In October 2008, I was asked at the World Economic Forum along with other experts to address the main challenges facing nanotechnology. While environmental, health and safety concerns had been the preoccupation of many for 2008, this question posed by the WEF combined with the world economic crisis led me to consider the challenges of funding and commercializing of nanotechnology and other emerging technologies for 2009.
We can expect to hear much more of Joseph Schumpeter’s ideas of Creative Destruction this year as the world comes to terms with the credit crunch, or recession as these events used to be known. While the depths of a recession can be the best time to start a business, Microsoft is an oft cited example, this is scant consolation for the tens of thousands of companies that will not survive, and the millions who will lose their jobs as a result. An alternative scenario is Nietzsche’s earlier Shiva inspired version of creative destruction, with the new morality standing in the ruins of the old, which may be the long terms fate of a number of financial institutions and economies.
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