Saturday, December 03, 2005


Several years back, I was thinking that when the Silicon Valley recovered and went into its next expansion phase, it would be the ones who could span the distance between here and Asia who would be among the most successful. And also that the next boom cycle would likely be fueled by environmental developments. Though I wondered if I was thinking one decade too far ahead.

Since the global workforce is so mobile, the cost of living, especially housing, seems to be the same in major cities around the globe, even if the average income in that country is a small fraction of ours. But I also hear that quite a lot of people make an enormous amount of money in various countries in Asia. Funny, then it'll be people from overseas who can afford to live here, while people who live here can't.

People are in fact voting with their dollars, and are willing to pay significant amounts of money for environmental and health concerns. Before 2002, one hardly ever saw a hybrid car... around 2002-2003, they started to blip on the radar and everytime I saw one on the road, it was like Wow! Now they really are just about as commonplace as the next car, at least around here.

Hybrid cars and organic food are just crossing into mainstream. Solar panels will follow. Right now it's only the early-adopters, but if it's anything like the aforementioned, we'll see some very interesting developments in the next few years. A significant fraction of the Palo Alto population already volunteers to pay a premium for "renewable" energy.

If there are 3-4 times as many people in China as there are in the United States, and similarly in India, once everyone starts to own a car and other things... imagine their rate of pollution and energy consumption increasing until it reaches 10 times the level of the United States' contribution to world pollution. At this rate, we'll see the human race self-extinct ourselves in our own lifetime. I'm only half-kidding.