I have to hand it to Dr. Barnett and Critt Jarvis – they can pick’em. In this case I mean the featured contributor in the NRSP Newslettter, Art Hutchinson. This guy is a true heavy-weight in the horizontal thought department and as a result I am running his article in full here, interspersed with my commentary in regular text:

Google: Shrinking the Gap with Connectivity

by Art Hutchinson

On June 30th, the front page of the Wall Street Journal carried the headline: “For Soaring Google, Next Act Won’t Be as Easy as the First”, noting that the “official ambition” of the juggernaut Internet search company is, “to search all of the world’s information”. Period. Not just the text. Not just the freely available digital stuff or that to be found in clean, safe, orderly parts of the world. All information. Period.

Ambitious? The term is scarcely strong enough. “Megalomaniacal/visionary” might be more appropriate. Yet just today, the company is reporting a 4X surge in quarterly profit on a doubling of revenue. Google is no flash in the pan. Just the opposite, in fact. The Wall Street Journal characterizes “Google’s mission [as] a long-term one”, quoting CEO, Eric Schmidt as saying: “It will take… 300 years to organize all of the world’s information.”

Well, it won’t take 300 years to organize the most important information to which instant access will have far-ranging economic, political, legal, societal, intellectual and paradigmatic effects. Diminishing returns means that a disproportionate amount of effort will go into simply satisfying the criteria to make such a claim realistic but for matters of practical ” powershifting” in the Toffler sense, will come in our lifetimes. The 300 years bit is there to dampen the potential opposition that a lot of vested interests and ordinary people might have to this concept once they think it through.

“Here’s our goal, the CEO says, in effect. It will take ten generations. Are you with us? That kind of talk gets most CEOs a one way trip to the asylum. Three hundred years ago, George Washington’s mother wasn’t even born yet. Yet investors are absolutely on board. The price of a Google share is up more than 60% this year… and it’s only July.

The plan is reminiscent of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation but if you think about it, the expeditions of Columbus, the Mayflower, Lewis and Clark – all represented grand longitudinal vision of this kind.

Lest this begin to sound like a stock analyst’s report, here’s the big thought for readers of this newsletter: substitute “the Core”, or “free market, Western, capitalistic rule sets” for Google and the headline reads just as well. “For Soaring Core, Next Act Won’t Be as Easy as the First”. Indeed. We’d all prefer thirty years to fill the Gap. Realistically, it may take three hundred. As Tom likes to say though, the end point is a worthy one; we’re at an inflection point in history; turning back isn’t an option. Google’s stock price soars. So does demand for immigration to the Old Core. Legal or not, this is the place to be. The man on the street instinctively knows that both trains are going somewhere good. Surely there’s enough momentum to hook a few more cars on the back.

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