( A Twenty minute read)
They say we have free will, but there are many types of tyrannies in our world.
You could describe our hand-held devices which are keeping us connected to anything, anytime, anywhere as one.
We now use our hand-held devices for almost everything. More importantly, they use us for everything.
The extreme availability of information has not led to a more enlightened population, but to more confusion.
Connectivity is both a blessing and a curse.
It has become the pathway for almost all we do as we have become helpless without technology and the need for immediate data at our fingertips. But this is taking its toll.
The number of times we look at our phones daily would shock you: some studies say 50 times, others as many as 75 to 150 times. Most of our e mails are reactionary.
Information technology is all-pervasive in production and consumption.
Each time we look at the phone, we look away from what we should be or were focused on. Our collective ability to stay focused on anything is destroyed.
How does this connect to Growth.
It is too simplistic to attribute all of our economic problems to government: indeed, that sort of reasoning is counterproductive: it absolves everyone else responsibility.
Although part of the responsibility lies with forces that are outside a government, a significant share rests with the attitudes, preoccupations, we have to Artificial Intelligence that is now analyzing our every movement to the extent that advertising is becoming personalized.
I’m not saying that growth is bad but growth that destroys value just for profit is cancer that is driving inequality with a tendency to cluster around the short-term, issues while ignoring reality is going to bite us all.
I want to begin by touching on a crucial economy-wide factor
in the erosion of our economic strength which fosters short-term
It is a major driver of unnecessary consumption.
This hasn’t always been the problem. Advertising use to inform you of the useful qualities of an object. Now it manipulates your emotions like anxiety and promises to improve social acceptance or class distinction.
It is now with a frenzy of social media advertising attaching its self to saving the world that is driving consumption to new dizzying heights.
Growth for growth’s sake, is an ugly word with even uglier connotations when it is using social media in the form of algorithms FOR PROFIT, regardless of the cost.
So what is driving it:
In the information age, time is compressed and events are squeezed into ever-decreasing periods.
We have governments encouraging a restless, fleeting mode of being, and a superficial, hurried culture, which is inimical to fundamental values.
They encourage growth programs, the benefits of which are available immediately, but the costs of which appear only at a later stage. They are less interested in public investments that have to be financed now but do not payoff adequately before the next election.
It’s as if human progress depends on economic progress.
At minimum, the kind of short-term oriented cycle in which we find ourselves behaves as though tomorrow is forever. And, in fact, a series of tomorrows will create a forever — a very predictable one — and not a very desirable or promising one.
Rewards which are heavily focused on short-term results, even if they make some financial sense, often do not deliver the economic promise or the synergy which is anticipated.
Perhaps it is true that the landmarks in human progress — in the arts, science, government, or elsewhere — have rarely been reached in societies in which the economy was unable to free most of its members from a daily obsession with subsistence needs.
On the contrary, wherever the economy is feeble or stagnant for
a prolonged period, where most people see their basic material
needs as unfulfilled and the prospects for improvement as
unlikely, the result is almost invariably either a dull fatalism
or political upheaval, neither of which is likely to be favorable
to liberty and freedom.
However we are now looking at a unremitting focus on economic growth. The drive to achieve growth at practically any cost and to the exclusion of all other measures of prosperity.
This focus on GDP growth as the prime measure of economic success is out of date. It’s not how big it is that counts, it’s what you do with it.
The distance to the future – is no longer the next election, it will be how much you are willing to pay the Cloud for information. The cumulative effects of almost five decades of constantly accelerating reliance on government regulation to address social inequities and problems is coming to an end.
The linkage between ownership and participation is changing.
Social Media is not just eroding the meaning of democracy but effecting our critical thinking skills. Polluted with consumption advertising it is adding to global inequality.
While there are hundreds of different marketing strategies, only one can bring in consistent sales from day one. Social media advertising. This is why global social ad spending doubled from $16 billion in 2014 to $31 billion in 2016 and is projected to increase another 26% in 2017.
