Tom Friedman says Republican debates are irrelevant; Ann Arbor is the future

| Wednesday, January 4, 2012
| |

The Republican presidential primary campaign has been all about tax cuts, small government, marital fidelity and booting President Barack Obama from office.

But none of that has anything to do with what America must do to capitalize on the major trends shaping the global economy, argues New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in today's paper.

To Friedman, it's all about bandwidth, baby!

Citing the work of Blair Levin, who runs the Aspen Institute's Gig.U project, Friedman says the "job factories of the future" will be "cities and towns that combine a university, an educated populace, a dynamic business community and the fastest broadband connections on earth." Friedman continues:

Historians have noted that economic clusters always required access to abundant strategic inputs for success, says Levin. In the 1800s, it was access to abundant flowing water and raw materials. In the 1900s, it was access to abundant electricity and transportation. In the 2000s, he said, “it will be access to abundant bandwidth and abundant human intellectual capital,” — places like Silicon Valley, Austin, Boulder, Cambridge and Ann Arbor.

By the way, Washtenaw County, where Ann Arbor is located, had the lowest jobless rate in the state at 5.2 percent in November.

If you're like me--finding much of your workday is spent using the Internet, smart phones and tablets--you might agree that what Friedman says has more relevance than much of what has come out of the Republican debates.

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