Symposium on Management in the Year 2000 (1987) - Excerpts

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THUROW: Now, nobody in 1945 conceived of the modern telecommunication, computer, multinational company technology, where you can put and manage a plant in Seoul, Korea just as easy as you could put in manager plant on the other side of metropolitan Boston. That was a world of just wasn't conceived of back at that period of time. Multinational companies weren't conceived of back in that period of time.

And what it means is that basically I would argue to you that the world is so different that the institutions that work very well for 30 40 years have quit working. Because one of those institutions was the fact that you could, in fact, manage your economies. But what we've done is create a world economy where nobody can manage their economy.

SAGAN: The technology now permits us to affect the entire plant and so apart from the evident economic interdependence of the plant, which Lester so brilliantly discussed just a moment ago. There is an enormous technological interdependence. The technology has been monotonically developing always for short term advantage.

It's extremely rare that a technological development is fore-sworn because 100 years from now we can see that there will be some serious negative consequences even though 10 years from now we can see that they'll be some significant advantage. We never think on those time scales, 100 years from now we'll be dead. Someone else's watch, let them look out for that. Well, this passion for the short term over the long term coupled with extraordinary technological prowess has I maintain produced an extremely dangerous and critical circumstance at the present time.