CHAPTER 2 A global revolution: industrial leapfrog

The global revolution is underway and it’s far more significant than the industrial revolution.

Beyond the fortunate few

The benefits of this revolution will not be confined to a number of wealthy, Westernised countries with existing infrastructures and stable governments (which, to provide a level of quantum, excluded more than 80 per cent of the population). The entire globe will participate in the technology revolution, not just the billion or so fortunate people who live in western Europe, Nordic regions, North America, Australia and certain parts of Asia. And this will happen because the cost of entry and adaptation is so low.

This revolution is about accessibility, and it’s driven by the low cost — disposability, even — of technology, costs low enough for people within developing nations to access mobile technologies, often before the true industrialisation of the nation even occurs. The most cited example of this phenomenon is that there are more mobile phone subscriptions (approximately 4.6 billion) around the world than there are toothbrushes1 in use (approximately 4.2 billion). While this point is debatable, what matters is that this revolution has the potential to create a leap-frog effect and that the path to economic development will no longer be linear. Countries could circumvent certain industrial technologies altogether. For example, industrialised, ...

Get The Great Fragmentation: And Why the Future of All Business is Small now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.