To begin with, I am not an anti-capitalist, certainly not until it is used in a good and wise measure; something like salt is used for seasoning our food! Of course yes, you know what happens when we have excess of salt in our food, don’t you! For that matter excesses of anything aren’t really good most of the times! This piece is to help us take a pause and ponder if we have actually breached that tipping point and gone past a point of no return wherein- societal compulsions are driving societies towards the edge of a cliff form where no one gets back!
Let’s step back into the last three centuries; the beginning of the 1700s is where we start; As rapid advancements and breakthroughs occurred in science and technology around the new world (Europe and US), coupled with ample resources at disposal- it was a few good people who took an initiative to lead and channelize this massive energy of human ingenuity through setting up large factories and these bygone temples of modernization – on whose foundation the world of today stands! It is the story of these geniuses and their tenacity to create a better world in terms of amenities/ products/ innovations and ease of living for everyone around with a focus to make things affordable as much as possible in the earlier flourish that brought about a promise of good times for the subsequent decades. Certainly there were spikes here and there; accidents, mishaps, health emergencies, natural calamities- all of that was there;however society prevailed and overcame each time with more resilience and grit to ensure that past mistakes aren’t repeated and the the focus on the future is not lost!
As long as these doyens of yesteryear’s, kept the focus on churning out gadgets, products that served society and at the same time uplifted the standard of living of all stake holders in a manner that was equatable to the contribution made- everything seemed fine and the new world was on a roll. Even incidents like World War I and II did only dampen the momentum for a decade or so around the war times- but soon systems bounced back and kicked in with greater vigor to wash away the additional negative burden that the wars caused with bring in more creativity and innovation to make lives even more better! So what changed at the beginning of the 21st century, where did we go wrong?
Things started to slide when ingenuity, larger interest to serve the communities lessened and was replaced by a personal greed race coupled with the insatiable ability to manipulate political power and policy. This I believe is the foundation on which all modern day corporate malice is based upon! I don’t want to sound judgmental here and leave it to readers wisdom and discretion to decide when an act of greed was OK and when it was Not OK- but the point here is quite simple- every time when you have a blend of business power tagging along and manipulating the political power through impacting policy in the interests of the business owner rather then in the interest of the community or society- the ancient equilibrium is broken and this imbalance starts to manifest all around us in one way or the other and things then head for time bound decay!
Let me simplify this for you, remember that old steel plant in your neighborhood that came up, how it provided everything from a school, to a medics to an entertainment centre- shopping arena and life was good in general. Then one day you start learning- about new machines which can perform more then what the workers could and over the next few years you learn how- there is a new steel manufacturer somewhere else who has been able to offer better quality and price to the government and how this plant can no longer compete and has to either be sold off to this competitor or has to go bust! Well when you read in between the lines- it is something that is happening right in front of you- within your blind spot – that you have missed picking up! If the business did make money- how much did they invest back into the society- how often and in what proportion to the gains made! Well, certainly I am not suggesting a structure where all profits must be given back into the society- but the keyword here is equatable sharing of the profit- in line with the effort table- when this goes amiss- something is wrong and that thing- can be anything- ranging from tough political alignments of the owner to just a sudden collapse of being able to manage a business that had started off as a family owned set up which just outgrew and simply couldn’t be managed anymore!
In the modern day context, we have ample examples- just take a pause and look around- you will find these mushrooming companies that get launched day in and day out- seldom most of them make it beyond the third year andif they do by the time they enter the fifth year- they are bought out- either by choice or by tact- so what’s happening- who is controlling- well get a little closer- earlier when jobs were created- the jobs had meaning – well a welder was a welder and a Shop floor Supervisor was a “Shop floor Supervisor”- now in a era where everyone is a MBA and everyone is a Manager- guess what there is hardly anyone or anything to manage- most of the jobs are typically clerical and routine cloaked in the garb of business designations and labels that do nothing more then giving a steroidal boost to your ever hungry ego- so when the going gets tough for the business (read discord between big players/ politicians/ bankers/ investors- gain read here global market manipulators) your business card doesn’t stand a chance- for the simple reason- that actually you were not doing anything! A simple test that I often ask my clients when I coach them (especially when they are all fired up about their visiting card- “Is what you do unique to who you ate- or can that be done by anyone having an equal qualification and or experience?” if you have answered “Yes” well it’s time you get priorities of your life realigned for the next set of lottery tickets which help people move out may well have your name on it!
So what’s the point here- Well the point is simple and there for you to observe and experience- Once capitalism and businesses begin to sub-serve their stakeholders in context of the efforts put in by stakeholders; this is the first signal that greed has overtaken and based on where this hoarded profit is been pushed (whether to placate the political systems or to hoard family wealth) the systemic collapse will start to take effect eventually from thereon! So what can you and I do about it? – Well nothing- not unless we have the power and authority tom ensure rules and regulations are made to manage this loophole– until then the only sensible thing we can do is Be Honest- with yourself- Know your real worth- in terms of the money that you make- the designation that you have and the unity of command and span of control that your enjoy! It is never too late to say NO to an offer which provides you a designation which does not make sense and offers you money that doesn’t justify your effort! It starts from this point and when empowered and awakened individuals rise with they can propagate these values which can also help repair systems from within!
I leave you here, grab your drink and take a pause- know where you stand on this horizon where businesses and the world meet and impact your next sunrise!