Bruce Sterling – State of the World

snapshotBruce Sterling, renowned author and lecturer has singled out three groups of people that had their best year in 2012 yet and is on his watch list.  Guess who was number two?

. . . let me offer a few brief notes about some interest groups of 2013 who seem to be having a pretty good time.  They don’t need to complain much, because they’re doing great.

1. The 3d printer guys  

Just so interesting!  Gotta love them!  There’s a classic little tech-development boom happening in this space. It’s very old-school desktop 1980s.

I rather expect to get one of these devices some day soon.    Here in Belgrade, I just wrapped up and shelved a perfectly functional desktop computer – just because it was old, and I don’t need it.  With desktop computers so clunky and obsolete, I’ve got room for a 3d printer now.  “I got rid of a computer for Xmas” is the new “I got a computer for Xmas.”  “I got a 3dprinter” is the new hipster desk-ornamenting knick-knack.  Of course it’s not that you own a printer, it’s what you print with it.  That’s why I watch open databases like “Thingiverse” with more interest than the printing devices themselves.

2.  Koreans

2012 was all about K-pop and Samsung.  Who can’t admire these two mushrooming efflorescences of Korean soft power and Korean hard manufacturing? They’re the New 1980s Japan.

3. Indians

Bollywood has long been a hobbyhorse of mine, but 2012 was the first year in which I formally interviewed a Bollywood star – for a pricey Swiss magazine, no less. In 2012, Indian cinema was making unprecedented amounts of  money. There’s been an unheard-of stream of Indian box-office smashes, and there are plenty more in the hopper.  The various Bollywoodians I’m following definitely feel the wind at their backs.  Some of the younger artistes are getting all voice-of-a-generation about themselves.

They’re not just selling the usual masala movie rubbish, either.  A player like Aamir Khan here seems to be methodically working his way into Ronald Reagan territory. Aamir Khan’s all backlit-patriot after playing heroes in his movies. Look at the extensive phone and digital tie-ins here. Pretty snazzy.

The rest is here.

  • DC Musicfreak

    Indian politics is in a serious mess, reform has stalled and growth prospects are iffy.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Indian economy is even worse: high inflation, low productivity, current account deficits, disastrous infrastructures with hardly any visible catch up (, high foreign and public debt… India still look like the subprime of Asia.

    He should have picked Malaysia or Indonesia or anywhere in South East Asia imho

  • RElgin

    YES, I would not want to live in India.  POSCO has discovered the thrills of India the hard way too.

  • mightymouse

    Despite all the problems it would be rash to be dismissive of India. 

    As to Samsung or as certain people like to call Samsux, if Apple manages to slip up then Samsung would be the main beneficiary. This is a critical time for Apple. Will it continue chugging along without Jobs? 

  • dlbarch

    There is no doubt that Korea is going through something of a Golden Age right now, and the country and its people are finally getting their well-deserved (and overdo) time in the sun.

    Of course, for those of us who have been Korea watchers for some time, I wish the focus had been on LG and Hyundai rather than on Samsux, and on Sarah Chang rather than the pathologically anti-American Psy, but one can’t always get what one wants.

    Either way, Serling has merely caught up to what many of us have been saying for the past few years; namely, that Korea has had a very good run of late. Let’s hope it continues.


  • hoju_saram

    I agree with Yangachi – India, IMO, won’t go too much further in terms of economic development – if anything I think it will go backwards. It’s depressingly overcrowded and is projected to increase dramatically over the next 20 years, it’s infrastructure is appalling, sanitary conditions are medieval, and it has no plan for the future. The Chinese at least seem to be able to manage their people in a planned and coherent way, and can wring good productivity out of their workers. They’re working as individuals are much more driven to accumulate wealth. 

  • John from Daejeon


    The most biggest English language, “mainstream” authors of the past year would have to be 
    George R.R. Martin, James Patterson, Stephen King, Suzanne Collins, Stephenie Meyer, even J.R.R. Tolkien thanks to Jackson’s new trilogy of films based on The Hobbit.

    I doubt that I’m the only one who hasn’t heard of Bruce Serling.  Is any of his work playing at the cinema or on HBO like the above authors?  I know King has a ton lined up for the big screen over the next couple of years.  I still can’t believe that Carrie has been re-imagined; however, Chloe Moretz was an excellent choice for the lead.

