This morning I watched to another lecture in a MOOC about Business and Society. The prof was making some good points – he wants to make business respectable again – a huge job.
But he is overlooking one important fact – most people are not interested in making the world better. In fact, the world he is is talking about is not their world at all. They live in another world that is divorced from reality – that they make up as they go along, and is not consistent at all.
Most people are not here! And have no intention of being here. Because the world for them is too disgraceful – and they don’t want to have anything to do with it.
This outlook is ancient, and was typical the reaction of many early Christians to evils of the Roman Empire – who were eager to leave this world and join Christ in heaven. But while they were here, they would live in poverty and social isolation.
Contemporary Christians no longer believe in poverty – but in its opposite – affluence! The are a little uncomfortable with this – but only a little.
To see how this happened, a short historical review is in order. Starting at the end of the Middle Ages, about 1400 CE. With the Renaissance in Italy – which quickly established the Modern World, in almost every detail. This was followed by the Reformation, that made the Industrial Revolution possible. This revolution (and it was a revolution) is what made affluence possible – using machines and fossil fuels.
Every schoolchild should be taught about this – but they are not – because it would be too embarrassing. Too much nastiness happened – and this nastiness has not gone away – but has been built into our business culture.
This takes us up to the 20th Century – when the wheels came off our wagon. And our world no longer worked.
Ordinarily, this would be follow by a collapse – as happened with empire after empire. But something else came along to save us – the Computer! But this was not a clean transition – but exceedingly messy, and is still going on.
A few people, maybe one percent, will climb on the Computer Bandwagon – and get rich, while having a lot of fun. What will happen to the rest? This is hard to predict, because a civil war is going on, which is producing millions of refugees – literally, in many cases – but in the affluent countries, millions who are out of jobs – and not likely to find one.
The similarity to that of Germany at the end of WWI (which they started) is uncanny. They looked for someone to save them – and found Hitler! Americans are now in a similar fix – and want a magical solution for themselves – but cannot find one.
The solution I am urging – to back off and see where they are – before rushing on – is not one they can adopt. They are headed straight for hell – and are determined to get there.