Can we solve the sustainable prosperity paradox?

n553084054_1498931_518530We’ve arrived at the perfect storm of economic, environmental, social and political challenges aimed squarely at the status quo. Much of the industrial era type work is falling victim to technological unemployment. Add to that the problem that business as usual is usually bankruptcy bound and best practice is often an ecological disaster, what can we do to solve the apparent contradiction that is sustainable prosperity?

A hundred years ago, the 99% were entrepreneurs and it looks like an entrepreneurial revival is the only thing that’s going to make life prosperous again. There is a common misconception that an entrepreneur is a label for somebody who creates new businesses, when really it’s a set of behaviours. Entrepreneurial skills are innate but are industrialised out of people from an early age by top down hierarchical management systems. This process begins in the education system, continues in the workplace and is reinforced by the social, economic and political systems all the way through life.

But entrepreneurial skills can be relearnt or more correctly, unleashed again because those skills are lying dormant everywhere in society, waiting for the right environment to flourish. These skills can be utilised within pre-existing organisations to produce innovative new products, services and businesses or for creating new ventures altogether.

I call the traits of entrepreneurialism the ‘If in doubt…SOAR!’ complex. As Einstein pointed out, you can’t really solve a problem from the same level as the problem was created, so if we’re going to solve the sustainable prosperity paradox, then we’re going to have to rise above our current thinking. Entrepreneurs see something in their environment which they can improve on and get stuck in.

Entrepreneurial thinking can uncover fundamental Solutions which transforms current behaviours. In order to do that it helps to be Open minded so we can gather new information, collaborate and cross fertilise ideas so we can come up with innovative ideas. Adaptable because we may have to experiment with a few different potential solutions before hitting the jackpot. So in order for us to get through the challenging times, we must be Resilient, constantly researching and rebounding from setbacks until we succeed.  But if we’re not mindful of the values behind the behaviours or operate in an environment which promotes scarcity and exclusion; then entrepreneurial behaviour can lead to less than healthy consequences.

Research has linked the behaviours displayed by drug dealers as being similar to entrepreneurs. A former drug dealer whose luck had run out with the authorities, transferred the skills gained from his former career into a software accountancy package which became hugely successful worldwide. But it’s not only the drug dealers of the world who get customers addicted to their wares for the sake of profits.

 

Another example – other than the obvious tobacco barons – is the food industry. They experimented with the addictive qualities of sugar and fats, then loaded up their products with them. To maintain profits they’ve created an obesity epidemic.

CEO’s as a group have indirectly killed more people than all the terrorists in the world ever have and will continue to do so unless there is a transformation in business thinking. Chilling thought isn’t it?

They’re easier to pick on at the moment because they’ve gained so much notoriety, but ‘Banksters’ practically brought the world economy to its knees, by disguising toxic deals, purely for financial gain and presenting it as financial ingenuity. Who says crime doesn’t pay?

Sustainable practices are often side-lined in favour of dodgy, profit – driven, behaviours when greed and materialism are hailed as the highest values. Entrepreneurial skills alone are not enough, for as social psychologist Paul Piff noted on a recent TEDx talk; “As a person’s levels of wealth increase, their feelings of compassion and empathy go down, and their feelings of entitlement, of deservingness, and their ideology of self-interest increases.

Ego is only scared of two things. Not getting what it wants and paradoxically getting what it wants because then it suffers from an instinctive fear of losing ‘it’ again. So when a person or group gains a foothold up the slippery pole of success, they desperately cling to that position, status or situation. They do this by creating delusionary systems, processes and one-sided ideologies to rationalise their behaviour and support their monopoly. Moreover; most successful ‘entrepreneurs’ hailed as heroes whom we’re urged to emulate, stopped being entrepreneurial after their first big break and become institutions so as to protect their wealth.

Big business grabs the biggest slice of the subsidies available, then spends all it’s time working on how to increase profit margin, often at the expense of employees, customers and the planet’s wellbeing. This means 80% of new projects flounder from a lack of resources. The present economic and political systems have got it back to front, barely supporting ‘honest’ entrepreneurial activities any more than they do illegal ones.

