The mainstream Media, business media as well blogosphere including the otherwise sane bloggers with uncanny prophetic exaltation welcome brand new cool thing, so-called “disruptive technologies” that are changing the world as we know it daily and even nightly as we sleep. A learned class of worshipers of the technological innovation as panacea to all economic and social ills grows louder and louder pushing us or rather bullying us into the new Age of Disruptive Innovation and out of the Age of Reason that apparently went out of fashion among world’s financial elites.
So what is the Age of Disruptive Innovation? And who or what is disrupting who or what? And Who is innovating what? And how and why it is done? and most importantly for whose benefit?
But why, why such a hype about Disruptive Innovation? Why all those celebrity prophets spewing their fantastic fabrications about a new perfect technological man (A robot?) of a brave new digital world.
First let’s briefly examine etymology of the compound word of “disruptive innovation”, it’s meaning according to those who coined it and to scrutinize how they spun it beyond recognition to obfuscate its true meaning. In other words let’s meet our prophet of disruption and further study the dogmas we officially should be worshiping.
In his quadrilogy that began with the famous “The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail” a Harvard economics professor Clayton M. Christensen spilled out a futuristic vision of the corporate brave new world in which a continuously pauperized inept populace would be showered by cheap mass-produced trinkets that will be made to symbolize a relentless push of the so-called human progress and in the process enormously enlarging wallets of the bankers and other corporatist types.
One of the crown achievements of the book was coining a phrase “disruptive technology” or “disruptive innovation”.
What Christensen meant by those terms is aptly posited at his Institute website:
“A disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates a new market and value network that will eventually disrupt an already existing market and replace an existing product.”
Unfortunately, we have been served with a quite lame definition of a “disruptive innovation” without really explaining what the disruption or what the innovation really means for the prophet himself.
So lets’ examine ourselves the true meaning of the compound word of “disruptive innovation” in order to understand what this unassumingly sounding radical economic theory is all about, so the consequences of its implementation, we are suffering through, could be objectively assessed.
The innovation as Cambridge Dictionary defines is a new idea or method, or the use of new ideas and methods. The Free Dictionary however, posits that the innovation means something new or different introduced or the act of innovating, an introduction of new things or methods.
What is important to note is that they correctly do not mention whether or not an innovative idea is a better idea or not, and hence the meaning of the word “new” is not the same as the word “better”.
The Cambridge Dictionary very instructively adds that innovation means: causing trouble and therefore stopping something from continuing as usual. So the innovation alone may have in itself a seed of disruption.
This was exactly why the first US president George Washington scalded opposition and warned them against any innovation as applied to the constitution of US. It was only 130 years later when no other than mentor of our Harvard prophet of total disruption twisted the meaning of the word beyond recognition of our founding fathers and began to worship it in skewed economic and social context.
Now let’s examine what the word “disruptive” really means?
The Free Dictionary posits very interestingly that to be disruptive means to throw into confusion or disorder, to interrupt or impede the progress, to break apart or alter so as to prevent normal or expected functioning.
In summary, etymological analysis tell us that the “Disruptive Technology or Innovation” means something that “prevents” normal functioning of what already exists (product, market or value network of social interrelations) by purposefully breaking it apart into what’s different or new and in the process impeding the natural meandering flow of the technological and social evolution, while introducing a trouble, confusion or disorder within the existing markets or the value networks of social interrelations within a company and/or society and/or within economy at large potentially to the detriment of any possible tangible or intangible social benefits resulting from the existing business/economic activities as long as they benefit narrowly defined interests of entrepreneurs-disruptors.
In Christensen words; “Disruptive innovations are not breakthrough technologies that make good products better;..”
He seems to agree with the above dire analysis, stating himself that in general, disruptive innovation is not really about any innovation breakthroughs, new technologies or progress of any kind but to control people’s attitudes and behavior seemingly through “natural” requirements of technology and make huge profits while at it.
The Christensen theory was, way too politely, trashed for all its devastating flaws and complete absurd of its assumptions about the economy and society in the recent New Yorker article by J. Lepore who not surprisingly for the MSM writer completely missed the major point of the societal control and restructuring through the methods of disruptive innovation buried deep inside the Christensen work:
First of all the age of disruptive innovation is not new at all. Throughout the human history disrupting technologies were actually not exceptional but routine, from pharaohs’ military engineers developing technologies of building pyramids and water channels that changed the flow of the river Nile and opened up vast areas to agriculture, to the system of roads, water ways and communication enabling the very existence and functionality of the Roman Empire to development of the advanced agricultural tools and methods, designing ocean worthy vessels and development of the navigation systems or railroad, telegraph/telephone/mobile phone/internet technologies enabling profound disruption of the world societies for millennia since whether we want it or not, we are the socio-technological civilization and only because of that we have survived as a species for at least 250 thousands years but at what price.
