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How to Thrive In Our Age of Accelerations

October 9, 2018

Tom Friedman, Columnist for The New York Times
Moderated by Laura Blumenfeld, Senior Fellow, Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS

Tom Friedman, a columnist for The New York Times and a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner for journalism visited the school to share insights from his book "Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations." During the discussion Friedman presented his analysis on the driving forces and impacts of what he labels as the “three climate changes,” Market, Mother Nature and Moore’s Law and how they are reshaping the world.

The Market, or globalization, reflects the migration of world economies from being interconnected to interdependent. This phenomenon, Friedman argues, is resulting in a dangerously over-reliant and co-dependent economic system.

“Your friends start to kill you faster than your enemies,” Friedman said. “Your rivals falling can be more dangerous than your rivals rising.”

In terms of Mother Nature and climate change, the world is moving from the “later” to the “now,” in that people can no longer delay conservation projects or activities to fight global warming, as we are now in a period of urgency.

He identified Earth’s eight key characteristics which allow the planet to survive climate changes. These features include favoring natural selection, being incredibly pluralistic, maintaining sustainability, incorporating feedback loops into systems, and supporting the ecosystems which build complex adaptive coalitions.

Friedman went on to discuss how people’s sense of national identity, social norms and work identity are being challenged in these three climate changes, allowing for a rise in populism.

Friedman believes the biggest challenge today for foreign affairs specialists is stabilizing the current state of disorder that is pervading throughout the world, which has come into being because of these three climate changes.

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