Saturday, May 30, 2009

The End of Assembly Line War

By explaining the end of manufacturing jobsRobert Reich thereby also provides an explanation for Fourth Generation Warfare:
"Any job that's even slightly routine is disappearing from the U.S. But this doesn't mean we are left with fewer jobs. It means only that we have fewer routine jobs, including traditional manufacturing. When the U.S. economy gets back on track, many routine jobs won't be returning -- but new jobs will take their place.....

The reason they're so easy to overlook is that so much of the new value added is invisible. A growing percent of every consumer dollar goes to people who analyze, manipulate, innovate and create. These people are responsible for research and development, design and engineering. Or for high-level sales, marketing and advertising. They're composers, writers and producers. They're lawyers, journalists, doctors and management consultants. I call this 'symbolic analytic' work because most of it has to do with analyzing, manipulating and communicating through numbers, shapes, words, ideas."

According to current theorists, while the United States today continues to muck around in the Third or even the Second Generation of Warfare, the world is racing ahead into the Fourth or even Fifth Generation. This American backwardness has caused such recent reverses as Iraq and Afghanistan, they assert, adding that - in order to succeed - the US military should progress to a higher generation.

All of which begs the question of why the United States has remained so persistently mired in the Second or Third Generation and why - despite numerous reversals - it has been so difficult to budge.

This difficulty, we would assert, comes not from the military culture but rather from the culture of the greater American society which envelops it. The 20th century United States was the paradigmatic Second or Third Generation society. What was good for General Motors was good for America. Its military reflected this underlying ethos. It is no coincidence that the ranks of the volunteer military have largely come from the blue collar communities that once worked at the steel mill.

But increasingly, this underlying ethos is coming under attack. The current recession is an economic symptom of this attack just as much as the so-called War on Terror is a military symptom. Reich details this economic attack. Reich does not use this vocabulary, but what he is saying is that tomorrow's workforce will require Fourth and Fifth generation type skills rather than the Second and Third type that the United States will rely upon.

Will the United States succeed? Can the American public acquire these new skills more effectively than, say, the Belgian, the Algerian, or the Paraguayan?

Should you or I care? Would it not be more appropriate to network with Fourth and Fifth generation skilled individuals regardless of nationality rather than to waste resources shoring up the sinking nation-state?

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