In order to get a handle on how global economics will play out, you can look at “the innovation problem” as a great predictor.
Take Television for example:
It started off as black and white. Then it evolved to Color. Then came rear projection. Next DLP and Plasma. Then LED, and the current battle is raging over ultra high resolutions, like 4K.
The problem that television has is simple: A lack of fundamental innovation.
From a systems perspective, television was first and foremost, a “remote picture” concept.
Then color picture.
Now it’s higher quality picture.
And then will come 3D picture, but the core breakthrough will always be “pictures at a distance.”
When you see decisions that prevent live television from being streamed, what you’re really seeing is defense of the old paradigm for economic reasons. The country is not yet ready for the local VHF TV station to sign off – there would be no web site in Milwaukee, for example, with a news helicopter.
Or will there be?
You see? That is how innovation works, and few books are more revealing that Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition.
Remote pictures are just one of the framing concepts of today’s world. Another is “portable music” – and that’s behind more software (players), devices (iPod, MP3 players) boom boxes, blue teeth – the list never stops.
The fundamental insight, however, was what? Portable Music.
Cars – which are holding up the entire economy if the retail figures out this week mean anything – are another fine example.
The Wikipedia entry on the “History of the Automobile” over here, is a fine read.
Viewed through the viewport of the systems engineer, we see that the evolution of cars has been painfully slow.
Four wheel cart gets a steam engine. Four wheel cart gets internal combustion engine.
Now, on a recent trip, we come to discover that the major differences in most cars these days is “how the mouse works.” The mileage, performance, suspension, automatic transmission and air conditioning are pretty event across brands.
I wanted to remind you of this fundamental versus incremental stuff because it has everything to do with where the global economy goes next; up or down.
I remember hearing a speech back in the 1980-s by Craig McCaw. He articulated a wild (for the times idea) we will move into a world where everyone will have a phone number. Radical claim when there were pay phones on every corner and wireless was a dream. Yet here we are in the global smartphone village.
Companies and brands rise and fall by their innovations. General Electric rose on heavy industrial electrical goods. Microsoft on its operating system. Apple on its user interface, and Lexus on absolute quality. Campbell’s soup is still what kind of good?
If you want to rock and roll – soar in your professional life and investment decisions, a little time spent on the weekend thinking about where your choices are in terms of innovations and how you participate, is likely time well-spent.
Oh, and right now the world desperately needs a “keen new insight” that will – Like McCaw’s vision – be totally obvious once stated.
Find that company and invest all you can, even yourself if you can land a job with ‘em – because that’s how giants of the future are born and the best way to live is growing up with a giant.
The reason we have Minimalism taking off is we don’t have any new sizzle and we’re serving 20 to 60-year old steak. Minimalism can crash the economy.
Political Crap is just That
This is the time of life when being a serial victim of politics is really no fun. Yet we are.
We are retired (at least on paper), over 66 (unfortunately, also on paper), we own our own home, and have some disposable income. We is fodder for the political machine.
That uniquely ‘Merican political money machine. So in response to the first email of the morning:
Dear Demoncratic Wannabe:
I charge $250,000 for an appearance, but that includes 10-minutes of speaking.
My 20-minute speech option is only $50,000 more – and it will all go to my campaign.
It goes without saying that private jet travel and a limo are thrown in, 6-bottles of water on the podium and links to my fun-raising campaign. Medallion de Beouf over noodles with a wine and sour cream sauce after. Dom, of course.
Oh. Unless you are planning to hire me, take me off your damn list.
(Next email, please?)_
Dear Emily’s List
Ya’ll are playing the sex card. Sex belongs between consenting adults, not in fund-raising emails, as I see it.
Personally, I don’t like all kinds of discrimination (racial, sexual, religious, preference, etc.). I find it disgusting and counter to the goals of unity and equality.
Since you are playing Divide and Conquer – another lowlife approach to politics, remove me from your list – second notice.
Lest you think I am picking on the Clintonistas, I am equally cynical when it comes to the repugnant party. You have to know someone’s campaign is in the deep doo-doo when they start endorsing moon bases as a campaign ploy. Look, it’s a MoonJeb.
We live in a country where we are basically facing the same problems we faced in 1945. Russia was a threat, China was a question, we had mounds of federal debt, and a burgeoning depressionary feel to the place. Lack of jobs and on and on…
Fast-forward 70 years and we are what? Facing the same damn problems: Russia, China, and a mountain of federal debt. Plus we have pissed off so many countries, I’ve lost count.
