Why Progressives Always Get Tech Wrong

Why Progressives Always Get Tech Wrong

Posted in the Columbus Forum

Enzyte Bob

United States

#1 Oct 8, 2013
“Why Progressives Always Get Tech Wrong”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemalone/2013/1...

Article mimics some of the same themes we talk about here ...
Enzyte Bob

United States

#2 Oct 8, 2013
If we have learned anything (not least from Progressivism’s crazy cousins Fascism, Nazism and Stalinism) over the last century it is that none of this is true. Human beings are messy and unpredictable creatures, with 10 billion different perspectives and opinions about how to live a good life. There are also more good ideas, intellectual capital, in those 10 billion brains – especially regarding some problem at hand – than in the combined faculty of Harvard and Stanford. Moreover, some people actually prefer liberty to comfort, freedom to happiness. That’s what Steve Jobs was trying to say; and that’s what’s going unsaid at those select Valley dinners with the President.

So, instead of a healthcare Twitter, we get a gigantic mess as the government tries to impose a single, software-driven system on 300 million Americans. Anyone who has ever worked on or, worse, bought a big software application – and this is one of the biggest in history — could have told HHS that the final result would be buggy, late, unsatisfying to users, unable to live up to its billing, and most of all, resistant to upgrades, much less wholesale changes. In the real world, you can’t just order “Make it so!”

Whatever else it was, Progressivism was a top-down, mass-control, limited-freedom political philosophy that has only grown more anachronistic as the decades have passed and as, ironically, technology itself has increasingly supported de-centralized, networked, and bottom-up institutions. Corporations learned that a generation ago (or they disappeared). In successful corporations today, management works best when it is the servant of employees and customers: look at the backlash from a billion users every time Facebook or eBay tries to impose some new rule or pricing scheme from above. And what are open systems and crowd-sourcing but the next evolutionary step in the inversion of the old top-down model?

That leaves the federal government the last true bastion of late 19th century command-and-control thinking. It can build as many websites and social networks as it likes, but as long as it tries to impose mass solutions from the top in a world of personalized solutions from the bottom, it is doomed to fail – and our nation continue its slide into debt and enfeeblement.

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