Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Some funny blog-reviews of my Canadian radio debate on "The Current" today with Leonard Steinhorn, author of The Greatest Generation, about how grateful we should all be for the Baby Boomers and their contributions to diversity and tolerance. Steinhorn has a conversation-stopping habit of quoting shocking instances of retro racism and sexism to bolster his argument. He seems especially offended by the fact that African-Americans once used toxic bleaches to lighten their skin and hair. True but what of today's tanning-salon craze? Turnabout is fair play I must say.
A more serious problem was that he didn't engage either my argument (Boomers are leaving America quite a mess to clean up) or Professor MacMillan's (the 60s were complicated, and besides, where did all those conservatives come from?) but instead kept repeating his talking points.
ps he was 20 minutes late keeping me waiting in Boston and MacMillan in Toronto.
pps. I know my voice is a little high and girlish. I was getting over a cold yesterday so it was prob breathier than usual. Working on it though.


Chuck Weller said...

The good news is that both are using old theories that will not work in today's global knowledge economy -- like agriculture economy theories failed to work in the industrial economy.

More relevant good news is that there is a theory that will work, that breaks the assumption that wealth is limited and "zero sum" (and thus the US must suffer if the Chinese or Indians raise the standard of living of 2 billion+ people above poverty), that is little known to most but widely respected in its niche -- Peter Drucker and Michael Porter's econoimc theory based on productivty, innovation and unique value. See, e.g., the book Porter, Staudhammer, Stern and Weller , Unique Value (2004-05).

In short, the good news is that both Leonard's and Anya's theories are like the theory that the earth is at the center of the universe -- and there's a better theory, centered on the sun -- here Drucker and Porter's.

Anya said...

Point not taken. Steinhorn's book has zero to do with economics. My book does not assume that India's/China's gain must be our loss--I'd like to see worker protective standards raised on both sides of the ocean, which is a different conversation altogether.

Anonymous said...

I heard the interview and you didn't sound like a 5-year old. But you and Professor MacMillan were in attack mode and didn't once engage what was in Steinhorn's book. You say that Steinhorn was offering only talking points, but you seemed to parrot only your own, and you enjoyed interrupting constantly. MacMillan's perspective was rather puerile; had she read Steinhorn's book, all of her "concerns" would have been answered, and I agree with Steinhorn that she hid behind the word "complexity" without offering anything of substance.

I'm in between generations, and I agree that the fiscal legacy is a problem, which is the point of your book. But your analysis lacks context, which Steinhorn pointed out when he said that boomers were in quite an economic bind in the seventies and they dealt with it. You dismissed the seventies recession and stagflation with a statistic, but your viewpoint is pretty ahistorical here. And it made you come off pretty whiny by suggesting that only your generation is economically afflicted.

Bottom line is that Steinhorn's book and yours have nothing to do with each other (which you acknowledge in your reply above). You either should have engaged his ideas rather than attacked, or you should have tried to ask how he sees your critique in the context of what he wrote.

Actually, the two of you shouldn't have been on the show because you're dealing with separate issues. And you were far more interesting than the other guest, Professor MacMillan, whose pomposity was really irritating.

Anonymous said...

Don't apologize for the girl voice. If men hadn't ruled the air waves for forever then we wouldn't have to all work on making our voices lower.