Monday, April 9, 2007

Creating Options

How can you not just love Michelle:

Sometimes, the forward march of technology seems like this train I'm riding on - inexorably traveling down the track of capitalist profit while nonprofits are hanging on to those little hand-powered trucks that we, the people who serve them in this realm are working really hard to pump up and down, so we can try and gamely keep up. And while they watch really large organizations zip by them in bigger, better vehicles, looking exactly like they know where they are going. But no one seems to be asking "why are we on this track in the first place?" "Is being on this track going to really help me save the whales/feed people/organize/save the planet?"
Power to the edges, open source, the inexorable lowering of technology costs... all these factors create an opportunity to build a new track, to innovate and create lots of ways to save the planet.

I come back to a single issue: innovation and saving the planet is a human-scale issue... people to people communicating. Actually saving the plant is a systems-scale issue... millions of human-scale activities aligned in the same direction. Yet the only path to "scale" available to us is capitalist profit track... Adam Smith had it right when he recognized the power of capitalism to coordinate individual activities.

Until we find other paths to scale that are in line with social change, we will have wonderful micro-interventions that, unfortunately, stay micro.

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