The End of the Future

September 23rd, 2007

I read too much. I absorb too much information. I can’t sort it all except in small batches. I make sense of some of it some of the time. The rest sits there on a shelf in an aisle stacked with neurons and memory cells and glops of blood, gook, and bone.

You need to make sure your child can speak Chinese. If the kid’s not being taught Chinese in school then you’re going to have to shove it down his throat and make them learn it just as past generations made kids practice playing the piano. Throw the “English only” crap out of the window right now unless you want your kid delivering pizzas the rest of his life.

Every day for the past two years I’ve read or heard of the demise of the American century. If you don’t know what that means it’s this; America’s stature as the leading economic power on earth is at an end. You’ll be dead when it happens but your children won’t. They need to prepare now for the inevitable. If they don’t their future is as bleak as that of a Chinese coolie.

I’m telling you this because it’s the sum of tons of information heaped in rumpled sacks stacked end to end in those aisles inside my brain where all the stuff I’ve read about is tossed. I can’t deal with all of it. Maybe a more organized mind could but mine can’t. But I do know that either the Chinese or the European Union will lead the world economically when your kid is ready to buy a home and settle down. And it may just be that first home, unlike your version of the American Dream comes with a small patch of land in a planned community just outside Rotterdam or Brussels. Or maybe Beijing. In that case, it’ll be a small ,no- bedroom apartment and the only patch of personal property the kid will have is the hair on his head and the furniture he sits on.

I know it sounds dreary but unless your child plans a career in agriculture ( a word meaning “farmer”) , job opportunities in America hold no more promise for growth than does shipping out with an Arctic whaling fleet. I mention farming because many predict demand for locally grown, and consequently fresher and cheaper produce, will increase in America particularly on the East Coast. Unless acting is in his or her veins, and Hollywood’s on the radar with a talent agent nipping at their heels, your child needs to be upgraded to first class if they’re going to make the trip to personal and financial success. And that trip might take them far away where people speak differently and live differently than the experience of most home grown Americans. Much like the great exodus from Europe that brought your great grandparents to New Jersey, the exodus of American children to other parts of the world will differ only in the mode of travel they use to get there. Instead of the sea, they’ll sail through the air. But their bags will be packed with the same hopes and dreams their ancestors lugged with them on their journey to the New World. Only this time the natives will speak Chinese, or German, or Russian. After all, Moscow is already the new Dallas.


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