As we move away from the power structures and ways of thinking that governed the twentieth century we are seeing a desperate rearguard action from the power elites who ruled that time.
Dying Dinosaur Industries in their Death Throes
A good example of this is the film and music industries, whose centralized model of creation and distribution is breaking down.
The proposed US anti-piracy legislation to protect film, music and other intellectual property from unauthorized distribution – SOPA in the House and PIPA in the Senate – has shown deep divides between modern hyperconnected businesses and old world centralized, command-control industries. And it is now reported that the SOPA bill has been shelved after global protests from Google, Wikipedia and others.
The rearguard action by the old industries is also clear in threats against those who fail to support the old industries:
“Consumer group Public Knowledge on Friday accused the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its head, former Sen. Chris Dodd, of trying to intimidate lawmakers into supporting a pair of controversial anti-piracy bills.
In recent days, Dodd and other top Hollywood figures have threatened to cut off campaign donations to politicians who do not support their effort to crackdown on online copyright infringement.”
We are seeing increased efforts from the old guard to control people and their communication. But the genie of a hyperconnected populace is out of the bottle. And it cannot be put back. Even if they remove the internet as we know it – free flowing and accessible to all – we will invoke Gilmore’s Law and route around that damage
The Economy and the Death of the Western Middle Class
The death of these old industries has important implications for society. These industries enabled the creation of a well-off middle class in the latter half of the twentieth century.
And even in Australia we are seeing the gradual shift of middle class jobs overseas, as in this recent example from Westpac, Ultimate insult: Sacked Westpac workers forced to train replacements.
It is becoming apparent that even new businesses no longer guarantee jobs like they used to. For example: ‘No new jobs, dollars’ in bulk stores.
The truth about job creation is only now beginning to dawn on us, and we are seeing the inevitable social and economic consequences of transferring work from high cost to low cost economies.
People are even starting to ponder which jobs will disappear next – for example Will these 10 jobs disappear in 2012?
The old industries employed sufficient numbers of the western populace to keep them in comfortable consumerist peace. Their children could afford an education and thus improve their lot in life. The idea that each generation would be materially better off than the previous seemed unassailable.
But now it seems that truth might no longer hold. The #Occupy movement is seeking to bring attention to the economic bifurcation of society between the the very well-to-do and the strugglers.
Embracing the Future
Those who are not trapped in the old model are embracing the evolving world that is fuelled by the digital revolution. They are accepting the dispersed, decentralized, and peer-to-peer future. The old intermediaries are dying (or are in their death throes), and in their place new ones are arising.
The future is about human beings connecting with each other. It is about collaboration and cooperation. It is about sustainable growth. And it is about making space for people to create new possibilities unconstrained by the behemoths of centralized command and control.
Author Paulo Coelho summed it up nicely on his blog recently:
“As an author, I should be defending ‘intellectual property’, but I’m not.
Pirates of the world, unite and pirate everything I’ve ever written!
The good old days, when each idea had an owner, are gone forever.
First, because all anyone ever does is recycle the same four themes: a love story between two people, a love triangle, the struggle for power, and the story of a journey.
Second, because all writers want what they write to be read, whether in a newspaper, blog, pamphlet, or on a wall.
The more often we hear a song on the radio, the keener we are to buy the CD. It’s the same with literature.
The more people ‘pirate’ a book, the better. If they like the beginning, they’ll buy the whole book the next day, because there’s nothing more tiring than reading long screeds of text on a computer screen.”
Source: My thoughts on S.O.P.A. by Paulo Coelho on January 20, 2012
Zooniversity is the home of one of my favourite animals online – Teddy Bear the porcupine – and he’s celebrating the New Year …
Recently I was re-reading Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, a moving letter from prison that looks at spirituality and faith from the depths of despair and degradation.
This particular quote stood out for me, especially the notion that we do not know ourselves very well.
“But with the dynamic forces of life, and those in whom those dynamic forces become incarnate, it is different. People whose desire is solely for self-realisation never know where they are going. They can’t know. In one sense of the word it is of course necessary, as the Greek oracle said, to know oneself: that is the first achievement of knowledge. But to recognise that the soul of a man is unknowable, is the ultimate achievement of wisdom.
The final mystery is oneself. When one has weighed the sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens star by star, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?
When the son went out to look for his father’s asses, he did not know that a man of God was waiting for him with the very chrism of coronation, and that his own soul was already the soul of a king.”
It seems, as we move into the interesting year of 2012, that this is a good time to turn our efforts towards understanding ourselves more fully. And, along with that, to discover how to accept ourselves as we are, both flawed and fabulous in parts.
I have come to suspect that our good relations with others hinge more upon our own understanding and acceptance of our own self than upon any other thing.
Hopefully we are not fated to suffer – as did Wilde (or Verlaine or Prince Kropotkin) – similar trials to achieve clarity and understanding.
Each year, instead of making new year resolutions, I pick a theme for the year. That way when I get sidetracked (as often happens)
I can simply return to the theme. Also with a theme there are often many different things I can do to support it.
This year my theme is: compassion, composure, and flow.
This theme came to me as a I wrote a recent blog post, 2012: Not the end of the world, but perhaps the end of the world as we know it, where I discussed some of things we can do to change the world.
Some of the things that popped out for me were around mindset and lifestyle, and these themes fit nicely into that.
Kindness. Compassion. Love. Community. Dignity. Composure. Peace. Grace. Flow.
Find our tribes. Build communities.
Sustainability. Grow a garden. Simplicity.
Walk with a friend. Slow down. Eat fresh food. Share a meal. Breathe.
Wishing everyone a happy, safe, and prosperous New Year.