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Most constitutions around the world have been drawn up for the first time somewhere in the 18th or 19th century. They were concieved to govern a country based on basic human rights. This was needed because industrialization and human issues created enough conflicting complexities, such as the need for health regulation, education, poverty policies, fair division of wealth, etc. The level of humanistic idealism in those very first constitutions reflected a sincere focus on humanitarian balans.
A friend (Henrick Fabius) shared recently his draft university promotion paper with me in which he analyses the development of the Dutch constitution from its first edition in 1798 all the way up to now. He worked out four cases: education, health care, economy and democracy. He confirmed in his paper what I had already detected and written about through my living experience and subsequent awareness development: our State today is constitutionally failing.
It was a great relief for me to see such extremely well documented paper that backed up my own emotional and rational practical awareness. Even though his paper concentrated on the specific case of the Dutch constitution, I could easily draw the line internationally. The dates and local circumstances may vary but most countries have now failing constitutions and States, a problem that goes far beyond a financial crisis. In fact they are both very strongly related now.
The orginal constitutions show remarkable wordings that basically place the human being at the center of attention. The wordings had been carefully chozen back then in the late 18th century as to avoid misunderstanding about what the constitution was really about. Subsequently, as governance was formed accordingly, the constitutional revisions started immediately and introduced wordings that reflected the gradual replacement of the human being by a system.
When for instance the very first constitutional concern was public health (clearly a challenge because of the highly polluting factories that affected the health in all developing cities back then) the constitution was gradually changed into “health care”. That is a huge difference. The first was proactive (health first) the latter consequence drive (systemize the curing of illness). This change would have a huge impact on the development of a society. The same occurred in every point of government attention.
The system introduction was nearly immediate, starting only years after the first constitutions were drawn up, reflecting a worrying gradual tendency of governance to develop the desire to control and regulate rather than to take constitutional responsibility. It was a very slow process that over time got to the explosive situation of today. A recent study of various commissions of state, that have the responsibility to control the functioning of the State itself, agreed that the current governance has grown very distant from the human being. In fact, current systems of laws and policy-making deal with issues that have nothing at all to do with human progress, on the contrary, they even block progress systematically.
This is a very serious matter. When the constitutional rights do not protect the human rights anymore what do they protect? The entire discussion is now about money and the working of the system of power and control of financial and economic systems. Back in the 18th century the original debate was necessarily about human values, now, 200 years later, it should be again. We still find those old values back in the books but they have been surrounded by money and control based dependencies and priorities that take the attention away from the original humanitarian purpose.
Even though democracies have established systems of control to evaluate the working of the State it is the first time we are confronted with the serious failing of our governance and constitutions. How do go about that? Can you fire your own constitution or governance? Or put the country on hold until a new one is formulated? In the 18th centuries the people involved started from scratch but now we have a globalized structure of dependencies and systems of power that are reluctant to let go. The current governance is lead by financial crises and economic interests, not by humantarian needs, yet it has the power to rule a country from which it is disconnected.
Two worlds have been created, the unreal world of the financial based system, governed by those who have control over it (banks and governments). And the real world of the every day human being which sees how this unreal world destroys all its sustainable securities, socially, ecologically and even long term economically. There is a new governance growing in the streets and city quarters where people get organized against there own systems, claiming their rights to develop a living starting again with basic needs, not even consumer luxus.
This is a dangerous situation. The system wants to uphold itself but the populations demand freedom to experiment with a new progressive society. The points of stress are showing around the world as pressure builds up against the system. Money has reached a glorified status that many still worship but those who have nothing to eat or place to live get organized to obtain what is really valuable to them: their original basic constitutional rights. If the system does not let go to place the human being again where it belongs the public claim will become confrontational and severe. We have reached a state of chaos that is unprecented caused by 200 years of undermining political processes against constitutions through systemizing regulations and modifications. No one seemed to notice until now. Now the big challenge is, how do we put things right again?
With sustainocracy I give it a try but get (logically) blocked often still by pure fragmented financial power positions backed by legal structures. Change occurs bottom up in society itself and can go much faster if the system starts allowing it to happen. I ask people who have institutional leadership positions a direct question “what responsibility do you take? What you were hired for? Or what your own human consciousness expects from you?” They need to anwer this for themselves often still finding backing and reward by the system’s wrong constitution.
It takes guts to address the system from within as an executive, if you know you may loose your job by doing so. Yet we, independent citizens, have nothing to loose and can take responsibility by asking those who are in power to be brave and use their authority to transform their organizations. I do so by taking a responsible independent sustainocratic seat among them, asking them first to join me from a human consciousness point of view. Then I ask them if they would challenge their institutions too, to take responsibility too for human progress.