It’s believed that people fear change. The truth is that people in business change all the time so they can maintain the perpetual growth fetish. But as Kenneth Boulding observed; “Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist”. Perpetual growth much like cancer, is impossible to achieve on a finite planet unless we want to destroy the host. But corporate consultants and politicians, even now, still promote the ‘sustained growth’ delusion to secure your money and your vote.

But the truth is we can’t just point a finger at the drug dealers, fat fixers and debt peddlers and tell them they’re wrong.  This behaviour is found in every level and sector of society. It’s easy to criticise, in fact many people have made a career out of doing so, only to fall into the same fur- lined trap. Making a business out of a problem just ensures the perpetuity of the problem.

So what’s happening here?

It appears we need another enlightenment because all the various ideologies and theories are just stepping stones to the reality that there is a Universal Product Cycle, reflected in human evolution and behaviour; and it’s the only game in town. Business leaders borrow ideas from either end of the capitalist- socialist spectrum whenever it suits.

Universal Product CycleFor instance; new businesses have to compete for a place in the universe, we call this capitalism. If they survive the high infant business mortality rate, they become organised. Conforming to the rules of the game but also systemising to make ‘doing’ business simpler as the demands get more complex. We call that kind of behaviour, socialism. Systemising to support the status quo and increase certainty, soon reaps more rewards.

So the bureaucrats begin to take charge and the business gets bigger. Organisations drop innovation in favour of maintenance and ultimate control by a few elites, we call that communism. The leaders derive feelings of security and status by consolidating their position. Ego is driving the whole process and the organisation becomes less effective, systemises to the point of stagnation and in some cases people begin to bend the rules in their favour.

There will however; always be a point of change because that’s what evolution does. Stuff happens; maybe a threshold point of growth is reached or new innovations challenge the status quo.

Another way to look at this is to imagine floating in a boat in a river. The river is fast flowing and exciting. When you’ve been travelling a while, it’s tempting to drift off into an eddy for a break.  So there you are drifting around feeling quite safe and comfortable. It soon becomes boring but you’ve succumb to the feelings of certainty, the river looks a little scary now. So you’ve become trapped comfortably uncomfortable in your comfort zone. Unfortunately for you, over time the river has been slowly meandering in another direction. You’ve not noticed the small changes. Then one night a flood shifts the river’s direction completely and leaves you cut off in little pool. The pool you’re left in soon dries up.

The good times don’t last forever just as they are. We’re good at deluding ourselves into believing that we can hold back evolution at just the right spot that suits us best. We’ve no more control over the economy than we have the weather or evolution. Remember the Dinosaurs?

The best we can hope for is to learn how to get into step with what works best and continually evolve. We’ll be sailing then putting to harbour, but then setting sail again, not getting caught in the ego’s trap of favouring one strategy over the other. We’ve gone and got ourselves stuck on our evolutionary journey. But the truth is that we can easily solve the challenge of sustainable prosperity by relearning what Mother Nature has to teach us and living in flow with some immutable universal principles.

Everything in nature has an optimal size, is mostly fractal in design, diverse, resilient and very efficient if left to its own devices. A rainforest is far more productive than mono-crop ploughed fields. The rain forest achieves more with less. We also know from direct experience that as technology evolves, it also does more with less not through cutbacks, but by becoming more effective. Established organisations however, mostly plough another field or add another blade to a razor and call it innovation. “Like the old Daz… but brighter!?”

All life cycles have a start and end point which include a series of transformations in between, either towards the complex or back to the basic. You can achieve sustainable success by continuously developing innovative products and services which achieve more with less and letting go of the obsolete. The more business leaders transform their way through the Universal Product Cycle effectively, the quicker we’ll get to both sustainable and ecological prosperity. If the purpose of a business are clarified, i.e. what is it really we want to achieve? Business leaders may begin to realise that perpetual growth may not always be the most effective way to achieve sustainable success.

