This may sound revolting or crass to many! The daily collective operation of any human society can be compared to operation of machinery. And not only in its routine operation, but in inspection cycles, in maintenance schedules, and in its retirement and eventual replacement – and usually not by the same, but by newer machinery of advanced or disruptive technology that is ever more efficient and complicated. In our sophisticated society, business has preplanned obsolescence built into many products as an added marketing force, but it resists disruption beyond any baby steps deliberately embedded to control repeat business.
For example – right now, America could have automobiles that can get over 100 miles per gallon, but we are largely kept unaware of such potential. Why? Most likely this deferment is to avoid the costs of massive retooling of delivery systems in the power plants and also the fuel sources used to derive this result. Right now, one company in Florida claims ability to produce ethanol using algae, ocean seawater and solar panels for electric power in production – and do it for around $1 per gallon. Yes! – For $1! Why is this not being loudly promoted? Does not our Federal government, in seeking the greater good for its people, have a moral duty to accelerate having such alternative energy sources marketable to alleviate our economic doldrums? This company is not yet publicly owned; it is found at www.algenol.com!
Notice: the headline is in plurals. Think about it – EVERY advance of mankind has one major cause: DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY! Old methods and tools are rendered irrelevant when a new way is cheaper, safer, quicker, or induces some other emotional creature comfort satisfaction.
There are two important points about us and the machines that we create and control - that are said to be here to enrich our lives, and not to enslave us. These are:
1/ Machines do not yet possess motivations to act nor have creative and imaginative intelligence, to envision the next generation of machines that will replace them.
2/ Men in power often willfully suppress and withhold the creative genius of others deliberately, to maintain control and impede obsolescence of their own systems.
When creative genius prevails and flourishes in hugely profitable acceptance, it all too often degenerates into selfish perpetuation as the new status quo, due to the insipid profit motive, which must NOT be permitted to become the only [or even the primary] driving force in modern society. Artificial bottlenecks of contrived and preplanned obsolescence are erected to satisfy a fantasy expectation of maintaining perpetually compounded profit growth rates. Such expectations without any set-backs and redesign are naïve and fallacious assumptions in any business plan or any government.
For society to be refreshed and dynamic and to remain purposeful and ever visionary, full expression of creative genius must not be withheld from the purview of the market. “Free Market” forces must be vigorously policed so that brilliance is not sequestered to protect mediocrity, reposed in power and control. Unbridled fascistic capitalism is an unholy wedded alliance and corruption of power between business and government. In theory, both should exist to serve humanity and not vice-versa. We cannot permit a return of feudal serfdom – this time with mankind enslaved to corporations rather than to kings and other “nobility” - at the same time, society must never condone unbridled hedonistic “Ayn Rand” reckless expression of self-determination.
No matter how hard we try, we should remain humble as we stumble, and openly admit: THIS IS MUCH EASIER SAID THAN DONE.
H. Ron Hartman