The New Rules: In Politics, Don't Trust Anyone Over 50!

By Thomas P.M. Barnett, on , Column

Wired magazine's May cover presents Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, while the accompanying article salutes the "hacker culture" that "conquered the world." Amid the political paralysis we now witness in Washington, it's a timely reminder of how all the top talent of the Boomer generation went into business and technology, while the dregs went into politics. Don't believe me? Try to imagine a politics-oriented magazine offering a similar cover: You couldn't get more than half of America to agree upon a single Boomer politician of Gates' historic stature.

Boomer business leaders and technologists rebooted the world, playing seminal roles in globalization's stunningly fast expansion around the planet over the past three decades. Meanwhile, try coming up with a single historic piece of legislation passed by the Boomer politicians, whose primary manias revolve around thwarting their political enemies in a painfully myopic zero-sum fashion. Until the recent health care bill, the only contenders would be the 1990 update of the 1970 Clean Air Act, and the 1986 income tax reform act. ...

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