Of course we need a new breed of entrepreneur which I call ‘Enlightened Entrepreneurial Leaders’ or if we want to be tongue in cheek about it…. ‘Business Buddhas! They are highly connective, collaborative and encourage contribution from everybody. Being enlightened liberates us from egoic fear and delusion; basically it’s seeing reality. It’s understanding that productivity lies within and amongst us. It’s about being able to self-determine your state and maintain focus. It’s a journey of lifelong learning, purpose and compassion for self and others.  Able to walk the fine balance between entrepreneurial innovation, maintaining in the good times, and letting go where appropriate, or as Buddha called it, taking the middle path.

Business Buddhas promote wisdom and wellbeing in the workplace. They see that there is no separation between ecology and business; building diverse, local economies where possible. They see every stake holder relationship as symbiotic, supporting supplier and customer prosperity as if it were their own because they understand the interconnected nature of a sustainable economy. Doing business which unleashes more human potential, prosperity and is good for the planet, is simply doing ‘good business’. This modus operandi should be the aim for all organisations. It will inspire engagement and ownership if the team feel like they are contributing to an ideal, bigger than the company and they will be more able to spot and take advantage of opportunities.

This is how we’ll solve the sustainable prosperity paradox. Although this threatens the status quo, early adopters are already paving the way.  The only limit to sustainable success is the imagination. We need innovation over consolidation, collaboration over competition and we need to escape the myth of perpetual economic growth and replace it with sustainable prosperity. The first step is to teach people how to navigate the Universal Product Cycle more efficiently. Then we need to create systems in which more people are able to contribute; unleashing their purpose, passion and potential so we can co-create a world which is a socially just, environmentally sustaining and a personally fulfilling place to live. It’s radical but achievable and its coming, making business a force for what the term economy originally meant. Concerned with managing the home.

There’s no such thing as small change…

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library

I remember being told as a young child that it was important to eat all the food on my plate. I later realised that this behavioural trait came from my grandmother. During the Second World War when food was rationed, my grandmother would have implored her daughter, my mother, to eat all the food on her plate because of the scarcity of supply.

Even though the war had been over for several decades, the behaviours learnt during the war were still influencing me, generations later. Research has suggested that this kind of behaviour has influenced the rise of obesity and the protection of farming subsidies in countries that don’t particularly need them anymore. Fear of scarcity past is promoting behaviours which are not relevant in today’s world.

Now we’ve experienced The Great Recession new adaptive behaviours will have been etched into the psyches of people everywhere. Moreover, those behaviours will be reflected in generations to come. They might not be all negative, just part of the overall transformation that is happening across all sectors of business and society.

Will banks ever gain the people’s trust again? Their facade as conservative bastions of financial prudence has been blown away, likened today to casinos being run by ‘Banksters’. No amount of legislation seems able to stop them finding ways around the barriers to business as usual.

Alternative media sources are highlighting many discrepancies within existing social contracts. Politicians gaming the system to acquire financial benefits, energy companies fixing prices, phony wars being waged to secure resource and security contracts in far off lands. And now the pièce de résistance, the latest economic bubble has tax payers paying for the privilege of having their own secret agencies spy on and lie to them. Is it any wonder that people’s perspectives and beliefs are changing?

In a recent movie about interns at Google, recently redundant salesmen, Billy and Nick, whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world, try to prove they are not obsolete by talking their way into jobs at the giant search company. Whilst the two heroes make light of a project failure, one deflated but aspiring Google geek informs them that a quarter of the kids coming out of college can’t even get a job. Jobs of a lifetime are definitely on the endangered list:

“That whole American dream you guys grew up on, that’s all it is now, a dream.”

The movie doubles as a propaganda piece for Google and of course doesn’t touch on the downside of working within an ultra competitive environment but does portray the scarcity of such jobs. Relying on dream jobs appearing on the horizon is neither a long term nor clever career decision unless you’re connected to the right circles.

As a result, people are becoming accustomed to a new era of self reliance combining more meaning and freedom. Daniel Priestley, in his book Entrepreneur Revolution believes that we are leaving the industrial age and that:

 “What’s about to take place is a revolution. Everything as you know it will change in the coming years. The nature of work, lifestyle and wealth is all about to change.”

