Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Battle of the Titans

There's a peculiar type of destructive competition that happens in free market enterprises, when two fairly matched competitors mutually fail to dominate the market. We have Coke vs Pepsi, Ford vs GM. The differences between the products are minute, but human nature being what it is, fierce loyalties can be earned by either side. 

I'm keen on merging and productivity. Our society is going to undertake a major shift in the next fifteen years. Economics will be turned on it's head. We will reach peak population growth. And climate change, an amorphous impersonal threat, will demand collaborative world-wide effort to stabilize. The old ways of competition won't stand up and all of us have to start thinking about getting along in new ways.

Here's one reason why I believe our society is heading for transformational change. 

The destructive competition described above cannot survive this sort of transition. John Q. Consumer cannot expect a steady growth of his income, and so will instead be concerned about conservation of his assets. A free market economy must adapt, so the old consumer model will expire. 

Consider the terrific opportunities and options that has come with world connectivity and personal electronics. We have some major players like Microsoft, Google, and Apple jockeying for dominance, and some critical bit players like the non-profit Wikipedia. Frankly, I cannot imagine returning to a life without my Wiki. But this multiplicity of options and fierce competition is handicapping the big players. I have a Microsoft computer who refuses to hold my Google search preference. I have Google docs who cheerfully allows one-way receipt of Microsoft documents, but won't translate back. Apple is unfriendly to both. And why not? They all grab a very profitable section of the market share, and the market continues to grow. 

But this situation won't remain so, and the change will come quickly. My dream is that these titanic conflicts come to an agreeable end. So that my granddaughter can continue to enjoy the terrific opportunities of connectivity as our world turns on it's head.