As global elites converge on Davos for another grandiose international summit at taxpayer expense, one topic seems to be preying on their minds: disruptive technology.
This article by Bloomberg’s Matthew Campbell, reporting from Davos, compares the emerging technological threats to various megacorps with the Internet’s historic challenge to record labels, travel agents and dead-tree media. We all know how that ended – and it seems even the 1% are scheduling some time away from the buffet tables and ski-slopes to fret over the situation.
The Bloomberg article quotes Dominic Barton of consultancy McKinsey & Co. as saying that CEOs of major corporations worry that “technology is moving three to five times faster than management.” This suggests that central planning is a poor organisational model for an increasingly complex and fast-paced world. Still, I don’t expect too many speakers will address the superior effiency and resilience of decentralised models at the 2014 Davos Central Plancon.
The stubbornly sluggish growth and increasing inequality of our traditional top-down social structures has not passed unnoticed at Davos, if not in its root cause then at least in its effects. Corporations find their profits squeezed, not only by the poor economy but also new, disruptive technologies. And while some corporations like Walmart and Siemens are restructuring and seeking new markets in order to stay competitive, others such as Google seem to be adopting the Microsoft strategy of assimilating potential rivals.
As for the banks, Bruce Golden of Accel Partners admits that “innovation is all happening outside the banks.” Golden further states that traditional financial organisations are afraid of risk, technologically backwards and “don’t have the architectural skills to innovate.” It seems even Davos attendees realise the traditional banking system is a clunky relic (they’d probably choke on their caviar-cigars if they had to deal with the same inconvenience, percentage fees and inflation-unbeating returns which banks throw to us commoners).
In this context, Bitcoin seems to be regarded by Davos bankster types as a credible threat to their inefficient and outdated business model. Rather than improving their services, the proposed “solution” seems to be, predictably enough, regulation of their emerging competition.
The article goes on to mention that such regulation, likely under the pretext of anti-money laundering laws, will protect the banker’s control over the world’s wealth “to some extent.” It mentions that China and Denmark have already clamped down on Bitcoin in this regard. Further “progress” is expected from the efforts of American Senators Carper and Coburn, apparent champions of the cause of protecting the monopoly of obsolete legacy industries.
Mr. Campbell concludes with the words of Marcus Weldon, CTO of Alcatel-Lucent SA: “We’re at five minutes to midnight because of the evolution of the teenage population into the adult population… You’ve got a generation that just thinks how we do things is stupid.”
Last modified (UTC): January 24, 2014 06:47