A hundred years ago the majority of people we’re entrepreneurs, so in effect, with the huge loss of jobs to technological advancement and globalisation, the economy is revolving back around to having more entrepreneurs and micro businesses. In Wales UK, a recent piece of research found that 98% of businesses were small businesses and a vast majority of those were micro businesses.

Big corporates and globalisation is an evolutionary experiment, it’s brought some benefits and also some negatives. Knowing which is which and having the courage to act on that knowledge are going to be desirable skills moving forward.

How the Great Recession has affected behaviours and will impact us in the way we work and live going forward will be hard to determine precisely. But if you’re starting a business or promoting an existing business, it helps if your product or service is highly innovative, heroic, and principled or that you’re hoping to service the rich.

Being highly innovative makes your product a must have tool for making your clients lives easier or more entertaining. Heroic in that you’re picking a fight with the established, less ecological, less socially just brands. Or principled in that you’re able to promote how your products or services are healthier for the client and or the environment.

On the flip side, the expanding ranks of billionaires worldwide are creating a new market for servants for the super-rich who have remained unruffled by the recession but require overt displays of wealth and status to make them feel secure. Billionaires creating their own fiefdoms however, are not likely to create enough work for the majority so don’t think selling your soul is going to be easy either. Trickledown economics rarely happened and it’s less likely to today. Goldman Sachs, probably the most powerful investment bank in the world and much hated in some sections of society, received 17000 applications for its internship programme, of which it accepted only 350.

“For the first time in history it is now possible to take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. All humanity now has the option to become enduringly successful.” ~ Buckminster Fuller

To operate successfully in a way that is personally fulfilling, economically prosperous and socially just is going to take a new level of understanding of the complexity of the new world we’re creating. There is an increase in technologies such as mindfulness, compassion and wisdom being promoted in places like Silicon Valley.  If you combine that with the growing popularity of the Wisdom 2.0 conference and with Google initiating meditation classes for its workers, (although as some have pointed out, not for the original reasons meditation was invented for),  it gives you some idea of where to look for this new style of enlightenment.

The three ingredients of economic transformation…

011I fell in love with learning later in life so as a result I was often found with my head in a book. Whilst working as a consultant on leadership and peak performance, my boss said to me. ”Martin, you know lots more ‘stuff’ than I do because you’re always reading and researching, but the few things I know very well, I can apply to lots of different scenarios.”

“To know ten thousand things, know one well” ~ Miyamoto Musashi

From that day forward I set forth on a quest to uncover knowledge that could carry the human race to the next level. Years later, after much searching and study, of whittling away the superfluous and adding the necessary; I eventually uncovered the three ingredients we most need to transform our lives and the economy. Wisdom, compassion and courage are the three essential ingredients.

The wisdom is that there is a universal life cycle that applies to everything. If we don’t all understand this then we’re destined to carry on making the same mistakes. Wisdom is counter intuitive logic. If the decisions you’re making in business today feel natural, then you’re making decisions based on past experiences. Doing Wisdom feels uncomfortable and it only becomes comfortable when it’s been applied many times; by which time you’ve reached a higher level of personal development.

Our outer world is a merciless reflection of our inner world, not in some abstract sense; but literally. If I tell you a story, you’ll create a movie inside your head. Now we have televisions and movie theatres. Our brain is complex and adaptive like the internet which many consider to be our brain on the outside. Our evolutionary and biological life cycle is also expressed in everything we do. Our relationships, businesses and the economy all follow this same path. Once understood, we can begin navigating the path more effectively.

“Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one.” ~ Marianne Williamson

 The second ingredient is compassion. Our society is in the adolescent stage and it’s time to grow up. This age is characterized by 1C (competing) and 2C behaviours which are controlling and conforming. We’re either competing to be in control or conforming to the hierarchy we find ourselves in much like the adolescent stage hoping they will accept and look out for us.  I’ll let you into a little secret. ‘They’ won’t because to really help you they would have to set you free and make themselves redundant in the process.

Technological advances and our potential for personal development, freedom, collaboration, creativity and compassion are already colliding into the systemic limitations of our 2C world. Politics has become pointless, religion rendered redundant, the environment’s endangered, the economy is exhausted and capitalism corrupting. If we don’t develop the ability to not only feel how our behaviours and self interest negatively affects others, but do something to transform the situation, then we hurt ourselves in the long run.

