We live in a world today that appears to be securely controlled by the Knowledgeable Capitalist (KC)!
This is the newest hunk on the deck that is pushing buttons here and there and the starship of our world responds far swiftly than its size would warrant. The only time we are not at the mercy of the whims and fancies of the KC is when we finally fall asleep fatigued by the relentless onslaughts on our attention by the ‘pings & things = phings’ created and put on the market by the KC. We could find solace in the belief that the KC sleeps even lesser, hooked by whatever moves on an LCD screen. He is like a possessed being, busy developing and unleashing the next generation of phings to wreak havoc in our lives even before we have settled down with the last wave. He has the knowledge, the access to capital and just wants to do business. And what is Business? Invest and ensure adequate ROI! Sounds quite simple, doesn’t it?
Why does the KC not want to do anything else? Like where he or she does not have to worry only about how to make more money out of money.
Hey, come on, he is a capitalist not just a boring educated guy peering at you with his deep eyes behind thick glasses. And the KC has knowledge; knowledge of two types; One, about a domain – technology, industry, market or applications – and Two, about how to grow a business using capital and knowledge. Does this breed have anything to do with the MBA education started in the early days of the 20th century in the US? You can bet! All these KCs have an MBA from somewhere. The more hallowed school they come from the more capital they have access to.
Do they make choices or are simply ruled by the momentum of capital and their domain experiences? Is it the core competence that the KC develops working in a business organisation after an MBA that makes him an addicted money making machine? Does it have something to do with the fact that the MBA was started in the USA, the mecca of unfettered capitalism? And that the US didn’t have any feudalistic baggage to unhitch from. And also that US is a country largely of seekers who took huge risks to make a better life as compared to wherever on this planet they came from. Maybe!
Economic growth for a nation has been the pronounced objective of all governments in the capitalist world we live in today. The reason is very simple and has nothing to do with the nation. It has to do with what economic growth places within reach of the individuals and those who run the governments. Individuals get more money in their hands to fulfil all they yearned for and that is what motivates every individual to strive for economic growth. Whether money can buy everything or at least happiness is a philosophical question; and everyone knows the answer! But, philosophy is never a part of the agenda for the world of business or those who work the shiny wheels of capitalism.
Those who run Governments are forced to work for economic growth also for no economic reason. They have no option but to periodically win elections and /or retain their power to rule others. If they are not able to put some money in the hands of their voters or who gets them the votes, they would be banished to the peripheries of political Siberia. Individuals in government with a penchant for ‘mere’ patriotism or statesmanship normally do not last long enough in politics to substantiate any other reason for governments working for economic growth. The best eventually prostrate to their narcissistic demons only to leave behind a burnt garden for another generation to resurrect from.
That is the simple and straightforward logic for all the cacophony over economic growth, the world over. Look at the guest list of any hotel in Davos and you should find the same guys owning something on the Riviera. It is all about Money, Honey! The cursed trajectory in economics is a tragic one way street. Either you grow or you perish. Hence, Mr. Money is the boss or the supernatural that rules the worker, the most educated, the best professional and the wily politician. Let us accept it; Abraham Maslow was bang on! We humans anywhere and everywhere are an incurable lot. We have always been ‘perpetually wanting animals’, never satiated with what we have and always drooling for more and more of what we do not have.
A mini Rewind to the 19th century and we know that the Industrial Revolution and later Medicine unleashed a tremendous lease of life to mankind. Fast Forward to the 21st, the pivot for economic growth shifted from trading monopolies supported by feudalism to knowledge arbitrage. And knowledge was not held in land, machines or in banks, but in an Individual. On the other hand, Capitalism is based upon the need or greed of an Individual. For the first time in the history of mankind, the Individual could wield power that even Democracy could not thwart for long. No wonder, politicians in agrarian societies leave no stone unturned to hold back Industrialisation. Industrialisation takes capitalism to a crescendo and heralds the Individual. No wonder again that crony capitalism becomes the serpent that entwines the spine of all government bureaucracies in the world. In the developed nations, they legalized corruption as lobbyists.
But, paradox is the only reality of any progress. No risk no fun. Industrialisation, Capitalism with the Knowledgeable Individual as its pivot has created the modern world of the Knowledgeable Capitalist.
But, one cannot deny that the human society has gained hugely. The KC has not only raised the quality of living by miles but more significantly has made man discover hitherto unknown powers of the human mind. In the last fifty odd years, the human race went up a few notches from being largely labour oriented to being dependent on knowledge differentiation. Obviously, the consequences were not known. Great inventions, applications and utilities found place in man’s life on a minute to minute basis. Man’s value creation capabilities galloped ahead as he created more and more of phings that he could not live without anymore. A lot of people are still debating if these phings represent Dr. Frankenstein’s benevolence or monstrosity.
While the jury mulls over the circumstantial evidence under collection and analysis, Capital cavorts everyday with Knowledge. Their symbiosis promises an orgasmic ecstasy that not many can reject. One could only watch them dancing away into the wee hours of our societal night. No one wants the orgy to end, no one knows if there would be a new dawn.
Capital is in surplus the world over. It hovers above like a drone ready to swoop in on anything or anybody that gains any knowledge of differentiation. Business is about how to make more money from available capital and not necessarily about what the business should be about. The reign of the KC has changed everything about the fabric that was known as human society and life. We hardly do anything as we used to do. For the billions that are yet to reach where the more fortunate (?) like us have reached it would hopefully be a very satisfactory journey as and when we allow them to make it. But, for those like us interwoven into the fabric of the business world certain questions are popping up now and then when we take a pause. This pause is probably more possible for some who have already gained some slices of surplus and hence rest a while.
Where are we headed?
What more to acquire?
Is more really required?
What to do with our knowledge and financial surplus?
Have we already sold out?