How modern is it to call the present era a modern one? The question may send you in a tizzy. Is not the very present time in which we breathe and live the very best of modernity? If I have to play devil’s advocate and answer this, I will say “No”. For all practical purposes, the modern age was characterized by certain features. The social structures and entities that even today adhere to these features, I must say stand a grave risk of drawing parallelisms with Jurassic reptiles. On-cloud products and platforms are the biggest traits of the post modern era.

What stands tall between the then modern social, economic and political structures and those of the era that we live in is – the rise, rise and rise of the economics of information. It is not that economics of information did not exist then but the very definition of information has been altered. Looking back at the last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century, we can perhaps pinpoint towards numerous events that have changed the course of destiny.

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Iron Curtain

Perhaps most if not all people of the XY generation must have at least heard if not borne testimony to the Iron Curtain. When the Iron Curtain finally fell apart in the year 1991, many hailed it as the arrival of a new age of freedom and democracy. As word spread about the disintegration of Gulliver’s Giant, the legend of xenophobia came tumbling down.  Ghosts of Soviet Union burst out of a packet that had been compressed and hard pressed too much.

9/11

Uncle Sam had been the most powerful uncle on earth till then. Just when the world felt that it had had enough of bi-polarization and hence was getting ready to bask on the epitaph of Iron Curtain, Uncle Sam got jabbed straight on the face. Heaps of smoke, debris and carcasses strewn all across embellished this dance of devastation. Little did we know that the world was once again getting ready to be split into pieces once again?  Osama Bin Laden had for once altered the dynamics of international relationships.

Global Meltdown

It had been raining growth for a while. Green cards and H1B visas were the stuff to die for. A job in the US, followed by a marriage and then upbringing kids in the American neighborhood was the closest one could get to El Dorado. And then things changed. First credit rating firms downgraded the US economy and then fathers of brides downgraded groom prospects with US jobs.

Arab Spring

The run of democracy in dictator ruled Arab countries. From Iraq, Syria and Egypt to smaller storms in tea cup– information spread like wildfire and the movement moved ahead.  Twenty years back this would have been labeled as a marginal incident affecting and concerning only the Arab world. But now, it was different.

Fall of modernism

More than twenty years back Tiananmen Square was pushed under the carpet. But Tahrir Square did not go under the carpet. Rather it exploded on the face of the world. For every blow of the baton on Syrian women there is a share. For every bomb hurled on innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan today there is a share. For every corporation that goes bust, for every CEO who downsizes the firm and lives of employees, there is a tweet.  For every voice that spreads optimism and cheer on Wall Street, voices reverberate in Dalal Street with a “Like”.  While the fall of the iron curtain marked the irrelevance of command and control led administrative mechanisms, 9/11 and the chain of events that followed, showed that the world’s most powerful nation was not necessarily the world’s most admired nation. Global Meltdown was global indeed. A whiff of thin air blew the virus of subprime crisis to all corners.

The rise of on-cloud products & post modernism

Consumers of information today are more than just consumers. In a way they are also producers and sponsors of information. In fact they are the media. User generated content is the epitome of freedom in the real sense. Modernism had given consumers the freedom to subscribe to information services that was sponsored by some external agency – state, political party, corporation, CEO or head of state or whatever. Post Modernism has done away with that social fabric of sponsored information of any kind. Decisions are being taken where they ought to be taken – at the grass root level.

The farcical logic of transaction costs escalating with information sharing and consensus based decision making is fading away into oblivion.  The marginal cost of producing multiple copies of the same piece f information is zero. The transaction cost involved in subscribing to cloud services is actually lower than replicating the same on a physical interface. The modern era gave the black man the right to participate in the job market and sell his services. Web Based Recruitment Software in the post modern era gives not only the black man but every man the right to choose his employer while employers track and spot him. The modern era gave billing software that could be installed into a system. Cloud Services billing in the post modern era destroys the very concept of installations and configurations of systems. The modern era gave an Alex Ferguson to Manchester United. Cloud based HRMS in the post modern era has destroyed the very locker room address of the team manager.

The paradox of the free market democracy that works on purchasing power is getting into the back seat. Modernism was characterized by corporations and individuals being transaction oriented. For every product, service, brand or any concept that an individual or a community like there was one obvious signaling concept to be used. Money was the ultimate ballot and pocketbook voting was the zenith of consumer democracy. This pocketbook voting syndrome worked to fragment society into consumers and non–consumers. Non consumption was looked down upon as a lack of affordability. The budget constraint was the biggest constraint that came in the way of stating preferences and ranking them. The post modern economy is the economy of subscriptions.

On-cloud platforms have no borders. Search and social are research tools that are agnostic of state, political party and corporations. The cloud is truly secular. The cloud is truly classless. The cloud is agnostic of your personalized device and preferences for broadcasters. Some day some corporation may acquire SaaS enterprises by dozens and lap up cloud services by thousands. But till then let the cloud capped star be the star of post modernist era.