“Being wise selfish means taking a broader view and recognizing that our own long-term individual interest lies in the welfare of everyone. Being wise selfish means being compassionate.” ~ Dalai Lama

It would be preferable to move towards a 3C world in which we’re connected, collaborative and all able to contribute to the whole. Free to pursue our life purpose with passion and mastery; making the world a more socially just, economically prosperous and fulfilling place to live.

Big MindThe final ingredient is courage. Fear begins with a question: “Will I be okay?” When we ignore the question the fear grows, attacking us just when we least need it. Like all lessons in life, challenges are repeated over and over until we either collapse and disappear overnight or truly ‘get it’.

This is evolution at work and we ignore it at our peril but it will take the courage of a peaceful warrior to transform ourselves, the economy and the way we do business today. To follow the path of wisdom will feel uncomfortable, but transformation is coming because it always does.

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Why economic recovery is the worst thing that could happen right now…

keep-calm-and-business-as-usualThe economy is in turmoil due to the fact that we have been using a system to regulate wealth and resources that people do not fully understand. Nor do they have the inner resources to control the system equitably. It’s not that capitalism is wrong per se, it was a necessary step in our evolution as was socialism.

But what’s the point of being slaves to a system which nobody has absolute control of? Which destroys planetary resources upon which we all depend on for survival, whilst keeping human ingenuity and technology, which could solve so many problems; restricted? Of course those at the top of the financial hierarchy would prefer to see business as usual return.

The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation –    Lord Bertrand Russell

People get blinkered by the culture and environment they find themselves in. Whenever you employ a system of beliefs, whether it is about science, economics, politics or religion, you have to delete and distort a lot of information in order for the system to work or make sense.

It is like cramming all the ‘stuff’ you own into a rucksack to make it easier to carry. It’s impossible to carry everything, so you have to leave some out. We use systems in the same way to make thinking easier. But knowledge is not immutable and inevitably evolution does its thing and creates more information and feedback which can add to our wisdom and complexity.

And quite rightly so. Wouldn’t life be boring if it remained static and unchanging? But that is in effect what most people are hoping for out of fear of letting go of old beliefs, status and the illusionary security they engender.

The economy is in the regeneration phase. It’s the part of the cycle I call the ‘lessons are repeated until they are learnt’ stage.

Ever woken up with a hangover and said “Never again” only to find yourself reaching for the aspirin again after the next party?

If this present system of economics does regenerate as is, it will just smack straight back into the same limitations that brought it down previously.  Furthermore, we will reach those limitations faster with even more people being forced out of the system into poverty.

If business as usual comes back, then we will have missed an incredible opportunity to innovate and create a fairer world of commerce and society. 

Businesses of the future  will focus on connection, collaboration and contributing fairly to the whole community which it serves.

‘Co-op Capitalism offers a new way forward that reconnects the economy with society and puts collaboration, community and the collective first.’ ~ Professor Noreena Hertz

 The top down hierarchical business model is a thing of the past, how long it takes for us to realise and act accordingly is up to us.

“…every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust and only secondarily on institutions such as courts of justice and police.” – Albert Einstein

Now is the time for enlightened entrepreneurial leaders to uncover their purpose, unleash their passion and create new services and ways of doing collaborative business. Now is the chance for us all to create a world which is socially just, economically prosperous and personally fulfilling.

We have an opening, while the old guard are floundering… Let’s not miss the opportunity!

Making a business of world challenges

Dog Poop Bags...Capitalism's answerCapitalism doesn’t want to solve the world’s challenges, it wants to make a business out of them.

But the real challenge is that not enough of the majority are “being the change in business” that we want to see in the world. Probably because making ethical choices involves making sacrifices and actually doing something.

Would you give up using your smart phone because it might contain ‘Blood Minerals’

Unfortunately we’re all hoping some bright spark is going to come up with an answer that allows everything to stay the same, while the moral dilemmas and environmental challenges neatly disappear. It ain’t going to happen. It’s time for those who’ve lost faith in capitalism to rewrite the business software.

