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.
As discussed previously, People’s Economics is primarily a perspective rather than a political statement. Looking at the world in terms of its ability to create a better life for everyone, rather than simply increase wealth and assume that works out, is the goal. To that end, it has to solve particular problems that loom large as the systems of the world make a great leap forward from Industrial Nationalism to Global Marketism.
What problems are these? They are stated in terms of solutions in People’s Economics, but the problems are what are the most important. These are the Five Points, described as problems:
Open Markets. There is little doubt that an open marketplace is efficient at creating wealth and the best way for people to realize their dreams. But markets are a social creation, not a natural one. They are the result of careful crafting through tradition, agreement, and law. They have known failures that include exclusion, monopoly, and insufficient information.
Markets for goods can fail without much more than a missed opportunity. But the market for skills, the job market, needs to be as open as possible for people to understand what they need to get ahead and then apply themselves to it. A rapidly changing world requires this more than anything. That is why a People’s Economics based system actively watches the market for failures and strives to make then truly accessible for all, transparent in operation, and decentralized.
Personal Development. In terms of mastering technology for a better life, two nations stand apart – Germany and South Korea. Both are defined by the education system, which emphasizes skill development as needed to become high-tech nations. it’s worked. But in both cases, the systems developed are top-down and rigid, never encouraging entrepreneurship.
That’s changing in both nations, as they strive to learn from the United States. All nations can learn from all of these ways of looking at skill development. Rather than an educations system, what matters is a commitment to developing the greatest resource of any nation, the skill and drive of its people. Learning from the nations that made a good first pass at this, it has to include individualized learning to reach everyone, continuing education based on flexible certifications, and how to follow and take initiative.
Investment. The primary investment in successful nations today is in its people, as described above. But it is far too easy to fall back into looking at investment as a matter of money alone. Social equity, or an understanding that we all have potential, is critical for everyone to get along. The scourge of racism and other efforts holds far too many people back all over the world.
Similarly, there is a place for top-down nudges to drive technology forward. These can best be done by investment in the form of public-private partnerships, or at the very least the strong identification of areas that need investment. Lastly, technology has a tendency to outstrip infrastructure quickly, meaning that utilities and government have to have a dedicated infrastructure pool that can be applied.
Dynamic Stability. A system which is highly interconnected runs the risk of being brittle. Offloading risk to the marketplace does not make it go away, but rather means that everyone assumes that. This is where modern risk management like the Black-Scholes-Merton equation falls apart. The role of government and financial institutions has to be to combat this tendency with sustainability, resilience, and innovation.
The principle is a simple one. The world is moving much faster, and like a car on the highway we don’t perceive speed. What we notice are the bumps in the road and the gusts of wind, the sort of thing that happened in 2008. The more stable the platform we are all riding in, the easier it is to stay on the road and not notice the bumps. What we need is nothing less than a system like a car of today which can handle the stress that is not anticipated.
Connection. The world is defined by connection today in many ways. As stated in Connection Theory, the presence of a technology itself increases the rate of technology advance when combined with another new technology. An understanding of how connections make the world work is critical to mastering the advancement of the world.
But it has to start with personal connections. These include social, natural, and spiritual connection to a greater world. We also must connect cultures and seek a greater understanding. Economic connections have defined the global market, and we cannot retreat on those either. Connection is our future, without any doubt. That has to be a part of our conversation and perspective no matter what.
These Five Points will be covered in greater detail in the next blog posts. For now, however, a problem statement is needed to see where they come from. The solutions require details, but generally they are not anything new. People’s economics is a perspective, not a political platform, and it is all about looking at the world in a different way. The solutions to these problems are all known, but the goal of People’s Economics is to look at the world in a different way so that these problems can be tackled for a better future for everyone.