Innovation - whether in technology, finance, or politics germinates out of the cliche that the only constant is change. The world was one way, an innovator saw a better way, applied thought and energy to that realization, made an idea into reality and the world changed. What often happens, though, is that the innovator, if truly successful, decides that this is the end of history, that the world truly ARRIVED because whatever innovation s/he brought to the world has obviated any further change in its venue because hey, the best is here, so why try to come up with something else.
Supposedly smart people fell into this trap (I am going to give some examples, so please remember that I said "smart" rather than nice, kind, or anything of that sort). I remember seeing Bill Gates talking about the world of computing as if there are no products but those offered by Microsoft. Steve Jobs decided that he has a monopoly on how people are going to use the iPhone's capabilities - that they don't need flash and only want to look at applications that meet Apple's sensibilities. Not too long ago the Republicans decided that the legislative branch of the government (not to speak of the executive) will be perpetually republican. Trotsky deliriated about a perpetual revolution that will keep his flavor of Bolshevism in power (at least the Nazi's were realistic, talking about a 1,000 year rather than a perpetual Reich - I guess Hitler's artistic sensibilities made him more in tune with the evanescent nature of goodness and beauty).
To simplify matters (and get to my point), the issue is with failing to understand that any product, system, philosophy, etc., is in place not only because of the innovators but also because of people - people who use the products, accept or submit to a political/economic system, tolerate companies, governments, and other people. I think that most people look out to the outside world to provide as much of their needs as possible (how many people would work, let alone innovate, if given the choice of having all their needs taken care of by an outside agency?), and view change with a degree of suspicion (look around you). Further, people would often tolerate a rather high degree of oppression from a political/economic system, if the selfsame system provides them with a way to exist and function that is familiar (q.v., the Soviet Union - it would have gone on for much longer if it weren't for the economics that just didn't do the trick).
When things become unreasonable - from the big to the small - in spite of the thinkers' and idealists' ideas about what is good for the world, the world has its own ideas. In spite of Mr. Job's certainty that I don't need flash on my iPhone and that everything I need to run on said device is in the Apple Store, I have the option of jail breaking my iPhone, running flash and getting application from alternative stores, such as Cydia. In spite of what the Republican leadership thought about the political needs of the country, the GOP is in the minority (for the time being) in both houses, and we have a Democratic president in the White House, and we all know what happened to both the Nazis and the Soviets.
Now Mr. Eric Schmidt
of Google is telling me that I can forget about anonymity and privacy on the web
. I appreciate the head's up - I really do. I am not the most private person in the world, and there are few, if any, pieces of information that I posted or "revealed" about myself in electronic format on the Internet that I would mind being seen by other people. Telling me that I have no option and no choice does rub me the wrong way. It is going to be a bit of a pain, but there are ways to have many of the services provided now by companies such as Google, that can be run from a computer at home while being connected to the web. I can also see such services being offered with privacy provisos. Somehow, when one ends up being to big for one's pants, one ends up running around with his derrière sticking out, open for kicks by willing and able feet.