These times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
And people filled with rage
Despite affluence, technological advances and all the pleasures of the 21st century, Americans feel uncertainty and dissatisfaction. Traditional institutions are in decline, and the unlimited new opportunities being opened by technology and innovation are not accompanied by any certainty on how to design the social operating system to keep us together.
People seek a theory to give backbone and solidity to the helter-skelter of change. In 1776 it was separation from the British King. In 1861 it was civil war and emancipation. In 1933 it was the New Deal. In 1964 it was the Great Society. All of these theories were negative – anti-British rule, anti-slavery, anti-unemployment, anti-poverty and anti-discrimination. And they were all foisted on us top-down by authoritarian politicians.
Now we are entering a new phase, one in which the traditional institutions of top-down authoritarianism and hierarchy will be replaced. By what? That’s a scary question for many, but it doesn’t need to be. The transition opens up endless opportunities for individuals who embrace the new age.
There are three elements.
Self-reliance is the virtue that built America. It is the value at the heart of free market capitalism, which raised the standard of living in the developed world by 3000% in 200 years, enriching everyone. It motivates every individual to improve their own circumstances, and to collaborate with others to find mutually beneficial ways to boost productivity.
With self-reliance and a free market economy based on the division of labor, there is opportunity for everyone. Seizing opportunity doesn’t require a superior education or special qualifications. It simply requires individuals to identify that specialized division of labor that renders them best or, at least, advantaged at what they do, and to apply that advantage to serving their fellow men with a better offering than exists today.
Self-reliance is an attitude. With it, every individual can rise and thrive.
Spontaneous order is the form of social organization that emerges when self-reliant individuals employ their best efforts to improve their circumstances. They do so in collaboration with their fellows and peers, and without the restraint of central planning by third parties telling them what to do. The most constraining form of central planning lies in government. Large corporations are typically centrally planned and hierarchically organized. Many other institutions have centralized processes and planning.
Spontaneous order does not mean “unplanned”. It’s the planning of individuals – we all plan, and when our plans mesh together, they produce good outcomes for everyone. Since the future is unknowable, some actions we take as a result of our planning will have better outcomes than others. We discard the failures and improve the successes, and generate economic growth and a rising standard of living. No government or central planning committee is prescient enough to be able to tell us what will work best. We discover what works best, rather than prescribing it. We adjust, we adapt and we constantly move forward.
The technologies of spontaneous order
Today, we live in a time when technology is advancing the cause of self-reliance and spontaneous order. We can identify at least 4 technologies in the vanguard of this development.
Artificial Intelligence is software that can augment individual human performance. It will make knowledge, processes and tools widely available simply in response to a question.
This augmentation opens up new vistas of potential performance for every individual with access to A.I.
Blockchain technology will empower the individual to lead new initiatives and create new personal revenue streams by working peer-to-peer with others and removing the middleman. Individuals may no longer need the centralized institutions and bureaucracies, such as banks, clearing houses and government authorities that are the only ones deemed sufficiently trustworthy to handle transactions. This breakthrough frees individuals to transform how people and businesses co-operate.
Platform Technologies provide a technology base on which multiple individuals and apps can engage in collaborative computing activities, information exchange, transactions and sharing. Platform technologies are making it easier than ever before for individuals to connect with and share information, knowledge and ideas, and to collaborate with others – including precisely matched partners who provide complementary experiences, additive skills and shared passion. The result is a “shared mind” that generates new innovation, rapid performance improvement, economic growth and new opportunities for all.
Cloud Computing: A large number of these platforms operate “in the cloud” where we can all have on demand access to shared networks, servers, storage, applications and services. Every individual can command as much computing power as they need – and more than anyone in history ever had – just by carrying a smartphone.
With A.I., blockchain, platform and cloud, the individual is empowered and connected to resources as never before. With the application of self-reliance, opportunities are unlimited.
So what’s the plan? Be spontaneous. Exercise self-reliance. Utilize technology. Seize opportunity.
Spontaneous University / Spontaneous Education