A lot is being made of events in Hong Kong.
Here’s why I don’t think they’re important.
We’ve seen this before in the Middle East, Europe, South America, China, and the United States. Yet the status quo keeps on chugging. In fact, its momentum increases in the wake of such protests. We still have markets, debt-based economies, governments firmly controlled by corporate interests and the rich, and it’s all bigger, stronger, and more widespread. Not a single overt protest has mattered. Not even arguably the greatest one—The US Declaration of Independence. And a war followed in that protest’s wake.
Public protests do little other than excite people today. Most of them will go back to their lives tomorrow struggling with earning a living, squandering their time on things that neutralize their real power, such as angry birds, the NFL, and Desperate Housewives.
What really make a difference are innovations that can supplant the status quo. Innovations are the real weapons of mass destruction, they are the revolutions of the 22nd Century. They start quietly and unassumingly, momentum builds and over time, and before you know it they supplant the status quo:
This has happened in business (Facebook), culture (rap music), fashion (Yoga pants), technology (email) for hundreds of years. It’s peaceful, invisible, and looks unassuming (Twitter, Wikipedia) until too late for the incumbent. They begin with tiny teams. Sometimes one person, but usually two or more. With momentum, they’re unstoppable.
Protests are powerless. Where’s the hope? In these:
Here is where the real social transformation is happening. Time will tell. The future is hard to know. My bet is what is going on in Hong Kong will result in little real change.
You want real change? Don’t look to the streets. Look in the garages, on Google hangout, in co-working spaces. Look in social entrepreneurial startups and coffee shops. Here you’ll find the end of the status quo. It has always been this way.