Mikhail Gorbachev on Software

(via Dan bricklin) The Russian software industry association, RUSSOFT, arranged for Gorbachev to give a speech on his yearly trip to the US that highlighted the increased cooperation between the US and Russia around IT. Their software association has a close relationship with the Massachusetts Software Council and chose their meeting as the venue. I personally admire Gorbachev for biting the bullet on communism in Russia, his views and work on preserving the environment and role model as a statesman.

Answering a question, as one who changed the world, what advice he’d give kids today who want to change the world, and he said, as I recall, to have a dialog with people, to help overcome prejudices and misunderstandings. In a toast he made before leaving he said that only monks and nuns do their thinking alone. We need to work together.

on globalization ….

We are in an era of globalization that spreads to all areas of life. Globalization has divided the world even more, and the gap between the rich and poor even in the developed countries has grown. This is a real challenge. Don’t blame globalization; it is an objective process that has developed over decades and centuries. It is all about governments. If we allow globalization to continue to be a blind process, then it will be Social Darwinism with “might makes right”, with the mighty getting all the benefits of globalization. The leaders back in the days of the end of the Cold War were hoping that the money saved by ending the Cold War would give money to overcome poverty and backwardness, but this has not happened. Those that broke through into the new technology, including China, Malaysia, and South Korea, did better, but much of the world is still living with great problems. If we try to solve the problems with force, with military means alone, we will not succeed. The blows dealt to terrorism’s infrastructure are good and right, but after that we should also think about people’s lives, education, technology, and what can we do in a global world. In a global world it is not the group interests, corporate interests, or national interests that should be primary, even though they exist, but rather universal human interests for all of mankind. The business community still thinks in terms of profit alone. But if you ignore the problems of poverty and backwardness, the result will be a situation that our children and grandchildren will be impossible to sustain. Let us think about future generations

On U.S. as the only super power. Lead with partnership not domination

The US is the only true super power now, with Russia transforming into a real democracy with modern economics. Some would like Russia to become part of the world economic community, but keep it suppressed for years to come out of fear that Russia could become a dangerous military power. But if you keep it an unequal partner while it becomes a free and democratic society which will take decades, then Russia will react badly. But Russia has worked through problems in the past and we should work with them with trust and say goodbye to old philosophies and look to work together.

Will the US leadership be by domination or by partnership? His experience convinces him that the model of leadership through domination and imposition will be rejected by the world. Leadership through partnership is what people throughout the world will accept and support. Not only in fighting terrorism, but also in other areas. A secure, just, democratic world order. A state of chaos will have no one feeling good. Russia was with the US on Sept. 11. There is no military solution. It is working together, addressing the challenges of terrorism, the environmental crisis, energy, and health. There are non-state unpredictable players. We live in a different world than we used to.

Balance development in both engineering and liberal arts for a balanced society

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