Shirky’s right that those inclined to create have more possibilities than ever before; today, you can run not just a software company from your living room, but a manufacturing company, thanks to advanced design applications and a web of contract suppliers in China.
But just because there is more possibility than ever to do something constructive doesn’t mean that everyone, or even most people, will grab that opportunity. Even if we count posting a LOLcat as a creative act, there are many more people looking at LOLcats than there are creating them. One of the most popular videos on YouTube, “Charlie bit my finger–again!” depicting a boy sticking his fingers in his little brother’s mouth, has been viewed 211 million times. Something that took 56 seconds to create–and which was only intended to be seen by the boys’ godfather–has sucked up the equivalent of 1600 people working 40 hours a week for a year. Now that’s leverage. —Bradley W. Bloch
See also Nicholas Carr’s, “Charlie Bit My Cognitive Surplus.”