I have a hunch. If we're going to escape the teeth of this Great Stagnation, we've got to innovate not just products, services, technologies, or "business models" - but something bigger, deeper, and more enduring: our values.
Why? Think about it this way. Without transforming, literally, what we value - and what we disvalue - the incentives for 21st century products, services, business, companies, markets, jobs, and industries will never (ever) surface. Instead, it's the same old stuff that we'll demand, supply, invest in, and hyperconsume - at the same pace, velocity, intensity, and fury.
So here are four things we have to start valuing discontinuously more.
- The natural world
- The future
- Each other
I don't mean that in a fuzzy-wuzzy way. I mean it with razor-sharp precision. We have to literally value those things, make those choices, and emergently turn the entire structure of the economy upside down, so interest rates, rates of return, wages, salaries, employment, consumption rates, savings rates, investment rates - all titanically shift and rebalance in a new dynamic equilibrium.
So here's the conclusion my hunch leads me to.
If our values stay stuck in the rusting, creaking industrial age, we're likely to simply keep on trying to revive the ghost of prosperity past. We'll do, in short, exactly what we've been doing for the last three years: stimulating, bailout out - and crashing and burning.
Because the truth is there's not enough money in the world to pay off industrial age capitalism's debt. It's only with different values that we can spark authentic prosperity.
There's another way of saying that. Want a revolution? Be the revolution. If rebooting capitalism and reigniting prosperity is a function first of different values, then it also means that it begins every second of every day - with every decision you (and I) make.