In AiREAS (environment, human health and city development) I managed to get local government, certain business leaders and scientists to shyly take a position with me. By doing so and asking for commitment in which human interests are placed at the center, we find all legal system impediments that block us to do so. I take then the opportunity to challenge the system, all the way up to the constitution to eliminate these obstacles for the sake of human progress.
We find 200 years of system develop that needs to be revised and modified. Using sustainocracy we can do it in practice, with arguments, bottom up, involving law students, universities and individual people to do what the big power system itself is not capable of doing itself: redesign our own constitutions and with it the governance of human society of the 21st century.
When we place business development in the context of a content economy and focused on sustainable progress, it develops some very unique characteristics that are very different from what we know from business today. The era of industrialization has taught us how to produce products in standardized manufacturing processes in local competition. Globalization has made us efficient in these processes adding supply chain management, open border competition, cost optimization and consumer marketing to our business processes. Modern communication techniques with the end users has changed our life with constant consumer information on choices that we can make among seemingly equal products. The global productivity and consumption has eventually become so speculative that it has crossed some natural lines of the acceptable introducing a totally new paradigm for business too: business that does not use humankind and our planet but starts serving it meaningfully.
It is very interesting and logical that the transformation of business and society both coincide in time and space. They both depend on each other and both enter in crisis together, even influencing each other in that. So far they evolved together in the era of material growth to support the money driven processes of centralized power structures. For many years the financial balance of consumer growth was higher than the consequences of overconsumption in society but this has changed drastically. The costs of our imposed lifestyle have become structurally destructive for our health, vitality and stability affecting directly the stability of the economies as we have all been able to witness for years now, not to mention the climate and resource issues that keep us busy too. When an economy cannot grow anymore it will have to base its existence on different parameters. When we start working on a content economy based on sustainable progress business necessarily has to reposition itself as a consequence. It has become a chicken and egg issue. What transformation comes first? Business or Government?
When I started to become aware about all this back in 2001 I was convinced that business would have to take the lead in the process of change. Entrepreneurship is in my view the creative spirit of humankind, the type of institution that is always ready for change to outwit competition and position itself on a winning track through foresight and proactive vision. So why hadn’t they reacted long before the credit crisis created the first chaos? Well maybe they were not so entrepreneurial after all.
And I did not see democratic government to become the motor of change either because they are elected by a population that want the same as before and no change. Sustainability is a great hype but far away from the individual who may feel responsible but not really powerful enough to make a difference. If you ask a people to choose between a tree in the rain forest of Brasil and a pack of money they will go for the money. The tree is far away and the money can be touched and used. Politicians that promise the sky in financial stability and conservative continuity have everything to win in elections by manipulation of the public conservative mind, placing the responsibility of disaster on individual lifestyle and not on the system that they try to keep up with capital injections.
But now things have changed. In the money driven economies business entities became like speculative banks run by financial experts rather than creative entrepreneurs. For decades they would have had an opportunity to position themselves in a global shift and take the lead. But now the consequences of the money system have dug so many holes in the governmental budgets that it is politics that is taking the lead in looking for change while everything seems to crack under their manipulative feet. While capital injections are still being used as main instrument to keep processes going, the public is increasingly becoming aware of the giant flaws in the system and governments are frenetically looking for alternative solutions behind the scenes. Europa has every chance to fall apart temporarily due to the budgetary crises of all the members of the union and the deep debts they get into over the backs of their populations. They are forced now to look at the other values that keep the European Union together, other than the financials. How about social cohesion? Security? Immigration? Wellness? Partnership or Competition between the members? But nothing can be done to avoid the bursting of the large economic bubbles and governments need to react now by taking proactive actions for the first time thinking of true values rather than fake money. How to compensate with 80% speculation in the currencies that hold up the old economies? You cannot let go and cannot hold them up.
We still hear calls for economies of growth but they do not grow anymore, they deflate under our noses because there is nothing anymore to sustain them. Governments are not ready yet to adopt the strategy for developing a content economy but they are close. They will have to open their eyes to reality and place a big cross through their finances and concentrate on social and government innovation. Banks and stock exchange represent no value anymore just insecurity and speculation. They should not be listened to anymore.
Meanwhile the business executives are still concentrating on squeezing their financial sponges trying to make a short term positive impression on their greedy and blind stakeholders. They lost the opportunity to take the lead when they still had a comfortable financial basis. Now they get to deal with rapid declining public spending and a rapidly changing consumer attitude to personal safety measures. Sustainable progress is not a competitive issue but one to take corporate responsibility and reposition the company accordingly. That takes time and above all, it takes the shaking off of the short term pushy attitude of speculation to start concentrating on true meaning. Large corporate entities are expected to fall fast and have no executive backbone to deal with it. We are facing a fast shake out of old executive power positions by real entrepreneurial new comers in the field. The credit crisis brought a financial crisis to the markets and a collapse in business that produced in turn a collapse in government finances. Now the government instability and remaining bubble in all financial institutions create the next business collapse which will again have a domino effect on everything else. Our economies of growth have ceased to exist. It is over. Back to the drawing boards, not just business or government, everyone.
