system two

system two
start-up thinking in the enterprise

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Bill's rules....

Its 1563. Inflation doesn't exist. It wouldn't be invented for 200 years.

I'm in the market and I approach Bill's stall.

"2 Turnips please bill"

"That's 1 penny please Mark"

Thanks Bill, see in the pub later.

"Yeah, definitely, see you then"

A year later, crops have failed, the general population is starving. I approach Bill's store.

"2 Turnips please Bill"

"That's 5 pennies please Mark"

"But, Bill, it was 1 last year"

"Yeah but there aren't enough turnips to go around, so I've raised the price"

"But I'm your mate and you've still got some left on your stall. My kids will die if I don't bring some turnips home"

If Bill is human, if Bill has a soul, if Bill has a connection to me - then he sells me turnips.

Forget everything you think you understand about the "principles of the free market". If there is a human need, if one human looks into the eyes of another, and sees genuine need, even Darwin in his later writing made it clear, that would trump exploitation.

And yet we live by Bill's rules - blindly. At the point where scarcity means human need is greatest, instead of compassion, we must, apparently by the simple logic of capitalism, chose exploitation.

That is nonesense. It is fundamentally inhuman. In 500 years time. When our technologies have bought us together in more meaningful ways. How much of capitalist thinking will have survived I wonder?