Tale of two politicians in two democracies – and their love of IT

Tale of two politicians in two democracies – and their love of IT June 12, 2008

The current US election has seen a lot of drama. It will see more on the way to the final day.

What intrigued me a lot was the news that John McCain is IT ILLITERATE… and does NOT care about it much.

When asked in an interview if he is a Mac or PC guy, McCain answered: “neither, I’m an illiterate that has to rely on my wife for all of the assistance I can get.”

So, the future US President will have no freaking idea as to what are the benefits and the strengths of IT as an enabler of a society and as a weapon on diplomatic or national warfare. He will depend on advisors who are opinionated in any case!

On the other hand, in India, the guy whom you least expect to understand the power of Internet – the rustic and the crude Minister of Railways in India, Lalu Prasad Yadav – has started a blog! He is now writing his views on things like Price rise and agitations in the country. Granted he may not be writing it himself nor would be drafting the blog in English.. but he GETS IT! And that is what is most significant!

The other day I was talking to a friend and we were reviewing the history of the world. He made an interesting remark. In the 1600’s to 1900’s Europeans virtually took over the world. Until 1500’s India’s share in world GDP was 25-30%. By 1947 it had reduced to single digits! Why? One of the main reasons, according to him, was that Europeans mastered the seas! Simply mastered the seas.

The reason why US, on the other hand, is the strongest nation for last century is because it has mastered science for warfare – Atomic bomb etc.

In any generation the society which masters the means of warfare competitive advantage really rules over the other societies. The next generation’s warfare will be controlled on the air-waves.. in the space… in and through the world of IT! So, if US has to be a significant player, then it is imperative it keeps it competitive edge in that area. And John McCain is not a very good harbinger of that at least.

The pendulum may be on the journey to the other side…..

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  • Smartopinion

    I dis-agree… The US President is just a bureaucrat. At least the foreign policy is decided by Pentagon/CIA and Wealthy corporations… They are static while the President keeps changing every 4 years…

    Of’course the President has the power to change the status Quo but that rerely happens…

    The Presidency is much about allocations of Money and Tax policies for the business.. Everything beyond that is just a by product without intention…

  • Smartopinion

    I dis-agree… The US President is just a bureaucrat. At least the foreign policy is decided by Pentagon/CIA and Wealthy corporations… They are static while the President keeps changing every 4 years…

    Of’course the President has the power to change the status Quo but that rerely happens…

    The Presidency is much about allocations of Money and Tax policies for the business.. Everything beyond that is just a by product without intention…