Your Real Economist sees in the market, the power of people working together. Adam Smith showed that people working in their own interest would, in fact, choose to work together.
Working against this today are many of our most powerful institutions who are focused on me or us as a group, not we as a Society. Social media (look at me and my opinion), religions (I will go to heaven, ours is the way of the light) and political parties (does any politician hold a principled position on anything anymore?) are key examples. Witness the identity politics of all the isms and ists who care about one part of Society or one priority to the exclusion of all others. These institutions and isms and ists don’t respect, care for or celebrate those outside their group. Frighteningly, these groups increasingly seem to think the end justifies the means. Something the Baby Boomers worked so hard to abolish from our Society through their rejection of the very idea behind and conduct of the Vietnam War.
Your Real Economist is married this last 40 years. My wife loves her crochet. On the surface this is a very solitary pursuit. But somewhere in the world, in our Society, somebody makes the very beautiful yarns she uses to create her beautiful pieces. Those yarns are clearly made by people who share with her a great passion for the beauty, wondrous feel and warmth of the yarn. You can see this in the way the yarn is presented and in the quality of the product. Don’t know the race or religion or politics of those people only that they put a smile on her face. Similar to the smile on the face of those who wear her pieces.
Your Real Economist has worked in enough businesses to know that when a business is great it is not about the money. It is about creating something great that is going to be shared with others. Something world class. It doesn’t matter if it is iron ore or opera, the dedication, creativity and pride of the people creating determines the quality of the output. The money is just something that allows them to continue creating greatness.
Most economists and accountants and those who have not experienced don’t get the power of this commitment. But strangely most of us do get that in any team, the moment it becomes about something other than together creating greatness – the moment it becomes about individual reward, personal power or individual redemption – is the moment of the beginning of the end. If only we could take these lessons to the way we think about society.
We are social animals. In fact human beings are at their greatest when they share a pride in creating the very best, in creating wondrous outcomes that will be shared by others in this life. Not because they are paid or will go to heaven or get power but because coming together to give others something wondrous is the very highest form of being.
This coming together to create trumps race, violence and bigotry. It is built on respect for those with a different perspective and care for those around you. The greatest creativity comes from the melting pot of ideas and difference.
The great society and the great economy encourages specialization and difference in skills and perspective and brings them together in a positive and supportive way to create wonder.
How can you help bring about the creative society? Don’t join a political party or ism.
Instead just do what you do better. Demand that where you spend so much of your time and energy is a place where people are celebrating difference and working to create something wondrous. Your objective is to put a smile on the face of the people who share the output of your work. You can play a part in making sure that the organization you are part of genuinely cares about the people it works for – the customers – and gives them something wondrous.
You can help make sure that your organisation is an inclusive and creative environment. And if it doesn’t become so or won’t change then leave and find an organisation that will.