15 September 2008

Innovation is Evil

Bruce Nussbaum on the BusinessWeek site makes a truly absurd claim...

He claims that "innovation caused the current financial crisis."

So first of all... I suppose I'm too much of a semanticist to find this an acceptable or even vaguely intellectually supportable. And that's just my own issues cropping up.

But beyond that... it's an insane statement. Seriously.

While his argument is compelling at a surface (and facile) level (seemingly all that matters in much of mainstream media these days), saying that the crisis was "caused by innovation" not only stretches the currently understood meaning of "innovation" but also stretches credibility to the breaking point.

By his logic, here are some additional disasters caused by "Innovation":
  • The Hindenburg blimp explosion/fire,
  • The dot-com crash,
  • Global Warming,
  • The war in Afghanistan,
  • Black Monday,
  • The Second World War,
  • Avian Flu.
I would love it if Innovation had the power to do all this.
It would certainly make life easier to understand - and would make me one of the most powerful people in the world (at least by title).
But it's just dumb to make this claim.

If I were going to be reductive to the point of ridiculousness and say that a single word could define the (incredibly complex and inter-related) causes of the current crisis - the word I would choose is not Innovation but rather Greed.


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