Going by the daily news headlines, I believe, most of us have started to wonder if the global human society is heading in the right direction. And it’s not easy to see through the chaos and disruption. But this is not an accident, also accidents don’t happen on their own just like that. There are always an underlying reason or reasons for any accident to have happened or occur. And it is by knowing the reasons that, we learn to understand the causes of an accident, as a way to improve a system, whatever that might be.
Our society has been sleep walking into whatever it is going through today. And going forward, there is a likelihood that, the current arrangement maybe falling apart, creating serious unrest. I other words, in the next 50-years, we may not have a society as we have come know it. This is no longer a radical thought, but a real possibility, and it’s one of the reasons why, the rich and the famous are busy preparing for such eventuality, be it by buying a bunker or a remote island, or preparing to move to another planet. Who knows, they have probably lost faith in human resilience?
Having said that, maybe they understand well that, the current systems aren’t working well at all. Most of us are used to two competing ideas around which we have organised the economies of various nation states. On one hand, we have a market driven approach, where we expect a free market to deliver peace and prosperity, but so far it hasn’t. Then on the other hand, we have an approach which is quite similar to a religion. It tends to be quite tempting to start with, but always fails to deliver the end result aka the God, or in other words, forever peace and prosperity, in case of socialism.
While I do find myself favouring capitalism over socialism. Over time, I have also realised that like any infrastructure, capitalism has capacity problem. It isn’t designed for unlimited growth or demand. For capitalism to be efficient, it needs an optimum level of demand. It can’t serve everyone with the same quality forever. And it is one of the reasons why, more and more people living in capitalistic society are feeling left behind, while a very small percentage of the population in the same society, continue to immensely benefit from the system. So to counter the increasing inequality and imbalance, some people are finding an extreme version of socialism quite tempting. And this tussle has created the society to rift further apart.
People are increasingly getting entrenched in their views, and electing leaders who they believe reflect not just their thinking, but also speak for them. It is one of the reasons why leaders who tend to be on extreme right or left are getting elected or heard, because they seem to be speaking to a very willing audience. And those occupying a centrist position are the ones struggling to make sense of the ongoing chaos.
Leaders who lectured on social morality or ethics failed to recognise their shortcomings, by ignoring the warning signs, or sometimes simply playing the self righteous game. So there is enough blame to go around. The question is, do we let the society fall apart, or is there any way to make things better.
Being an optimistic, but also a realist, my own view on the subject matter is somewhat complicated. For example, contrary to the popular view, my mind is of the opinion that, leaders like Trump, as a side effect of their disruption, might have in fact bought us a bit more time, to solve the problem facing our society. I would take disruption and chaos over possible civil wars and unrest. The fight between extreme right and left will continue, and it should. We need to allow people to have their say. Even if, the leaders they choose will create turbulence. Criticism of their views will only be counterproductive. At least, that’s my own view, and I have seen ample evidence, to be convinced that, it’s more or less an accurate reflection of the society.
The winds will change directions, no matter what. If a product works only for 1% percent of the population then there is clearly an issue with that product. You cannot simply keep dismissing those 99%, who aren’t seeing any benefit from capitalism as soar losers. Also the idea that, a society can get everything for free forever as championed by extreme socialism is quite simply a fantasy, and it goes against everything that the nature is. Everything in nature has a shelf life. And no system can last forever.
Inclusive progress isn’t easy, as the idea of progress differs from people to people. The idea of organising large groups of humans living together while sharing a common bond, be it a nation state ; religion; language or culture, has worked so far, but it has also created rifts. There are increasing signs of divisions within similar culture ; religion or nation for that matter. And as human population grows, so we will the rifts.
So the obvious question then is, do we find a way to control the human population, or create a new narrative to condition the larger human society as a whole. And maybe the answer is yes to both. Not only that, the disruption and chaos is also an opportunity, to change the overall status quo. It makes sense, to look at ways to change the way we do global trade, or how our financial markets are currently designed.
Creating a new human civilisation on a different planet does increase the odds of the survival of the entire human species, but we also need to work harder, to preserve the species on earth while we have the chance to do so. The markets; religions or the nation states are all human ideas, and they will have to evolve with time, and not all transmission of change is seamless or smooth, so sometimes there will be turbulence. Those who fly know that, turbulence is part and parcel of flying, and it can be quite scary and threatening at times. And people who can see the big picture will most likely end up making better investments decisions over time. That’s also at play.