It became clear to me at that point that my mother was reflecting the frustration of people not just in America but in the world, that things are moving at an unbelievable pace.
And she is right; everything is changing. The Cold War has ended and there are international realignments. National priorities are changing.
The focus just ten years ago was on defeating the evil empire, and now people are worried about building bridges and tunnels in Shanghai; in Japan they are worried about how they can win the digital revolution. They have already beat the United States in the analog revolution.
We now have the emergence of the Pacific Rim. For some people, it is scary. For other people, it represents opportunity. The former Soviet states—specifically the Ukraine, are moving at the speed of light. They are really changing fast. But in the United States we are focusing on what to do about this deficit that we built up during the Cold War.
On top of this, we are going from a manufacturing to an information-based society overnight. Just a few years ago only 3 percent of Americans earned their living in information-based technologies. In 20 or 30 years from now it will be 50 percent.
The sophistication and the information content in goods is skyrocketing. In 1984, 80 percent of the computer market was in hardware, 20 percent was in software. In 1990, the respective percentages were 20/80. Today, 10 percent of the market is in hardware and 90 percent is information, R&D, and services that go with that computer. But the really interesting point is that opportunity still exists. Only 50 percent of the people in the world have telephones.
The globalization of the marketplace is another change. You could have inflation and recession, you could put off the future, you could sell, and then you could come back. But you could sell to the same market and you would be protected. But now, because of the internalization in the marketplace, you cannot put off the future. If you do not keep up, you are wiped out. We cannot get away with cutting back on investments in the future anymore.
Budget pressures are driving dramatic changes in industry and government. Industry faced this first. The investment community demanded shareholder value.
Now if I had asked my mother in 1950 what shareholder value meant, she would have told me, "I would be able to clip coupons for the next 20 years from AT&T." But if you read The Washington Post or The New York Times business section today, you will find that some corporation got a new CEO because last year's stock price did not go up, even though the CEO was trying to position the company for the future. So stockholders were demanding his head.
Who is accountable for the future? Today, shareholder value means where the stock is at today. And if it is low, then the CEO has three months to fix the company. No one wants to hear about the future value of the corporation. The top players are shifting their research goals for fast payoffs. Who is accountable? Who is accountable in America or any other country for the next genera-