Quite a few events in life happen in which success claims many fathers. But when you look closer and understand the facts, underlying that success are often special people who succeed not because but despite the indoctrination of their forefathers.
Always question authority
For one, groundbreaking innovation is dependent upon the ignorance and protest of the opinion of our forefathers, or at least the majority of them. Not because all of our forefathers were necessarily wrong, but because the majority misinterpreted (not unlike the telephone game) and merely regurgitated the opinion of their forefathers who may at one point have been right. In other words, the descendants of those who deployed an unquestionable, and uncalibrated arbitrage were often pontificating (a common problem with downstream thinkers).
For that reason one should always question authority, not necessarily to prove the opinions of our forefathers wrong but to ensure their fresh legitimacy in this day and age. And to re-establish the validity of merit that is needed to make a lasting positive impact on this world.
The past is wrong, by definition
Economic, social and financial systems are the derivatives of the opinions from those who came before us. Those systems are deemed to be valid to those who come after and often remain unquestioned (but here). According to the above-described telephone game, those systems are by definition regressive and become increasingly ineffective. Not just because time changes, but because the merit of ancestors was underestimated, taken out of context, misinterpreted or wrong.
And when we detect deficiencies in our systems, we begin to tinker with the outcome. We artificially constrain unwanted behavior and artificially stimulate positivity to solve a problem quickly, and to score quick personal points without regards to the spiraling ramifications long-term. For decennia, we do so until we find ourselves with no more quick buttons to push that change our economic outcome.
The future is right
It should come as no surprise that our children, as they grow up, do not look up at us, and certainly do not want to follow in our footsteps. We have deployed opinions that in most cases appear to be untrue, and we have implemented economic and financial systems that deliver artificial advantage or disadvantage based on that ill-conceived arbitrage. What we leave our children with are systems that are poised to hold them hostage in stale and mediocre compliance, often for the rest of their lives. No wonder they resist.
We should not discount the opinion of our children (at the right age) who in search of developing their merit, recognize that the systems we set up for them have lost their relevance. Because only from those who disagree with the status quo can emerge the potential for a brighter future.
So, between the few of our ancestors with righteous desires for freedom and the implementation of a brave new world lies a minefield littered with economic “geniuses” who brought us the economic malaise we face today, and who seem to have all but disappeared in offering a viable and pragmatic economic path forward.
We remain a resilient people because we still harbor the most ingenious global entrepreneurial capacity:
- Despite that, we have implemented our forefathers dream of a free-market economy as a silly laissez-faire implementation of an economic free-for-all, void of the regulations that make every participant adhere to and be protected by the same definition of freedom.
- Despite that, we allow the arbitrage of our implementation of a “meritocracy” to be in flagrant violation of free-market principles and artificially (and cunningly) constrain the dynamic range of the definition and recognition of such merit.
- Despite the overwhelming sub-priming of venture capital (along with other financial systems), the few entrepreneurs who escape its wrath prove capable of producing the socioeconomic value that continues to change this world.
We have succeeded despite our flawed economic implementation of freedom. And now is the time for us to develop a new, more disciplined frameworks so our capacity to innovate can excel, not despite, but because of it.