Everyone seems to be taking credit for the amazing series of events unfolding in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Personally, I feel that advances in information technology fostered by innovative entrepreneurs in free market economies played a significant role in the second Russian Revolution.
The Soviet Union could not accept the fact that the most basic of today's technology-viewing PC's, copying machines and today's ubiquitous fax machines are "enemies of the state." Modern information technology is an irrepressible force demanding great degrees of personal freedom to be used.
The Soviets were faced with a critical choice -- whether to accept technology and its imperatives for freedom of access to information or to be doomed to underdeveloped social and economic status. What Gorbachev did, as is the case with most great leaders, was to recognize the inevitable and jump out in front of it.
Many of the advances in information technology were generated by entrepreneurial firms -- DEC, Apple, etc. It somehow seems fitting that the free spirited entrepreneur in a competitive market economy developed the technology that, in sum, promulgated the freedom which supports such an entrepreneurial activity.
Certainly we are all concerned about the possible negative implication of technological development. It is, however, important to acknowledge the positive impacts of technology innovation driven by the entrepreneur.
Reprinted with permission from The MIT Enterprise Forum, Inc. of Cambridge. The article first appeared in the "Forum Reporter," Volume 8, No. 7, February 1990.
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