Skip to content ↓
MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Thoughts On Global Leadership by Ben Jones

Susan Hockfield + others quoted in Newsweek on the topic.

My mom just sent me the link to an interesting article in the latest issue of Newsweek about the future of America’s global leadership. It begins:

Can the United States remain competitive in the changing global environment? Newsweek asked 15 leaders in the fields of science, technology, education and business to assess the challenges we face and to offer some solutions.

MIT President Susan Hockfield weighs in, as does MIT CSAIL Director Rodney Brooks.

Call me an idealist, but my favorite of the responses is that of Tim Draper, who embraces the idea of countries trying to help each other instead of simply strategizing on how best to stay on top. He encourages us to recognize that “competitors can present opportunities rather than threats.”

To universally accept this concept, of course, would require the world to think in much broader terms. And until aliens from some other planet attack us and force us to come together as a global entity to defend ourselves, it probably won’t be a top priority for civilization anytime soon. I find this sort of depressing, but I find a lot about human nature sort of depressing. :-)


(And so this entry doesn’t get too heavy, my mom also sent me this link. Enjoy.)

10 responses to “Thoughts On Global Leadership”

  1. Christina says:

    I can’t possibly comment on the serious part of this post after watching that video, which was, by the way, the best thing of my life.

    Word to your mother, Ben.

  2. Ben says:

    If you like that one, check out this one:

    I went to college with that guy!

  3. Christina says:

    I want to be one of those men when I grow up.

  4. Melis says:

    Esther Dyson is right on with, “It’s time to emphasize creativity in technology and science.” Throughout 2.007, Prof. Slocum emphasized over, and over, and over again that if you’re not creative you will be outsourced!

    It’s also interesting how almost everyone emphasizes the need for reforming K-12 education, mostly by throwing more money at the problem. I think we need a combination of Dyson’s ideas (of more competitions like FIRST) and Kopp (making sure kids don’t fall behind right at the beginning of their education.)

  5. Timur Sahin says:

    Hahah! That youtube is great! As is that article!

    Your mother has good taste. wink

  6. John says:


    And until aliens from some other planet attack us and force us to come together as a global entity to defend ourselves, it probably won’t be a top priority for civilization anytime soon.

    Today in school we had a power outage, and my brother and I were convinced that the Robot Wars were finally beginning. They weren’t.

  7. thekeri says:

    That video owns my soul.

  8. k8 says:

    what is it about moms?

    mine sent me the same link too.

  9. John says:


    This is a question for a friend of mine who is having scheduling woes.

    Before I ask the question, I want to point out that my friend is in no way considering applying to MIT.

    Anyway, my friend is a good student (top 25/500+), and I’m convinced that she wouldn’t have a problem getting into college and all.

    In addition, my friend is a very very good singer (all state) and has been taking choir/ensemble classes since her freshman year.

    Next year, she is planning on being “student conductor” of the choir, which requires her to take both basic choir and advanced vocal ensemble classes.

    However, these classes conflict with more academic concerns of hers (namely, AP English and HN Spanish).

    My advice to her has always been to take classes that (a) interest her and (b) challenge her. However, her guidance counselor told her: “I’m not INSISTING you stop with the choir and vocal ensemble, but I can tell you right now that if I called any admissions office and asked them if you should take those classes they would laugh at me”

    She continued to tell my friend that she would only be accepted to a school if she were to be a music major (which she doesn’t want to be).

    Is this at all true? I’ve always told her that her extracurricular music interests will do nothing but help her, but continuing with them may seriously lower the rigor of her schedule for next year. Right now, she is considering dropping the music classes and/or attempting to find more rigorous classes other periods. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated, especially from a real admissions officer.

  10. Ben says:

    Hey John,

    It’s a tough question because different admissions offices prioritize different things, so it’s not easy to give one answer that will cover them all.

    Also, what will she be taking in addition to these two classes?