As Americans we generally believe in capitalism as a superior economic system, and are typically convinced that our country is run on capitalistic principles. But I've been wondering lately: If these things are really true, then why do so few Americans actually possess any capital?
Let's talk about the fundamental organizational principles that make for effective cooperation within groups of humans.
I recently came across the Playing for Change Song Around the World video of Robbie Robertson's composition “The Weight,” and it made me want to think – and write! – more deeply about how this song works, and what it means, and the timeless nature of its appeal.
As humans it can be fairly said that our superpower is the ability to work cooperatively with others of our species.
When I was in school, history was one of my least favorite subjects: It just seemed like a bunch of arbitrary names and dates and events that I had to memorize.
In hindsight, I realize now, the problem I had with the subject was that it had been “storified.” That is, rather than trying to educate us on grand themes, everything had been turned into a story: certain people did certain things, in a certain sequence, and interacted with other people in certain ways, and ended up with some conclusion.
Back in 1990, Jobs pointed out that what a human needed to beat a condor in a race was a bicycle; today, the human might have a better chance if he gave the condor an iPhone and downloaded a few apps for him – the condor would never even make it off the couch.
We need to realize that the current system is, in fact, not broken. Instead, in truth, it is doing exactly what it was designed to do, which is: To continuously hoover up all the spare cash of those at the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid and convey it to those at the very top, without the rest of us much noticing or caring.
When it comes to religion, the main question for most people is whether to keep the one we were raised with, or to lose it altogether.
I'm starting to wonder, though, whether we're asking the wrong question.
No matter what your age or orientation (political or otherwise), it's hard to gainsay the significance of humankind's first trip through space to set foot on a celestial body other than our birth planet.
Of course fictional space flight has become so common, in books and video, that sitting down for two hours to watch a documentary about a real trip that took place half a century ago might seem like a somewhat pedestrian enterprise.
Ah, but don't be fooled.
We all sort of know the problems, right?
Monopolies. Lock-in. Stream addiction. Reality bubbles. Billionaires seeking market dominance. All other values taking a back seat to growth.
I don't think I need to elaborate. If you're reading this, then you're probably well aware of all these concerns.
But what do we do about them?
Here are a couple of ideas. Radical but practical. And very doable.