Exploring and navigating the Next Economy is in large part trying to figure out what to build on, what to refine, what (if anything) to abandon and what replaces the things we abandon. The choices we make as individuals will determine the direction of the Next Economy.
I want to examine this topic from 2 perspectives; this post is looking from a personal level. The second perspective will focus on organizations within the Next Economy.
Foundations from the Old Age
Every Age is dependent on the prior one. It has been more than 3 centuries since we left the Agricultural Age but we still have to grow food to eat.
Odd things seem to carry forward forever in odd ways. For example, the maximum diameter of the Space Shuttle’s booster engines was determined by the width of a horse’s ass. The framework of the last age becomes the infrastructure for the next.
Some things never go out of style. Our basic needs for food, shelter and clothing will certainly remain. The need to be safe in our person, possessions and health will endure into the Next Age. These two lists make up the bottom two layers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, forming the foundation of life. Think of abundance as anything beyond these basic needs. We will examine Abundance in depth later this year.
The systems and processes that deliver these basic, foundational needs are undergoing fundamental transformation – primarily to reduce the energy consumption required to deliver them. Production is happening more at the local level. People are growing their own food (permaculture) or sourcing them locally (farmer’s markets, etc.). The new self-reliance and personal responsibility are in many ways a return to principles that were lost in the production and supply chain of the Industrial Age.
Principles to refine
Individuals need to start by refining the higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy. We need to take a “deep dive” into our approach – even the very meaning of friendship, trust, creativity, curiosity and achievement. The Next Economy is about thriving by serving and elevating those around us, not by crushing, defeating or stepping on them.
Things we can/should abandon
There are ideas whose time has passed. Like any rehab project, the first step is demolition. That clears the way to build the new structure. Here are some things that need to go:
- Processes that rely heavily on non-renewable energy. Cheap fossil fuel was the backbone of the Industrial Age. We must restructure to reduce our dependence on it with a goal of moving to only consuming renewable energy. The sooner, the better.
- Duality – The world is extremely diverse. We no longer have the luxury of thinking that two mindsets are enough! The most destructive form of duality is the “Us vs. Them” mentality – It doesn’t matter if this is a cause or a result of war. The mindset needs to end!
- Debt and financial manipulation – I wrote about the financial 3 Ds earlier this year.
Brand new principles that replace the ones we abandoned
There are a lot of ideas gaining acceptance that may very well become the framework of the Next Economy.
- Sustainability – The idea that we cannot consume resources faster than the Earth can renew them
- Unity – The idea that we are all connected and there are no actions that affect only a few.
- These concepts need to be embedded in our commercial activities through re-engineered business processes and accounting system.
How are you moving to the Next Economy?