Musings On A Sunday Afternoon.

Last weekend my wife and were guests with a friend who is a barrister, and on the way to becoming a judge, all

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being well. We were talking about the mobile devices that we each had. He does not have one. No iPhone, no iPad, no Blackberry – not even a good old fashioned mobile phone. His wife gives him one of hers when he goes travels so that she can get hold of him, but he doesn’t know the number of it and doesn’t know how to place a call on it.

He doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want there to be any digital footprint of any activity that may in any way complicate his life. Pretty smart, actually.

I remember hearing some years ago that the head of a major media company in the US had never ever had a credit card. He paid for things that he purchased with that there could be no forensic record of where he had been and what he had bought.

When you think about the globalization of trade and and the national limitation of legal systems it does seem to lead to an inevitable nexus that is going to create allĀ  kinds of problems for society as the legal system tries to deal with something that it has had to avoid having any experience of. Even more baffling than expecting a Catholic priest to provide advice on sex (I’m sure that many of them actually are celibate in spite of their bad press recently!).

We tend to forget that we are all in motion heading down vectors of varying speed and direction governed partly by our personal experience, partly by the geography that we live in and the bandwidth that we have access to, partly by our language and our culture – an incredible host of modifying factors. We observe what is happening around us with the belief that we have a similar vantage point to everyone else. The facts, however, are quite different and when we start looking at the heart of national governance we are starting to see some cracks appearing in the system.

We are now still only at the beginning of experiencing life in the digital economy – a totally globalized environment where a company like FaceBook is more valuable than most of the companies in this country and it hasn’t even gone public yet: where the recommendations to view content are growing exponentially.

On the other hand we have the political system in this country which celebrates the rise of the Arab Spring and the birth of democracy in countries like Libya. And then we see the rise of the movement to occupy Wall St. All this happening while our law makers, those politicians elected to power by the people, are really beholden to the lobbyists working for the major corporations.

And then on another hand again we have the judiciary, who are utterly out of touch with the whole digital economy, because they don’t need to make their lives even more complicated nor to create any possible vulnerability….

And I haven’t even got to the banks…

I can’t see this story having an orderly and happy ending. But I can see a lot more opportunities in developing more digital widgets that recognize that the system has no hope of righting itself until it has suffered a much bigger failure than anything we have experienced so far.

How far away might that be? Not sure, but my bet would be that there is no point in complaining about what any of us think might be wrong. There is no way back. We need to develop ever better technologies that apply the principles of productivity improvements in ways that have not yet been considered.

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