When most people think about the Roaring Twenties, the highlights quickly come to mind. Women in the U.S. gained the right to vote in 1920. People of that era also witnessed the advent of broadcasting, a steady climb-out from the post Word War One recession, and a shift in emphasis, from wartime production, to a new mass production that yielded an abundance of consumer goods. In our reprise one century later, we hope to tap the enthusiasm that characterized the twenties of a century ago as we also consider ways to avoid the pitfalls.
In the first week of this year, we saw just how fragile even a mature, constitutionally grounded democratic republic can be. As we reached out to family, friends, and colleagues, we got the sense that we, as individuals, are just as siloed as our media. We finally came to realize how about six hundred billionaires control the information flow for a country of three-hundred and thirty-one million citizens within the United States. And to our dismay, it was revealed, that the most privileged among us have become even more enriched, while the marginalized and powerless are dead, dying, or stewing in hormones of stress.
A deeply resonant CSN song began with the lyric “You, who are on the road, must have a code that you can live by.” While this is likely true, one would hope the rest of us don’t need an Ovaltine Decoder Ring to figure out what it is. Many singers, composers, authors, parents, pastors, and elected representatives each have some power to sway in a way that can help insure our ultimate survival. And yet, trying to decipher the values proposition such people put forth is often a matter of guesswork.
Throughout the history of our planet, there have been people, at the commanding heights, who are unable to differentiate between true and false liberty. The bully pulpit is, as often as not, occupied by people that can’t seem to balance freedom with self-control. Many of us, as parents, have had to contend with one or more children that don’t think the rules apply to them. Our responses range from an off the shelf “cause I said so,” to a dissertation on the golden rule that can be procured from any major religious tradition on earth.
On January 6th in the year 2021, hoards of emotionally charged, intellectually stunted insurgents breached security and stormed into the United States Capitol building. Elected representatives were evacuated. The traitorous, treasonous, seditionist, insurrectionist authoritarian enablers among them tried to distance themselves from the violence they intentionally fomented. For such unrepresentative elected representatives, statesmanship is an arcane banished idea while its distant cousin, politics, is taken to illogical extremes.
As the clock struck 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve in 2020, and as the British exit from the European Union was finalized, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, tweeted: “Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on.” The First Minister intends to take an independent Scotland back into the EU. BREXIT is just the latest example of the ongoing struggle between those across the globe that are vested in nationalism, and others who believe the only way to stop the ritualized insanity of perpetual warfare is to somehow unite the world through an inherent desire for global peace and prosperity.
Transcript – An Introduction to the PodCast
A century ago, that phenomenon known as the Roaring Twenties was largely spontaneous, even as it initiated a frenzied era of mass consumerism. Our 21st Century reprise of the Roaring Twenties centers on another form of consumerism, one that is intentional. This variation on the earlier twenties now occurs within a global context. It will undoubtedly be “roaring” in the sense that it will be a cultural revolution focused upon advancing the highest and best interests of everyone.
Our value proposition, for the Roaring Twenties Reprise, is one of packaging principle. It will place great emphasis on the intentional consumerism that empowers us to vote each and every day, with each and every transaction. We consider just how such transactional votes can be leveraged, throughout the twenties and beyond, to insure that each person on earth is empowered to be the arbiter of his or her own destiny.
One of the most important principles we embrace is deeply rooted in the authenticity of real people associating for a common purpose. Indeed, the very concept of a company stems from being in the company of others working in a coordinated way to build something. A corporation is simply a group of people working corporately. In our time, the definitions and contemporary use cases for terms such as “company” and “corporation” have strayed into the realm of sociopathy, very far from the original intent.
Inauthentic Corporations are, in essence, a shell game. The failure to differentiate between authentic corporations, in contrast to those simply functioning as shells and serving only those at the commanding heights of the economy and politics, has severe democracy implications.
Responsible statecraft is predicated on an understanding of these dynamics. Consider the nexus between economics and politics in the context of the competing world-views held by three prolific writers:
- Vladamir Lenin, who lived between 1870 and 1924, was a Russian revolutionary. He held that “politics is the most concentrated expression of economics.”
- Harold Lasswell lived from 1902 to 1978) and served as President of the American Political Science Association. He believed politics is defined as who gets what, when, and how.
