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.
One great new idea is not going to set up a system that will make us all happy. Changing times mean a changed relationship between people, especially if they have any hope of mastering that change before it masters them. I often joke that economics is sociology with a way of keeping score, and sadly it is the score that is far too often emphasized. The zeal to set up systems has led far too many deep and careful thinkers to consider money, not people.
An economy that emphasizes people first is not a utopian dream. It is the antidote to dystopia, a world enslaved. Much of what has to be done is already well known but bottled up in narrow ways of thinking that present one great system, one intellectual package, as a solution.
The great “isms” of the world are simply dogma from the past.
As John Maynard Keynes said, “Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.” This is as true now as it was a century ago. There are many great perspectives on how to solve problems available to us, but each is part of a greater whole.
The first step is to simply stop. Let’s look at this from the perspective of people and their ability to master this world first.
There is little doubt that the development of skill is the limiting factor in the development, production, and implementation of technology. Indeed, “technology” itself means “the study of skill” and is defined by this. But what is necessary to acquire these skills? What is necessary to master their combined effects? The answers to these questions are nothing less than the answers to questions as to whether technology makes the world into slaves or masters.
For the past year and a half, I have been researching and studying carefully what is clearly breaking in our world, why it is breaking, and who might have come up with an answer. I have my biases, of course, so this may not be complete. It is most important that a dialogue start on these topics.
I have also put together stories which illustrate the points made. Economic systems are made up of statements and a lot of math, but people need stories to connect to. Stories of people like W Edwards Deming, Malcolm McLean, and Edgar Codd who changed the world. Stories of ordinary people who came together to solve problems and make a better life. Stories of people persevering and making it all work.
But it has to come together somehow, and that’s where we have to start. A strong definition of the elements of People’s Economics, barring a better name for it in the future, has to hold the center of these stories together. And so with much consideration, that is what we will start with.
People’s Economics is a social, political and economic system which is based on:
- Open Markets, which are:
- Transparent, and
- Personal Development, which is:
- Continuous, and
- Leadership oriented.
- Investment, including:
- Social Equity,
- Strategic Development, and
- Dynamic Stability, which is:
- Resilient, and
- Connection, including:
- Cultural, and
This is not about government or laws, but rather an outlook that will require dedication from a wide variety of people and their institutions. Indeed, outside of some regulation and investment, the role of government can be made small. It doesn’t even require a democratic republic to be implemented, although that would help and is probably the eventual outcome.
People’s Economics can be used by people all around the world in varying stages of development to craft a better life.
In the coming days, I will discuss these in more depth. I also need to put together a greater presentation, one that is about half done. It may be in the form of a book or something which can make enough money to keep this project going.
But this is the greater definition of People’s Economics as it stands now. And I would love your comments.