One of the fascinating things about social advertising is that there is virtually no limit to your ability to scale.You don’t have to wait for someone to search for your targeted keywords. You don’t have to wait for someone to run your promotion or read your blog.
( For Instance:
With more than 2 billion monthly users, Facebook hosts over a quarter of the world’s population, providing advertisers with an unparalleled opportunity to reach virtually anyone and everyone. It provides free lead magnet like:
- Product coupons
- Sitewide discounts
- Limited-time offers
- Free shipping
These leads can then be nurtured with a targeted autoresponder. Offering free products, download-ables and predictable discounts and coupons for her audience. Doing so has earned Facebook more than $1,000,000 in annual sales in just 2 years. Facebook allows more advanced targeting than any other advertising platform on earth. Advertisers can target by location (within a 5-mile radius), job description, interests, past activity, and many other incredibly valuable criteria.
Instagram now boasts more than 500 million monthly active users and commands one of the highest audience engagement rates in social media, 58% higher than Facebook and 2000% higher than Twitter.
Twitter with 328 million monthly active users, it remains one of the most popular social media platforms. Brands don’t need to pay in order to reach their followers, which enhances the platform’s value even when running paid ads.
Pinterest: With 175 million monthly users is highly targeted toward women with an 81% female user base.
LinkedIn : Where you tend to find the highest average disposable income, has an estimated 227 million monthly active users.
Snapchat Advertising: 310 million users.
All Social advertising is incredibly measurable.)
(You can, in fact, control when you choose to look at your hand-held device.)
In light of this one easy solution to over-consumption would be to ban advertising- at least in pubic places and on Social Media where Profit seeking Algorithms are used.
Much of’ the crippling of our economic systems can find its roots in Algorithms for profit. (see previous posts)
The consequences of elected government’s short-range perspective are not difficult to understand. They are seen as having succeeded in undermining the economy through overbearing regulation, tolerance of inflation, indifference to the cost of environmental and social programs, and a pervasive anti-business attitude.
Government thus diminishes the private sector’s sense of responsibility —
both in economic and ethical terms — for its own conduct and for its own performance.
While I appreciate that degrowth will not happen as quickly as we need it to do and it will take generations to move our collective consciousness on most issue, we don’t have that kind of time any longer.
Technology that ostensibly should help people save time, has instead led to a situation where time is scarcer than ever.
When an exponential growth curve becomes vertical, time has ceased to exist as duration.”life stands still at a tremendous speed”, with serious consequences for culture, intellectual life and the very fabric of society.
What we do not know today is what it will take to send us to
The struggle now concerns the right to be unavailable, the right to live and think more slowly.
Choosing to live according to one’s own self-made conception of reality, human nature, and happiness is a recipe for tyranny.
It is about time that we ask what wireless communications and the Internet are preconditions for. They are problems need to be understood well, in order to be dealt with the political upheaval that is around the corner.
Relying on averages generate by computers is worsening inequality
within countries, and the world as a whole.
So is there anything that can be done legitimately that will have a positive effect.
Becoming more grounded in ones own true feelings and perceptions is a primary indication that one has begun to free himself from the “tyranny of the should.”
Assuring that investment in future profitability is not sacrificed on
the altar of quarterly earnings growth. Refocusing our approach to economic decision-making, to benefit all not the few.
Willingness to pay the price today for the health and vitality of the country tomorrow is the ultimate test of stewardship. To live with a view to the regime should not be supposed to be slavery, but preservation.
Finally, it is as we all know easy to point the finger, however we are the will in any form or symbol and we are identifiable as water.
However if we are to address any of our world problems and stop the self-perpetuating downward cycle, with all the suction of a whirlpool, from which there will be no escape we cannot and should not rely on technology to bail us out.
There is only one solution. Make Greed pay a World Aid commission of 0.05% ( See previous post)
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.