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The White Space Between

Dealing with Industry Discontinuity

Economic progress, in capitalist society, means turmoil.

—Joseph A. Schumpeter

In the early nineteenth century, most people lit their homes with lamps that burned whale oil. In midcentury, as supplies were constricting and prices rising steeply, Canadian physician and geologist Abraham Gesner developed kerosene, a cleaner-burning alternative made from a plentiful resource—crude oil—and founded what became the modern petroleum industry. Whaling, a major world industry, virtually ceased. Then Edison threw a light switch, and the world changed again. No one wanted the foul smell and dangerous flame of kerosene lanterns in their homes when they could have clean and easy electric light. ...

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