Why should you get involved?

Because lessons are repeated until they’re learned. Moreover, each lesson is more costly and swifter to return. Financial upswings will become ever shorter, the downturns even longer. If it didn’t get you this time, it’s just a matter of time.

Anyone who believes in indefinite growth on a physically finite planet is either mad, or an economist. ~ D. Attenborough

This version of Capitalism hasn’t work for a few decades for the majority; wages in real terms have stagnated at best or gone into decline. Capitalism has improved the lot of a few developing countries, but they will reach threshold points too, arriving there sooner than we did.

We need an evolutionary next step, but what will it look like, how will it work and—more to the point—what will we call it? (Answers on a postcard or at the end of the article.)

The reality is that we need another name for a new economic system, but it could just as well be you who comes up with the name. There are no heroes out there—we’re all the heroes we’re waiting for, so get your thinking caps on.

To help you come up with a name for this alternative style of economy, here are some traits and comparisons to help you.

These are some of the hard choices and differentiators we face if we want the world to become a more socially just, environmentally sustaining and personally fulfilling place to live.

Quality vs. Quantity

Do you need to keep replacing your cheap import TV or laptop with its built in obsolescence or would you be willing to do without until they created a home grown version built to last and easily upgraded with new parts as opposed to having to throw away the whole TV just to get the latest version?

Ethical vs. Exploited

At the moment a lot of developing countries are coerced into producing cheap goods or services. Would you refuse to buy anything which is not ethically produced or continue to buy products which often force under-age labourers to work for a pittance?

If you’re going to change the world, it’s going to be very uncomfortable. ~ Peter Joseph

Ecocentric vs. Egocentric

The idea that we should grow perpetually is actually an egoic need. The ego doesn’t like to let go of what it has gained or to stop gaining at the same rate.

As consumers and supplier of goods and services within society, we would have to be willing to forgo some of our own emotional needs and ponder on the ecological impact of our purchase decisions and the way we conduct business.

Informed vs. Influenced

Corporations are experts at managing your perceptions and siphoning money upwards and out of the communities they prey on. Most of the big food corporates don’t support GMO labelling, so I guess that’s a good reason why we should. We need an educated population immune to propaganda and marketing.

Circular vs. Linear

The next economy would insist products mirror the production cycle of nature in that something comes into existence and is able to be reabsorbed back into a closed loop, circular system. The alternative is to turn the planet into a giant landfill site.

Open Source vs. Oppression

The new economic system could allow developing countries to bypass stages of technological evolution. For example, many in Africa have a mobile phone but bypassed the use of landline telephone technology. India and Africa, due to its lack of infrastructure, could actually produce a lot of clean energy, if we shared the technology.

A no-growth economy is a curious creature to think about, but as Sherlock Holmes once put it: once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.~ J. Rowson

Transparency vs. Taking Liberties

We tend to base our decisions of economic viability, without taking into account the “hidden externalities.” It isn’t as cheap or as healthy as it’s perceived to shop in large retail stores compared to buying local produce. Add the packaging which you pay to dispose of, the environmental costs and the time and fuel it takes to drive to a central retail outlet—it soon mounts up.

Balanced vs. Extreme

We can see the damage that too much power or a one sided political or economic ideology or philosophy has on the environment and society. Nature provides her own strategies for remedying such situations and bringing the world back into balance.

Although nobody in authority is admitting that there could be a viable alternative to capitalism, you can bet the answer involves being adaptable, balanced between ecology, environment, knowledge and behaviours.

Cooperatives vs. Corporatocracy

What we do not need are multinational giants who by their very nature are out of touch with the natural world and the world of ordinary people. Cooperatives are currently outperforming regular businesses in so many ways.

Economics is so disconnected from the real world, it is destructive.~ David Suzuki

Purpose Focused vs. Activity Driven

We have all the technological savvy to solve so many of the challenges we face. What we don’t have is the right politico/economic systems or the motivation to make it happen.

In the natural environment dog poop breaks down naturally in a few days.

We weren’t happy with that so now we’ve made an even worse problem. Now there’s dog poop filled plastic bags lying on the beaches and in the dunes (where I live) discarded by dog owners.

