This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

April 25, 2001

Globalization: The Next Generation

As we adults grapple with serious conflicts around the world, we cling to an idealistic hope for peace. But our differences-in our neighborhoods and in the halls of the United Nations-are influenced by history, emotion, and a lot of "baggage" that we have carried for generations.

The next generation seems to have a fresh perspective on the world's problems. Their approach raises the expectation that, in spite of the interference of their elders who are so entrenched in tradition, we may soon move past some of these significant differences.

What's behind this expectation? Impatience. Communication. Forward focus.

We sense impatience among students. With so much happening in their lives, they have little patience for unnecessary delays, silly politics, and game-playing. They are anxious to tackle problems, get them resolved, and move quickly to the next challenge. Technology is their weapon to increase efficiency. This is the age of space exploration (expansive perspective), rather than the age of land exploration (relatively local perspective). Today's young people-tomorrow's leaders-are driven to move further into their future, rather than dwell on their past. Speed is valued more than attention to nagging detail.

Communication is practically instantaneous, and will become even faster in the future. No longer will people be impeded by delays caused by slow or non-existent mail delivery. With e-mail and other developing internet-based systems, the barriers will disappear. Even the language obstacles are evaporating, with translation programs and a greater use of major languages like English and Spanish. Our thirteen-year-old daughter plays computer games with opponents from Croatia and Australia. International travel is easier and more commonplace; our twenty-something daughters have visited more countries than we have, gaining greater tolerance of others.

Without the influence of world wars and mass destruction, younger generations do not possess the xenophobic feelings that burden so many of us in the older generations. They embrace the concept of globalization, ready to enjoy the benefits of the broader view. They're looking toward the future and, while they respect history, will not be controlled by what happened in the less relevant past.

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