World Politics News

30 November 2017


Please forgive me because I want to make a comment about US politics that some will regard as partisan.  But I honestly believe that I would be making this point even if my brother was President of the US.  President Trump retweeted some videos of presumed hostile acts being committed by Muslims.  These videos were posted by a group in Great Britain, “Britain First”, which has a record of being deeply anti-Muslim.  Mr. Trump’s Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, was asked whether the President had verified the authenticity of the videos before he retweeted them.  CNBC quotes Ms Sanders’s response:

“Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real”

This response is unacceptable.  It is unacceptable from anyone who wishes to be taken seriously.  I believe that truth does matter.  That proposition does not mean that people cannot make mistakes–I accept the fact that truth is not always accessible.  But I do expect people to try to the best of their ability to ascertain that they are making decisions–and in the President’s case, decisions that literally affect millions–on the basis of events that actually happened.  We can disagree about how to interpret those events, but we have to agree that something happened.  If we do not hold people to this standard, then we will all be hostages to the imaginations of people who may not have our best interests in mind.

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov



The world is going through a massive shift in work patterns, one that is in many respects similar to the transition brought about by the industrial revolution.  Many jobs are being automated, a process facilitated by the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots.  The McKinsey Global Institute has published a report that documents the trend:

“Taking these factors into account, our new research estimates that between almost zero and 30 percent of the hours worked globally could be automated by 2030, depending on the speed of adoption. We mainly use the midpoint of our scenario range, which is automation of 15 percent of current activities. Results differ significantly by country, reflecting the mix of activities currently performed by workers and prevailing wage rates.”

Like the industrial revolution, new jobs will undoubtedly be created.  But the transition will be difficult.  The new jobs will require a high degree of technical skills and will not absorb workers without advanced degrees in some technical fields.  The key question is whether societies will pay for advanced training and to figure out what jobs to offer those who do not wish to develop such skills pr cannot afford to make that personal investment.