This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

October 19, 1999

National Boundaries Dissolving

73 days until January 1, 2000
438 days until January 1, 2001

For years we've based our beliefs, our positions, our values on the country of our birth and/or our residence. Political boundaries have dramatically influenced our lives. Trade and all sorts of economic issues are governed by international borders, as are lifestyles and opportunities for human rights and human fulfillment.

Those seemingly important national boundaries are at the early stages of being dissolved into a state of being practically meaningless. What might our lives be like without the imaginary borders that govern our behavior, transactions, and life-management? Just imagine the possibilities for more free trade, ease of travel, and maybe even reduction of conflict.

The catalyst for this transformation is the internet. The power of the world wide web has opened communication and learning to unprecedented levels. The speed of the change is incredible. The number of people connected to the web is increasing in dramatic proportions-in the United States and in many other countries. As more and more people get connected, there will be more and more opportunities for people to communicate-across international political boundaries that have little meaning for human-to-human communication.

While much of this enhanced communication, sharing, and relationship building is already underway, we forecast considerably more in the next few years. Adults talk with adults on the "net," but the most significant communication is among youth. Teenagers. These young people have an amazingly high proficiency with computers-chat rooms, voice chat, instant messaging services, message boards, and plain old e-mail enable them to talk with correspondents anywhere in the world at any time. Our 12-year old, Samantha, for instance, was chatting with a friend from Croatia the other night.

The volume and quality of communication is growing rapidly-beyond the realization of most adults. As these young people continue building global relationships, ignoring borders that are merely lines on maps, they're developing human-to-human bonds that transcend politics. These relationships will influence our future world significantly.

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