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Play As Innovation

Play as a mediating entity between too-much top-down and too much bottom-up innovation?

Banal though it is, the Mars-Africa question does capture all the tensions of creative destruction: old money versus new money; expanding frontiers versus laggard rears; future prosperity versus present traumas; growth versus inequality; unknown adventures versus avoidable tragedies.

But perhaps the central tension it caricatures is the one between necessity and possibility. It is the tension captured in the classic conflict between a strict single mom who makes sure the children eat their spinach, and an estranged deadbeat dad who shows up unpredictably, temporarily flush from gambling, to sneak the children off to Disneyland.

Fun encounters with Deadbeat Dad are what the kids look forward to, but Martinet Mom, who yells at them to do their homework, is the one who makes their daily life possible. The result is a continuous struggle between the forces of disruption and restoration.

You have to read it all the way to the end to see where the thesis hangs together, and even then, I’m not sure that the essay’s isn’t a little less than the sum of its parts. ┬áBut it’s worth reading.

Posted in Culture, SciTech.

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