In his 1997 best-selling book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen described disruptive technology as a new technology that unexpectedly displaces an established technology.
Christensen stated that new technologies can be separated into two categories: sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining technology relies on incremental improvements to an already established technology. Disruptive technology often lacks refinement, has performance problems and because it is new, appeals to a narrow or limited audience, and may not yet have a proven practical application.
In businesses and society, large organizational units (i.e. societies and governments) are designed to work with sustaining technologies. As we have seen, most are geared to maintain the status quo and resist changes that could upset it. It is not unusual for large organizations to dismiss the value of a disruptive technology because it does not reinforce current goals, only to be blindsided as the technology matures, gains a larger audience and market share and threatens the status quo.
Product based disruptive technologies were things like the cotton gin, transistor radios, television, mobile phones, personal computers and the Internet. Culturally disruptive technologies were things like Christianity, capitalism and it could be argued that America itself was a disruptive technology.
In America, a large component of our political disagreements centers on the return to a non-disruptive technology – communism. I know that the communists think that this theory of economic organization is new and disruptive, but the end result of communist organization has been proven to be totalitarian and tyrannical rule by a strongman leader – or a small group of people with dictatorial power.
That is not new.
For a technology to be truly disruptive, it must produce a new and different result – not provide a new way to reach the same result.
Is it possible that we are on the verge of a new combination of old technologies that could be disruptive? Is it possible that we are on the cusp of the dawn of a new theory of economic organization?
Should we discard the traditional idea that the boundaries of our several states are drawn as geographical boundaries? Now that the powers of the states have been minimized though the controlling federal state, do state boundaries even have meaning? Would it be more accurate to design these boundaries along cultural or economic lines? Should American society be split between those who seek a communist existence and those seeking capitalistic existence?
What if we created an new Homestead Act for decaying cities like Detroit where people could be granted a home and a parcel of arable land (most could be given adjoining lots) with the stipulation that they must live there for 3 years and maintain a garden to provide a portion of their sustenance before they were given clear title to the property?
What if the US had communist economic zones where people could move to pursue their idea of an economy and society without impinging on the rights of Americans who believe in capitalism? Our collectivist leaning governments use “free trade zones” to encourage capitalism, why do they not create “income equality” zones where collectivists could create their own version of Utopia?
I’m no fan of coerced communism or collectivism of any shape or form but there are many people who have never experienced or even remember the terror of the “great” communistic states like the USSR and China under Mao. They also forget that Hitler’s Germany was socialist and Mussolini’s Italy was fascist. While the modern educational establishment has taught generations that these two are right wing ideologies, they are not – they share much more in common with the actual application of communism than they do capitalism.
I’ve always said that these folks want just enough of our capitalism to fund their adventures in collectivism but it may be that we have to allow communist zones (without funding from capitalist America) so that the true believers, fellow travelers and useful idiots can experience the true oppression and depravity of communist society on their own.
Some folks are slow learners.