Into Thin Air
Next month, assuming nothing else goes wrong, The 2010 Commonwealth Games will kick off in Delhi.
The Commonwealth Games are sort of the Olympics for the members of the British Commonwealth, which is what is left of the old British Empire.
There will be 85 countries participating in the games, (except perhaps for Scotland, which seems to have pulled out at the moment).
85 countries which were once under British rule. From Ghana to Jamaica to Australia to India to Kenya, indeed, the sun never set on the British Empire.
Britain once ruled one fourth of the world’s landmass and one-fourth of the world’s people. It also was the world leader in heavy manufacturing, everything from cars (Rolls Royce and Bentley, for example) to airplanes to steel to ships to cloth and on and on.
And then, it all came to a grinding crash.
Today Britain is a small but pleasant island country filled with lovely people, but aÂ world power it is not.
I am particularly taken by this for two reasons. First, I spend a great deal of time in Britain, and I am gearing up to spend even more there,
Next month we will be starting a series of trainings sessions with The BBC, one of which we are going to run from Birmingham.
Birmingham was once the Detroit of Britain, (when Detroit meant something). Today, it’s more like Detroit today, so to speak.
What happened, and can it happen here.
I think it already is, and in a very strange way.
This morning I read that AOL bought Techcrunch, a blog, for $25 million.
What is Techcrunch but a blog? What do they make? Nothing.
And agreed, $25 million today is nothing, but it’s indicative of our whole culture.
Facebook, valued at $11.5 billion.
Zynga (and I never even heard of this one), valued at $2.6 billion
Twitter, valued at $1.3 billion.
And what do these companies make, exactly?
They make nothing.
They manufacture nothing.
If you think the housing bubble was a problem, wait until the ‘social network’ bubble bursts.
There is nothing there.
We are creating an economy that makes nothing but time wasting, and worse, we put enormous value on it.
Which brings me back to India.
India, once the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire now owns Jaguar. Tata Motors bought it.
India makes things.
Things you can use.
Like Britain did once and then walked away from.
You cannot eat Facebook, you can’t wear it, you can’t drive it, you can’t live in it.
It has no value.
Of course, it has a value of $11.5 billion. But why?
What becomes of a culture that lives in a fantasy world that exists only online and nowhere else?
If you like this, please tweet it and help build our nation……
Indeed, tweet away….