The eternal tension between long term and short term thinking
On days the market is up, the traders loudly mock the macro guys: "But, but, but...Portugal!" they taunt, as they remove money from the marketplace thanks to the prowess of their trading that day. And then when the market is selling off viciously, you'll see the macro people sneering in delight at the "momo monkeys" who are being roasted in techs and coals and cranes and commodities on the long side.I resonated with this because it accurately describes the problem with our relationship to long-term and short-term thinking. Many people believe it is an either-or proposition: either you think about the long-term and the reality of our situation and able to make effective decisions or you are lost in the detail, failing to see the forest for the trees. Or, put another way: either you take of business, reacting dynamically to day-to-day realities, or you are day-dreaming about a long run which may never come. It all depends on your mindset which of these statements is most attractive. And this is the root of our many predicaments today - both mindsets are valid, both are requires to lead society and its many institutions to a just and prosperous future. That said, it is a shame that on the balance, short-term thinking is more prized. Frankly, nobody ever got fired from an organization for thinking about the short-term, no matter how much we prattle on about "innovation" and "expecting the unexpected." On the contrary, the vast majority of individuals currently warming the chairs reserved for leaders are much more likely to pat you on the head for vocally defending the status quo and the burning needs of the next ten minutes. And this is why I predict continuous disruption in our institutions for some time to come. If you are interested in more, I wrote a whole book about this subject.
Essays and comments posted in World Future Society and THE FUTURIST magazine blog portion of this site are the intellectual property of the authors, who retain full responsibility for and rights to their content. For permission to publish, distribute copies, use excerpts, etc., please contact the author. The opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Future Society takes no stand on what the future will or should be like.
Free Email Newsletter
Sign up for Futurist Update, our free monthly email newsletter. Just type your email into the box below and click subscribe.
This is my last posting for the next few days. I will be taking my office apart so that we can move to our new apartment downtown next Tuesday. I will be unplugged and disconnected except by tablet. Expect me to be back in the saddle before the end of next week probably in time to provide you with some more headlines. In the interim these are the stories I share with you this week:
Today, literally thousands of alternative transportation vehicles are coming out of the woodwork and they nearly all have the same problem – no place to drive them. Most are banned from biking and hiking trails, and they are neither licensed, nor licensable, for use on the streets. I’d like to discuss some new possible solutions and why Colorado is poised to take the lead in the alternative transportation marketplace.
In a recent conference promoting not only their latest gizmos but their company's animating vision as well, Google executives declared they were working toward a future in which technology "disappears," "fades into the background," becomes more "intuitive and anticipatory." Commenting on this apparently "bizarre mission for a tech company," Bianca Bosker warns that their genial and enthusiastic promotional language masks Google's aspiration to omnipresence via invisibility, an effort to render us dependent and uncritical of their prevalence through its marketing as easy, intuitive, companionable.
Occasionally during meetings one of my staff – an avid birder – will elbow me and I’ll look up and glimpse a bald eagle. Each time, I am in awe. I live in Washington State, which is home to a plethora of eagles, where pods of Orca ply the waters near the San Juan Islands, and where roads are sometimes blocked by herds of elk.
In this month's Report on Business Magazine, a supplement that comes with The Globe and Mail, one of Canada's national newspapers, Stanford University's Mark Jacobson provides a best case scenario
According to The Hollywood Reporter, celebrity tech CEO Peter Thiel is upset that movies like The Matrix and Avatar make technological innovation seem "destructive and dysfunctional."
A team of researchers are asking the public to help them locate and count all the sources of CO2 coming from power plants on the planet.