sebuah analisis yang menarik, tetapi memang begitulah kapitalisme dengan pelbagai wujudnya, menyakitkan tetapi masih digunaka oleh banyak orang, tidak ramah dengan lingkungan tetapi bisa meruba formatnya dalam bentuk CSR dan mampu meningkatkan kinerja perusahaan, selalu menimbulkan masalah baru dalam bentuk resesi dan perbaikan siklus ekonomi yang disertai pengangguran. selama belum lahir peradaban alternatif bagi warga dunia, kapitalisme akan terus”bermuhasabah ”
The Capitalist’s Paradox
Consider a curious set of observations:
- What’s standing in the way of democracy might just be politics — parties, Congress, lobbyists, the whole glad-handing, schmoozeful K-street shebang, which seems to exist mostly to subvert the will of human people, and replace it with the wishes of corporate “people.” The best investment a company can make? Try lobbying: its returns can exceed 20,000 percent.
- What’s standing in the way of capitalism might just be yesterday’s capitalists — trying at every turn to stifle competition, squelch information, earn an unfair advantage, and extract value from people, nature, and the future, instead of creating authentic, thick, shared value for them.
- What’s standing in the way of jobs might just be, in part, unions — too often inflexible, rigid defenders of zero-sum thinking, hierarchy, and seniority, agitating for more, instead of working towards better.
- What’s standing in the way of higher quality education just might be schools — whose top-heavy, militaristic management prevents dedicated, talented teachers from evoking the best in their students.
- What’s standing in the way of better health care just might be HMOs — whose overweening concern with profit means that Americans pay the most among developed nations for health care, but have seen the smallest gains in life expectancy (among other measures that matter).
- What’s standing in the way of finance might just be banks — who, not content with blowing up the economy, getting bailed out to the hilt, and poisoning prosperity, are back to paying themselves mega-bonuses for doing all the above, instead of allocating resources productively.
- What’s standing in the way of service might just be the dismal, depressing set of practices known as “customer service” — which we all know is about anything but serving, and a lot more about ensuring the GiantEvilCorp you’ve made the unfortunate mistake of dealing with can batt away your question, complaint, or problem with a disempowered drone reading from a script on the other end of the phone who’s just as miserable and annoyed as you.
I could keep going and point out the same baffling “fist, meet head” dynamics at work in every nook and cranny of the economy, but I’ll stop there. Now, you probably don’t agree with all my bullet points. But I’d suggest that even if you were to scratch your head and agree with a handful of them, it might be a tiny hint at a bigger truth. Economists talk of “barriers” — and here’s my hypothesis: the greatest barriers to prosperity might just yesterday’s lumbering institutions.
What stands in the way of the future, most often, is the past. It’s yesterday’s sluggish institutions. Yet, instead of reimagining and rebooting those institutions, we keep reviving and resurrecting them — zombielike — hoping that by bringing them back from the dead, we can keep the status quo humming along for just a little while longer, that we can eke out the last meager, shriveled morsels of returns from seeds laid down during the industrial age.
If the greatest barriers to prosperity aren’t government deficits, bailed-out bankers, ineffectual civil servants, a recession every seven years or so, corporations who shrug their shoulders and keep on practicing the dismal lessons of business as usual, investors who turn their back on authentic investment in lieu of mere speculation — if all those and more are merely incidental second-order effects of a deeper cause, and that deeper cause is the institutions that keep on producing all the above as predictably, consistently, and relentlessly as it rains in London… well, then, it’s time to dream bigger.
Here’s what I mean. Lately, whenever I step into a boardroom, it’s as though I’ve been transported right back to 2005. The discussions and debates are largely the same. But it’s not the same world as it was yesterday. It’s a world where the essence of prosperity is faltering. It’s a world where yesterday’s tired industrial age assumptions and practices have been thoroughly challenged, and found wanting — and yet they live on, like weeds, in every nook and cranny of our institutions. It’s time to root them out.
So here’s my question: Does what you’re doing have a point — one that matters to people, society, nature, and the future?
Beancounters, listen up. To paraphrase Shakespeare, I come not to praise you, but to bury you. I don’t care about your “strategy,” “business model,” “campaign,” “product,” or “deliverables” (sorry). All that stuff is focused on outputs. What matters to people, in contrast, are outcomes: did this bring a tiny slice of health, wealth, joy, inspiration, connection, intellect, imagination, organization, education, elevation into my life, that lasted, multiplied, and mattered to me — or was its final result merely to make me just a bit fatter, wearier, unhealthier, disconnected, dumber, duller?
What I care about is whether you can change the world, radically for the better — whether you can attain deep significance, and matter in human terms. Why? Because the world needs, wants, is crying out for changing — and if you can’t change the world, a rival who can is going to make your latest, greater so-called blockbuster look mediocre, the people formerly known as customers are going to tune you out, communities are probably going to self-organize against you, and, when all is said and done, you’re probably going to end up at the mercy of hurf-durfing “investors” whose idea of “long-term” is speed-dating on steroids.
So in three words or less, what’s the point of what you do, the products you make, the services you offer? What’s the lasting human outcome? Is it a significant outcome — positive, tangible, perhaps life-changing? Or is it trivial? You are a cause — what is your enduring set of effects in the real world?
To illustrate, go back to my bullet points: democracy, education, healthcare, finance. Those are just a few of the outcomes that yesterday’s institutions are struggling mightily to deliver, and just can’t seem to. Witness, for example, US life expectancy sliding for the bottom 90 percent, right after their median income has stagnated, their net worth has blown up, their jobs have been sliced, diced, and “outsourced,” their public services slashed, and their once thriving democracy reduced to choosing helplessly between a set of bad options every few years.
In a world where yesterday’s institutions can’t deliver the goods — literally, the basic stuff of economic welfare — there’s nothing more valuable than being able to do so: it just might be, as I’ve been arguing, the bedrock of 21st century advantage. Sometimes, to step into tomorrow, you’ve got to let go of the past. It’s never easy. But it might just be necessary.
So perhaps, if you’re one of the people formerly known as the masters of the universe, you should be quaking a little bit in your tasseled loafers. Perhaps it’s time to ask: “Is the final, real-world outcome of all the hard work the very talented people in our organization do a positive, lasting outcome — or does it tend to backfire? Do our outcomes say: “We’re creating a radically better future, in human terms — because yesterday’s best isn’t good enough”? Or do they say: “Here you go. Want fries with that McFuture?”
If it’s the latter, grab your crash helmet, practice your defensive crouch, and prepare to be overthrown.