April 27, 2012

Why Economic Recovery is the Worst Thing that Could Happen Right Now.

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 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 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.

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

But people get blinkered by the culture and environment they find themselves in. Whenever you employ a system of beliefs, whether it is about science, politics, religion or economics, you have to delete and distort a lot of information in order for the system to work or make sense. The same goes for the idea that capitalism and competition are good for us.

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 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.

In the universal product cycle, 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. Many incredible organisations started and got a leg up during recessions; think Walt Disney, Wikipedia and Google.

Businesses of the future in the transformation age 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

In light of this, owner cooperatives will be playing a major role in the new economy. It was the beginning of neighbourhood assemblies that led to workers taking ownership and reopening factories in Argentina after the country went bust obeying the dictates of the International Monetary Fund.

Their slogan was ‘Occupy. Resist. Produce’ and they found jobs for 55,000 people in over 200 owner occupied businesses.

Research is showing that cooperatives are more productive, grow faster, increase the number of jobs, are more resilient and people stick with the cooperatives longer too. They enjoy the feeling of ownership. The top down hierarchical business model is a thing of the past, how long it takes for us to realise and act on that 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, environmentally sustaining and personally fulfilling.

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

Questions to ponder:

1. Who could you combine your talents with to produce a whole new service or business?

2. Which other lone entrepreneurs could you connect with locally for mutual support?


Editor: Tanya L. Markul

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