No matter where in the world you look, China, Brazil, Europe, the U.S. or virtually anywhere else, the question from the people to their leaders is the same. What are you doing to get us “more”? For 10,000 years the average person hoped for enough just to stay alive. Getting “more” let alone a lot “more” was mostly a dream. Now we loudly voice our displeasure if there isn’t a constant increase in our “more.” What has been attained in “More” for those lower in the power pyramid in the last 400 years dwarfs what was accomplished in all those years before. Average people have gone from despair to our present expectations. It didn’t happen all at once. Even at the turn of the Nineteenth century, the vast majority of humanity was engaged in agriculture under some form of bondage. It may come as a surprise to some that at the founding of the United States ordinary people with any rights were rare while involuntary servitude was widespread. Starting in Western Civilization “More” had begun its journey down the pyramid. Like a rock tossed in a lake the ripples initially covered a small area but moving ever larger. Was this to become the norm for the next 10,00 years or an aberration?
As “More” spread to ever greater numbers, those that actually contributed to it demanded protections against arbitrary rule and ultimately a say in how they were ruled. This clashed with those who benefited from the old system. The Rulers would cede power and be held accountable. The religious hierarchies would be challenged by the newly educated and spreading knowledge. Those economically protected from competition and the bureaucracies would be confronted by the ever increasing speed of innovation. Those that were comfortable with their station in the old ways found their complacency replaced with the dread of sudden change. Joseph Schumpeter called this “creative destruction.” Something better at creating “More” will inevitably destroy what it replaced. If inflexible, someone was going to get hurt. With the pace of innovation and interconnection constantly rising, many looked for some order out of what they perceive a chaos. Yet all the world not only wants “More”but see it as possible. How then can we get the “More” that people crave and have increasingly come to expect while decreasing the pain and dislocation getting there? Since the 15th century we have gone from collectively limited brain cells with limited connectivity to an ever expanding collective brain with greater and greater connectivity so it might be wise to look at what made it all possible.
- The spread of Knowledge
2. Increased trade in goods & information
3. Freeing of capital to finance the above
One thing we have learned is that governments to the degree they aided the above have seen their entities rewarded with “more.” That being the case, what are the actions likely to facilitate “More” or conversely avoid impeding it.
- Encourage Education
- Education’s value is greatly diminished without the free flow of ideas
- Ideas need capital to be implemented. Let capital move to where it does best.
- Let people to move where they have the best chance for “More.” This means not only within the entity but the ability to leave or enter it.
- The entity’s policies should where possible aid mobility and avoid impeding it.
- The entity must protect people and their”More” from threats both external and just as important internal.
- Trade through the ages has been a reliable path to “More,” and has to be encouraged and protected.
- Policy should always favor the individual rather than groups or entities.
- Be aware that the entrepreneurial world works with a different time frame from bureaucracies.
- Don’t spend “More” that you don’t actually have
While all this sounds a little like Poor Richard’s Almanac, in future posts we will explore how these principles would contribute to the continued explosion of “More” and just as important avoid having less.