Once Again, Bacon Eats His Words

In my most recent column, “It’s the Global Economy, Stupid,” I chastised Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore for failing to acknowledge the importance of Virginia’s economic competitiveness in the global arena. Specifically, I stated: “Unfortunately, not one candidate for statewide office has demonstrated in public statements even a passing familiarity with the book [“The World is Flat”] or the economic trends that it documents.”

Larry Roberts, chairman of the Kaine for Governor campaign, has informed me that I am quite mistaken. He says:

Tim Kaine read the book earlier this year, has mentioned it in a number of speeches, and regularly talks about the need to move our education policies beyond competence to excellence because of the challenges of the global economy and, specifically, the resources countries such as India and China are devoting to education – especially in science and math. He talked specifically about the importance of education in addressing competition from Bangalore and Shanghai in the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce debate with Jerry Kilgore. He also talks consistently about the global links Virginia has (envied by other states) in Dulles Airport (from where one can easily reach virtually every continent) and the Port of Hampton Roads.

In his favor, Kaine also talks about reforming land use, an important theme in my column. But he’s on the wrong side of the tax debate. Oh, well, two out of three ain’t bad.

My apologies to Mr. Kaine. I made an assumption, it was incorrect, and I am happy to correct any misperception I created. Now, if only we could get Virginia’s political reporters and editorial writers to pick up on the theme….

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  1. Anonymous Avatar

    I’m surprised you are such a big fan of the book. Having read the published excerpts I found it quite unremarkable, and so decided to skip it.

    Now I’m going to have to get it out of the library and read it, if only so I can say I read it while I trash it. Because I hate people who give books bad reviews when they haven’t taken the time to read them.

  2. criticallythinking Avatar

    Apparently, if you want to say something stupid, you should say it four times for emphasis.

    In fact, I just kept hitting the “login and publish” button after typing in those letters, not noticing that it was actually processing the button pushes.

    Sorry about that. And about being too lazy to sign my name….

  3. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Friedman’s books is not without its flaws. He takes a few gratuitous swipes at the Bush administration, as almost anyone from Manhattan would. But he shows vividly and clearly how technology trends have served to level the global playing field. He also shows the extraordinary progress that’s being made in India and China. He doesn’t dwell on the comparison with the economic development trajectory of post-war Japan, but it’s apropos. The difference is that India and China are eight to 10 times more populous than Japan, and their impact on the global trading system will be magnified accordingly.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    As for investing in education, I am all for it if it emphasizes those educational curricula that will have an impact on our competitiveness in the world economy. Science, math, language, these are all important areas. Unfortunately our schools are investing far too much in the social gobbledy-gook that has nothing to do with these.

    I was also surprised to find out recently that my local high school has a classroom equipped as a beauty parlor so that students can take courses in hair care. Auto-body and wood-shop are still being taught as well. While these are nice to haves, they should be trades taught by industry or apprenticeship and really don’t have a place when you want to make academics excel against the world market.

  5. Anonymous: I had trouble with the word match, too. Dxlysia is a bitch.

    Anyone consider that if we really want to compete in the world market, that we are probably going to have to accept a lower standard of living? More smarts is one way to compete, lower costs is another.

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