Looks like I am adding two books to my reading-diet today:
Dan Gillmor‘s We Media, which is available through O’Reilly, but in keeping with its message is also released for download on a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 License. Great!
And second a book by Jeremy Rifkin, The European Dream, to be released later this month. During the past 18 months or so I have repeatedly heard, and said so myself, that the strength of Europe lies in leveraging its diversity. Meanwhile most discussions on industry, innovation and education seem to take the stance that we’re not good enough at emulating what the US is doing (as if that would make us world class, it would only make us second best at the most: it’s the same flaw as in adopting best practices). But while I knew we were doing the wrong things, I also didn’t know how to go about ‘celebrating diversity’. Hierarchical, and old school industrial thinking get in the way of that.
Rifkin, according to the blurb on the book, seems to postulate that European diversity and culture is much better suited to adapt to a networked society from an industrial one, as compared to the US, and significant steps already have been made. Or in other words how Europe could leapfrog over the US.
From the blurb:
The American Dream is in decline. Americans are increasingly overworked, underpaid, and squeezed for time. But there is an alternative: the European Dream-a more leisurely, healthy, prosperous, and sustainable way of life. Europe’s lifestyle is not only desirable, argues Jeremy Rifkin, but may be crucial to sustaining prosperity in the new era.
Reminds me of a conversation I head with a representative of the South African government last year where we explored the notion that Africa’s structure, largely based on communities, and also tribal thinking, (and the storytelling and master-apprentice relations that are part of it) could well be a chance to leapfrog past the EU and the US in realizing the potential of knowledge management.
A lot of Africans are totally ingrained with notions that we struggle to give a place in our industrial surroundings. (But it will also require independence from oil to really do that for them, as only that will take their debt burden to the West away and give the continent a chance to break the spiral of poverty that now chains them to our hierarchical industrial structures)
But anyway, I am curious about Rifkins ideas about how to leverage our European diversity better.