Having earned degrees in both engineering and computer science, I'm a bit of a technology enthusiast and I have a tremendous appreciation for humanity's intellect. Also, I am continually amazed at how it is leveraged.
Technology, along with a large pool of savings, is ultimately what drives productivity, increases standard of living, and lifts millions out of poverty.
It is truly amazing what human beings can achieve when their creativity is unconstrained, and this is fundamentally what gives me great hope for the future. The worse humanity's problems become, the more innovators will emerge with solutions.
Unfortunately for those of us in the USA, Asia is becoming more and more the source of the world's innovation; in what seems like a game of "anything you can do, I can do better," Asian nations are claiming technological achievements left and right that were once dominated by the west. (I invite you to read here my recent article for more insight to this transfer of wealth and power from the West to the East.)
Within the past few weeks (circa November 2010), a Chinese scientific research center in the northern coastal city of Tianjin unveiled the fastest supercomputer in the world. Known as the Tianhe-1A, it is able to calculate instructions at least 40% faster than its nearest competitor in Tennessee.
The reason that the Chinese supercomputer is so much faster isn't because they just jammed more chips onto the circuit boards... rather, they innovated. Engineers at Tianjin's National University of Defense Technology developed a new way of connecting powerful minicomputers together which collectively share calculations.
It's a model that hasn't been used before and was developed exclusively by Chinese engineers. Though the machine uses processors designed by Intel and Nvidia (US companies), China is already in the works to develop its own chips, fully eliminating reliance on US technology.
This is a central theme among Asia's technology developers. They start with a basic idea (like supercomputers, military aircraft, or mobile phones), analyze what the foreign companies are doing well, figure out how to make it better, and eliminate any dependency on western suppliers.
Case in point, is a new mobile device, the iPro E71 professional. It is China's answer to the Nokia E71 smart phone. Aside from having dual SIM card capacity, a built in TV-tuner, a longer battery life, and weighing a bit less, the Chinese version costs less than $50.
While those of us in North America and in Europe are dazzled by new iPhone 4's, the touch screen phones available in Asia, are really in a class by themselves. One manufacturer makes a dual SIM handset that operates on both GSM and CDMA bands, and it has built-in scramble technology for greater security.
So what is it about these countries that allows them to innovate so quickly and effectively? I believe it has nothing to do with brains, but rather culture. Their societies do not frown on borrowing and improving existing technology, and in some places, intellectual property rights are downright ignored.
This is clearly a double-edged sword; on one hand, such behavior discourages western companies from coming to the market... many of them want to sit on their patents and collect income based on royalties and brand value.
On the other hand, when engineers and developers know that the competition can copy and innovate, it sparks a feverish race to see who can add the most value for the customer; it becomes a competition about who can develop the best widget that's faster, stronger, lighter, and cheaper than everyone else's widget.
At the end of the day, competition is always good for customers, and the incredible array of consumer and industrial technology in Asia demonstrates how quickly it can develop when human creativity is unconstrained.
In the west, there are too many large multinationals that are fat and happy living off their brands; they stopped adding value a long time ago and now have teams of lawyers to sue anyone who even thinks of innovating their original idea.
I trust this article provides a little more insight into issues surrounding innovation and litigation.
The ultimate lesson from all of this litigation is quite simple; anyone who wants to stay competitive should stop being so complacent based on past achievements, roll up their sleeves, and get busy innovating. The same is true for us as we pursue prosperity and wealth. I favor a quote from Steve Forbes … Forbes says that pursuing additional financial education and the resulting increase in our financial literacy will open our eyes to being savvy with our money and using alternative wealth creating strategies; this will be they key to resolving our financial crisis.
To gain the necessary financial education, it is best to pursue association with, access to, and membership in, a wealth creation community. As a result, you will learn about alternative wealth creating strategies and consider investments in non-dollar denominated assets … perhaps emerging markets … perhaps energy assets that are inherently useful like oil rigs, hydropower, or methanol plants … perhaps precious metals, rare earths, water rights, oil, natural gas, potash mines, or gold mines … things hard to build, difficult to replace, and costly to substitute … definitely not financial stocks, definitely not retail stocks, definitely not commercial property.
For those wanting protection of their purchasing power in gold, there are several ways that may be appropriate to obtain this protection. These include direct ownership in minted coins, use of gold exchange traded funds, gold mutual funds, and junior gold stocks. Many are investigating having part of their IRAs in gold, silver, precious metals, and non-dollar denominated currencies.
In addition, for those that truly believe sovereign risk is the greatest risk we all face, it is wise to learn how to implement a multiple flag strategy to diversify this risk or provide protection against higher taxes, capital controls, hyperinflation, civil unrest, erosion of personal liberty, and the rise of a police state. With a multiple flag system, you consider taking preparations like, but not limited to, establishing a foreign bank account, purchasing some real estate overseas, seeking alternate sources of income, dual citizenship, and carrying multiple passports.
I will continue to provide examples of things we need to learn, the secrets of the insiders, as part of being savvy with our money, and introduce alternative wealth creating strategies, in future articles and updates at my blog over the next few weeks.
In addition, a good book to read would be “The Emerging Markets Century” by Antoine van Agtmael; it describes How a New Breed of World-Class Companies Is Overtaking the World.
Finally, I want to thank Simon Black of Sovereign Man as he was the source of some of the material mentioned in this post.
In closing, be sure to Meet Me at my website, WhoIsMikeFarrell; Read Posts about my Internet Marketing activities at aspenIbiz blogspot; and Obtain Some Tips About Being No 1 on Google at aspenIbiz My Go-To-Market Partners website; and Learn How to Live Longer at aspenIbiz My Life’s Advantage Today site.