network era economic shift

“The public has concluded that our 20th century institutions are incapable of dealing with 21st century challenges.”Washington Post

Richard Florida just posted an excellent series of tweets reflecting on the above article in The Washington Post. I have put these together for easier reading:

“Very interesting take about what is happening in the US presidential election. The basic thesis is that the election is occurring at a time of epochal economic, demographic & social change. This is the decline of the industrial order & the working class (& related stable institutions) & the rise of the new post-industrial one. This is ripping apart our class structure and social order in a variety of ways, underpinning rising inequality & economic divides.

People/ voters have lost faith not only in politics but in governing institutions & are looking for alternatives. I have elsewhere written that Great Resets (like the one we are going through) are gradual evolutionary events. Looking back in time, we think the adjustments are quick & automatic. But the lags are long, especially for the creation of new political institutions that can adjust to & moderate fundamental economic change. FDR, the New Deal & the postwar Golden Age of the middle class occurred about a century or more after the rise of large scale industry. The depth of dissatisfaction & the scope of the Great Political/Policy Reset is massive.

We are dealing with an enormous shift from an industrial order which created a largely white male working class to a new knowledge economy. In this sense it is not surprising that Rob Ford (the precursor to Trumpism) emerged in Toronto a model post-industrial city. We are going through the dealigment phase – the tearing down of old institutions – that occurs for any realignment. This dealignment phase is volatile, unpredictable & dangerous. Odd things (like the rise of Rob Ford) can happen.

The far right has been better at mobilizing around fear than the progressive left has at creating an inclusive vision of the future. This is why Trumpism is so different than Sanders. Trumpism is reactionism, while Sanders can help point the way to a better future. It would also seem to open a lane for Bloomberg as someone who has managed these transformations in NYC.

Big takeaway is that the old political order is finally starting to break down under the weight of these economic transformations. America has always led the world in finding ways to realign its political structures in ways that leverage big economic transformations. Now is the test of whether it can do so again … That will require a progressive, inclusive vision of a post-industrial knowledge economy where everyone is included & rewarded.

To get beyond Trumpism requires a vision of a post-industrial society which goes beyond just crass materialism. To my mind, such a progressive agenda turns on the recognition that every single human being is creative. And that developing economic & social structure to harness the full creativity of each is the key to creating real meaning & purpose.”

This reflects my own thoughts on platform capitalism and the post job economy and that we need to create new institutions and structures for the emerging network era in order to avoid turmoil during this period of transition. Focusing politicians, educators, and business on fostering  creativity is key.



One Response to “network era economic shift”

  1. philip browning

    Harold, really curious to get perspectives from yourself and possibly from the Helen Bevan’s and Jon Husbands of the world about the correlation between the rise of more network/ “movement” based organisational change interventions (such as those in NHS) and the stage of organisational failure/decline. Particularly thinking of the work of Australian’s Tim Dalmau and Bob Dick (1991)
    A diagnostic model for selecting interventions for community and organisational change – and me thinks there has to be a degree of break down as a prerequisite for network/living systems based things to emerge. Philip.


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