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Stranded in mud
We are in a never experienced moment in known history of mankind: over 2 billion people confided at home, a tremendous systemic crisis happening in front of our eyes. The daily cost of this situation is between 500 million and 1 billion euros for Belgium only (excluding immaterial and human costs on long term which are colossal). But above all, people are realizing some absurd aspects of the world we were in, of their crazy job rythm, the lethal run to unsustainable CO2 emissions and ecological destruction, and the incoherence of the political and economical system. Children – on their side – are happy because the colossal snake is biting, and eating its own tail, proving its own unsustainability – contemplating its nearby death. No need to march any more.
So, financial bottom line is no longer true bottom line. Truth is hitting wildly: “Human species is the only one on this planet which pretends to control, and which adds no value to the world. The bottom line is that it destroys people, planet and profit”. We thus have to pull other sciences in (Economy as we have been taught not even being a hard science…) Psychology, sociology, antropology, pedagogy to start with. Followed by geology, biology, chemistry, art and culture etc… Transversally, and seriously.
How are we going to get out of this ?
The “people in charge” will stick to known recipes. It is always difficult for incumbent authorities to admit their own responsibility or lack of preparation. Saving the banks and airlines, pouring thousands of billions as “quantitative easing” on financial markets, offering financial help to people and companies to sustain their next months of survival (with money they do not have). This is a perfectly normal reaction and these measures are anyway necessary – but they don’t tackle the more systemic issues which remain high on the agenda: climatic changes, financial instability, social diseases which are intertwined. If those recipes go without a fundamental rethinking of the system itself, this will lead to colossal wasted money, lost hopes, and precious time loss – just postponing the questioning for another few months or years while worsening the burden for next generations. And above all, an amplification in the trend of loss of confidence of the larger public in their competence since authorities have repeatedly proved to be unable to foresee and correct the weakest points of our system. All the predictions of national banks, planning offices of states and supranational administrations were wrong. Even though lots of voices screamed for a systemic perspective and pragmatic future scenarios, the establishment ignored those, and stared in front of their linear extrapolations. This attitude will lead soon to social unrest and populist pressures, accentuating systemic blocking of economy and society.
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. Out of 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 to 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 systemics come in.
Lets make our case
The absolute urgency is not to “save an old 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 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. 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. But people will have had a few weeks to slow down and line up priorities. Will they be willing enough and have enough energy to boost twice as much after lockdown ? And take high pressure shit-jobs again ? Check it out. Lets talk again in 2 months… The people, and some of 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 model into a regenerative one.
Black swan and urgency
Reacting in urgency on this crisis – which in itself is an unexpected “black swan” (first of along series if we have to believe hundreds of studies on historical converging challenges) – will cost at least 100 billion Euros for Belgium, and 1 billion Euro/day loss, without even starting to manage the other 20+ challenges coming up as multiple tsunamis. This would be totally naive, irrational and incompetent. We have calculated that they will cost over 9 trillion Euros, if managed one by one, linearly, within the timeframe of 11 years (only for Belgium). We are entering a decade of multiple risks and black swans, and converging historical challenges. We do not have that amount of money, and we do not have the time, talent and project management either – and even less the political system for it. We will not have any transition plan whatsoever in this country because of the multiple levels of power blocking everything – let aside the egoistic and patricratic agendas of our elected. The game is rigged. Checkmate. Do our policymakers and governments sincerely believe they will “bring back the going concern” by flooding the world with debt-money ? With no more questioning ? No. This cannot be credible. But “they” will try – within urgency.
All the decisions taken in the next few weeks will deeply impact our society and economy for the next years. Mistakes will cost multiples of crisis cost, and wise decisions injected will be the seed of the next sustainable paradigm.
Let’s face it
We can only manage a systemic crisis with systemic thinking and intelligence. With capacity to manage complexity. It is a true science. Time for a little homework. Simplistic thinking out – complexity management in.
But first, let’s get back to basics.
Where do we truly want to go with humanity on this world ? A place where everybody can live happily, in good health, fulfill and bring the best to progress common good.
Do we have a goal setting ?
Yes. Just follow the 17 SDG’s.
How do we get there ?
No idea. All plans have failed up to now.
The rest is full-blast vulgar greenwashing. Announcements and promises, but no intention whatsoever to act towards that common noble goal. Because their true urgency are bonuses and dividends. Stop dreaming.
