Friday, March 16, 2012

The solution will be shared

In my last posting I concluded that, on balance, sharing is becoming a more attractive strategy for growth than trying to conquer resources from others.

And so what?

Well, it has a number of consequences:

For one, defaulting towards sharing takes a different mindset than what most of us have been brought up with. The past three decades have been an era of individualism, classic liberalism, and a belief that greed is good because the invisible hand of the market will sort it all out.

Sharing is an act of individual surrender. You bet part of your resources and some of your sovereignty and control on others. You chose to trust that together you would achieve more, than you could have done on your own. You could be ripped off and cheated, the project may not work out, others can free ride and leave you with the bill… There are risks, and not necessarily any guarantees.

You lose some freedom by joining the community. You can be held accountable, you have to follow rules, others may not vote for your ideas.

If you are strong, it may not be obvious why you would want to depend on a community.

But, you may not really have a choice. In so many areas, our fate is shared, whether we like it or not. The global ups and downs are increasingly linked. As the global finances go, so will you. Likewise with social unrest, climate change, and a functional biosphere; you are affected by the actions of others, and you affect them – in ever larger and tighter connected systems.

Whether you are an individual, a company or even a nation state, you can’t go it alone anymore.

Sharing and co-creation is becoming ever cheaper and more powerful. Increasingly, those who chose to go alone, will not be able to compete and thrive compared to those who are capable of cooperating and creating community.

And ultimately, if each of us simply try to keep growing in a finite world with an increasing population, the system will crash for everyone. That possibility is uncomfortably real.

IMHO we cannot go on like we have done so far. At some point, soon, we need to find some solutions. I think they will be based on sharing, on community – despite the imperfections.

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