That’s capitalism for you. Instead of coming up with a fundamental solution, we create a business out of it, ensuring the perpetuity of the problem. That’s why very little is changing.

Why do we need a one and half tonne vehicle to move from red light to red light?

Innovation vs. Consolidation

All businesses reach a limit to growth so then they consolidate. That’s basically getting fatter and bigger doing the same thing while usually becoming less ecological.

Car companies killed off the electric car because it meant making less profit on selling spare parts.

Apple isn’t really innovating; they’re doing the same as Gillette did with their razors—adding another blade to the razors to make them more expensive and re-launching it as a new innovation.

Real innovation would be to manufacture the iPhone locally and sustainably.

Questioning growth is deemed to be the act of lunatics, idealists and revolutionaries. But question it we must.~ ~ Tim Jackson

Stability vs. Growth

In order for capitalism to work we have to have instability, probably why there are so many wars. There has to be oppressors and the oppressed because that’s the only way we can pursue the perpetual economic growth fetish. One group has to exploit another otherwise you cannot extract a profit from any deals you make.

Collaboration vs. Competition

What’s the point of having ten different television makers all producing different versions of the same thing, competing for the same customers?

We will have to consider the supplier and the client a symbiotic relationship which will involve a level of collaboration rarely seen before. After all, they’re both reliant on each other for survival.

Diversity vs. Monolithic

Without this version of capitalism in place, there would be a healthy diversity of micro-niche, ecological friendly products and services. As it is, we have to discard so much of human potential to fit into a monolithic system.

The money lender was regarded as a predator on other peoples’ misfortunes; the capitalist lender who lives off the fruits of his money, rather than personal efforts.~ William N. Goetzmann

Freedom vs. Debt Slavery

Throughout history ancient civilizations have passed loan forgiveness edicts.

Socrates himself described moneylenders as parasites. Although extending credit was originally a form of neighbourly reciprocity in rural societies, it evolved into something quite different. The technology of finance contradicts the natural compassion that mankind is capable of.

Banks and corporations don’t forgive and are still trying to make broke people and countries pay back what they haven’t got. Of course it’s different when they need the forgiveness.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ~ Buckminster Fuller

 Two-Tier vs. Hierarchical

The distribution of wealth resembles an hour glass. It’s great at the top, getting worse at the bottom, with more and more moving from the middle downwards and into poverty.

The new economy might actually have to evolve separately from the hierarchical system in place today. The politicians and corporate elites won’t let go of power and so an autonomous break away would probably be necessary for a time.

In Bristol, UK, they have even created their own “real” local currency which can only be used within the community.

When you say you’re “gonna throw something away”… where is away? There is no away. ~ Julia B Hill

Climate vs. Capitalism

Enough said really, I mean who wants capitalism at the cost of the ability to live freely and comfortably on the planet?

Technological vs. Tedious

The drive to bring down prices means that there will be more technological unemployment which is a good thing because it’ll force people out of their comfort zones and make them creative.

A hundred years ago most people were entrepreneurs. The future for mankind is about micro businesses  and small global businesses which display the wealth of ingenuity and diversity humankind is capable of and creating an ecologically sound and resilient economy.

Replicable vs. Scalable

When a business reaches a limit to growth instead of growing into a monolithic institution, they will share the lessons learnt to others elsewhere and allow them to replicate their success elsewhere instead of trying to own it all.

Prosperity vs. Profits

Prosperity is more than just wealth, it includes such things as health, wellbeing, relationships, the natural environment, ecology, valued relationships. Now businesses will value these and not just focus on profit which kills off all the things that actually make us happy. The end values will not be confused with the means values.

Inspiration vs. Motivation

Motivation is the moving away from a source of pain or towards pleasure. Inspiration is an inner drive which is usually in pursuit of serving others or to be part of something bigger than ourselves. If we wait for the pain of capitalism to get so bad that politics makes corporate powers act then you can be sure it will be too late. The Arab spring began over the price of bread. It’s either a case of waiting for painful change or be pre-emptive and create a brave new world. It’s your choice.

Can you think of other choices we will have to make to begin the move to a brave new world?