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January 09, 2008

Wikinomics vs Getting Real

Don Tapscott's new book Wikinomcs gallops along at a heady pace. "The knowledge, resources, and computing power of billions of people are self-organising into a massive new collective force", it gushes. This marvelous news is tempered by the suspicion that either I, or the Web 2.0 world, is afflicted by a severe reality deficit. Wikinomics promises us an internet-powered business utopia, but the words climate change, peak oil, and catabolic collapse, are notable for their utter absence from the book. Tapscott is the finest tech booster of our age, but I can't help feeling the name of his company, New Paradigm, is a misnomer. Although, as Bruce Nussbaum comments this week, companies are demanding that their managers be more creative , surely they should be creative with their eyes open? For me, a better text than Wiknomics for CEOs is John Gray's Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia . "The pursuit of utopia must be replaced by an attempt to cope with reality" writes Gray. Warning that "an irrational faith in the future is encrypted into contemporary life", the laugh-a-minute philosopher recommends a diet of Spinoza and Tao-ism for those whose new year resolution is: Get Real.

Posted by John Thackara at January 9, 2008 05:11 PM


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