- David Easton lived between 1917 and 2014. He was at the forefront of the behavioralist and post-behavioralist disciplines within political science. He said that politics is about “the authoritative allocation of values for a society.”
This host, having been born and raised along the Beltway of Washington, DC, encountered politics at an early age and held a far less flattering definition in that the word is formed from “poli” meaning many, and “tics” meaning blood sucking creatures. The fact, that I now differentiate between politics and statesmanship in the way I do, is partly informed by this unofficial definition. I also realize that the average politician is a mixed bag, sometimes, and sometimes not, advocating for their own constituency.
The Roaring Twenties Reprise looks beyond the reactive game to the root causes of our world’s most perplexing problems. Where so much of our collective philanthropy focuses only on symptoms, we address the actual maladies, cause and effect. In the context of those democracies that have devolved into feudalistic corporatocracies, the recent trend for the establishment of benefit corporations is seen as largely compensatory and perhaps even transitory. As one means to address the ills within our society, such corporations often have the ability to avoid the strictures placed upon both for-profit and non-profit corporate structures.
Employee owned enterprises are characteristically of, by, and for the people. As such, they are, by definition, the only authentic companies and corporations. Employee Owned Benefit Corporations, or EOBCs, are those that have set-aside a significant portion of the profit, the fruits of their labor, for some clearly articulated public benefit. Such a “benefit” is usually the compensatory part.
The “transitory” part is understood to mean that, were we to address the causes of our societal inequities and iniquities, we would not have to play what amounts to whack-a-mole in our well intentioned effort to relieve suffering. If we could somehow re-boot the world economy, not on a foundation of moral bankruptcy, but within a culture of benevolence, we could be more effective in our heroic efforts to address the most fundamental human needs. We could cultivate that entrepreneurial spirit, the spiritual idealism that will eventually take us from one level of attainment to the next.
I have, at times, sat stupefied as fundamentalist preachers would proclaim “The world won’t be made right until Jesus returns.” In addition to having the effect of reducing religion to an opiate, it is one of the biggest cop-outs I’ve ever heard. It not only reflects denial, but also reveals an abysmal ignorance with respect to our stewardship obligations, as delineated in the Parable of the Talents and in the very first chapter of the Book of Genesis. In that chapter, the 28th verse reads, in part: ” . . . replenish the earth and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
Was this admonition intended for a select few, or for humanity as a whole? Our present day problems are not insurmountable. Our insecurities, as they relate to our strivings, our sustenance, our shelter and most of the other forms of disease we can imagine, are due to the embrace of a world view that is far more Luciferian than Jesusonian. The unmitigated selfishness of those at the commanding heights of the economy, trying to sustain the last gasp of political subterfuge, fiat currencies, and an outmoded economy has the potential to kill this planet and everyone on it.
With all due respect to Easton, Lasswell, and Lenin, their descriptions of an interplay between economics and politics provide no strategic vision for our time. Our world is highly productive. So productive in fact that there is no excuse for lackluster executives and politicians to push the conventional narrative and thereby continue to perpetrate such fraud upon a world of misery.
Those inauthentic corporations, that enrich their investors and managers while paying poverty wages to their employees and making no meaningful contribution to the public treasury are parasitic. They should be seen as such, first and foremost. To effectively convert or sunset these so-called companies while raising a new 21st Century enterprise architecture can help to cure the ills of our otherwise abundant world.
Authentic companies represent authentic democracy at the component level. Intentional consumerism will play a key role in transitioning the most self-serving corporations into benevolent ones, that are employee owned, with a clearly defined public purpose. Questions about just how these simple choices become powerful votes, transmute into volitional horsepower, and how they will factor in to help convert inauthentic democracies into more authentic ones, are put forth, probed, and prodded through our Intentional Consumerism, EOBC 1st, and Union Frameworks initiatives.
Although our deep dive into these topics is available through a trio of web logs as listed in the show notes, please keep in mind that there is one overarching goal for this series of presentations. And that is to advance a science — the domain of facts, a philosophy — the domain of meanings, and a religion — the domain of values, that are each commensurate with the intellectual, societal, and spiritual development of a great humanity.
Love of love, love of life, and giving without measure; gives in return a wondrous yearn of a promise, almost seen. Live hand in hand, and together we’ll stand, on the threshold of a dream.— The Moody Blues