The world is in a state of turmoil. People are dying from a virus we really don’t have control over. The economy is upside down. There is political turmoil everywhere blowing things apart at the same time as technology is bringing everyone together.
And on top of that, completely flawed leadership in a number of countries has turned this Plague into a massive political football.
But my hope and it still burns brightly inside me is that this Plague has also brought with it a pretty serious object lesson about the way we live in the so-called free societies of the world. Big thinkers have glommed onto this notion, and a few of the brighter politicians have embraced it as well.
Problem & Solution
The status quo in so-called free societies tends to be defined not so much by the quality of life one has, but by the amount of materialism and wealth, one is able to accumulate.
Way too often this material and wealth is accumulated at the expense of all the people who toil in the trenches to make the businesses of the rich so profitable. And since salaries are usually the single biggest expense most of these businesses have, the owners, and or their proxy hired guns, do everything they can to exact as much labour out of their worker bees while paying them the least amount possible.
Over the past few decades, this inequity has raged out of control. And what we will be soon seeing, I believe, is a bursting of this bubble of inequity.
The Why Of It All
There are two main reasons for this, and one is a logical consequent of the other.
The cost of living, which outpaces wages by a country mile, will force people further and further into debt. This means their buying power will be dramatically diminished.
The multi-billion-dollar businesses that depend on this blue-collar spending power for their profits will see their profitability start to diminish. This, in turn, will adversely affect investor confidence and eventually bring the economy to its knees.
Granted this is a bit of an over-simplification of the problem, but the life in the Plague is already starting to show glimmers of it, thanks to the astronomical levels of unemployment that free-market capitalist countries are experiencing,
Governments are literally printing money to prop up the Plague-ravaged economy, and that will need to be paid for by, you guessed it, taxes down the road.
So none of this looks very rosy at all. But then again the whole point of a serious object lesson is to teach us something.
What Should We Learn?
Well first, in order for us to survive, assuming the Plague doesn’t claim us all, it’s critical to change the way we think about the resources the earth provides us.
- We need to accept the fact that the world’s current economy is based too heavily on non-renewable mineral and energy sources, and this has to change. And that change starts with the individual’s attitude toward the choices they make every day.
- We have to understand that animosity between nations based on superficial traits such as ethnicity, skin colour, and political structures is the main impediment to the world from becoming a single entity focused on the universal well-being of every life form on the planet.
- We have to be willing to devise solutions that will promote our survival as a species, and share ideas openly and universally.
There are more than enough workable, affordable solutions to almost all of the challenges we face.
- There is the capability to produce enough good food to feed the world.
- There is enough technology that can be applied to renewable energy to keep the world powered for centuries, while dramatically reducing the amount of CO2 we are releasing into the atmosphere, which, in turn, is responsible for most of the climate change we are experiencing.
- There is enough research into disease prevention to bring about an almost total eradication of most preventable diseases.
- There are enough good-paying blue and white-collar jobs in a fully developed alternative energy world to more than offset the disruptions that would occur as a result of the change over from fossil fuel-based industries.
So Why Isn’t This All Happening?
Two words: Vested Interests.
Great profitability brings with it the ability to control, not just markets and consumer preferences, but also the political will of the countries they operate in.
We see this in operation most clearly in the United States where feel-good corporate advertising abounds, and where a good chunk of the population has been dumbed down and numbed to the degree that all they can think about is their day-to-day existence.
But make no mistake, this situation exists to some extent in almost every country in the world.
It is powered by a combination of greed, ambition, and entitlement. The Americans have packaged it up into something they call The American Dream, which extols the virtues of hard work and glorifies the accumulation of wealth. At the same time, large industries have built up around the wealthy, working on them through advertising and marketing to create demand for and addiction to high-ticket items, because they are the physical manifestation of the power that wealth brings.
It’s a perfect con game and a vital part of the US’ economy. But it’s also as vulnerable as any materialistic construct in the brave new world we live in.
Where Do We Go From Here?
That’s up to us, now isn’t it?
- In the choices we make about how to live our lives
- In the causes we support
- Through the work we feel will be part of the solution, and not just toiling away in the industries that are the problem.
- In explaining to our kids how the new world works so they can have the best chance at a good life, and where they are aware of the forces or change resistance that can work on them to give them the wrong impression about where the world should go.
- By seeking out and supporting leaders who understand what has to happen to make the world a better place.
- By supporting products and services that are contributing to the solution and applying your buying power to support the businesses that create these products and services.
- By educating yourself by looking beyond the bought and paid for fossil fuel-based industries and find ways to build more sustainability into your life.
- By learning more about recycling and making a real effort to minimize the amount of waste you create in the world
I’m sure there are many more, and please feel free to add to this list.
You Might Say I’m A Dreamer
I just turned 73. I am what you might call retired, which means for me, that I’m only working on projects that interest me and writing about the things I feel need to change in order for the world my kids and their kids are going to have to live in long after I have checked out.
What I have told you here is the truth as I have been able to figure it out. We will survive this pandemic, the vast majority of us anyway, but the lessons it has taught me about the level of connectedness we all have is telling me that this is a whole new world and that we can’t let the old world hold us back.
None of this is going to happen fast. But it will happen sooner or later, and I just want everybody within earshot to be aware of that, so they too can be on the right side of it all.
With the appearance of Covid-19, humanity has been called upon to face a global crisis, destined to bequeath us a completely different society when the emergency has passed. The global phenomenon in which we are immersed causes structural changes.
We have a lot of time available and we can dedicate a lot of time to family, to the refresment of (virtual) relationships, to hobbies. But also, the opportunity to use part of this time to reflect and imagine future perspectives, on how to face crucial choices that look to the future.
In such a delicate and painful phase, it is necessary to take a rational, energetic approach, without losing the opportunity to consider how to supervise the relationship with customers, extend our business in new opportunities, support old and new partners by acting on the redefinition of business models, finance and supply chain, through an even more determined use of digital, with a new mindset and an increased relationship capacity. We communicate openly, we share the pain, when it emerges, we involve collaborators and partners in the generation of ideas, we consider all the options, even the less conventional ones, and above all we never lose sight of our values and the quality of our relationships, while developing predictive skills and redefinition.
Even and especially in this moment of great uncertainty, our call is to act.
Much of what you have said in your comment touch very strongly on the main reasons I joined Biz Catalyst and why I keep blogging frequently. I use my writing to clarify my worldview, and to make sure I never stop believing we are all in this together.