Wise Circles 4: Lessons learned in other crises

The last global financial crisis of 2008-09 shows clearly how we lost a historical opportunity of coherent reforms because, once the authorities believed that the economy was running again, they all abandoned their commitments to remedy the systemic causes of the crisis. Intellectual laziness or incompetence? This time, the health crisis and the new global financial crisis which arrives like a tsunami, provide another historical opportunity we cannot miss. The present situation is naturally more pro-change-oriented for two reasons: on the health side, the crisis is both global and individual. Nobody can escape – and fear already makes people change and open their minds. On the macro-financial side, the fragilities accumulated by the insufficient reforms, the lack of national budgetary and monetary rooms for maneuver, and the accelerating climatic changes, make inescapable the worst global financial crisis of all times, and therefore a return to “business-as-usual” behavior led by the “rent-seekers” should become much harder. Meeting such challenges will oblige policymakers to adopt more systemic reforms for overcoming the inefficiency of old recipes. But are they prepared for this? No. There is at least one missing piece: the capacity of managing complex challenges. This is where systemic sciences come in.

Our case

The absolute urgency is not only to “save the system”, but to prepare people, companies, and political leaders for higher resilience. Nor to “come back” every time to the norm of the past, or to break existing forms, but to adapt to evolutive norms as life behaves, in a “trial-and-error-process”, learning from shocks pointing out incoherences. Every upcoming crisis (they are imminent and multiple) will break incoherent and inefficient systems to pieces. Step by step. Whether we want it or not. It is called “entropy”, systemic inefficiency and inner chaos, which could only be tackled through better organization by cleaning our customs and behaviors. As the ocean is overheating, it spontaneously creates hurricanes. We are in the middle of one of them. This is what evolution and history teach us: progress means systemic changes. In nature, species, in our companies, in our state administrations, justice, even in our own lives. Unstandable chaos and torment popping out of an overheated system. But we will have had a few weeks to slow down and line up priorities. Will we be willing enough and have enough energy to boost twice as much after lockdown? And take high pressure shit-jobs and exhausting rhythms again? Check it out. Lets talk again in september… The citizens, and their heroic postures, will be our biggest allies. After every major ordeal, emerge major societal shifts. Maybe this is the time for collective intention of mutating a destructive chaotic model into a regenerative one. And guess what, a large proportion of the citizens are literally waiting for a strong signal to do so – to bring the best of their talent to facilitate that mutation.
“There are no cheap tickets to mastery. You have to work hard at it, whether that means rigorously analysing a system or casting off your own paradigms and throwing yourself in the humility of not-knowing. … mastery has less to do with pushing … than madly letting go and dancing with the system …”
Prof. Christian Ghymers
Michel de Kemmeter