Posts Tagged economy

Wealthy are less greedy these days

What do I mean by saying the wealthy are less greedy these days… To get to the point, that is one of the insights gleaned from the results of a quick survey I did on Ask 500 People, that people who have higher incomes generally think they have enough stuff and a very low percentage of people making over $100k think they don’t have enough stuff.

enough_by_income

Before I get any further into the meaning of the results, I need to do a better job of setting the stage, from the beginning.  You see, it’s been on my mind a lot lately that I really do have enough stuff.  That the all out feeding frenzy at the buffet of consumerism is perhaps coming to an end.  Many retailers are going to be really hurt as we have seen already with Circuit City, Mervyns and Macy’s among the first to experience the hardships.  Now this is especially going to be true for those retailers who aren’t using ecommerce effectively (as you may have seen in my brick and mortar review, shopping at the mall isn’t what it used to be).

People are waking up to the wastefulness of our habits (I sure have – everything from the amount of food that spoils to the amount of packaging materials I throw away and of course, all the old obsolete technology – ugghhh). More and more people from all walks of life are, from all around the world, are realizing that this sort of behaviour is unsustainable.

Do You Have Enough Stuff?

With a margin of error of what I believe is +/- 2% for all respondents (424) versus known respondents with unverified profiles, I think these stats are close to speaking for the whole.

I see some other stuff here that is interesting, and I need to take some more time to write my post for “The Economy of Enough” which is what inspired me to ask this question, so I will just close by saying that if we were still in the Gordon Gecko era of cash is king 80’s, I would suspect it might look something like this:

enough_by_income2

Just for kicks, lets take a nostalgic look back at Mr. Gecko’s infamous speech

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Foundational Fixes For Economy #alt2bailout

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This morning over sausages and beer at Citizen Space, the talk inevitably turned to the economy and whether it was going to turn around or tank.  The great thing about co-working is the diversity of perspectives you can get in any conversation.  Without the corporate silo walls preventing us from interacting, without being organized by similarity of activities performed, and without anything connecting us more then a shared sense of place, we get by the bullshit and get real.

Anyway, I digress, because my point is more about what we really need to change in order to correct for our broader market problems (though I clearly think the silos between us are uber important).  What will it take? Less Greed?  Sure, but how do we stop one of the most powerful and highly motivating of the 7 deadly sins?  We certainly don’t legislate it all away, its an emotionally charged human behaviour.  No, we must really start the change from within.  Microsharing is perhaps an appropriate meme to leverage – now we need to get on to microgrowing, where we each grow a little bit each day in terms of understanding how connected we are to the world around us and the other people in it.

This was one of the original purposes of BrainJams, and then Social Media Club – to bring together people from a large diversity of backgrounds to see past the differences of culture, style, economic status and intelligence and see into the hearts and souls of each other.  To see that as much as we are individuals, we are also all one.  We are on this earth together.  We are part of this ecosystem less then we are masters over it.  We are in it together.

Whether or not you believe in the butterfly effect or chaos theory, you certainly have experienced the impact that another person can have on you and that you can have on them.  There is no denying that we are all connected in some way – the homeless man and Donald Trump, George Bush and Cindy Sheehan, and even Charlie Manson and the Benedectine Monks.  What we do affects others.  Simple.  What we do affects the earth. Simple.  What others do affects us.  We need to be mindful of this impact and find a way to ensure its balance.  To balance our self interest and drive with the broader interest of the world around us and its needs for our unique contribution to it.

What we need to fix to help our economy is to not reward greed and excess with tax breaks and bailouts but with meaningful penalties.  Perhaps they can use their great talents to serve as community organizers – to solve big problems.

One specific place where a change in perspective can have a potentially big impact is in looking at our unrealistic expectations of investment grade returns of our investment capital after a company has developed a mature market.  We probably need to fix the general public perception about investment markets in the US really.  We need to get beyond the expectations of constant never ending growth of our investments and look more to the long term. More like the Europeans with a 5 year view of the market instead of a quarterly perspective.

We need to shift our thinking of investments into alignment with reality.  At some point, investments in mature markets become consistent profitability instead of a doubling of revenue. The investor reward on this investment has a ceiling, but if it is successful will always reward your risk with income in the form of dividends.  Wow, what a concept!  So instead of looking for my money to grow exponentially, I realize it is providing me with $250,000 in income each year.  That sounds pretty darn reasonable to me.

Wasn’t that how utilities and railroads used to operate?

This is clearly a sociological problem. A psychological problem.  So it is hard to imagine any scenario where our government is going to be able to force this sort of change in society.  That change needs to come from inside of us. Each and everyone of us. We need to be aware of the world we inhabit, our role in it, our stewardship of it and our responsibilities to each other that when honored will reward each and everyone of us.

It starts simply with microgrowth.  Personal development and an acceptance of the reality we are facing as a result of a way of thinking that is not based in reality.  Humans Don’t Scale no matter how big our appetite for growth is.

Is it possible for this change in thinking to ever take place? Whats good about it and whats bad about it?

A view of the world in balance with our place in it is all I am seeking,  There are many ways to that path.   Tag yours with #alt2bailout and lets learn from each other and discuss other issues we need to address along with potential solutions to our problems.

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