Creative Destruction

Feb. 12, 1998


Technological change is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.

  Albert Einstein (quoted in Rosenberg, p. 56)



Society, community, family are all conserving institutions. They try to maintain stability, and to prevent, or at least to slow down, change. But the organization of the post-capitalist society of organizations is a destabilizer. Because its function is to put knowledge to work--on tools, processes, and products; on work; on knowledge itself--it must be organized for constant change. It must be organized for innovation; and innovation, as the Austro-American economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) said, is "creative destruction." It must be organized for systematic abandonment of the established, the customary, the familiar, the comfortable--whether products, services, and processes, human and social relationships, skills, or organizations themselves.
  Peter F. Drucker, Post-Capitalist Society, p. 57
Now reference and reality disappear altogether, and even meaning--the signified--is problematized. We are left with that pure and random play of signifiers that we call postmodernism, which no longer produces monumental works of the modernist type but ceaselessly reshuffles the fragments of preexistent texts, the building blocks of older cultural and social production, in some new and heightened bricolage: metabooks which cannibalize other books, metatexts which collate bits of other texts. . . .
  Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press, 1991), p. 96


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