Republicans and the Tea Party seem determined to take us (the USA) back to the past where the aristocracy was a law unto themselves and there was no middle class. The Democrats seem to be vaguely trying to take us back to Big: Big Labor, Big Autos, Big Hollywood, and Big Education. So what is a way forward? What the Banda Islands Tell Us About Global Trade looks for a parallel in the past that indicates a probable future if we do not change course and a starting point for a better future. How to get a job after the Singularity comes looks more at the future and how we might place ourselves to have a good future.
As a young adult I did a fair amount of body surfing. Catching a wave is a metaphor that works for a lot in my life. You have to go where the waves are (not much surfing in Nebraska), be properly equipped (wet suits, not 3 piece suits), pay attention to what’s coming, and paddle like mad until you catch the wave. If it all works you’re in for some fun, riding on something besides your own energy. Watch good surfers and you’ll see them let a lot of waves go by. Also, they’ll bail out of some they do start to catch, feeling that it isn’t working. Surfers without wetsuits, at least in Northern California where the water is in the low 50s, have a limited budget of time in the water. Kind of like bootstrapped startups. Oh, and watch out for the rare shark (rare at least in Northern California).