This is highly abstract level of the social engagement, that through unprecedented, among other animals, development of the survival technologies in the extreme conditions, is perhaps the true reason why we are still here and may be it is the same reason why we will surely go extinct.
However, if we dig deeper and ask ourselves the question what is really being “innovatively disrupted” in the seemingly inevitable technological pursuit we always come to the one single unavoidable conclusion.
After all is said and done what is being disrupted in the so-called “quest for progress” is not as much the technology or government structure but the structure and functioning of society at large, people’s labor and their strive for subsistence and culture, resulting from brutal dislocation from their land and forcing them to put themselves as human beings, under enormous stress of new environment, on sale at the precarious human market run by the ruling elite. It is the people’s lives and their stability and ability to support their family and community that is being disrupted with all the millions of mostly silent casualties that follow the disruption of the people’s culture and social order.
I other words, the talk about the Creative Destruction or rather Distraction, or Disruptive Technological Innovations constitute just a propaganda hype to obfuscate the very old process of programmatic development (not necessarily what we would it call human progress) of our technological civilization according to the blueprint designed or rather concocted by the ruling elites and prophesied to us as natural and inevitable, in order to a degree, solicit our preferable but not required cooperation in its implementation, and nothing else.
And what’s even more ironic that such a cooperation is not sought to accomplish whatever unuttered grandiose objectives the ruling elites may propagandize about but rather to get us busy, to believe that if we adhere to imposed on us, rat race there is a cove of tranquility and stability that awaits us, but that’s a lie.
Well, there always was a hype associated with the propaganda of change pushed down the throats of the ordinary people, more or less satisfied, conservative, or averse to any potential changes in their social lives, possibly for the worst and hence very young adults or children were always enlisted as unaware advocates for the propaganda game, set up by the ruling elite.
It always were the adolescence who would adopt a false myth about inevitability of progress and perfectibility of man and have been used to attack the stability of always more conservative outlook of their parents. That is classic manipulation of the innate generational conflict for political ends.
Historically, the so-called disruptive innovations never had anything to do with civilizing progress and any kind of improvements of people’s lives, short of the side effects or modest tangential impact, were unable to even slightly mitigate utter devastation of people’s lives.
Only the future generations, born into already disrupted world of their ancestors truly accepted the change as natural and inevitable while in fact it was often brutally imposed against will or interest of the people while ignoring existing at that time alternatives.
What we are dealing with nowadays is a widely propagandized latest re-incarnation of all those very old ideas of the social control, disguised as poetic and/or economic theories concocted solely to provide moral and/or rational authority to the obvious goal seeking efforts.
We could be left confused however, about disruptive innovation, unless we understand that Christensen works were not about descriptive, scholarly analysis of existing processes within economy or society but a conceptualization of sociopolitical guidelines, old social policies implemented over the ages by the ruling elites, dressed up in the new propaganda cloths of quasi-scientific authority to be swallowed by the gullible, devoid of perspective or proper historical context, young people under illusion of efficiency and under un-conceptualized, vague notion of cultural benefit, physical pleasure or moral betterment, all of it absent from Christensen analysis.
The Christensen theory feeds precisely upon this underlying hideous motivation.
We have to realize the unsettling fact that hidden under unassuming name of creative disruption or disruptive innovation is nothing but an old devastating theory and a plan liken to the economic eugenics adopted long time ago by the world elite and supported by the world governments via precise economic policies, trade agreements or investment treaties. It’s time to open our eyes and free ourselves from the illusion of benevolence of the ruling elites and see them for what they are, a gang of a programmatically genocidal maniacs that want us dead according to whatever fashionable theory they may brag about in the media.
In such a context, Christensen’s theory of the disruptive technology or innovation, is nothing but a sort of half backed economical and sociopolitical re-embodiment of the old Hegelian dialectic struggle between good (new) and evil (old) whatever it means, other considerations such as people’s suffering or community interests, or devastating environmental impact are rescinded while promoting a false binary morality play shared with the likes of Hitler and other extremists preaching the end of history.
What is actually promoted by Christensen’s theory is nothing new but the same old radical, extremist, ultimately genocidal plan to metaphorically and literally blow up the world, we and our ancestors built it with our bare hands.
A plan to instigate famine, to promote breakage of families and communities, to fuel chaotic social strive, to instigate the war and other horrible atrocities without even giving away some stupid T-shirts to the mindless crowd of Christensen’s worshipers, paid by those oligarchic interests and psychotics who support him.