We have 2 major problems
INTENTION. We are not focused to that common goal and noble intention, and too much focused on accumulating nevrotically as much money as possible for ourselves. Frankly, nobody truly cares enough, and we do not believe in our governments any more to succeed that transition anyway. Ethics have to enter into all discussions, plans and decisions.
TOOLS. We do not have the tools to do so. The monetary system and accounting rules do not valorize what truly is important (environment, social peace, common progress), and is asymmetric (the dollar as a world currency), incomplete and unbalanced. The methodologies and ways of thinking and working still are linear, not systemic, not multifunctional. We need systemic and pragmatic road books and measuring tools.
Do we have best practices ?
Sure. Argentina 2001. Local complementary currencies, communities getting organized locally, cooperatives of workers restarting factories.
Extrapreneurs: formats where citizens willing to learn and to collaborate with companies, public services and academics, create new business models based on systemic intelligence.
And hundreds of leaders who succeeded to stand out with holistic and systemic intelligence, with lots of common sense and vision. Club of Brussels is gathering them as we speak. Rethinking the system has been on the agenda of dozens of people since over two decades. Under the radar. But today is the day. Whether “they” want it or not.
As Jaime Lerner says: “Creativity starts when you take one zero off your budget. Two is even better.”
Good. We have no money left – and even if there is, the plan will fail anyway. This is where we come in.
This is a draft of our plan:
Intercontinental collective wisdom: mapping what their respective wise communities can bring to the world
Continental collective talent: mapping what can every country bring as uniqueness
A robust monetary system with new diversity enabling new value chains.
A strong message and invitation to the people: “We need everybody, every pair of hands, every talent, whatever age, education race or religion. If we work all together, we will be able to build the world we dream to live in. Lets stop destroying ourselves with fear and doubt – we believe in you people.”
Bring holistic and systemic intelligence in a “Economic and Societal Transition Center & Taskforce” connecting experts, entrepreneurs, leaders, scientifics, etc together to bring the best to the people, companies and politics.
Bring the basics of systemic intelligence and complexity management for individuals, families and organisations to the large public.
A B2B dynamics to reconnect small businesses on a local and regional basis, crossing underused resources and excellences together. Mutualize their intelligence to protect “vital functions” of their operations. On medium term, bring new coherence, new ways of working and new business models towards more resilience and flourishing futures (Wise Impact Leaders Clubs)
A blueprint for local education and co-entrepreneurship (Extrapreneurial model), to solidify local communities with local authorities, to reconstruct vital functions for the people to survive. Connect those communities together with solutions on knowledge platforms.
A set of guidelines local territories to enhance their resilience and self-sufficiency thanks to their
A blueprint for Family Capital assessment and consolidation. Social peace and resilience starts in families and “small circles”.
Individual reconnexion and invitation to emerge to ones “IKIGAI’s”. Reconnect to passion, talent, dreams, and eventually encapacitation of every individual.
Online Crowdsourcing of solutions to fill-in creatively the basic needs of people and society. Its time to map the value that was under the radar for too long.
This plan is just an aligning known pieces of puzzle, existing methods. We do not have to reinvent the wheel. Everything is there. All of these are very very low cost, and have the side effect to reconnect people, give trust, empower individuals and teams, innovate pragmatically with existing and underused resources, and will avoid social unrest…
All this is in majority brain-juice and connecting dots.
It will foster “GLOCAL” knowledge clusters: global knowledge connected to local coalitions of players. Nurture resilience communities: alliances between citizens, companies, local authorities, with pokes to science and media. This is full leverage.
But, we are not naive, and know this plan will not get to the top of all agendas:
After lockdown, there will emerge two very clear new groups of people:
The ones that will have chosen for their true power, identity and unique added value, that (finally) decided to bring the best of themselves to the world. As citizens, companies, public institutions, cities or countries.
— Great, welcome to the new resilience communities.
The others who will be afraid, and will stay in dependance of whoever tells the best story. Those will be recuperated by companies and governments that build their nevrotic strategies on fear, ego and control. This is where the Big Brother scenario gets to the next level.
— It is your free will, but you will have a hard time
We cannot force anybody. Lets be a role model, inspire and show.
No in betweens any more.
Incoherences will be very visible.
But, the combination of million of small steps – all together – will create tremendous systemic progress.