Thursday, September 29, 2005

Another Revolution


This revolution is in society, and is more powerful than any mere political revolution.

It has been mentioned before that we lose and rediscover knowledge, this is just another instance.

As mentioned in the Bastiat Free University blog:

Disruptive technology and disruptive innovation are both well described in Wikopedia
. Joseph Schumpeter presented a well developed economist's view of the same idea in the 1940s, he called it creative destruction .

Destruction probably was discovered under another name prior to Schumpeter. The basic idea is both simple and intuitive. A new technology starts as a basic tool to address unmet or marginally profitable needs. As it develops it overtakes old technologies to everyone's benefit, except those tied to the old tech.

In the industrial age Schumpeter favored protected patent monopolies as a way to ensure profit for the creative. The speed of creation in the information age seems to be making patent protection obsolete and perhaps counter productive.

Rapid adaptation and a sterling reputation will be the valued hallmarks of the netcohort operating in the network society. As governments and their regulations shrink, the costs of entry to markets will decline. Ease of starting a new venture should ensure a constant flow of life style enhancing disruptive technologies.

The industrial age is almost over. Creating "one size fits all" solutions was the most profitable and most direct way of benefiting the greatest number. Industry, education, government, in fact all institutions developed on this precept; large size is more efficient. The needs of the individual were pushed aside as the needs of society were addressed.

This is changing, of course inevitable is not the same as immediate. The huge once efficient structures of the information age are being hollowed out as individuals and the small associations of the netcohort are empowered.

What is changing the dynamic of individual interactions with society?

Technology. The same disruptive technology that is ushering in the information and
miniaturization age. It is easier now than ever to craft a solution that is custom fit to the individual. As needs are identified in the emerging network society, small groups of the new netcohort will quickly identify the needs as opportunities and respond.

Bastiat Free University is an example of a disruptive innovation. Higher education has become a track meet for bureaucrats, their job is to place archaic hurdles in front of students. The goal of the race is not learning, but
education. Education, having survived the bureaucracy, is confirmed by the awarding of a diploma. A diploma is not prized as evidence of useful knowledge; A diploma is a job search personal marketing tool.

I'll say that again.

A degree evidenced by a diploma has primarily become a
marketing tool to sell yourself to an employer.

"Don't let schooling interfere with your education."
Mark Twain

Twain used schooling for education, education for knowledge, but his
precursor to my statement stands. And there are now a hundred more years of silly rules applied.

A degree is of value if you want to be part of government, or a monopoly, or a similar structure. The bigger the institution the more they value your self marketing tool diploma as proof of your willingness to do the absurd for a pecuniary reward.

If you are preparing for the network society.

If your goal is to be part of the network class.

What will matter in the future is knowledge, personal integrity, flexibility, and accomplishment.

These also matter now, if you want to start your own business.

When will the change from large is best to small networks conquer all take place? It will be gradual, over a very long time period, if ever. If you want a guess on when it becomes apparent; look for it as we exit the depression we now appear to be entering. Give it ten to fifteen years and even the US post office will privatize; small, efficient, and creative will by then be on the rise.

Do you want an example of a potentially disruptive technology that may force change sooner? Consider the implications of this BBC story.

Am I a Polyanna?


We know the death throes of large economies of scale have begun. Perhaps that is why I value C. F. Bastiat. If we are to avoid a violent tribal world or feudal serfdom, Bastiat's words offer some of the guidance we will need.

"The sort of dependence that results from exchange, i.e., from commercial transactions, is a reciprocal dependence. We cannot be dependent upon a foreigner without his being dependent on us. Now, this is what constitutes the very essence of society. To sever natural interrelations is not to make oneself independent, but to isolate oneself completely"
- Bastiat

"By virtue of exchange, one man's prosperity is beneficial to all others." - Bastiat


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