  • ig5959292ee

     excellent post mate

  • RElgin

    To be honest, though I have enjoyed Serling’s writing, his comments are pretty shallow and I am disappointed that he could not offer anything of any insight.  He sounds a bit dumb in his comments.

  • Richard Hankin

    The BBC and I think, the New York Times had articles on the reverse brain drain, how young Indians in America and England are returning to the “motherland” or is it “fatherland” It is the land of opportunity, unless of course you are female or an untouchable.
    For years we have read about China and India and their respective vibrant, growing economies..a place to make money and get a good job, if you are an expat. and I knew years ago (’cause I am a NEWS junkie) that both countries, and Korea too, had some huge impending problems with demographics. What real world ramifications that will have NOW and the immediate future is unclear to me though that MAY explain one of the reasons rape is endemic in India.
    And of course EVERYONE knows that “Americas decline and this time its real” is upon is.
    But the Chinese wealthy are fleeing China or at the very least, making sure their kids get to Canada(which has a very liberal immigration policy for those with money) and England and the US. What do they know?
    Perhaps someone might educate me?
    I thought there was polling data among Koreans that indicated that if they could, MANY would emigrate?
    Am I mistaken?

  • mightymouse

    If you want to get educated about china here’s a good book about it.
    In short it talks about the CCP and how much they are obsessed about control and keeping tabs on everything. All those supposed reforms are not what the popular press cracks them out to be but it is more about enhancing the control. Basically the agenda of the party is control if there is an agreement with a foreign party that clashes with that then you know what they are going to do. We constantly hear about stuff they do despite being members of the WTO in business. 

    I guess it means that all those loopholes and shennanigans they pull the acquire wealth illicitly they could also be on the receiving end so they end up fleeing to protect their ill gotten gains. 

  • mightymouse

    India could go nowhere but china could very well blow up if the chinese are not careful. It has to do something about their lack of rule of law and the fact that the CCP is above the government and controlling it. Not to say that I am hoping for China to blow up but I wouldn’t be too suprised if somewhere along the way they suffered a 1997 Korean style meltdown. 

  • KWillets

    I suspect that when the Macarena came out he called it the “year of Spain”.

  • Snoopy2010

    Spain didn’t have nor does it have herSamsung.

  • RElgin

    This might have been an opportunity for Serling to dig into something of interest, for example the problems facing the rise of things Indian and Korean but he is very glib.  I wonder what he would make of the problems of dwindling population, of Korea being influenced too much by Samsung (all the eggs in one basket) or the economic strategies of attracting Chinese investment money behind tourism projects in the south or the education problem in SK, or the growing influence and problem of having too much evangelical influence in politics, society and business, etc.

  • fe62555555sfe

    hmm, very interesting.

  • 37degrees

    Um, Bruce belongs to the Sterling family (not Serling). Perhaps you’re thinking of Rod (Serling). But he’s long dead and would have no idea of K-pop.

  • Jakgani

    Who cares about Bruce Sterling.. and his “watch” list ?  I don’t..

  • RElgin

     Yep, typo.  Serling would have been a good choice since Korea can be a kind of Twilight Zone at times.

  • Cm

    Anyone that picks India as a winner… I’m sorry… but that just about says all about his credibility.  All India has is its size of population.  That alone doesn’t make it a great superpower.  You need rule of law and at least a good basic education system for all, doesn’t matter their economic status.  As we all know, India still has the mid evil caste system in place, not to mention the horrible infrastructure and very poor quality of life and short life expectancy. 

    By the way, that Indian woman who got gang raped on a bus, has died in Singapore hospital.  Now the news is out that after she was gang raped on the bus, the police crew who were supposed to help her, gang raped her once again.  She died of organ failure after her condition started to worsen.

  • Cm

    And who cares about Bollywood, other than Indians?

  • wangkon936

    The problem with Bollywood is that they try to mix song and dance into every kind of genre, including serious dramas!

  • keyinjpop

    Was that the one where officers told her to marry one of her attackers? Sorry but in this week alone I heard of at least five gang-rapes in India and it seems like half of them ended in death (the one I’m talking about happened to be suicide).

  • wangkon936

    That country has too many chiefs and not enough Indians.  No pun intended.

  • wangkon936

    … but India has a lot of smart people.  However, their development is stalling.  They might have better focus if they were a confucian society.  Perhaps people may not want to hear that, but I think it might be true. 

  • wangkon936

    The Brits figured it out for 400 years.  You can’t work with ’em via trade.  You have to be their raj (i.e. their boss).