The History of Business

Lots has been written about Business – we are obsessed with the subject, and eternally fascinated by it.

Business schools are everywhere, and everyone wants to be part of it – because that is where the money is. We also feel slightly uncomfortable about it – but we are strongly encouraged to not think too much about this. In fact – to not think at all – but stay in the harness, and work hard. And ignore the simple fact that it is not working – and hasn’t for quite a while.

But increasingly people are asking the forbidden question “What the hell is going on here?” Something is rotten in Denmark, that’s for sure. And that something is spelled with a capital B.

But there is a problem – Business has become so big it has become everything – and we cannot get far enough from it to understand it. Because it is everything and everywhere.

The only way around this, is by looking at the history of business – which Business is strongly adverse to. Which I am going to do right now.

Business has been with us forever – people are always trading with each other – and going to a indigenous marketplace, as I have – will impress you with that.

But the Industrial Revolution changed that – permanently. It introduced us to The Machine – and the Machine took over. And got us used to the idea of Eternal Progress (machines could always be improved). Things were going to get better – forever – at an ever-increasing pace!

This couldn’t happen, and didn’t happen. Once we used up our fossil fuel reserves, we crashed. But that wan’t the only thing we used up – there was too many of us – and every crisis produced a flood of refugees – that no one wanted.

I must return to Business, and  ask “What was it?” There is no answer. It was a vast illusion that took us all in. I will not try to explain what that illusion was – except to say one thing – it felt wonderful, as all addictions do. And we destroyed it!

The psychology of why this happened will take some explanation. People have a strong innate drive to be doing something big. We are not satisfied with small things. And there we were, in the middle of the 20th Century – in a world we could not understand, or fix. The Manufacturing and Consumption cycle was no longer working.

So we did the only big thing we could do – we destroyed it completely – ourselves included.

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