Too Many TAPs, Not Enough STOP’s, We Need More LEGO

When I wrote my Book: ‘From Mercenaries to Missionaries’ I wanted to give entrepreneurs, executives and managers tools around leadership and teamwork that are sublimely simple and easy to implement. Too much of the leadership lexicon has fallen into the realms of academia. Nothing wrong with academic study, but academia is often the activity of proving what’s already known. Academia didn’t invent mindfulness but we have people who can explain the neuroscience of mindfulness but don’t practice mindfulness, teaching mindfulness.

Moreover; we sometimes experience academics developing philosophies from observed behaviour then presenting it as logic. Milton Freidman did this with shareholder greed. Just because it happens doesn’t make it right because an intellectual said it. On a couple of occasions recently, I have found myself talking to some learned people, or rather they were telling me I was wrong, when what I already knew from experience, was true.

TAP’s – Tools To Accumulate Power.

Ever since the agrarian revolution, competitive people have used technology to hoover resources from a wide area and funnel those resources into a place where they can control the supply. Like our water supply, drawn from a wide area and funnelled into a tap. In a household the water is shared freely, but not in business.

When you develop control of a resource in a capitalist system, you are not going to share the resources equally, you’re going to exploit the situation. Hence why trickledown economics has never worked. It was just another BS explanation which is used to perpetuate greed. Old world examples include the Oil Industry and Banks. They’ve been hoovering up local resources whilst holding the world to ransom and passing the costs of pollution and debt slavery onto society for a century.

The latest example is the ‘platform economy’. This is just another TAP and code for the ‘monopoly economy’. Recent platform examples include: Amazon- hoovering up the local economy, Facebook – hoovering up our attention, Google- Hoovering up information and ad revenue. Most tech ideas have the potential to make our lives and the world a better place. But the challenge comes when people don’t understand why in our present culture they soon become weapons of subjugation.

Platforms combine network effect and first-mover advantage to gain enough users which then makes them immune to competition. With monopoly comes monopoly behaviours and as other large organisations identify the benefits of using the platform effect, you can guarantee that there’ll be more bad behaviour on the horizon.

We need to understand that given an opportunity people will revert to an earlier evolutionary psychological state which is dominance hierarchy. Basically, our inner-monkey will not let go of the ‘Apple’ once they’ve a firm grasp, even if it is detrimental in the long term. Once a person or small group have achieved dominance, they begin to believe their own nonsense and develop a sense of entitlement. They delete, distort, generalise and convolute whatever information is available to argue their point, even to the point of calling in divine powers to back their case. Kings, Queens and Presidents have been at this for centuries, aided and abetted by Bureaucrats. No matter how much media exposure reveals them to be ordinary and somewhat quirky people who managed to gain an advantage, they still sit in castles and big white houses. Tech moguls are the new royalty.

Research of contemporary hunter-gatherer communities revealed them to be rather egalitarian. They were able to live in a less stressful social existance because they employ STOPs- Strategies To Overcome Power. If a hunter returned with a prize, the rest of the community would, in a good-naturedly way, mock him because they wouldn’t want the hunter to become too big for his boots. They understood arrogance, entitlement and hierarchy was not good for their communties well-being.

STOPs range from satire to assassination, rock throwing to revolution. It’s a way to redress the balance when hierarchical leaders exploit their position too much. Unfortunately, there is little appetite for making the world a fairer place, everyone in tech wants to become the next Larry Page or Jeff Bezos. As these tech giants rise in power, their ability to externalise costs onto society and the environment increases. If Facebook and Amazon had to pay for the damage they’ve inflicted on democracy, the environment and the public’s mental health, to name a few dmaging examples, they’d be bankrupt pretty quickly. They operate under a façade of delusion just as the tobacco industry did.

What we really need is more LEGO – Local Economic Generating Opportunities. TAPs focus power into small areas, we call them cities and of course if you are not part of the tech digital world, there shortly be very little for you to do unless you find opportunities to generate local economic opportunities. Brexit and the pandemic have revealed how reliant we are on extended distribution lines which are fragile and polluting.

What if we followed the doughnut, circular economic and employee ownership philosophies?

I believe these aforementioned ideas are just a return to a more natural evolutionary advantage we’ve forgotten in the pursuit of the capitalistic delusion. If tech people focussed on building local resilience with platforms then it wouldn’t have to be doom and gloom, they could probably be a force for good. Then tech entrepreneurs could shift from being Mercenaries to Inspirational Leaders on a Mission to make the world a better place.

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