would probably total about $18 trillion [sot the US] would then be delivering 3% of its annual output to the rest of the world simply as tribute for the overindulgences of the past. ..  A country that is now aspiring to an “Ownership Society” will not find happiness in -– and I’ll use hyperbole here for emphasis -– a “Sharecropper’s Society.” "

  2:59:01 PM  permalink  

frontline: high stakes in cyberspace: Paul Saffo in 1995 on PBS:  Fun to read the old stuff.  Paul Saffo is remarkably on-target, 10 years later.  This article mentions "macro-myopia: A pattern where our hopes and our expectations or our fears about the threatened impact of some new technology causes us to overestimate its short term impacts and reality always fails to meet those inflated expectations. And as a result our disappointment then leads us to turn around and underestimate the long term implications and I can guarantee you this time will be no different. The short term impact of this stuff will be less than the hype would suggest but the long term implications will be vastly larger than we can possibly imagine today."  I've since encoutered Gartner's Hype Cycle, which they say they started to use also in 1995, with a graphic version of this insight. 

I found this when looking for a reference to an aphorism that I think comes from Saffo.   The aphorism:  Over two years, things change much less than we think they will; but over ten years, they change more than we imagine. 

It makes me wonder about the timeframe in between, say 5 to 7 years in the future, when major impacts will be felt from things we know are changing now, despite hype (digital sensors and surveillance) and disillusion (wind and solar power).

  12:45:30 PM  permalink  

 
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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 3:20:53 PM.