The generational crisis needed to effect major changes in how we view the world is coming. (Image from the blog of Stu Savory, from a 2003 post.)
But it is not here yet.
Iraq is horrible. Katrina was horrible. The Bush Administration spying program is horrible. And public opinion, right now, is very negative.
It’s the deep breath before the plunge.
The crisis that will set off changed assumptions will be an economic one. Right now we can afford Iraq, and the tax cuts, because the economy continues to grow. But that is about to change. Rising interest rates are already sinking real estate markets, and plunging dollar values will do in the stock market.
The process has barely begun. The last few weeks’ near-200 point falls in the Dow Jones Industrial Average are mere harbingers of what is to come.
I hate to be a Gloomy Gus, but according to all recent polls most of you agree with me. Optimism about the economy is at a low ebb.
The real question we have to face is how do we get this economy re-started, once it stalls. And the answer, as I’ve said before, lies in open source, in Internet values. China is taking away our industrial economy. Our only alternative is to build a post-industrial economy. And the velocity with which ideas travel and grow is key to success in building such an economy.
We can’t grow a post-industrial economy with a Chinese Internet. If people are constantly watching what they say and who they connect with, they are going to censor themselves, and good ideas are going to be left unthought.
We also can’t have a post-industrial boom if our bits are being hoarded, or if the government
assumes that every one of us has to be watched because we might be
terrorists. You don’t get intellectual growth in such an environment,
you get stagnation.
We can’t succeed with a Mexican Internet, either. We can’t succeed with
a monopoly, or duopoly, which sets prices for basic services above what
most can pay, merely for the enrichment of a few oligarchs. That’s what
Mexico has, in Carlos Slim. That’s what its people are fleeing.
So the time to talk about these Internet issues, and these Open Source myths and values, is coming.
But it’s not here yet. And if you’re disappointed over the next few
months by the performance of certain candidates, remember that.