We haven’t fallen behind. The rest of the world has caught up.

Dr. Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and a guest speaker at Thursday’s Arthur PageFareedzakaria_2
Society’s Spring Conference delivered one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard.

Speaking without notes, Zakaria covered such topics as terrorism (we’ve never been safer, he said), competitiveness (the U.S. hasn’t fallen behind, the rest of the world has caught up, he observed) and immigration (it should be viewed as a strength, not a weakness, he argued).

Zakaria made a powerful argument for free trade and open borders. He believes, as we all do, that U.S. health care costs as a percentage of overall GDP are absurdly high. He also believes, as most reasonable people do, that the Iraq misadventure is sucking us dry and has cost our beleaguered economy anywhere from one to three trillion dollars.

Zakaria shed new light on fears that other countries like China and India are graduating far more engineers than America. Zakaria dug into those stats and reports that tens of thousands of so-called engineers are no more advanced than the average air-conditioning repairman.

There’s much to celebrate right now, says Zakaria. He says the 24×7, ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ media is to blame for many of our fears. The facts tell a different tale, he says. For example, there are far fewer civil wars and deaths caused by organized force than ever before. And, the current economic downturn is far less severe that any of the four recessions during the 1950s, a timeframe now looked upon as a period of significant growth. What’s lacking on our end is perspective.

The Page Society has always delivered outstanding speakers at various events over the years. Dr. Zakaria was not only the best I’ve seen to date, he also delivered macro views that not only enlightened, but uplifted. And, when’s the last time any of us could report back on an experience like that?

5 thoughts on “We haven’t fallen behind. The rest of the world has caught up.

  1. Dr. Zakaria appears regularly on ABC’s Sunday Morning ‘This Week’ and is about to host his own CNN political talk show.

  2. ‘A crude awakening’ was indeed sobering, Rep, Jr., but, it doesn’t negate Dr. Zakaria’s overarching themes. The market economies will survive because there is no alternative.

  3. It’s good to hear that there are still people out their speaking rationally to the crazed masses. I’ve taken a few classes on the sociology of drugs over the past year or so, and one topic that consistently comes up in those classes is how the media tends to conjure up drug scares by outrageously overstating the impact and threat posed by whatever drug is the topic of day. They did it with crack in the 80s and meth more recently. The media has created a society in which every problem is an “epidemic” and every uncertainty is an “imminent threat.” People have short memories and are largely too lazy to find the data behind the news report to come to their own conclusions. It has a created a nation of people that fear what is around every figurative and literal corner.

  4. This speech sounds like quite an uplifting and thought provoking experience. I wonder, was the upbeat mood it invoked negated by the documentary you and I watched yesterday (A Crude Awakening)? Because, I would think that there would be nothing more sobering than the persuasive argument made by that documentary. If I was Repman, I would write a blog on the documentary to show both ends of the spectrum.