We live in a corporate world but capitalism is just a word, somewhere down the line somebody gave a total new meaning to it, here is a brief history:
Corporates where born as a necessity of traders specializing in different crafts, providing services to each other basing the value of their service according to supply and demand. Monarchs at that time, afraid of loosing control over wealth production, put into place some laws that would shape the history of human kind: they passed a law enabling them to monopolize industries. They then became partners of the companies they exclusively gave right to operate…
I am not going to discuss here the many implications of these acts. You can read more in Life Inc. a great book, but what I want to focus on how this have shaped the employer and the employee in today’s world.
Companies granted favors from governments are generally led by unscrupulous owners who’s main focus is never to do the job as good as they can but their only goal is the accumulation of wealth and power, for the sake of wealth and power, on the other hand this is the only way monarchies knew how to operate and it is only natural that this would be what the corporate world inherited from them.
This wealthy employer needs employees in order to operate so he triggers another inherited vice: exploitation… He has the exclusive right to produce a paycheck, therefore the real craftsmen have to sell their services not to the value of demand but at the mercy of “the” supplyer!
With time craftsmen loose their craft, employers loose their wealth, employees learn the rules to become new employers, employees adapt their expectations and from craftsman they become mare operators… In the meanwhile the original employer finds a way to once and for all control the “source” of wealth: the central banks are created. He is unaware of having created a Monster!
Controlling the money output and loaning it to the markets in exchange of production makes what was a zero sum game a time bomb… The only way for this system to work was turning producers into everlasting consumers! You know how that story went…
So now what we have is not even the original “employer” anymore but the corporate “machine”, feeding off of consumption and needing more and more. This beast, as all creatures, has basic survival instincts and in order to survive it created for itself the perfect environment to keep at bay the human intellect: standardized education, centralized mass media, distractions of all sorts, the illusion of scarcity and many many more enchantments.
Today we live as zombies, employers and employees all together… Our time has a value set by arbitrary salaries or revenues that reflect the needs of production and not the value of our real human capital. There is no direct incentive for the employee in most places to do better and no incentives for the employer to want their employees to become better. Biggest business deals are still done by networking, by pulling favors or in lamer terms by kissing ass…
Inheritance is the original sin!
I cannot reverse all this, none of us can. The machine is too big now, very few of us took the red pill, and yet even we still love the taste of a great steak. I have a suggestion though:
There are many things we can learn from sports: Team spirit, discipline, drive, commitment, love, fairness and many many more. It is like we really could save the sports from the faith of human mediocrity. With sports there are traits in player trading and league management that could easily be applied to the corporate world that could lead to human beings relinquishing control over the machines.
Having the best player during his time on the team and the value of creating an asset that later could be traded for money or an equal valued player is a good deal for both sides. This allows the team (the employer) to look at players (employees) as a long term investment and a direct asset of the team (company). Now the better the players the better the team, the better all the teams the better the league (world)…
The only thing that needs to be done in order to understand the value of employees as clearly as players is setting more transparent goals. We know a player’s value for the team because we watch him doing things, we keep statistics, we see him grow, win, loose… See his commitment, his performance under duress… We need to find ways to show and keep track of this things in the corporate world as well. But isn’t this what most best selling success books tell us ? Set your goals, follow trough, be accountable, get feedback, be a team player, review your goals, adjust, succeed… It definitely could be done.
But how to prevent a team of getting all the good players just because it inherited more money, had an early start or simply knows the right people ? Well, in most places including Europe they didn’t and therefore they have unbalanced leagues where the wealthy teams strive and the poor just crawl. Sounds familiar ? We do have a solution though called drafting and salary cap. This is what makes franchises like the NFL or the NBA successful for so many years. It is really hard to monopolize success with this set of rules and the good thing is that the competition is so fierce, the incentives to succeed so high that the only way the quality of the game can go is only up.
Watch the quality of these leagues, you can clearly see a huge improvement every year. It demands perfection and commitment from every player, just the way it should be.
So why don’t we run our industries like this ? We succeeded managing our leagues like that…
The real question is: could the one’s in power accept this new rules and take part in a fair game ? The great thing is that they don’t have to! Let me explain:
The NFL, the NBA or any other league monarchic or not survives only as long as we watch it. The more the viewers the better the league, that is a universal formula. One thing the machine has not calculated is that we ARE the key to turn it off, WE are the buyers, the consumers, the zombies remember ? So the day we really decide things HAVE to change they will… They must…
I think what I suggest is a win win situation in all senses… Don’t you ?