We are all born into systems created by our ancestors. Systems designed to guide our behavior vis-à-vis others and to prevent uncontrollable chaos. Courtesy of the paradox of freedom. These systems guide, or attempt to govern, anything from finance to production to trade, and the diverse swath of social interactions within them.
The ideology of a system
However, the problem with many systems is that they age, run out of applicability, and fail to continue to address the needs of a changing society adequately. They become dislodged from their founding ideology, had an improper ideology, or worse, were never attached to one.
Try this: ask anyone you know about the top-level ideology of The United States, and the stunned silence or confused answers will astound you. With the hesitation of an employee not being able to convey the business model of the company he works for. A bad sign that will define his and everyone else’s contribution.
Without a good understanding of what ideology these systems support, why they exist, or how they must change to meet the needs of change, they have been feverishly copied around the world and made pervasive and undeniable.
For example, our most powerful system, financial asset management with a bulging size and finite life-span of eleven times the size of production, has been copied and implemented worldwide, void of a sound ideology that supports and protects the evolution of humanity.
The examples of such eroding ideologies are everywhere:
1. The ideology of our federal government must be severely questioned when vulnerable seniors in Detroit are about to lose part of their pension check as a result of the city’s bankruptcy protection. Why is there no federal “too big to fail” for pension funds recipients who saved all their lives for that supposed security? Why do we value ailing banks more than “ailing” people?
2. The ideology of our society must be challenged when 27% of children in more than one State of the United States do not know where their next meal is going to come from. Can we just confidently dismiss that deplorable statistic as the product of “lazy” parents?
3. The ideology of economists must be questioned when their invention of classical economics and all subsequent renditions of them, do nothing to support the evolution of humanity and turns the marketplaces to which they are applied by design subprime.
4. The ideology of our President must be questioned when he only bailed out the banks from the debt crisis, yet not the opposing participants of the same subprime transactions; the people who borrowed into the same false premise, and who are now left with debilitating credit ratings for the next 7-10 years. Of course, economic recovery will be stifled.
5. The ideology of SEC must be questioned when it allows for supply and demand of stock to trade using different rules and offers unique favoritisms and access to fast traders, so fundamentally different from regular buyers of the stock. A blatant violation of equal market access.
6. The ideology of the FCC must be questioned when it allows mobile carriers to sell locked mobile phones, unable to roam on competing networks with identical protocols. And thus, in contrast to why protocols like GSM were invented, it prevents mobile carriers from competing on their core competency, allows them to build walled-garden access, and prevents consumers from having the best and most universal phone service value available. A service that can sometimes decide on life or death.
7. The ideology of finance must be questioned when it systematically deploys ten levels of oligarchic and embedded diversification that is not held to the same marketplace merit as the assets to which finance is applied. Turning financial asset management in a musical-chair game of avoidance of risk, rather than the prudent deployment of risk commensurate with the discovery of innovations that can indeed change the world.
8. Apple’s ideology is broken when it deploys AppStore economics in blatant violation of free-market principles, and thus artificially manipulates the free-flow of demand and supply of artistry. And no Apple: goodwill and philanthropy is not the process of donating money to Red Cross aid for the Philippines or AIDS in Africa from money you saved from the deployment of modern-day slavery in China.
9. Google’s ideology must be questioned when its primary source of revenue is derived from not disclosing to its users how search results are manipulated on a grand scale by advertising dollars. Creating a false truth of enormous and self-perpetuating proportion nobody but Google can make sense of.
10. The ideology of travel sites like Expedia, Travelocity, etc. must be questioned when flight destinations or stopovers only show up when the site has special arrangements with the airlines to do so. Closing routes to consumers who falsely believe they have the world at their fingertips.
A new, master ideology
Many people curtailed by an economic religion from the past, blame, and question the people or the events leading to the breakup of the systems perpetuated by these ideologies, as witnessed by a flurry of flaming and wandering off-topic comments I receive whenever I syndicate these kinds of articles to social networks.
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” — Eleanor Roosevelt.
The prospect of economic recovery looks grim when we get bogged down in trying to repair all the systems that are broken. Instead, we must focus on the idea to fix the root-cause and overruling ideology that determines their fate.
In business-speak, The United States of America does not have a business model that is viable or renewable, nor does it have citizens who know, respect, and adhere to its stated ideology. A company without a business plan is lost in the woods, and so are we as a country, along with the rest of the world who faithfully followed in our path.
A new way in is the way out
Anyone willing to trace back our path going into the woods, and asking the tough questions why we built the systems we did, will like I did begin to discover that we violated a single ideology. And when reversed, it will lead us out of the woods.
Everyone can reinvent our future when we are prepared to leave our past behind.
I did the hard work of endlessly questioning and demanding exceptionalism in its most absolute form. And hence, a new idea was born, a new normalization of economics. A single overruling new ideology that will serve to establish the guard rails for all its underlying systems, in one fell swoop.
One that treats all people with the respect they deserve and maintains a healthy equilibrium with nature we depend on for survival.