Baby boomers like myself clearly recall the tumultuous years leading up to the Bicentennial of the United States. The world we grew up in was near the peak of the industrial revolution, dominated by the aftermath of the Great Depression, WW2, and the Cold War. We were raised in a culture that had witnessed first-hand the power of a unified government, which led to the victory of fascism in our parent’s generation, followed by a round trip to the moon in our own. In the childhood of my generation, nothing was impossible with sufficient government power. Read More
Fast forward to the present day. On Meet The Press last Sunday, David Brooks sent a warning that I fear will go unheard in the very ivory towers that need to heed the message: “I was up on Wall Street the other day. I know political risk better than they do; they are vastly underestimating the source of political risk out there. We could have a massive problem in the next couple of years.” The source Brooks is referring to, of course, is the American citizen and consumer. Read More
I have argued consistently since the mid 1990s that the global medium (combined Internet and Web) increasingly reflects the global economy, and that rational, functional regulation is essential. I started this journey then with a very similar ideology to Alan Greenspan before the financial crisis; that self-regulation should be sufficient to prevent systemic crises, but in practice it has failed to do so.
Most of the actual regulation in computer networking today is accomplished via manipulation of architecture in one form or another, but technical standards on the web are voluntary, as the Tech Review article The Web is Reborn highlights, which was apparently in response to the article The Web is Dead at Wired earlier in the year. In the U.S. we are really reliant on primarily one form of regulation on the Web other than proprietary architecture and voluntary standards, which is social. Social regulation has evolved with the consumer web, occasionally demonstrating some power—as was recently demonstrated with Facebook security issues, but social regulations has also proved self-destructive at times, particularly regarding sustainable economics and jobs. Few if any consumers can see how their actions on the Web are impacting their own regional economy or industry, meaning that the blind is often leading the blind towards dangerous hazards in a similar fashion to the housing crisis. Ignorance is being exploited…. click to continue Read More