Many often cop-out from working to resolve problems by pointing a finger and blaming humankind’s greed and stupidity. Giving up definitely avoids having to take responsibility, but it makes it impossible to solve the problem. “We can only swim to shore if we try”. In reality history is a succession of improvements in our capacity to comprehend the world and adapt to it. That is what we do. Greed is simply an imbalance of ambition, which is what drives progress, and stupidity is just a result of poor education or plain ignorance. Both things can be resolved.
The reason why we are in this dire state is that most people are unaware of the following 6 very important facts.
1. The Common Good is bad for business and vice versa.
It’s hard to accept but it’s quite simple really: Both involve fulfilling needs. If the Common Good fulfils the needs than there are no markets for business. Business requires needs to fulfil so it tends to create new needs (markets) instead of reducing them (flooding the market). Who would buy an orange if every street had orange trees?
2. There now is plenty for everyone to live a life of luxury in a Gift Society
Automation allows us to produce very much with very little work. We now produce plenty for everyone and if we share and organize our use of resources, things and spaces, there is more than enough for everyone to have access to all the best technology, service, amenities and pleasures. The future is here. The only reason why we still work for a living and fight over things is because we have been doing so for so many millennia that we have made a habit of it.
3. Collaboration is how we grow and evolve
In order to justify lack of empathy involved in business competition, we have looked for other examples of competition in nature and missed the forest for the trees. Our bodies are a colony of multiple species of micro-organisms living in symbiosis and society is the product of people living in symbiosis. For one to truly use nothing made by another person, one must live like a cave man or Tarzan. “We stand on the shoulders of giants.”
4. What motivates people is mastery, autonomy and purpose.
Sure, to get people to do something you want them to do you have to either pay them or convince them. Paying them is quicker but science has shown that for creative tasks that involve the human aspects of the brain, money is more of a deterrent. People have a need to feel accomplished, only people who have been broken prefer to simply avoid difficulties while waiting for their death. To get people to do what THEY want, all we have to do help them do it. What truly motivates people are getting better at an ability, being able to choose what to do and feeling important by having played their part in something much greater than themselves.
5. Now with birth control population pressure is no longer a problem.
The need to find food for an ever growing population has always been a determinant factor pushing physical, social and technological evolution. All animal populations go through cycles of flourishing and death that are usually in a dynamic balance of a predator and prey. Since we are the highest predator of the food chain we inevitably and tragically became our own predator to stay in balance. The present dog eat dog society we have today is still based upon this premise. Finally, after many thousands of years, technology of birth control has freed us from this terrible situation. Of course, most people still don’t realize this and it is up to us all to let them know.
6. Every single one of us is extremely powerful.
People single handedly have planted entire forests, restored ecosystems of valleys until their springs flowed again by steadily planting a seed day by day over years. A change of direction of 1º may seem insignificant but 1000 miles down the road you will reach different town. The acquaintance of the acquaintance of the acquaintance of the acquaintance of your acquaintance is my acquaintance for sure. We are all connected by 6º of connection so a simple idea can literally reach the whole world in a week simply by word of mouth.
The article How to Catalyze a Paradigm Shift to a Collaborative World goes into more detail about this.
One of the key books on this subject is The Best That Money Can’t Buy by Jacque Fresco. Please read this pdf!