After World War II, America settled down to a comfortable life and much of the world started to rebuild. Using the industrial models that defined the times, including the war, the entire process was described in terms of developing a “consumer economy.” The main economic function of people was to consume what industry produced, guaranteeing profit and growth. It was dynamic in that money changed hands rapidly, yet static in the view of where capital comes from and how it was used.
As more nations developed the process was expected to continue. But it did not. Societies, particularly in Asia, found many reasons to save money and develop themselves and their families for the long haul. This has been a critical change which, when applied properly, makes market based systems work even better.
This is also why a true market based system focused on people has to emphasize investment over consumption. It is a big part of the definition of People’s Economics, as this continues.
A world which depends on technology is a world which depends on skills. The word technology literally means “the study of skill,” and the acquisition of new skills defines a developing economy. There can be little doubt that the skills and ability to implement new products, processes, or systems is what will continue to define a technology driven world.
This is a matter of people, not money. It is at the core of what People’s Economics, the process of increasing the value of the greatest resource of any nation on earth – the drive, skills, and connections of its people. It is the second of the Five Points which define People’s Economics.
The election is over. The results will still take a lot of sifting through before we know exactly what has happened, but we do know that both parties have a stake in government now. Democrats took the US House, several legislative chambers, and six Governors offices. Republicans held, and even strengthened, their grip on the Senate.
This is going to be gridlock. But for Democrats, there is a very clear way forward that will point to a successful 2020 and beyond – possibly for a whole generation. It’s a matter of growing leadership and strengthening the position of problem solvers who work for the people of this nation.
I will get back to defining People’s Economics shortly. It only matters more after this.
Electino Day is 6 November. There is likely to be a ‘blue wave” that will change the US House and many statehouses to Democratic control, but the Senate is not likely to change. The net result is almost certainly going to be entrenchment and gridlock, meaning that nothing is going to be done for the next two years.
It’s important to take a break from the description of People’s Economics to consider why this is likely the case, and why the repudiation of Trump will not be complete. The short answer is that while America would like to move ahead in a different direction, it simply has not been properly defined.
Market day. The open stalls bubble with activity as vendors show off their products. Small handwritten signs tell you what it will take to make them yours, but you know that’s just a starting point. You can offer less, especially to the quieter booths away from the activity. But have cash on hand to make the trade quickly once you have a mutual agreement on what everyone considers fair.
That’s the common view of what a “free market” is, and it’s something everyone around the world has experience with. It seems perfectly natural, an essential part of being human. It can’t possibly need interference from other people to make it work, can it?
Yet as the world comes closer together, the definitions of nearly everything wind up befuddled in language, definitions of fairness, and sometimes the simple lack of a personal connection.
While there is little doubt that rapid change in technology and connection is putting a strain on the world, the path forward is far from clear. Many people want to move backwards, at least in connection, and place barriers between people.
That impulse is understandable. History shows us, however, that the world has nearly always moved forward in learning,skill, and connection. A look backwards is a look at the ghosts of the past staring straight back at us, their future. They saw progress as a way to a better life.
There are problems to solve, however. People’s Economics is based on finding people based solutions for a better life to these problems. And so the Five Points can be described in terms of the reasons for anxiety about the future that is racing towards us.
Futurists and economists often spend a lot of time contemplating the systems and hardware of the world unfolding around us. The promises of the information age, quantum computing, Industry 4.0, and many other well laid plans are expounded on at great length by enthusiasts with imagination. Yet in all of this, there is something usually missing, something incredibly important:
How is the world that is coming going to work for people? How will it help us all have a better life?
We can see fractures already. Economic systems which bring prosperity do so at a large cost in nature and workers. Families are under strain from changing times, yes, but largely due to demands for more and more work at greater distances. Automation takes away much of that work, bringing more misery than comfort. And the prophesy of abundance is a chimera.
Correcting this is what People’s Economics is all about.