Did you know most small businesses fail within their first 2 years? 80% or so, to be more specific.
Today, I'm reading - rather skimming - the book Money Money Money Money Money (that's 5x the word money), and it's about why the traditional career path of going to uni / college, getting a job, getting promoted, working your way up the ladder is no longer a very attractive proposition for many.
Mind you, the book was written in 1994, and I found it at Urban Repurpose in North Vancouver, but to me, it seems as relevant as ever.
While launching AMNIe some 3 years ago, I was convinced the key to sustainment of our economy would come in the form of an ESG salvation of sorts. Perhaps a bit naive.
As we begin to deal with increasing environmental challenges and more acute risks, such as increasing psychological pain in response to the threat of climate-based disruption but also financial strain, one must really stop and wonder: "What the GuniGuGu is happening here! - Era Psodis, Creative Marketing Assistant (IA)"
As one of my board members once said when we started: "so you believe accounting will save the world?!". Two years after, after numerous engagements and conferences and talks both attended and given, I came to the sobering realization that no, accounting will not save us from the plague we have inflicted upon ourselves.
Much research, development, dialogue and inquiry into the psychology of our human mind was needed for me to recognize what is now too clear. As ESG gains regulatory momentum, it also enables the larger companies with larger budgets and PR buckets to use the rhetoric as a sales tactic, which begins to in fact crowd out the smaller, more innovative businesses - or what is technically the lifeblood of capitalism principles as initially proposed by its founding fathers.
Yes, capitalism has evolved, it has enabled greater normalization of wages and the global cooperation needed to lift some nations out of poverty, while helping the more developed economies strengthen their knowledge capital and invest in these cleaner technologies which have taken the world literally by storm. But it seems to have created a new class of oligarchs as well... and we know from history when power becomes concentrated in the hands of a few. Or have we forgotten?
What exactly is conscious capitalism? Many in our profession and outside of it like to use these two words together, without having a full grasp of the historic origins of capitalism, what other economic and political systems exist let alone how they diverge, and no one, I repeat no one, can offer a bullet-proof definition of consciousness. Please prove me wrong here.
Even in the field of psychology, philosophy, and theology - the pre-historic cousins of economics, few will venture to talk about what it means to be conscious. Conscious of what? Conscious of what I consume? Sure... Conscious of why I do it? Conscious of my cultural programming and how the social media feeds I consume affect my beliefs and behaviors?
At the end of the day, whether we can agree or not what exactly conscious capitalism looks like and which economist has a winning formula (akin to an Einsteinian version of Grand Unification Theory), we must alas go back in time to the root of our logical decision-making trees.
Unaided by AI or technology, without the internet, who are we? Who are our friends? What do we believe to be the truth, and how would we know?
Small business owners, entrepreneurs, innovators have an edge when it comes to this given they must endure and endure if they wish to survive and not be taken out of business by the larger grocery chains, fast fashion, fast content, etc. It pains me to no end that my kids, especially as they grow, are more likely to choose think TikTok and YouTube over a good old book that explains history as it was seen, at the time, not as we have rewritten it using words so as to not offend anyone - which is impossible btw.
I did not start AMNIe to become the very problem I was aiming to solve, or to run accounting models, or to help feed the cognitive dissonance in "greenwashing" and/or "wokewashing". The intent was and remains to help people and companies better understand how they can grow whilst building sustainable cultures and products / services that elevate the mind, help people pursue their dreams, and ultimately leave the world better than it found it - environmentally, but also societally.
Who needs the most help? Small and medium-sized businesses, but also the future generations whose education is at high risk of devolving into the result of absent parenting and fast-content abuses. "Why even bother learning to read, write, or do math, when a computer can do it better?" my son of 10 asks me, and that is a worthwhile conversation. But more than this conversation, what is lacking most is the support and nurture to give our future generations brain food so that they may do better than our forefathers, not worse. "We should have an option in school to learn something useful, like a craft, or a trade" he added, "and have the option to change that year after year so that we know what we want to do when we grow up." Alas, my son is not in a position to make such decisions, but sometimes I wish he were. Why are the large corporations and powers at bay deciding what is best for future generations? Maybe, just maybe, the kids might have something of value to say when it comes to how they see their own future, and how they would design / create for future generations, for a Future Economy, for a Good Economy. What is our response? "We know better, look how awesome this world we have created for you is!"
As Leo puts it, he is my most amazing product, him and my other son. And the reason for that is largely due to the fact I stepped out of the corporate world, took a risk, and stayed true to the mission. More than that, as I swallowed our own medicine, evolved my thinking, and did so in great part in conversation with my own son who, full transparency, has a highly creative brain as well, and a gentle soul. I came to recognize that consciousness comes in levels. We earn the right to use certain words, once we understand them - especially as educators, or parents, whether to our children, or to AI systems.
If there is any chance for human intelligence to continues prevailing over artificial intelligence, we must recognize that intelligence is not purely analytical and intellectual (IQ). Human intelligence is also emotional, and spiritual - that's where morals, decency, ethics and integrity come into play. And these reside within each person, they cannot simply be plastered on an organization's website without each representative understanding and behaving according to their meaning. That is why knowing one's own Ethos is helpful.
From my experience and conversations, the youth of our time is much more enlightened than ever, and their world construct, when shone a light upon, akin to the song "Si j'etais President", I recommend this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElbIvQ1ZqnM
As we continue our journey, we welcome your thoughts on how to better support you on your path, as a business, individual leader, or student in ESG / sustainability. And remember, leadership is a choice, as Sartre once put it (though I disagree with some of the fatalism in his existentialism), "there is no escape from freedom".
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