Sunday, May 15, 2016
Boxes in Information Age
My dictionary defines a box as “a rectangular container or receptacle with four sides, generally with a bottom and a removable top.
A number of sayings are associated with the box: “Don’t box me in,” “Blow the lid off the box,” “Think outside the box,” “We are all in the same box,” “Knock out of the box,” “Box into a corner,” “Open Pandora’s box, “ independent physicians as “Docs-in-a box,” and big discount shores as “big box stores.”
The box metaphor extends to today’s politics . Donald Trump frustrates critics because he doesn’t fit into a neat ideological box nor do all of his supporters. though many fall into the angry white box. Bernie Sanders pleases the young because they know he comes from the free lunch box. Hillary Clinton is trying to decide which box to occupy, the far left box or the middle of the road box. Voters are obviously thinking outside of insider political boxes and are blowing the lid off traditional party-line boxes.
Health Care Boxes
Health care doesn’t fall into tidy boxes anymore. The Sunday New York Times reports that patients covered in health exchange plans can’t find docs-in-boxes to take care of them (“Sorry, We Don’t Take ObamaCare”), and cancer treatments are defying categorization by falling outside the usual treatment boxes (“Doctor without Borders”).
The Tough Transition to the Information Age
What, pray tell, is going on? A big part of it is the transition to the information age. It is blowing the lid off of traditional politics boxes, boxing out Main Street by turning to Amazon Street buyers, boxing national shoppers into global shopper boxes, and, in general, opening up Pandora’s box of opportunities for individuals who get their cues and clues of how to think and live and vote from the social media and the Internet.
Brave But Terrifying New World
It’s a brave new world and in many ways a terrifying new world out there.
Universal access to information is liberating individuals but threatening nation-states by revealing depths of corruption of national governments (the President of Brazil has just been impeached, and the President of the U.S. has again been accused of exceeding his constitutional authority by subsiding of ObamaCare patients or by telling people what bathrooms they are entitled to us).
There is more information but less understanding.
People are mugged and hacked and having their personal identities stolen on the Internet.
Terrorists and criminals are getting their information, disseminating it and organizing over the Net.
National borders are breaking down as individuals and companies move abroad to avoid taxation .
Government has exceeded its capacity to deliver on its promises as angry citizens rebel against bureaucracies and higher taxes.
Robots and algorithms are replacing jobs.
Nationalism is the rise but so is domestic violence and crime with lessening of the ability to control it and fear that it will lead to loss for individual freedoms and choices.
Middle class Americans, who earnings have stagnated or declined over the last 20 years, openly wonder if they have the skills they need to earn a living in an increasingly technological society and international marketplace.
They are asking ,”What box do I fit in?” “Is there a box for me?”