The below was written by Eric Garland, a futurist, expert in competitive intelligence, and managing partner of Competitive Futures where he shows executives how to use future trends to drive new opportunities. In light of the (kind of) revolutionary events in the Middle East this week, I thought it was a spot-on satire of the current state of certainty amongst the Punditocracy. Enjoy!
Dateline Boston, July 5, 1776:
Well, they’ve done it now. The former English colonists of the New World have led a popular uprising against their king. Naturally, this business of civil disobedience has a rich history…but now what?
First, they have no history of democracy. These people have a centuries-old history of slavery and royal absolutism. A high percentage of the “nation” didn’t even want to revolt. Why, even that quote-producing smooth talker Benjamin Franklin attempted to keep the place English until the last minute – and his son remains a royalist to the core. They have no international support, no flag, no currency, no treaties with the various hostile foreign powers in the region.
Somehow, some way, we are expected to believe that this defenseless group of farmers and traders, led only by a handful of generals from the French and Indian War, will defeat history’s greatest navy and the world’s strongest army.
Let us say, however unlikely, that they do. Then what? They have nothing but raw materials and a couple of cash crops to offer the world. Ignorance is widespread, their educational institutions are few indeed. The Spanish and French will no doubt encroach their borders, perhaps making them a puppet state.
This business of “American states” as a free nation is wonderful for idealists, but a rational look at the world tells us to expect a quick end to the celebrations tonight in Philadelphia.