15 people the next US President should listen to

September 24, 2008

Wired magazine has a “Smart List of 15 Wired people” it says the next president should listen to. These 15 are “the best minds” on climate change, the military, space exploration, democracy, global health, terrorism, China and India. They have “big ideas about how to fix the things that need fixing.” The list includes:

Jagdish Bhagwati: As the world’s preeminent globalization buff, Jagdish Bhagwati doesn’t toe standard party lines. The Columbia University economist, 74, who has advised everyone from the Indian government to the World Trade Organization, is a rare nonpartisan in a field dominated by ideologues. A registered Democrat who is willing to face down the anti-free-trade wing of his own party, Bhagwati is also comfortable arguing against what he sees as the compassion-free laissez-faire attitude exhibited by many of his fellow globalization advocates.

Parag Khanna: In his book The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order, Khanna, 31, describes a planet dominated by a trio of superpowers: the US, China, and Europe. In this tripolar era, America’s fate depends on tough national choices, not lame historical analogies. If the US wises up – by tightening trade and energy ties to the rest of the hemisphere, pursuing economic innovation at home, and establishing a “diplomatic-industrial complex” – it can grow stronger even as the globe becomes less red, white, and blue.

Ram Shriram: In the face of terrorism, global warming, and economic stagnation, spectrum policy may not seem like a top presidential priority. But it ought to be. Ram Shriram, a venture capitalist who helped fund Google a decade ago, says wireless carriers are hamstringing the mobile industry. He advocates opening the airwaves – and even mounted an (unsuccessful) bid on a chunk of radio spectrum in January. What’s at stake? “The greatest wave of innovation since the PC-platform era.”

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