Yesterday, we held what turned out to be a most interesting round table discussion via Zoom with some of our fellows.
I would like to note some of the major points tabled:
- What the pandemic has revealed here in the U.S. are “underlying deficits.” While there has been much talk and media narratives on heroism of those confronting Covid to liven our spirits, we have seen with more clarity differentials among different sectors and classes and ethnicities. Our education system has not responded well to keeping learning achievement up during distance learning for many in lower income families. The economy does not lift all boats.
- Do you have a job or what’s your life’s work? Which question should we ask? Having a sense of a life’s work gives meaning and inspires dedication and gives one “skin in the game” of accomplishing our assigned role. Work is a team sport and we can’t be moral all alone. Morality is a higher calling for us, beyond earning our daily bread. Being present for others contributes our capital to the effort.
- In a discussion of how to measure the success of a company – “Numbers never speak for themselves.”
- Perhaps we should think of capital not as accumulated wealth, but as the capacity to take future action.
- Capitals should be understood as vectors, each with different speeds and weights, force fields, working on different time horizons which may or may not converge one with the other. Capital vectors can also diverge, creating more chaotic conditions. Capitals are a complex system, but that only means there is an architecture to capitals. We are comfortable with narrow, vertical systems when they may be more beneficial when they have a wide range of interactions and stimulations.
- What is value creation really? There is thick value creation and there is thin value creation. Thin value is money; thick value is a broad range of accomplishments, which then go on to support more accomplishments. What is the social value of economic value creation? What is the economic value of creating social values?
- Sustainability is more than protecting the environment. It is our systems which need to be sustainable. Distributed systems are more sustainable – robust – than centralized systems.
- Being in nature, not urban centers where wind and trees have obvious presence to us, is important for a good life. Coping with Covid in population centers is provoking people to reconsider the affirming side of being with nature. This should be a philosophy for capitalism.
- Is not a key condition of human happiness to have a “home?” We seek to create spaces for our homes, but homes are more than just a space. They need relationships and values.
I hope these observations stimulate your reflections at this time when one year comes to an end and we, on a cycle of our own making, energize our ambitions, thoughts and resolve to a new passage of time.