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Thu May 23, 2019, 03:34 PM

Age of Disruption

The Renaissance, The Gilded Age, The Roaring Twenties. We’re all familiar with these terms that describe the mood and direction of certain time periods.

I think that our current time will become known as The Age of Disruption.

From technology to politics to our everyday lives, disruption has become a key element. In technology, automation is at the forefront of disruptive change: with self serve replacing service jobs, individual gig work replacing collaborative union systems and robotic entities, from hotel staffing to driverless cars, starting to enter the workplace.

In politics, Trump has been notable as a disruptive politician. His every action has been to tear down or simply ignore established processes and mores in his campaign and in his governance. In fact, he has eschewed governance in favor of encouraging and creating chaos then and now.

Around the world, the far-right, dictators and rulers have embraced disruption as a process to advance. Saudi Arabia is a prime example, with Bin Salman turning a Ritz Carlton hotel into a prison, then purging business and political opposition.

Now, predictions for the EU elections have shifted to an increase in far-right parties gaining seats. While they espouse nationalistic views, they are benefiting from global money and influence in achieving their goals, most notably from Bannon and his financial backers and from Russia. Something striking is how many of these have newly “remade” themselves and their images, from Le Pen rebranding her party from National Front to National Rally and Farage forming his new Brexit Party. In addition, there are parties that have newly emerged such as the Netherland’s Forum for Democracy led by Baudet. First came its stunning wins to parliament in the Netherlands and now it is forecast to win as many seats in the EU as the current and established governing party of the Netherlands will.

At this point, the far-right looks to be on track to bring enough numbers to the EU to be a major disruptor, which I think is their goal. It’s not about finding better ways to govern or to improve the lives of European citizens. It is about disrupting the EU to the highest degree possible.

This is happening now and to ignore or minimize this trend is dangerous. In fact, I think it is critical to recognize it and to continually call out the organized disruption for what it is in order to shift the direction of these times to a better zone. Currently, when people raise questions about issues with technological disruption such as automated systems replacing workers, a common reply is something along the lines of “You can’t fight change.” There’s truth to that, but we need to shift our own response from the defensive to the offensive of “Perhaps, but you can works to make that change a change for the better, rather than the worse.”

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