The painful truth about today’s economic system

“To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to leave the world a better place, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded”. (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

A close friend of mine sent me this quote and I felt I wanted to share it with everyone. Why is it that, although we know that this is what makes us happy and creates satisfaction, we still search for short-term monetary success that just creates the opposite? Why is it that, most of the day, I’m working to create growth for our shareholders who already have more money in the bank than they need?

Market conditions have become extremely tough; competition is fierce and growth pressure is ever increasing. Can infinite growth be achieved? If growth is the measure of success, does it mean that we have failed the day we stop growing? I’m currently working with new sales, trying to expand our customer base with our existing product portfolio. Expansion can either be achieved through product diversification or by conquering new markets. Let’s say that, hypothetically, a company exists in all geographical markets, targeting all customer groups (this will of course be extremely difficult considering, among other things, the ever increasing requirements for customization). Also, this super company has managed to create an unlimited product portfolio, basically covering everything that a person needs (this will of course be contradictory to what we have learnt about successful companies and the need to focus on the core business). Imagine that, despite these difficulties, we managed to create such a company and no other companies were needed. The only way for this company to survive and to continue growing is that the population on earth continues to grow. Can it grow forever?

What have we based our economic system on? How logic is it to see people getting laid off despite the fact that they are working for a financially healthy company that is making huge profits? And that before the quarter has even ended and the quarter report has been released, the pressure is already set for the coming quarter to deliver a better report than the last one as well as the same quarter last year? How logic is it to know that the GDP – the measure of a country’s standard of living, is based on the goods and services produced within a country? The weapon industry is one of the most frightening examples. It actually makes great sense for a country to go to war with another country and totally destroy it – and then go back and rebuild it. It makes great sense from an economic point of view. Healthcare is another frightening example; the more sick people are in a society, the better it is for the healthcare economy. And the more people get addicted to harmful substances, the better it is for the tobacco industry. These are just some examples of why the system is just fundamentally wrong.

Does someone feel in control of the complexity of the economic system that we have built? When money creates money in the stock market without the creation of any (good) products or services, when poor people pay high interests to borrow money from rich people, when one percent of the population owns more than 40% of the global financial wealth, and there is no way this would change with the current system….it is difficult to feel there is hope. Will humanity let itself be sucked in a black hole and disappear as it never really existed? Or will miracles happen to change the situation 180 degrees and turn away from the wrong direction that was once defined as the right one?

Revolutions have always started with a small group of people and I believe this will always be case. I’m not afraid of the future; I just want to feel that when I leave, the world will have become a better place.

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