Now That It’s Official, Can We Get On With It?

So finally we hear that we've been in a recession for an entire year. As I recall, this entire past year, we've been told we might be in one, but now, all of a sudden, we've already been in one for the past four quarters. Last night I read…

Bad News

So finally we hear that we’ve been in a recession for an entire year. As I recall, this entire past year, we’ve been told we might be in one, but now, all of a sudden, we’ve already been in one for the past four quarters.

Last night I read the New Yorker’s profile of Ben Bernanke, and while it certainly didn’t help me sleep, in some odd way it reassured me. We are still in the shock phase of this crisis. At some point, we’re going to learn how to live within it, and at some point past that, we’re going to learn how to dig our way out. One thing I am entirely certain of: We will continue to push our use of this medium to communicate and learn and make our way through. And I feel good about being part of that conversation.

Author: John Battelle

A founder of NewCo (current CEO), sovrn (Chair), Federated Media, Web 2 Summit, The Industry Standard, Wired. Author, investor, board member (Acxiom, Sovrn, NewCo), bike rider, yoga practitioner.

3 thoughts on “Now That It’s Official, Can We Get On With It?”

  1. That makes those Allstate commercials quite prescient, where Dennis Haysbert says “If this isn’t a recession, it sure feels like one”.

  2. Me Too!

    At 58 years old I’ve lived this transition. When I stop to think of how this explosion of information and communication has changed my life it’s truly hard to fathom. I cannot now envision NOT having the internet and the social web available to me on a daily, even hourly basis.

    Civilization’s been around for a while and is always evolving. But very, very, very few generations are lucky (or unlucky) enough to live during one of the true inflection points (yeah, trendy word right now!) like the invention of fire or the birth of agriculture.

    We ARE at such an inflection point. And this is bigger than both those previous because we are also approaching limits in resources. But we do have a small edge that other biological populations haven’t had.

    That’s because like a colony of bacteria in a petri dish we have to deal with certain boundaries. Bacteria don’t figure this out so consume the agar and all die. We can do better! Our “edge” is that we can gather information, we can organize, we can think!

    And the Internet certainly has the capacity to assist in that. Though it’s not just more information coming at you faster while connecting you to more people.

    Because if all bacteria did was to figure out how to eat faster and more efficiently with their buddy bacteria… all that would happen is that they’d all die sooner.

    SO… what’s needed are new economic paradigms which still reward individual invention, innovation and efficiency within a context of a sustainable benefit for the commons upon which all individuals depend.

    Fundamentally this requires new economic systems of motivation so as to encourage different outcomes NOT encouraging non-viable consumption to sustain itself while encouraging the opposite.

    In other words, hypothetically:

    *If a certain business model (labor + resources) could produce in 1 year a car output that would last a 100 years with no maintainance and run efficiently on anything (and thereby make a profit for the producing entity ONLY for the period of production) satisfying transportation needs…

    *And another business model produced a car in 1 year that lasted 3 years but take a lot MORE labor + resources, producing a lot more jobs and profit EVERY year for the producing entity?

    *The second model will have many more supporters and seem to help a lot of people sustain themselves.

    *And as a principal applied across an economy this results in a dish of dead bacteria.

    In the example above, if we look at the macro-economic from a biological perspective WITHIN a single organism (as opposed to a population of organisms) we see that the first model is the more desirable.

    No biological system would be so wasteful in its evolution as to follow the second and, most importantly…

    BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTIONARY MOTIVATIONS WILL PUSH TOWARDS THE FIRST MODEL. It will take that excess capacity and utilize it elsewhere for sustainability or improvement.

    We must re-configure civilization’s motivations so as to push towards the first hypothetical model!

    I believe the Internet is critical for reconfiguring these business models naturally and without force IF certain structures are present strengthening methods for re-balancing the inherent conflicts in interest between the individual and the commons.

    It’s mere existance changes fundamentals of economics. Intellectual property rights and how they’re allocated and valued is only one area.

    BTW: Chagora is the model that can save Yahoo. Network for Good is nice idea but wrong motivational structure. Anyway, that’s my thought.

  3. All that would happen is that they’d all die sooner.

    SO… what’s needed are new economic paradigms which still reward individual invention, innovation and efficiency within a context of a sustainable benefit for the commons upon which all individuals depend.

    Fundamentally this requires new economic systems of motivation so as to encourage different outcomes NOT encouraging non-viable consumption to sustain itself while encouraging the opposite.

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