Rumaging around the OECD website this morning looking for the original documentation on the spate of comparative pensions articles which have been hitting the press in the last couple of days I came across something which I consider truly, truly interesting.
The OECD is holding (May 2/3) a forum: Fuelling the Future, Security, Stability and Development. Nothing especially interesting here, they hold lots of these meet-ups and they are often more characterised by hot air than by anything else. What is interesting here is that the OECD offer a live webcast facility complete with accompanying video image. Probably they are not the first to do this, but I do find the idea of being able to have the feeling you are attending a conference of interest without having to move from your front room, and to be able to follow contributions while you work on other topics, an extremely attractive one. (The most interesting sections are on globalistation, energy, and outsourcing and structural reform: Jadish Baghwati is about to go live on outsourcing).
The difference between tech optimists and pessimists these days often follows a fracture line along perceived possibilities of being able to extract meaningful value-added from the new technologies on an ongoing basis. I firmly believe we are still at the beginning in the processes of development of modern communications technologies. What is of interest about things like this webcast is that it really involves some new uses for what are really already widely available technologies. Probably we are the begining of a curve of finding out what we can really do with what we already have.
Also in the ‘interesting discovery this week’ category would be the new yahoo web search facility. Basically this offers you server space to store (and later search through) web pages as you surf. This makes storing some kinds of information much easier. In particular it offers a ‘bloggers paradise’ since it overcomes the typical ‘dead link’ problem where newspapers (eg FT, NYT) rapidly put free pages onto a ppv basis. The yahoo facility allows you to store *the original page*.
Finally before leaving the OECD I could offer what I consider a useful link: they now have a one stop shop for country related information. Maybe you would like to bookmark, or even add to your new yahoo web search database :).
Update: Bhagwati is entertaining, well-informed, and well worth the listen. He talks a lot of sense. Keywords for governments: balance, flexibility and anxiety. The first two are policy objectives, the third is what governments need to be sensitive towards, listening and trying to be comprehending about anxieties produced by the aim of achieving the other two.