As explained in my previous blogs the content economy is based on a society that has no economic growth but a quest for the highest (100) level of public wellness in which the population (business and public) is challenged to maintain it through constant meaningful modernization, experimentation with sustainable progress and adaptation to external influences and (un)expected natural challenges (s.a. climate change, lack of resources, natural disasters, etc). In such a community the business development is not related to product sales or competition on price, availability or quality. In a content economy people tend to search ways of being independent of external power positions through a high level of self-sufficiency in their own productivity for their own needs. Lessons learned from the centralized power positions of the old business paradigms were that they had the power to speculate with shortages to raise the cost price or even cut people off from supplies all together. This was in cases immoral and even lethal for large groups of people living in poverty around the world. The morality could not be questioned when the culture and paradigm justifies such behavior. The only natural counter reaction of populations in fear of being cut off from supplies or perceived abundance is to become either angry, invest in self-sufficient or search for alternatives that are abundantly available. This is a natural process that eventually turns into a content economy where the population has the higher purpose to assure their own living standards by being productive and inventive themselves. People have no problem in laying off excess external material wealth if they can keep control of the basics of their own quality of life. They tend to take responsibility fast. We have seen the capacity of organization of populations against their dictators. There is no reason to assume that they will not do the same against financial or other dictatorship when the time has come.
Such a population is entrepreneurial through all their members as all interact together to produce sustainable progress for their ongoing wellness. The satisfaction of being able to decide for oneself is of course very high and the social interaction makes progress a challenge for the entire community. This works fine for the productivity that requires average knowledge and physical abilities. Social innovations are introduced through the free, purpose driven interaction within the community but when we wish to introduce technological innovations it has to be related to the results that we want to achieve.
The very first thing for technology to evolve is that there has to be a motivation to invent anything new, meaningful. Military encounters have mostly been the trigger for the inventiveness of humankind creating tooling to kill or defend. In ancient times the worshiping of Gods has also been a stimulus to find solutions to the challenges of building huge monuments. So our fear for shortages, for each other or for the unknown has been an ancient engine for innovation and technological progress. Now that we have reached a point that we can eliminate fear by using and implementing technology for abundance in all content driven wellness communities there is a potential lack of motivation to invent anything new. This in my view is not entirely true. Also now we face sufficient challenges to innovate and implement it:
1. Result driven entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurship that is developing is one that concentrates on the effects of innovations on human wellness, not the innovations themselves. Within a holistic approach any change would have to be positioned within the local complexities of the human organization. This means that the technological supplier will have to become so adaptive as to include the ability to modify the innovations to suit the integration in an unique local situation. Every change induces new changes and this works both ways. The challenge of the innovator is to become as motivated to change as the community introducing new wellness aspects all the time. They become local partners and learn to work together.
2. The sustainability issues of a growing human population in a content economy are not related to sales of novelties but the modification of the existing within the context of environmental challenges. The competition is going to change into the level of access to natural resources to sustain the content economy. Even self-sufficiency is an entrepreneurial challenge that requires the wit and innovative powers of a community to enable them to maintain a high level of wellness. There is no reason anymore to produce goods and services in a globally centralized way because this leads to speculation and vulnerability for all involved, even the power position. But producing local for local self-sufficient securities is to be learned and needs modification of national and regional jurisdiction and mentality. Getting the public involved again in producing their own needs creates commitment and investment of local talents and energy but also a new business elan that helps community to become self-sufficient instead of selling them the goods. Business that serves people and our planet will become booming positioning themselves as partners of local government and the public rather that self-centered structures driven by their dependence on obsolete money and sales of products. The latter are facing a hard time to come. It is all a matter of attitude.
3. Technology is abundantly available to challenge us to look beyond the horizons and confinement of our planet Earth. We are already undertaking exploratory voyages to nearby planets for scientific purposes but in reality we are looking to see if we can expand beyond the confinement of planet Earth. We can become much more ambitious when we decide to work globally with the content economy as driving force. Wellness and sustainable progress has also an evolutionary component and our fear of disappearing as a species because of our local vulnerability by our cosmic dependence on a small rock in space can get us to invest in such purpose driven progress too. We would not need a war or confrontation to advance but the sense of responsibility to prove to ourselves that we can live and work properly and in peaceful progressive harmony in a small place (Earth) to validate our journey into the vastness of the universe with the highest awareness and wisdom of a conscience.
