Stick and Carrot

1. We can choose.

Is the world beautiful or is it ugly? Is reality fair or is it unfair? Well, it is ugly, in the sense that we know that innocent children die in excruciating torment, good people are punished, bad people are rewarded – the world is unfair because 90% of humanity lives on 10% of the resources – the thieves get rich and the honest become poor and so on and so forth.

The question is:

“If the world were just and perfect, would we be free? If I came from a good god, as well as severe, and were immediately rewarded for all my good deeds and condemned to all my bad deeds, would I be free?”

“If that were the case, would we perhaps be humans or would we be puppets in an extra-human Matrix ruled by a banal god?”

This is why freedom is a concept that has profoundly to do with the fact that the world is messed up. Disorder is more likely than order. Inexorably. Nature tends to disorder not only in thermodynamic systems, but also in human behavior. But in human beings, there is something that changes the game entirely: an ordering principle, if only because conscience cannot ignore the theme of freedom for the good. So, systematically being a total scumbag and kicking people and the world is a choice, as well as it is a choice if you try to use your brain to figure out the world and people without getting crazy, possibly.

2. Poor wretches and gods.

Have you ever seen a Slum from the inside? I mean, a deprived area on the outskirts of a megacity with shanty dwellings as far as the eye can see?

Don’t worry – I don’t want to talk about inequality and poverty. I’m just trying to introduce another subject. So please let me talk.

Have you ever been there? I mean, in a Slum? Trust me, it’s not a pretty sight. You know, It never occurred to me to travel for social tourism – but I am someone who wants to see for myself. I am someone who wants to understand. And that’s how I learned what a Slum is – I saw it with my own eyes. I know megacities where inequality is enormous. Rich, protected neighborhoods and very poor suburbs. Millions of homeless people or so-called “squatters” who live on the street in makeshift shacks made of tin and mud. Places without even the minimum hygienic conditions, without water, and very often without electricity. Places where poverty is always on the rise. The poor people who want to leave the rural areas and move to the big city to look for a job, do you know what they do? They camp under bridges, in the marshes, often near the sewage, and almost everywhere.

A Hell.

You see, there are several of these “hells” – they are all over the world, my understanding is that there are several hundred million of people living under these conditions – They are the outcasts of nowadays societies. Including the western societies and maybe even more in the western societies. However, those faces are always smiling – weird, isn’t it?

Then … oh well … then there are the opposites: the gods – or better, those who clearly have the God complex – those who in reality have so many cognitive biases that their hypotheses are just ideologies, which are light years away from the facts. They are those who no matter how complicated the problem, they have an absolutely overwhelming belief that they are infallibly right in their solution. They are those who want to tell everyone globally how to lead their lives. They are those who really believe they are gifted with the divine flame of the knowledge of what’s better and what’s worse for mankind. If you notice, you often see an unsettling smile on their faces.

Anyway, these are just my impressions – opinions are my own.

Now as I was saying about gods of the era we live in – one of these gods, in my view, is the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. If it were for the person itself, it wouldn’t matter to me, he would not exist at all in the scenario of my life, with all due respect to him and my best wishes for his life. Of course, my opinions are never meant personally – they are only directed at what he does since he is a public figure. Sadly though, what he and his dear friends are doing can affect the lives of all – and as you have surely realized I am not the right man to do as the Titanic orchestra, which continued to play until the end as if nothing was happening, as the ship was sinking. I’ve read what he writes and I had to ask myself: “But do I really want to live in a two-tiered global society ruled by a few? Do I want this for my children and theirs?

Hell, no!

So call me suspicious but in my mind no mere coincidence that the head of the WEF who’s the creator and writer of the so-called “Great Reset”, addressing the youth a while ago said: “Waves of lockdowns and stresses, of finding work or returning to workplaces, have even amplified the existential and often silent mental health crisis … So, what should you do?… You are calling for the international community to safeguard vaccine equity, to respond to Covid-19, and prevent future health crises – And gently shaking his clenched octogenarian hand, leans in: ‘’Nobody will be safe unless everybody is vaccinated’’.

Honestly, how am I supposed to believe anything this man says??? I mean, especially with all the things that have been revealed after they started to blow the lid off.

You see, I am not affected by “banal practicality”, sheer conformity, or fear of going against the grain – and I’m not even one who cooks all the time the soppy sauce of “nothing but beauty” at all costs. I always celebrated what is beautiful in life, I always tried to inspire people to look at the bright side of life – I love to laugh and make other people laugh – but if we constantly say that everything is wonderful – we end up ignoring reality, we turn away so as not to have to look at the things as they are – but it’s understandable. The number of so many bizarre things (to put it mildly) that happen in the world is so shocking and spectacular that we deliberately ignore reality, without asking too many questions, either to ourselves or to others. It’s an efficient mental self-defense system. But if you don’t ask questions, you learn nothing.

I understand the arguments of others – but I’m not a prisoner of the concept of not needlessly confronting whoever one is beholden to, who pays one’s salary, who one depends on for position, for professional accreditation, etc. I am absolutely out of this – I’m not blackmailable because I have no one to please but myself.

I say what I think – and I’m sorry but frankly, all I see in the WEF executive chairman’s behavior, is a sort of two-faced attitude – I read words that seem to come from Emmanuel Lévinas (French philosopher 1906 – 1995) who said that when man meets the “other”, his nature can only inexorably force him to take responsibility for the other’s existence – and at the same time words that seem to come from the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre (French philosopher 1905 – 1980) who said: “hell is other people” ‘- that in a nutshell sums up the French post-war existentialist thinking, nihilistic, pessimistic and materialist.

