I sat next to a woman the other day on the plane. She asked about the impact of my Kindle to the bookstore. With any success, I replied, the bookstores will need to change very dramatically, likely employing fewer people. She wondered a bit about what those people would do. 

Disruption happens all the time and maybe faster of late. Think of automobile, the mini-steel mill, hard disks (the quintessential example), web advertising and digital book readers. Each disruption drives further productivity gains, fueling additional innovation and joblessness of those who have been disrupted.

This movement is inexorable and we shouldn’t try to slow it down. It’s what drives innovation instead of stagnation. 

The point here that the author makes that the ideal is when each person can produce everything they need is wrong. Since the hunter/gathers moved to agriculture, we’ve been moving toward specialization. Additional productivity gains enable further and further specialization manifesting itself in hundreds of thousands of researchers understanding each form of cancer, or web workers building improvements to email and photo sharing. Productivity enables exploration of new horizons; of course, not without cost.

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