Key in any ambitious content economy is that entrepreneurship is a way of progressive life with genuine, sensible purpose as key motivators. There is no need for money in such environment since value is measured in wellness and abundance that is maintained through the investment of talent and energy of the population itself. If therefor these ambitions are raised it is the population itself that gathers the talents and means to achieve it. Creativity, intelligence and purpose driven energy of the human being in teamwork is endless and the most important asset of humankind. Being paid back with wellness and evolutionary progress is probably the most satisfying salary that one can achieve simply because it is the direct fruit of one’s own efforts. If a value system needs to be put in place then it would most certainly have different characteristics that what we know today. It would value our talented contribution to the end result.
From a business point of view the human world is wide open for those who are willing to join in with no strings attached to the old hierarchical formats. A new era of cooperative, result driven, innovative entrepreneurship has started and governments are opening up to partner up, not for the sake of economics but for sustainable human progress. No one is in the lead now, we are all in the same mess and share the same opportunities. Let’s go for it.
Using the word “economics” in the sense of valuing the progress of a human society (business, politics, global) we see that economics of growth prove unsustainable, potentially risky and certainly due for a total make-over. From a stability point of view we do not want economic growth as this leads to speculation which in turn leads inevitably into situations of crisis. We need to concentrate on the true values that make up an economy and keep growth to zero. An economy of 100 needs to be an economy of 100 next year and in a hundred years too. The real change should not be occurring in the size of the economy but in its content.
In a content economy is valued by sustainable progress not by growth. It should stay at 100 on the pre-established scale of social and environmental wellness. In such economy any long term savings in pensions and securities are stable as the valuables do not change over time. There is no need for speculation as no growth or inflation needs to be compensated. The key value of a content economy is its capacity to change continuously, providing lasting value in progress triggered by the natural ever changing circumstances of a progressive community that experiments with its evolution. The true and only growth that can be seen in a content economy is in know-how, human awareness, scientific knowledge and social interaction focused on maintaining and enhancing quality of life through constantly applied innovation along the lines of sustainable progress. The economic thermometer stays at 1oo if the society is capable of balancing genuine quality of life with the any changes in life expectancy, human health, our natural environment, population growth, usage of natural resources, footprint, etc. The true attention goes into co-creative ongoing adaptiveness of the community by being inventive, progressive and truly aware. Such content economics produces wellness by connecting personal talent and co-creative productivity to personal enjoyment of life and insight about human complexities. People in such content economics do no work but contribute, feeding the upcoming generations with the reflections of the generations that fade out.
In business we have see the talent of the late Steve Jobs and Apple to excel in content economics by being inventive, adaptive and focused on technological progress. The recent article of Adam Hartung in Forbes is an excellent reflection about the difference between conservative speculation of unsustainable economies of growth (Kodak, Microsoft, etc) and the sustainable content economy of change (The Apple of Steven Jobs. What will happen now that Jobs is gone?) in the paradigm of technological excellence. The same kind of leadership can be applied to societies and politics.
From a selfish human perspective the milking of the cash cow until the cow dies is perfectly natural human behavior. Why change anything that produces wealth? From a sustainable progress point of view it of course shortsighted to assume that the chicken with the golden eggs will live forever even if you kill all new born chickens for a while out of fear of competition. One cannot beat progress, only delay it at the expense of severe crises. During times of war people are more creative than in periods of economic growth. Crazy. In content economies people have an incentive to be inventive: sustainable progress. In economies of growth they don’t.
That is what we see occurring around the world today asking for immediate attention in the field of content economic in politics and business. The problem is of course that Steve Jobs is gone and among the world population of 7 billion only very few are strong, visionary and capable enough to provide the leadership that is needed to address the necessary changes. But they remain unseen for now. It is much easier for those in power to bully with force, conservative power and injections of fake masses of money over the back of our future without any collateral, just to maintain old power positions than to open up for a true mentality of change. Yet there is no other way for them then to let go or history will accuse them and every day we make history now. The current stress in the economies of growth is so large that they break up anyway. Instead of being stubborn and focusing on growth the global political forces would do good to inject the billions into applied innovation and an economy of content rather than the current actions of throwing speculative means into a black hole of nothingness that leads to disaster, depreciation of money and inflation right up to a crisis.
Instead of worrying about exchange rates, inflation, debts and stock values, let us get exited about change and use our incredible level of knowledge to provide excellence in wellness around the world. There is plenty of work for all in the content economy, now and always. If you really ask yourself what content economy is just remember family prime time and the way you generally interact at home for progress. Most families, especially those with children, reason at home with content economics in their minds while in their jobs or on the street with the economy of growth, just like the politicians and business executives, because that is the culture we live in.
Currently the social, political and entrepreneurial content economy, if we introduced a system to measure it is way below 100 and potentially volatile. A lot needs to be done to get it onto track, on individual level but especially in the way we run our human organisations.