I am a regular reader of Mr. Friedman’s column and agree with his emphasis on education, revising our immigration policy, embracing technology, etc. That said, Mr. Friedman writes as though humanity is a round peg that fits into a round hole instead of the variable spectrum that it truly is. When he writes of progress that, “It eliminates bad jobs, empowers good jobs, but always demands more skill and creativity and always enables fewer people to do more things,” I ask myself, ‘What about the rest of humanity?’ Human nature, the stuff of us, is peculiarly absent from Mr. Friedman’s analysis. Not everyone has “more skill and creativity”; and when I say, ‘not everyone,’ I mean hundreds of millions of people, if not more; indeed, unless it is an urban myth, one half of Americans read at an eighth grade level. No, as much as I believe in the basic thrust of Mr. Friedman’s arguments, not everyone can be a computer scientist, engineer, physicist, doctor, etc. I’m genuinely glad Rethink is thinking outside the box but I seriously doubt if its innovations will trickle down to the countless persons living in a cardboard box. Like a true futurist, Mr. Friedman writes as though mankind were made for technology instead of the other way around.
Finally, and not to be mean-spirited, if Mr. Friedman couldn’t be a columnist what, at his age (not stepping into a time machine and starting all over knowing what the future holds) would he be able to contribute in his hyper-creative world?