Who’s in Charge?
Chapter 12: Governing Production, Marketing and Consumption
12. Governing production, marketing and consumption There is nothing more difficult to arrange, more doubtful of success and more dangerous to carry through, than to initiate a new order of things. . . . Men are generally incredulous, never really trusting new things unless they have tested them by experience. Niccolo Machiavelli1 INTRODUCTION The general model of innovation introduced and examined in Chapter 3 posited that innovation involved creations which are introduced, absorbed into and persist in the economy and society. In essence, innovations generate value from their use and not from their creation or existence.2 Gestating and introducing a new product, technology, process, concept or institution and ensuring that it perseveres and continues to add value is the ultimate hurdle for new inventions. Although many ideas can get part way through the system, only a small subset gets to be a candidate for use and only a small percentage of that is used in any appreciable way for any significant period of time. A recent study of 1091 Canadian inventions concluded that only 75 reached the market, of which 45 lost money and only six were judged to be blockbusters, with returns on investment above 1400 per cent.3 The problem, in a nutshell, is that even the most exciting and technically innovative invention may not match up with the needs, wants, desires and preferences of individual consumers, citizens and groups. So far most of the discussion and analysis of innovation in this volume has focused on the role of industrial, governmental and...
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