Daily Archives: October 19, 2006

Power to the People

Following Umair’s note is copied from http://www.bubblegeneration.com/:

Industry Note: Power to the People

“…Comrades, working people! Remember that now you yourselves are at the helm of state. No one will help you if you yourselves do not unite and take into your hands all affairs of the state…. Get on with the job yourselves; begin right at the bottom, do not wait for anyone.

Lenin said that, at the dawn of the revolution.

Bolding’s mine.

The sentiments should be very familiar – they are those expressed by an growing number of folks across media (and consumer industries in general).

Here, I don’t mean people who’ve thought things through, like Jarvis, etc – I mean the average schmoe, whose simplistic belief in this set of anti-ideas is starting to really take root.

This is the “power to the people” question (which I get at least once a day – an irate person veering into my field of view, hell-bent on telling me that the bottom-up media revolution can lead to nothing but anarchy or fascism, you know the score).

So let me try and clarify.

The great Communist experiment is an almost perfect analogy to draw. In both cases, we are talking about redefining the institutions, the raw economics engines, which define a given thing – a society, and an industry.

The lesson we should take away is that the next generation of revolutionaries will find ways to synthesize the bottom up and the top down, to create new kinds of economic engines (AdWords, Myspace, etc).

It is about power to the people, in other words – but that’s not all it’s about. That’s often simply a starting point. Without the special stuff on top to make that power productive, hyperefficient, etc, that power alone is more harmful than beneficial to society (not to mention profitable for firms).

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