Archive for the ‘#creativedestruction’ Tag

Creative Destruction   4 comments

Are humans better at creating or destroying?

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What an amazing topic!

As with so many things, I don’t see this in black and white terms. Without a doubt, human beings have a history of destructive behavior. Wars, environmental damage, genocides, infanticide – God must weep to see His creation being so absolutely stupid. He created us to be nurturing and we spit in His face and put ourselves on His throne and started smashing the china.

It would be easy to look around our planet and judge, as some people do, human beings as destructive beyond redemption.

And yet we are the most creative species. No other species creates art like we do. Amazing paintings, music that takes our souls to the heights of heaven and the depths of hell, books that speak words that break our hearts and put them back together again … there’s just so much that shows how incredibly creative we are. We were created by the ultimate Creator, and a part of being made in His image is that we hold an incredible capacity for creation.

Image result for image of creative destruction economics

And then there’s this little-recognized and largely not understood concept of Creative Destruction. It’s an economic term. It means that as new technologies and economic sectors are created, old ones are often destroyed, but in the process of the destruction, the people displaced by that transformation end up with improved lives.

This has application in so many areas, including as a writer. I am currently happily wrestling with my perennial work in progress, “What If Wasn’t.” I think I am on Complete Rewrite #3 and it’s starting to look like a series (no real surprise there, I guess). I’ve killed a lot of darlings in the process – but in the debris of each editing, I find gems worth keeping and making better. Destruction and creativity are symbiotic processes.

I think humans are naturally better at destruction than we are at creativity because, since the Fall, we’re bent and we struggle to access the nature God created us to have. At best, creativity is a vestigial talent left over from when we were whole and complete, in full contact with the Creator. Destruction became our legacy when we divorced from His guidance. But because we are both, we live through this endless cycle of destruction and creativity, using the debris of our destruction as building blocks for our creativity, even as our creativity powers us forward into a future that leaves behind the technologies of the past.

It’s fascinating to view the cycle. In economics, it’s wonderful to see how the process of creative destruction has lifted so many people out of poverty. In history, it is stunning to see civilizations that have risen from the debris of prior civilizations. And, yet, there remains that destructive bent that believes that we must strangle others in order to get ahead. Whether we do the strangling in the board room or the capitol, we so often refuse to see that there is a better way based on individual striving in a society that allows both competition (which makes us strong) and cooperation (which allows for support where we’re weak). I see a lot of my daughter’s generation who are beginning to understand this and adopt a live-and-let-life strategy to live, but there are so many voices today that couch destructive messages in touchy-feely rhetoric. It is hard sometimes to know whether we are improving or devolving, but that too may be a cycle of creative destruction.

And now we should head off to see what my fellow authors think on this subject.

Posted January 28, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Why Fear Automation?   Leave a comment

Do we fear robots will take our jobs?

Automation is a scary thing. Machines can replace humans at some jobs and there’s even those who fear that machines can do all of our jobs.

I don’t know about that.

Consider Piggly Wiggly’s. I don’t actually recall the PW we had in Fairbanks when I was a kid, but my mother preferred it over the Safeway that ran it out of business. Why? I have no idea. Safeway was bigger. Mom had no sense of direction. Maybe she just preferred the tiny store to the block-sized one. I’m speculating. Maybe PWs had better service.

Image result for image of piggly wiggly killed the general storeWhen Piggly Wiggly opened its first “self-service” grocery store in 1916, consumers found the new model more convenient and time-saving compared to the old model. What was the old model? You came to the store with a prepared list and a store clerk filled it for you while you waited. I’m told by my parents that this was a slow way to shop and of course you couldn’t make choices on brands or whatever.

The old system did employ a lot of clerks and those clerks lost their jobs when the Piggly Wiggly concept swept the industry.

You can go back in history and see that people were not starving in the streets in the 1920s, so where did all those store clerks go?

They found jobs as clerks in other industries. There were many neophyte companies attempting to bring life-enhancing products and services to the market and they could now acquire the manpower to make those dreams a reality. They electrified the country (light switches were invented in 1918) and introduced the small appliance (the blender and the pop-up toaster were invented in 1919).

Today, people are worried that Amazon Go will eliminate the need for the store cashiers. If you’re not familiar with this new concept – you enter the store, it scans an app on your smart phone. It uses technology to figure out what you take from the shelf and put in your bag and it can even deduct items if you change your mind. When you leave the store, it deducts the total from your bank account. Done. No more standing in line.

Do I think that means my favorite cashier will lose her job? Well, technically, she did when Fred Meyers installed a self-service lane where I scan my own groceries. But they’ve since added a second bay of self-service scanners which now has four or five cashiers to aid confused shoppers, so her job didn’t go away, it just changed. She’s no longer getting carpal tunnel scanning groceries, but she gets paid more than she used to. And I still get to see her bright and shiny face when I shop.

But Fred Meyers has come up with its own reversion to the full-service grocery store. You can now shop for groceries online and have a store clerk fill the order for you so that you can pick it up at a speed lane.

So, do I think machines will replace our jobs?

I think machines will replace some jobs, but for the most part, it will merely transform the jobs we do currently and even those people who find themselves out of work because their industry went away … if they get some training and get off their butts, they’ll find jobs in industries that we can’t even foresee yet.

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