The explosion of the information age is rapidly changing the business landscape, spawning scores of innovative new business models, all inspired by and dependent upon social media and online communications. As always, existing legislation and government regulations lag behind, often virtually irrelevant to the new models. The purpose of regulating commerce and trade purportedly is to protect public safety and encourage market growth by preventing fraudulent activity. But all too often, regulations also serve to protect heritage industries and maintain the status quo—at the expense of healthy innovation and new economic growth. Those conflicting purposes are evident now, as bureaucracies reluctantly drag themselves to catch up to new industries operating at the speed of light.
New technologies have always played a disruptive role in the economy and in society e, shutting down traditional businesses, displacing workers, destroying investors, but ultimately increasing productivity, creating wealth and advancing standards of living. Steam engine technology, gasoline-powered engines, electrical power, the printing press, the Pony Express are just a few that come to mind.