I could now look around to find many evidences of the so-called “disruptive Innovation”, I could talk about the Uber disrupting Taxi cartel, Virgin Galactic, SpaceX disrupting NASA, DOD space launch duopoly, Tesla disrupting dealership cartel, Amazon, Apple disrupting book and music cartels, Bitcoin disrupting fiat currency/banking oligopoly, crowd-sourcing disrupting VC firms, content streaming companies disrupting broadcast and cable domination, etc., but also private public partnership (PPP) disrupting fair public bidding process, the outsourcing disrupting the manufacturing/services base, private for profit educational systems disrupting public school and university systems, private health insurance disrupting medicare, private hospital system disrupting state and county hospital system, social media disrupting true social interactions or Wal-Mart and other retail behemoths disrupting small businesses and trade unions and much more, you name it, however in truth, none of those Wall Street or Silicon Valley or government disruptors disrupted anything of calcified cartels or monopolies or bureaucracies but instead were created by the very cartels and monopolies and interests they bravely declared as targets for disruption.
A myth of economic freedom, diversity and natural progress has been comprehensively addressed in the following post:
Similar process took place a decade ago when the very energy companies (oil, coal, nat gas) targeted for disruption pushed for all the supposedly disrupting alternative/renewable technologies, which they already fully controlled.
More on that can be found at: https://sostratusworks.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/engineering-renewable-delusions/
Before I close, let’s just take a quick cursory look at some disruptors of the transportation system.
The specifically Uber-like disruptors, or similar entities are more insidious with their business model that not only is concerned with moving people, preying on young jobless or underemployed gullible dreamers unable and make ends meet but is most of all aimed at changing of general paradigm of the work itself disrupting wage labor laws and replacing it with capricious servitude that reigned supreme for millennia until about 150 year ago. The disruptors in a clandestine way are trying to replace standard definition of labor and employee with an insidious twist of shortening the contract obligation to the time of rendering the services setting up the casino game where no matter what house won’t loose.
It is not only because riders do not know how much they will pay for service before they have a need for it but additionally are set up against other potential riders in need for similar service in a bidding war with themselves ending up spending much more than they would otherwise using standard existing taxi/fleet service with little bit planning ahead as it was done for a century now, leaving only one winner i.e. disruptor. But that’s not all.
This exploitation sham goes beyond that, and ask the drivers to bid down themselves when they are desperate for money especially since they bought newer car (part of the scheme to push up sub-prime car sales in the US) to qualify for services and they have to make a monthly car payment just to avoid a loss. Hence, in all that scheme riders (actually passengers) biding themselves up and drivers (actually employees) biding themselves down and the difference go to disruptor and the Wall Street who owns it.
But that’s not all, not only that passengers called riders to avoid legal consequences have no real protection for loss pain and suffering or medical costs (court cases are pending) except to sue the driver, with disruptor mostly out of the picture. The drivers have no real protection themselves from dishonest, unruly passengers, danger and crime that is common in the taxi business when their earnings depend on them shutting up about all the incidents or dangerous situations and the high risks they are taking with a pittance for reward, just not to be blacklisted by managers or kicked out from the service.
Many who tried to work for Uber-like and other exploitative entities and figured out what this is all about left disturbed, disappointed, psychologically destroyed with substantial losses of what they previously created, severely indebted or with pending liabilities, in most cases not realizing that disruption of their lives in a innovative ways, they never experienced before, was the true mission of disruptor all along.
All that effort of setting up disrupting business was expended not to improve anything but to destroy, however imperfect, in dire need of reform, existing people’s socio-economic system. Following Christensen prescription disruptors mostly eliminated, degraded and/or raised overall consumer cost of the previously available products or services introducing turmoil, confusion, disorder and devastation that was inflicted upon ordinary people and their value network of the family and community that has been brutally assaulted by greedy, delusional disruptive innovators with all the consequences and hundreds of millions suffering victims all over the world.
Disruptive innovation companies represent nothing but dressed up old schemes of extreme externalization of the costs, risks and liabilities and internalization of all the profit, extreme realization of a psychotic imperative of the unfettered capitalism, money machines right from medieval time of serfdom where people did not know where, when and how long they would be working and how much money would they make.
Their business models return their employees to the state of labor law from at least 200 years ago and that is the hidden agenda of this type of disruptive innovations and associated business models namely to make peoples lives more precarious and chaotic more unpredictable, a justification for programmatic transition into neo-feudalism that is taking place in the western world under guise of entrepreneurship and progress.
Unfortunately times are not changing.
An example of these risks UBER pushes on the drivers: