- by Gitabushi
In my last post, I mentioned Disruption.
This is a theme I’m still pondering. I haven’t come to any solid, final conclusions yet. When I do, it will likely become another stakeholder/touchpoint in my personal socio-political Philosophy of Everything.
Right now, what I’ve mostly decided is that disruption is neither good nor bad. It is Chaos, which is the dissolution of Order. Order is generally good, but tends to calcify, becoming unyielding and stifling to the dynamics of human life. In contrast, of course, Chaos tends to feed on itself, dissolving order and keeping humans in a constant state of stress and crisis, which pressures individuals into poor decisions that expand the Chaos.
This is kind of a big deal for my philosophy, because I’ve been a pretty consistent advocate of Order.
How I came to embrace the good points of Chaos was simply mulling on the best way to deal with the growing oligarchy of Silicon Valley, crony capitalism, Too Big to Fail corporations, and the unholy alliance between Government and Big Business.
I’m not a full-on Libertarian for a number of reasons, but I do have a Libertarian distrust of turning to Government to fix problems.. The problem with having Government fix problems is they tend to see all problems as opportunities for graft or gaining additional control over the every day life of citizens, they rarely do a good job of fixing things, and they are probably more responsive to other citizens who have a different notion of what “fixed” looks like than I do.
I am a firm believer in Liberty, however, and absolutely believe that the most effective solutions involve *increasing* options for individuals, rather than decreasing them.
This is intrinsically related to what I see as the role of Government: do the things citizens can’t do individually or even effectively in private groups, like National Defense and determining and acting on National Interest; resolve problems between equals (equal persons, lower levels of government, corporations, corporations and citizens, etc.); and working to ensure a level playing field. To a certain extent, these are all just different aspects of the same thing: private citizen groups *could* engage in foreign policy and military action, but it would conflict with the rights and interests of other citizens, so it would almost immediately create a conflict that would need government to resolve, so just have the government do it in the first place, and ensuring a level playing field *is* resolving conflicts between citizens or between citizens and corporations.
So what I’m getting around to saying is that I think the best way to stop Big Corps from running and ruining our lives, or from putting their quest for Profit above the best interests of their workers and customers, is to encourage competition.
The best way to stop Google and Facebook from monitoring us 24/7 is to make it easier for other companies to make money disrupting Google’s and Facebook’s business model. The Silicon Valley Oligarchs are huge fans of regulation right now, the same issue they were huge opponents of when they (and the internet) was in its infancy. That’s because regulation creates barriers to competition. The difficult part is how easy it is to demagogue regulation.
Here’s a great example: It was discovered that some toys from China had lead paint. This is bad. From there, it is very easy to demand that *all* toys imported from China be tested for lead paint. Since that is logistically impossible, the logical step is to have random testing of imported toys, and demand that the toy importers pay for it. Guess who can afford to pay for random testing because they benefit from economies of scale? Mattel, Fisher Price, Hasbro, et al. Guess who supported the new regulation for random testing paid for by the importer? Mattel, Fisher Price, Hasbro, et al. The regulation represented an additional barrier to small, upstart toy importers that could cut into their market share. But if you oppose the regulation, China will have no incentive to stop exporting toys with lead paint, and US children will be harmed.
Look, some regulation is good. But encouraging disruption is also good.
There is no reason that a large company must stay a large company. There is no reason that just because they’ve been making a number of sales for a certain profit margin, that they should be able to continue doing so forever. Humans must compete and work to improve themselves to maintain their station in life, so corporations should also. And they comprehend that, because they are always fighting to increase their market share, drive out competition, etc. There’s just no reason our government should help them in reducing competition.
But I also can’t say disruption is always a good tool. The Left has done a great job of disrupting things they don’t like: Christianity, the traditional family, integrity, free speech, the right to self-defense (via the Second Amendment right to bear arms). LBJ’s Great Society was extremely disruptive to the black community and to many of the traditions that had made the US strong. Medicare merely added to the misconception created by Social Security that individuals should not be responsible for their own lives, sustenance, and comfort. I cannot describe to you the sense of frustration and despair I felt when I found out that the Health Care for Life that I earned by sacrificing 20 years of my life to the military reverts to Medicare when I turn 65. Not that the military’s TRICARE is all that good. But everything I’ve seen convinces me that Medicare is worse. But I digress.
The simple truth is that disruption is merely a tool that helps us improve the order in our lives. But tools can be used badly, and tools can be used on the wrong target, or for the wrong reasons.
I haven’t developed any pithy truisms regarding disruption. I don’t even have a metric for when or how to encourage creative disruption yet. Let’s have a discussion about it in the comment section.