Srinivas Reddy’s Weblog

My Tech Rants

State of the Union (Consumption vs. Production)

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As the Arab Spring transforms itself into a Wall Street Autumn revolution its worth to pause and think what is really happening. I would like to share some of my thoughts in this blog post.  Interestingly the two movements mirror the fundamental problems in the our state of the union. While the Eastern World is fighting for true democracy the Western world is fighting the current Capitalism driven democracy.  The fundamental forces driving consumption and production (call it market economics if you like) maybe the common theme to both. Thanks to digital media (social networks in particular) & modern capitalism its pretty easy for people to see what they can consume/produce and they are obviously not happy with their current state. In this context the article, GDP Is Dead: Will The World Be Happier Without It? makes interesting reading. 

While there can be no one size fits all solution its worth to understand the broader factors driving current consumption/production. Its easy to blame “Greece” (or other economically backward locations for that matter) for the European crisis but identifying and fixing the real issues calls for a lot of hard work/sacrifices than fighting for rights in the streets. We need to understand how the next generation consumption and production looks like and how all the market participants need to adapt to it.  While a balance is needed in what you consume and produce, in a increasingly personalized/specialized world what culture of consumption/production is needed?

If Industrial revolution created “mass production” (with related employment) opportunities the current IT revolution is creating “mass consumption” (mobile devices and social networks being drivers) opportunities. While ERP systems of the past automated the production processes (read blue collar work) the current generation IT systems are automating service related process (read white collar work).  While the current increasingly automated physical and digital factories (across all domains of work) are disrupting the current patterns of consumption/production, we may well see revolutions all the year round.

The real question for me is how do we move from the current trends of mass consumption to one of mass production (using the human factor) as well, in a way that we can create wealth needed for consumption.  I personally feel Education is a fundamental input needed for wealth creation in the Knowledge economy.  The German mindset of “selbst machen” aka “DIY” culture imbued since birth in all activities (parenting, kindergarten/school, Television,…) is a good basis to think about creating a sustainable economy (the current strength of Germany economy is a good proof point for this).  While new production tools  are needed to support the new consumption patterns, the challenge is to get the best brains to work on the problems with maximum impact for the society in large. Providing open access to knowledge is another area fundamental for creating a sustainable world. While we seem to be making progress in some fronts still a lot more needs to be done. The recent call to arms for a “Enterprise Spring” by a leading Enterprise software advocate may be a portend of things to come.

While the recent demise of legends like Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie marks the end of a era we can only hope that new leaders will emerge to fix the current state of the union.

Written by srinivasreddy

October 15, 2011 at 7:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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