As I have said before in previous blogs on the 'Open Revolution', we are in the midst of the transition from the 'Industrial Age' to the 'Information Age' and are experiencing major changes and disruptions similar to those experienced when our country transitioned from the 'Agricultural Age' to the 'Industrial Age'. Many organizations, business practices, skills, values, and behavior that worked well in the past have become ineffective, outdated and must change with the times.
History reminds us that back during the Agricultural Age, the wealth of many nations and governmental power rested disproportionally in the hands of kings and their noblemen – the 1% of that era. As we moved into the Industrial Age, conditions led to a series of revolutions (e.g. American & French Revolutions) where the 'middle class' wrested power from these nobles and set up governments that placed more power in their hands.
Today, we again find ourselves in a position where the royalty or 'noblemen' of today, the billionaires and Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of large corporations, hold a disproportionate level of wealth and power – the 1% of this era. Again, as we transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, revolution is breaking out. Hundreds of millions of people in the 'middle class' are seeking to wrest power away from the noblemen of today and restore fairness or balance to a system going out of control.
The Internet, computer chips, social media, and mobile technology coupled with open source, open access, open standards, open data, and other key components of the 'open' movement are all contributing to the disruptive 'Open Revolution' that is occurring all around us. These new technologies and the growth of 'social networks' are being used to bring about major changes in the public and private sector organizations, as well as our society and culture in general.
So, once again let's ask the following questions. What does this all mean to us? What steps will Americans take to strengthen or replace existing ways of doing business, improve the way our government works, and how we lead our lives in the 21st century? What can we do to help shape a better future for our country and our people? We shouldn't just complain or shout at others about the current state of affairs, we ought to provide constructive recommendations on next steps to take as we move deeper into the 21st century.
So, let's start to figure out what 'We the People' believe ought to be the best way forward. Let's identify some of the key issues facing us and specific strategies and alternatives we should pursue. For example:
Do we want to see our global nation-state system give way to a world governed by large powerful multi-national corporations? Is this what the 'Open Revolution' is all about?
Or, do we see the 'Open Revolution' and the Information Age empowering individuals and providing for a more democratic society?
Do we want to see decentralization and re-distribution of governmental power away from billionaires and large corporations back into the hands of an informed citizenry?
Should we be insisting on the passage of laws outlawing corporate lobbyists? Not just placing restrictions on their activities, but outlawing them – especially by former Congress members or their staff.
Do "We the People" want to pass laws specifically aimed at reversing the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision allowing organizations to spend unlimited dollars on political campaigns?
Do we want to actively encourage the adoption of 'open solutions' as one way to increase competition and innovation in the coming century? e.g. open source, open access, open data, open standards, etc.
Should many of the "too big to fail" corporations and monopolies based in the U.S. be broken up? Has their power become a major threat to our Constitution and way of life?
As an alternative, should we more proactively encourage the growth of small and mid-size organizations that tend to compete and collaborate more in a truly 'open' marketplace?
What are your thoughts? What do you think needs to be done? How do you see the 'Open Revolution' playing out as we move deeper into the Information Age over the coming decades?
* Interested in the Future of America? Visit the blogging site on the America's Future: 2020-2050.