3. Am I missing something, or something doesn’t add up?

This gentleman argues that the dominant social and economic paradigm after World War II, in crisis for some decades, has now reached the point of no return. Only the conversion from shareholder capitalism to the stakeholder capitalism of the 21st century will allow “capitalist societies to survive and thrive in the current era, characterized by climate change, globalization and digitalization”. The proposed “solution”, however, seems precisely an ideology rather than a solution – and in my view, goes in the opposite direction to the desirable one, further aggravating the evils that it is supposed to cure.

However, I did some digging – and it is not that simple, and here is why. In his recent book “Stakeholder Capitalism: A Global Economy that Works for Progress, People and Planet”,  the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF) says that the current social, economic and political model is over. According to the WEF leader, the first signs of this crisis were already evident in the 1970s, starting with the 1972′ Meadows Report which identified the limits of development in excessive growth of the population with respect to available resources.

The documents and programs of the last half-century, materialized in the various UN Conferences focused on the so-called “sustainable development” – from the Brundtland Report of the “World Commission on Environment and Development” (WCED) of 1987 in which the notion of “sustainability” came up for the first time – to the “Paris Agreement” on climate that took place in 2015 up to the approval of the “UN Agenda 2030”, in which “17 Sustainable Development Goals” are defined.

Well, in my view, within this document is clearly recommended a kind of neo-Malthusian system as the most effective vision, to be implemented, in order to manage the world, in which the initial focus on the inadequacy of resources and the economic growth model gradually shifted to the alleged negative effects of human being on the environment. What does “neo-Malthusian” mean? Mind you, please, this step is not trivial since it carries the key to everything.

Thomas Robert Malthus (1766 – 1834) was a British economist – according to him, the main cause of misery is the fact that the population tends to increase faster than the means of subsistence. In particular, while the population tends to increase in geometric progression, the means of subsistence tend to increase in arithmetic progression. However, population growth can be delayed by repressive restraints such as wars, epidemics, and famines or preventive restraints such as moral restraint. The latter, to which Malthus exhorts all men and especially the poor, consists in a voluntary limitation of births through abstention from marriage. Malthus, therefore, proposes to adopt all measures to discourage the birth rate and to abolish the “law on the poor”, since charity is an incentive to increase the population.

In 1996, two scholars, Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees introduced the hypothesis of the so-called “ecological footprint”, which would measure the negative impact of man on the Earth by means of a complex indicator periodically updated by the WWF starting from 1999.

Well, no need to beat around the bush – for the obsessive “green” ideology dominant today, the population is undoubtedly considered the main threat to the very “health” of the planet, down to the smallest details, even beyond the usual theme of the alleged imbalances between population growth and available resources. A spontaneous question arises at this point, or maybe more than one: “So what do we do?” We all leave, to go where? Or do we all become like obedient robots or let’s kill entire populations? What should we do?

The inconvenient truth is that the concept of “sustainability” clearly refers to a cultural frame that comes from far away, hostile to life and the natural family, even if, obviously, not everyone is aware of it.

I’m not religious, but I can’t help but notice what Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” said – he never spoke of “sustainable development” that I remember, but of “integral human development” which, after all, is in my view, the only truly “sustainable” development, even on a material level.

All too often we forget that development is always a human development eventually, therefore also integral. That’s why today the social question has radically become an anthropological question – for this reason, in the face of concrete man and his problems, ideologies and abstract concepts of any political color take a back seat – in fact, the problem is not only liberalism, socialism, ecologism, capitalism, but the question relating to the truth about us humans in order not to fall into empirical, pragmatic and dystopian visions that are completely detached from human values and above all from human essence. I personally think that only integral human development means progress.

We can talk for years about who’s to blame for all this – but my impression is that we have thrown common sense in the trash and that’s why we have now people nuttier than a fruitcake who speak about terrifying theories and want to impose them, like it’s the most normal thing in the world. We are to blame for allowing this culture to exist.

Anyway – let’s move forward. My opinions make no difference.


Massimo Scalzo
Massimo Scalzo
YOU MIGHT SAY that Massimo advises big and small companies, entrepreneurs and individuals on how to craft digital strategies that get tangible results from their tactics. Which is true. You might even agree with few german managers who called him “gute schlepper” (good tugboat in English) because of his inner strenght of pulling people toward visionary and positive goals. However, neither of these statements would be completely true. The truth is that from his childhood, Massimo was fed and watered to be someone who relates to people, is constructive, multilingual, loves the life and looks at the future. And the most amazing thing that came out of his attitude is the ability of conveying the same feeling to others For nearly twenty eight years he traveled and worked in management consulting in eight countries. His thoughts, notions, ideas, speaking engagements come from more than thirteen years as an entrepreneur and fourteen plus “on the road” for Touche & Ross, Deloitte and PricewaterHouse. On his path, he learned a great deal about customer-driven strategy and transformation, digital marketing and design thinking, working on behalf of a-z roster of clients, e.g. IBM, BMW, Frost & Sullivan, SAP, Oracle, Fiat, Salesforce, Accenture, OpenMinds and many other SMEs in several countries and industries. Massimo lives (as much as he can) in the greater Frankfurt area in Germany. He loves his two kids, Massimo and Amelka, more than anything else.

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