When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

03 September 2006

David Brooks: The Jagged World

Samuel Huntington once looked at the vast differences between groups and theorized that humanity is riven into different civilizations. That’s close but not quite right. Today’s divisions aren’t permanent. Instead, groups are constantly being formed and revised in a process of Schumpeterian creative destruction.

Yesterday’s high-tech entrepreneurs look like pikers compared to the social entrepreneurs of today. Islamist entrepreneurs have quickly built the world’s most vibrant and destructive movement by combining old teachings, invented traditions, imagined purities and new technologies. The five most important people in the Arab world, according to a recent survey, are the leaders of Hezbollah, Iran, Hamas, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Microsoft’s market conquest is nothing compared to that.

The Jagged World (David Brooks, New York Times, September 3, 2006) - behind TimesSelect firewall

By the way, if you find the adjective "Schumpeterian" (or Mr. Brooks) a bit of a poser:

Brooks, who shows increasing signs of wanting to be Bill Buckley when he grows up, is talking about this guy, an Austrian economist who made his bones theorizing about cycles of economic and social development, is considered one of the fathers of evolutionary economics, and who first coined the phrase (and explained the concept of) "creative destruction."

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