Since what we have been doing hasn’t worked, I will again wheel out the white board (sniffing some marker fumes on the way) and offer a way to clean up the systemic corruption that has afflicted America like a political version of H. Pylori bacteria. You know – the bacteria that causes ulcers…
1. We need to reform the vote. In the early days of America, the landowners were the only ones with the franchise. Problem is: When you throw the electoral process open to those who don’t have to pay for it, you stand in harms way: the free lunchers will vote working people into unemployment through higher taxes in order to pay for their laziness.
In Ure’s world, only working people, or those receiving Social Security after working some years would be allowed to vote…and no foreign immigrants would be allowed to receive Social Security or SSI unless they meet the same work requirements (x quarters of work) in order to receive benefits.
Ures truly figures that if coming to America meant land of opportunity, but only if you jump in the melting pot and work hard (like it used to) a lot of freeloaders would simply leave.
Sadly, the number of illegal immigrants deported and returned has collapsed under the (illegal) executive amnesty and sanctuary cities nonsense which will – over time – break the US budget as explained in the lead story this morning.
2. We need to turn off election money machines and kill political action committees. This would be simply done by a) barring any out of district money for any office and b) no campaign contribution more than $10 per named person for the national office of President.
Throw out Citizens United by law.
3. End the two party system such as it malfunctions now. In the early part of American history, the President was the fellow who got the most votes. The Vice President was the number-two vote-getting, regardless of party.
That worked for the longest time…
4. Either do away with the Electoral College, or bind them to the popular vote of their state because right now, Electors are not bound and that’s as crooked as you get.
Prior to 1913, U.S. state legislatures appointed U.S. senators from their respective states, and prior to 1872, U.S. presidential electors were in many cases chosen by state legislatures (though most states had switched to popular elections for electors by 1824). Because state legislatures had so much influence over federal elections, state legislative elections were frequently proxy votes for either the Senate or the presidency. The famed 1858 Lincoln–Douglas debates were held during a U.S. Senate campaign between the two rivals in Illinois, which was actually an election for the Illinois state legislature.
Since we have the computational mechanics to handle direct popular election, why not? I mean other than a Mexican-like inability to change for the better and keep bad laws on the books forever.
If you have a job, you have a vote. If you have a retirement, you have a vote. If you’re a career slouch, no vote. Problem is 94-million American’s can’t find work…and that rolls us back up to the lack of innovation problem.
These are some modest proposals for a return to sane government – and therefore totally impossible to implement.
We live in a corporatized world where the corpgov alliance is so strong (and so hungry for cheap labor) that nothing is going to change until the whole thing is run into the ground.
Us? We’re standing aside and watching.
We are possibly, in long wave economic terms, setting up for one more moonshot (not Jeb’s) in the markets which will leave us set to collapse in the 2017-2018 percent.
That would coincides with macro moves that are underway now: By then, Muslims will have overwhelmed Europe, regime change in Turkey will neuter NATO, the Russians and Chinese will control Middle East Oil, and the reality of a new president being unable to fix the corporate sell-out of America will all begin to sink in as jobs continue to disappear into third world lands and robotics. All while the unemployed demand more, more, more…
Not that we couldn’t light up regional nukes this weekend, it’s just that we’re on an ascending probability curve that is still down in the 4%-10% “maybe” range. As we move up the macro trends, toward “certain” (>75% odds) then it becomes only a matter of time. When?
My advice to everyone on this street corner of the web? While there are plenty of doomporn writers who are running around yelling “Schmita!!!” “World is collapsing!” they will be no more right than previously. Just notch up another epic fail to their credits.
Land of Advertising Failure
If I get one more email with the word “spooktacular” in it, I’m going to puke.
It’s the same “lowest common denominator” marketing that segments women in politics and defines sitcoms on television.
The good news is that when the trannyvision channel launches, it will fulfill the long-time predictions that given an unlimited number of channels, there would be nothing particularly relevant on any of them.
We ask simply: Is this what we have been fighting wars around the world to defend? This lowest common denom electronic wasteland?
That’s just freakin’ spooktacular, ain’t it? Pass me the Ipecac, woulds yah? ViceGrips, too..
Write when you break-even,