Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pan Flash Mobs --- a thing of the future?

What do Criminal Flash Robs, Bank Transfer Day, Occupy Wall Street, revolution in the Middle East, and Pandemic Flu all have in common?? They are all random events that have the potential of reaching a disastrous tipping point--all made much more likely by faster and faster communications.

“Average after-tax income for the top 1% of U.S. households almost quadrupled, up 275%, from 1979 to 2007, the Congressional Budget Office found. For people in the middle of the economic scale, after-tax income grew by just 40%. Those at the bottom experienced an 18%” according to the Oct. 27, 2011  USA Today.  In other words, the rich continue to get richer.    The world has taken notice and people are starting to react.

  • "A new kind of shoplifting has hit stores in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. "Flash robs" occur when a group of people organized over social media steal by mobbing a store." reported by WHYY radio on November 25, 2011.  The article quoted Joseph LaRocca with the National Retail Foundation. "In July, we polled retailers across the country, and about one in 10 companies have experienced a criminal flash-mob incident in their stores."
  • "Kristen Christian was feeling more than a little fed up with the county’s big banks when a month ago today she logged on to Facebook to share an idea with friends:  withdraw your money from the likes of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, and instead open an account with a credit union.  She even chose a deadline for taking action: this Saturday, Nov. 5." as reported in the Daily Beast.    Kristin is given credit for single handily initiating Bank Transfer Day.
  • Go to Occupy Wall Street's web page  and you only need to  read their tag line “The revolution continues world wide” to understand where they are headed.
  • The revolution in Syria, Egypt, Libya have recently demonstrated the power of the web, twitter, texting, smart phone video, skype --  all powerful communication tools that are now available to the entire world.

Dissatisfaction + Communication = Rapid Response Teams from the world's disenfranchised on a level the world has never seen before. 
These isolated events, although each extremely serious in their own right, will be dwarfed by a concerted world wide event--imagine what would happen if we escalated each one of these individual events and then  add to the mix Greece, Italy, Spain, etc.  What if unions had the ability to join forces across national borders?    What if utility operators could join forces across borders?  The old term of Power to the People now has new implications.   My concern is that the more people use this new power of communication, the more powerful it will become--Medcalfe's Law.     I think this new communication power is inevitable, and should not be taken lightly.  This is only the beginning.

Seasonal Flu comes and goes, and about a few times a century, the proper random circumstances occur that launch a worldwide pandemic.  This occurs because of an interaction and communication between various variations of the flu virus--lethality, communicability, resistance, etc.     I look at these current social outbreaks as a seasonal flu, that are currently running their course, and will eventually burn themselves out.  However, given the proper set of circumstances, what if these current isolated social events could some how interact and become connected and amplified, launching the first worldwide "Pan Flash Mob" ? --- all made possible by instantaneous world wide communication to EVERYONE.   I think we all need to pay close attention to the social changes that are under the radar of most people.

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