Published On: Thu, Dec 20th, 2012

From Industrial Age To The Information Society

WILLEMSTAD – The industrial age (2.0) has made men part of the big industrial machine.

Things were standardized. People needed to do certain task, in certain sequence at a certain time. People were expected to be on time. To be reliable and so on. The question is if this was the nature of the human being. This was best portrayed by Charles Chaplin in his movie "Modern Times" in 1936. The industrial age was abruptly implemented upon the post slavery society, with the arrival of the multinationals like Shell. The population has always accepted it as something external and never internalized it.

With the arrival of the internet in the 1990s (around 1995) things changed. The hierarchical, triangular, pyramid shape organization and society exploded into a network society. A society in which small autonomous units are interconnected and collaborate. The information age (3.0) got to the next level, in the process that started in the 1950. Process in society and organization became 24/7 and place became less relevant. The web freed the individual from physical movement. But still you had to be trust worthy. For example: in e-business, you must deliver when someone ordered and paid for a product or service. This development was described by Manuel Castells.

An interesting question is if a society can move from 1.0 to 3.0. Singapore did it. But they had their hard working and obeying culture to their advantage. But in general a society must have learned to submit or be part to a complex system to evolve to an information society. The Caribbean societies have not accepted the regime of the industrial age. In a way they remained human. On the other hand, cruel psychological mistreatment of people during slavery also remained part of daily life.

The Caribbean has certain advantages in the information age. They are very creative. But they need organization to make it a creative industry. Many creative people make it, but many others do not. We need to merge creative people with management talent to create value.

Caribbean societies are trying to uphold a dysfunctional system 1.0 and 2.0 and do not embrace the society 3.0. In a way this is natural because the 2.0 stage has not been completed. But 2.0 has become a totality of broken subsystems that cannot be patched anymore: health care, pension, education, justice, government, social welfare, utility companies and public transportation. You can continue adding to the list. The only option is to upgrade to the system to 3.0.

What does this mean? Come up with internet based smart solutions and used in a smart way. What I mean is that a laptop is not a typewriter; it is a totally new devise. Too often we use this analogy. To get the maximum benefit out of the internet, a totally different mindset is required. To trigger this mindset a new type of education must be implemented. Kids should have access to the internet the first day they enter school. They will introduce the internet at home.

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