True economic success emerges largely as a result of behavioral changes from the bottom up—not the top down. In his book The Evolution of Everything, Matt Ridley points out the fascination by elites with top-down design rather than bottom-up “evolution” when it comes to major achievements in science, economics, and social change. Most breakthroughs evolve without architects and a grand design. They appear suddenly from the bottom up.Complex adaptive systems tend to do what they darn well please. Do you really think, dear reader, that Wise Experts who have trouble managing the Routine can really Manage Disruption in the Public Interest?
Indeed, we live in a world where the elites are constantly being surprised, whether by the rise of Facebook or of ISIS. Observes energy-policy strategist J. Robinson West: “The generals always fight the last war. An example is the U.S. energy surge. It was the independents, not the major oil companies or the federal government, that caused the shale boom, responding to market forces. The generals were clueless because big bureaucracies don’t work anymore.”
There might be one good thing to come out of the ongoing insurrections. There's nothing like a market test to break the tyranny of the quarterly report.
This absolute obsession with the big, the established, and the corporate over the small, the new, and the entrepreneurial permeates Washington, DC. But this bias has come at the expense of economic growth. So has the preoccupation with short-term financial gain over long-term prosperity for all.Oops.
As a result, average working families, both in the United States and all over the world, have sunk down into the muck of economic disappointment and heartache. The economic strategists are at a loss. They thought the global economic and financial landscape was under their control.