The more the merrier


Next week, we welcome Earth’s 7 Billionth baby into our human family.

When I was born, relatives came to the hospital to visit (as commonly observed even today, in Vietnam). B/W photos were taken and sent up North for our extended families to “take notes”. The more the merrier. Nobody cared who Malthus was. If you showed up, one more bowl and a pair of chopsticks were all you need. In fact, the most common greeting was “have you eaten yet”. Memories of those early days came to me, often because of large family gatherings, with meals on the altar, and meals on the table.

We commemorated ancestors’ anniversary more than celebrated newcomers’ birthday.

In fact, I found out that my grandfather used to share lunch with more than a dozen people at a time. Obviously, he didn’t need “Never eat alone” advice.

Fast forward to our digital era with Siri apps and Google unmanned vehicles, we find a world obsessed with pharma instead of farming.

Instead of taking vitamin pills (whose latest studies have shown to be ineffectual), people are taking pain-relieving pills, sleeping pills and birth-control pills.

The Boeing 787 flight between Tokyo and Hong Kong inaugurated the Pacific Century, as much as Lindbergh’s American Century.

Population growth tilts toward BRIC countries. Yet in the US, there is a shortage of skilled workers since the babyboomers are retiring en mass.

BTW, to give credits where they deserve, trusted Sales Representatives are still in demand, despite recent push in productivity and automation.

People still buy from people and have lunch (connecting) with people.

Yet Sales has been and still is considered non-academic, hence it is excluded from the curriculum ( per latest issue of  theEconomist).

Back to 7 Billion of us whose life expectancy will be in the 70’s (hint, larger fonts and slower driving).

Besides strength in numbers, we live in the most open-minded global society ever. Even the cash-rich Kennedys had to face “religion” issue when campaigning back in the 60’s. Now, you can be openly gay, happily married and run for public office. What used to be “alternative” has become “conventional”.

And the new China’s middle class. Boy oh boy! When they shop, they shop till they drop. I happened to witness their Japanese counterparts in the late 80’s half-way to Las Vegas, at an outlet stop. I wonder how much more aggressive Mainland shoppers will act after their wins at the table.

Back in the late 70’s, after the Oil Embargo, many thought we had reached the “limits to growth”.  Somehow, we managed to clean up Alaska and Louisiana, Hiroshima and Fukushima .

The MIT and the MITI, Korean and Vietnamese, all work hard in a race against the Machine. When Malthus predicted that we had reached Earth’s limits, he did not foresee the coming of the Machine. German software engineers help VW propel  pass Toyota, while Samsung pass Sony and Apple in tablet sales. Bring it on, globally.

Long ago, when we commemorated our grandmother’s anniversary, my mom  always planned extra bowls and chopsticks . The more, the merrier; but I can now put away the extra bowl and chopsticks, since proponents of automation argue that machines don’t sleep and eat. Win-win. Will see.

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