Let us prepare together the Post-Covid Economy

by Didier Marlier on Friday March 5th, 2021

During the first Covid pandemic wave, we observed the corporate and political leaders who were having a positive impact on their constituencies or employees. One of the five points these men and women have in common is the refusal to “look at the Future in the rear-view mirror”. They are acutely aware that going back, after Covid, to “Business as usual” would mean missing our biggest opportunities to reset the World on a sustainable path.

Recently, Pedro Suarez, the ex-President Latam then North America for Dow Chemical, recommended me an excellent article: ”Why management is a branch of Narrative Economics”. In it, Steve Denning (the “guru” of Story Telling) refers to Nobel-prize winning economist, Robert Shiller’s book, Narrative Economics (Yale, 2019), in which, the author suggests that “mega-narratives drive public discourse and our lives”. Denning describes the stories which shaped the Western World in the last century and shows how disconnected they were from reality to become an ideology that no one could go against. He now invites us all, leaders of the XXIst century, to recreate a mega-narrative, that we live and will save this World.

Far, really far, from being Nobel Prizes winners or Gurus, one of my closest business partners, Nick McRoberts, and I have decided to modestly contribute to the effort requested by Shiller, by writing more on those leaders who will create a new, sustainable and fairer “Disruption Economy” rather than use the latest technology discoveries to fool us into believing that we “save the planet” by buying electric cars (omitting of course to ask ourselves how the electricity that feeds them is produced) or reinforce the concentration of fortune in ever fewer hands.

One of our strong beliefs is that the World won’t go any better, should its leaders continue to resort to exclusion, radicalization or polarization or desperately hang on to power. We find instead that Dr. Luther King’s quote far better applies to our collective, business and political context, in 2021: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools”. Hence, rather than seeking to advocate, convince and provoke (which only would engage those who already think like us) we will seek to create a constructive, innovative and World changing dialogue, on the basis set by Rapoport.

Anatol Rapoport was a Russian born, American mathematical psychologist who passed away in 2007. In a recent opus (“Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking”), philosopher Daniel Dennett reminds us of Rapoport’s rules of constructive argument and debate:

  • You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”
  • You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
  • You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
  • Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

Nick and I would like to invite you to guide us in publishing this work, and avoid positioning ourselves as gurus so our questions to you, are as follows:

  • We would like to talk about the Disruption Economy. Writing… a book isn’t necessarily the most ground breaking manner to communicate our ideas. However we believe that a book, supported by a recognized publisher is still a must in terms of credibility but, are we right? Would you, our closest partners read it? What topics would you like us to address?
  • What else can we do? Do you watch videos? How long are they? Would you want 90 second “bites of wisdom” or 3h long form podcasts?
  • Should we have guests from all walks of life and countries? Are there some specific people you would like us to talk to?
  • Should we find people who agree with our philosophy or deliberately seek to engage with those who don’t see
  • What are we missing? What haven’t we considered?

Thank you, in advance for supporting us in this adventure!

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