International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics
Saturday, 21.01.2017, 15:15
2017- The Year of a New Future
Modern changes are so profound, wrote Klaus Schwab in his famous (“The Forth Industrial Revolution”, 2016) that they are “reshaping the economic, social, cultural and human context” of our lives. One most visible “peril” was the fact that modern decision-making is too often caught in traditional linear-thinking and too absorbed in short-sighted concerns “without thinking strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping our future” (p.2-3).
Key word – disruption
Here comes the key word –disruption, which shows that mankind has entered the year 2016, the year of “the fourth industrial revolution” changing the basic aspects of socio-economic development.
The term was defined and the phenomenon analyzed by Bower, J. L. & Christensen, C. M. in their famous article “Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave”, in Harvard Business Review, January-February 1995.
In fact, the concept of “disruptive technology” continues a long tradition of identifying radical technical change in the study of innovation by economists, and the development of tools for its management at a policy level by politicians.
Just one example: the free, online encyclopedia Wikipedia was a disruptive innovation that had a major impact on both the traditional, for-profit printed paper encyclopedia market (e.g., Encyclopedia Britannica) and the for-profit digital encyclopedia market (e.g., Encarta). The English Wikipedia provides over 5 million articles for free; in contrast, a $1,000 set of Britannica volumes had 120,000 articles.
Other “disruptive examples” see in: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_innovation
In 1992, Y.F. Fukuyama in his famous book (The End of History and the Last Man, 1992) argued that the worldwide spread of liberal democracies and free market capitalism could signal the end of the final form of human governance.
However, already five years later, in his subsequent book (“Trust: Social Virtues and Creation of Prosperity”, 1995) he modified his position to acknowledge that culture still develops and economics can evolve into new –previously unexpected- directions.
Quite noticeable, that he earned his PhD in political science at Harvard for his thesis on Soviet threats to intervene in the Middle East; after that he joined the global policy think tank RAND Corporation.
Disruption’s effect on humanity
The effects of disruption have been already visible and numerous for several years: e.g. in politics – through mass media and new information modes; in climate & environment – through new ways of production and trade; in urbanisation – through constantly growing and expanding cities; in public institutions – through apparent dysfunction, and so on and so forth.
But only at present the cumulative effect, so called disruptive synergy has emerged…
It seems the world we used to know and live in is slowly disappearing; however, it is quite difficult to imagine what would come instead… Some say, technology would “save the day”, i.e. automotive systems would change globalization processes (for example, searching for cheap labor force in Asian markets would not be so attractive) with massive “robotics & services” in modern management to help national-based production.
Circular economy and sustainability concepts as new production tools would allow fewer resources to use coped with more efficient and productive methods.
All these and numerous other examples are “behind” the new modernised concept of disruption, which is going to change our living patterns; and these changes are very quick to come!
Would happiness & survival follow?
In previous development stages societies have been accustomed to rapid changes: work force has been advanced and production methods adequately modernized. Nordic economic model has been quite good at coping with these challenges: for example, prominent flexicurity concept helped a lot. The ultimate result has been that Nordic societies have helped to overcome the previous crisis and citizens have become the happiest people in the world!
These “happiness” has been accompanied by increase productivity, growing competitiveness, establishing creative and innovative companies. Besides, public security system provided a necessary cushion for quicker changing jobs and re-training.
Along that, green technologies and environmentally safe production methods paved the way to even more competitive future.
Happiness would follow only if governments can make strong and competent efforts in figuring out what kind of work force and qualifications are needed to make a safeguard against new disruptions. Is it not the government’s obligation to provide citizens with employment, after all?
Of course, it’s not an easy task for governments to tackle with disruption; but on the hand, it is any government’s “human obligation” too to make a qualified choice in education and training.
Therefore follows a vital question of survival: can a single person and the mankind survive the menacing disruption? The answer is clear: only “adaptive” societies and human beings can! Thus, societies with strong internal bonds, united by a common “survival idea” can withstand the immanent disruptive threats. At the same time, societies have to understand the necessity of perceptively needed quality education, while eliminating threats to nature and sustaining healthy environment with sustainable goals to reach.
Only in this way we all together can face a “new future”. So, dear readers, be ready for a changes on the future, which knocks at the door in 2017. And Happy New Year!