Profit is Sustainable – If You Build Upon Intelligence with Integrity
There are so many success stories today on the edges of the economy and society – EcoVillages, Transition Towns, and Intentional Communities among them – but the core concept of sustainable profit consistent with social and ecological integrity has yet to go mainstream. At the same time, the progressive activists are nearly incoherent – they do not share information, lack tools for thinking, and have virtually no political power to speak of. On this point, see Mich Sifry’s lovely new book, The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Fixed Politics (Yet).
There is good news on two fronts. First, a breaking of ranks among the elite, moving away from their industrial-era control precepts; and second, an emerging concept for uniting the eight information networks needed to create sustainable future-oriented hybrid governance rooted in ethical evidence-based decision-support.
With the emergence of the concepts of Inclusive Capitalism (Lady Lynn Rothchild of London and New York), Mutuality Economics (Mars Family of Virginia), and Redemptive Capitalism (“black sheep billionaires” on the US West Coast and across Europe) – the way is open to pull back from the elite strategy of controlling government and information, never mind the true cost to the Earth and the 99% that actually do all the work.
Coincident with this most helpful opening of the hearts and minds of a select powerful few, is the emergence of the Open Source Everything meme, and its implication not only for information-sharing and sense-making such that the commons can be governed for sustainable profit across all social classes and economic domains; but also for designing and manufacturing everything such that we eradicate waste in all its forms, thus cutting government and corporate budgets by half.
Three world-changing ideas are converging: holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering. Here I will summarize each.
Holistic analytics – demand and design intelligence – must integrate – and enable the simultaneous understanding and development of wisdom about – all ten high-level threats to humanity as defined by the United Nations (UN) along with both the twelve core policies identified by Earth Intelligence Network and the 193 demographics centered on the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, to which I would add Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, and Turkey]. On this latter point, Minister-Mentor Lee Kuan Yew is in my view on point: demography, not democracy, will determine the future. There are not enough guns (or nuclear bombs, or infectious diseases) to disarm this mass of humanity – the 1% can either help the 99% create infinite wealth, or suffer a variation of the fate they have imposed on the billions of poor these past two hundred years.
True cost economics – supply intelligence – as pioneered by Herman Daly (see for instance, For The Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future) and expanded upon by many others, is not yet mainstream. While some academics claim “triple-bottom-line” accounting is accepted by governments and corporations, I see no evidence of that in the real world. True cost economics – establishing the amounts of clean water, fuel, toxins, child labor, tax and regulatory avoidance inherent in each product, service, policy, or behavior – is essential to eradicating the 50% waste characteristic of Western agriculture, energy, health, and military expenditures. Doing so is achievable quickly and at low cost – our real deficiency is one of integrity – leadership integrity.
Open source everything engineering – design and manufacturing intelligence – is to embedded intelligence (the current “old” concept of getting industrial-era devices to talk to one another) as World Cup football is to village football. If software, services, packaging, and manufacturing embrace the open source everything meme, I speculate that we can cut a further 25% of the “true cost” of our rather poor design practices, and set the stage for creating a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for all. My own book, The Open Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth, & Trust, outlines the benefits of going “all in” across the opens, immediately uplifting humanity at scale, local to global.
As I write this the UN is thinking about how to address the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) across 193 nations, most of which are governed by states that lack mature ethical evidence-based decision-support capabilities. Invited by one of their consultants, I set out to answer the question: What if the Rothschild and Mars families created a forum for the black sheep billionaires, an endowment of $5 billion – chump change in their world – to create a School of Future-Oriented Hybrid Governance with a World Brain Institute and an Open Source Everything Innovation Hub replicable in every country? My report, Beyond Data Monitoring, is free online.
Sustainable business – sustainable profit – demands sustainable publics and a sustainable Earth. The only way the 1% can protect their concentrated wealth is to enable the creation of infinite wealth by the 99% — we do that with applied collective intelligence and integrity: holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering.