From at least the mid-20th century to (seemingly) the present, the leimotif weaving through business, politics and social organizations has been centralization – concentrating control of an activity or organization(s) under either a single authority, or layered ones woven together. In spite of crosscurrents to the contrary, this seemingly unstoppable continuum from small to large has persevered, in just about any sector one cares to name. Examples:
- Retail: Corner grocery, to independent grocery store, to a chain, to mega chain (think Walmart). Builder supply, to national/global home improvement chain (think Home Depot). Local discounter to “Big Box” store/chain (think Costco) Local bookstore to chain store (Barnes & Nobel), to online Mega book seller (Amazon).
- Farming: Rural farmer, to larger farm, to regional entity – think Simplot Food Group. Poultry/Pork/Beef producer to local feedlot sales to national mega producer (Tyson Foods). Potash (fertilizer), capital-intensive, thus historically, large-entity dominated (Nutrien) Local to regional dairy producers to Walmart’s recent entry, Indiana Milk Plant.
- Mining: “Junior” silver producer, to base metal giant with “silver credits”- BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto.
- Politics: Historically, two major U.S. political parties, with several “satellites” – that while not able to achieve regional or national dominance, still served to “inform” Republican and Democratic platforms, modifying how certain issues of concern by the populace were handled. Today, Two national parties, seemingly existing to divide the spoils of political and economic power – transformed from serving the people, to serving themselves.
- Social Media/Entertainment: Small entities bought out by the “FANGs” – Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google.
A paradigm is a way of looking at or doing something via a set of procedures and rules, which need to be followed in order to operate successfully.
When the digital camera was invented (by Kodak) the existing paradigm and process of using rolls of film to take/develop pictures didn’t have “rules” enabling digital cameras to flourish commercially.
In 1956, the first VCR, which today would cost over $300,000, could not find a place within the existing paradigm, at either the corporate broadcasting level or for home use.
When a paradigm shifts, new sets of rules/procedures are needed in order to function within it. If those who succeeded in the old one do not sense the change – and learn about/adopt the new rules as they are being discovered/implemented, the norm is to be left behind. Think Blockbuster Video-Netflix; Kodak – digital camera makers Olympus and Panasonic; The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) – Box stores and mega grocery chains.
Is the trend of concentration unstoppable?
It may seem so in regard to centralization in politics (the E.U./”One World Government”); China’s move to establish “social credit” scores for public access; biometric ID for Mexican citizens; The U.K. with some of the world’s highest rates of public camera surveillance outside of North Korea; U.S. intelligence agencies monitoring/recording/accessing its citizens’ phone calls, email traffic and travel movement.
Not to mention the “war on cash”. (Sweden, almost totally cashless via credit/debit card). The U.S. discussing eliminating fiat bills larger than $20; China’s largest bill today, the 100 yuan note (currently worth about US$16).
- In spite of recent “de-listings” of alternate news/opinion sources on the Internet aggregator platforms, new subsets spring up to make available and disseminate “non-mainstream” views.
- A decade ago a pair of San Francisco roommates decided to make rent money by using air mattresses to turn their place into a bed-and-breakfast when a conference in the city made hotel rooms scarce. The brainwave led to the creation of Airbnb, a startup now valued at more than $30 billion which boasts millions of places to stay in more than 191 countries, from apartments and villas to castles and treehouses. (Yahoo.com/news)
- HelloTickets, applying blockchain technology to the events tickets industry. “This is an industry that’s rife with fraud and abuse; concert attendees either get gouged by a monopoly like TicketMaster (that charges absurd fees for zero value-add), or they risk buying fake tickets, or dealing with scalpers. HelloTickets provides a platform for events to publish tickets into the blockchain… which guarantees every ticket’s authenticity. Concert-goers would never have to worry about buying fake tickets. And the concert promoters wouldn’t have to rely on an expensive middleman…
There are countless other industries just like ticketing where a handful of elites have dominated and abused their customers for decades. And they’re ripe for disruption. -(Simon Black)
Decentralization – a working definition:
A situation where planning and decision-making is not controlled by just one (or a few) entities. Instead these duties are delegated to a number of sub-groups.
In a business setting, this may occur intentionally. But in a paradigm shift – as part of the process involved in replacing the old with the new – it can take place as an unintended – often forced element.
As Mohit Mamoria, CEO of Authorito Capital remarks, “… decentralization is an inevitable milestone in the way of always-improving technology.”
During the years after the 2000 Tech Crash, as the Internet showed it had much greater staying power than the naysayers presumed, at some point it could prophetically be said that “If the Internet has not yet affected a given aspect of business and daily life, it soon will!”
Decentralization, with the drive toward blockchain technology by entire asset classes, is where the future is being transformed into “the now”. Ask yourself the same kind of question. “What has migration to the blockchain not yet begun to transform, but most likely will going forward?”
To generate an idea, consider tapping your back pocket or looking in your coin purse. Money offers freedom to those who possess it. But “Paper Promises” – a term coined by David Morgan in reference to un-backed fiat currency – today’s un-coin of the realm across the globe – not so much. A reliable store of value over time? Ask someone living in Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Turkey…even Canada or the U.S. – the latter now in the midst of the highest inflation numbers of the last ten years.
How about a Cryptographic Silver Monetary System with a digital coin operating as a unit of exchange in commerce, participating in a decentralized monetary ethos, backed by physical silver, securely vaulted in various locations around the globe, building trust by default, with ownership immutably listed on the blockchain?
Not to mention, a second coin for speculation on its own price, or that of silver – and perhaps even more important, serving as a dependable store of value? Something about which to become more knowledgeable, here and here?