We are at the Tipping-Point towards Utopia! We just need to understand it to get access — so we don’t waste lifetime! A mindset shift is necessary.
While the media is mainly focusing on North Korea, Trump and Syria, they are missing that the world is actually moving into a new age of human history and we are not even realizing it. For the first time, we are almost able to feed and educate everyone on the planet while providing Basic Healthcare for everyone. Nobody has to die from Aids anymore, we have only around 400,000 homicides globally, and you can now survive almost every form of cancer. You can access a doctor online, instantly from everywhere in the world as long as you have a connection and even the poorer countries now provide Basic Healthcare to their population.
The world is becoming a better place every day and more and more people are starting to understand this. While a decade ago only very few people, like Steven Pinkert, Bill Gates or Warren Buffett talked or wrote about it, you can now find dozens of books about it and even the more mainstream newspaper and magazines write about how good the world is. There is an abundance of data proving that this is the case, but what we don’t talk about is what it means for society and future decision making of the individual. Just understanding it is not enough. If you don’t change your mindset you will miss the opportunities of the 21st century — and of course the chance of your lifetime.
The world is changing, faster than ever before. And while some look scared into a possible future of automation, total governMENTAL control, and mass unemployment, others see the world as it is — a great environment in which to live. Funny enough, it doesn’t matter what version we will end up with, because the way towards that future is what matters now — not what can be, might be or will be. So let’s focus on the now. We are on the tipping point towards the Utopia some people have always dreamed about, a place where you don’t have to “work” anymore, where you are free to travel everywhere, where you can follow “your passion,” the topics that you are interested in and “work” on them. And I know it sounds like a marketing flyer of some perfect fantasy island, but let’s look at the facts. The first countries seriously talk about basic income, some have even tried it, and it is only a matter of time until it must be adopted, at least in the western world. If you retire in Germany or the US with 63 and you might be a 100 years old, you already have 27 years of paid freedom, not counting the 22 years before starting your job. With some passports, you can know travel to almost all 194 countries without a visa. Education is free all the way to University in many western countries, and basic needs are met in most places of the world as well. But all this is not as important…
Instead, let’s take a look back at the overall financial situation of the world to understand, where we are in time. After the financial crisis in 2008, the world became flooded with cheap money. This lets to investments in almost anything, anywhere. The prices went up, and the profits of the companies went up, the salaries also went up, at least a little and global trade increased dramatically. Today, ten years later, money is a commodity. It’s everywhere now. In 2017 China’s venture fund activities climbed to U.S. levels and almost 100bn dollar where invested. More than ever before. Japan’s Softbank raised another 100bn dollar to invest in new ventures, and many other countries in the World are catching up. At some level, we are working on almost all of the problems the world is currently facing, at some level. It’s not just about making money anymore. It’s about humanity, impact, and nature. And while people before them, the Rockefeller’s, Carnegie’s and Morgan’s of this world were also very generous building schools, libraries and universities towards the end of their lives, Bill and Melinda Gates, motivated and supported by Warren Buffett, changed the world in a unique way and will one day be mentioned in history books as patient zero of Utopia. Because they gave all their money and time to the Bill & Melina Gates Foundation and started to invest heavily in health care, fighting Aids, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other diseases that the world was still struggling with and inspired a generation of followers to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes as well. As of today, 158 signatories have pledged to give away over $365 billion so far. Buffett and Zuckerberg donated all their wealth. Branson even writes about how Bill and Melinda inspired him in his new book. Others like Anousheh Ansari went a different path and initiated things like XPrize, where others are invited to change the world solving the most significant problems humanity is still facing. Musk found ways to collect venture capital to disrupt three different industries: the energy, space and car industries. Benioff is saving the oceans from plastic, and many others that can’t be all mentioned here are distributing their wealth towards problems the world is currently facing. And we shouldn’t forget Google, Wikipedia and others who make knowledge available, for everyone, everywhere, for free. And Facebook who is using its platforms, Whatsapp and Instagram to connect the world, for free. China is helping with WeChat to catch up to and join the other half of the globe, and many other players work on many different problems in a speed that we have never seen before. The internet companies, in general, have made it happen. The redistribution of wealth by Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and others has already begun. Yes, they made mistakes. But we have to thank them, not blame them. Do we need changes? Of course! But should we be thankful? Yes, we should be.
Any problem you can think of already has people aiming at solving it. Money and smart people are working it — no matter where you look. And while patent lawyers, investors, regulators and managers all over the world are still trying to wrap their head around the current innovations, the next wave of disrupting technologies is already being built. And it looks like this process will repeat itself again and again and again with increasing speed.
But if all this is true and we are already living in this brave new world, what does that mean for our decision making processes. Do we truly understand the implications for someone’s life? Are we aware of the fact that this has a tremendous impact on how we should walk through life — as humanity, but also as an individual? Let me explain:
We now have three layers of people in this world — Distributors / Receivers / Behinders.
1.The Distributers: these are people like Bezos, Buffett, Gates, Benioff, the Waltons, Zuckerbergs, and many others, who have everything you could imagine — and more. They can live off their assets until they die and still have a significant surplus available to be distributed. And think about it. It’s not just a few super rich people that we are talking about here. The number of millionaires in the world rose by nearly 8 percent last year to an all-time high of around 16.5 million people, with record total wealth of $63.5 trillion, according to a report by global consultancy firm Capgemini. All of these people are technically already in the caste of the “Distributers.” They can decide which problems are significant to them and distribute money toward solving them.
2. The Receivers: these are people, mostly educated people in the western world that technically could also stop working today, but they just don’t know it or think about it or are aware of it. And with working, I am not talking about stop doing things, hanging out at home — drinking. I mean they could, but most people wouldn’t want to do that. With not working in today’s terms I am talking about following interests and passion. The Receivers are people that still go to a workplace today they don’t really like working on topics that don’t excite them, because we haven’t educated them on this basic knowledge yet. We just haven’t managed to make that mind-shift happen. The reality is that because of the Distributers, the Receivers can actually, pick any topic they like and start working on it or join other people that are already working on it while getting paid for doing this. We still need money to flow that way since we haven’t found a better way of doing it. But the Receivers have the freedom to choose, no matter what it is. Even traveling, writing, painting, but also anything else. And we could go much more into detail, but not now. So that you understand let’s take Norway for example. Norway has a population of 5.26m people. At the same time, Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund surpassed the $1 trillion mark for the first time, driven by climbing stock markets and currency shifts. Just to put that into perspective: $1 trillion equates to over $190.000 for each of Norway’s 5.2 million citizens. And now just for fun with Buffett’s average rate of return of 19%, this is almost 36.100 € per citizen per year. So technically enough to live off in any medium cost environment.
3. We will call them the Behinders: these are people that don’t have access to knowledge, healthcare, education and wealth yet in a way the Receivers do. Most of them live in non-western countries that just haven’t caught up yet. North Korea is a good example. In many African countries, the majority of the population still is part of this group, and this is also true for some other countries in Asia and South America. They might be happy, but they don’t have access and freedom to act in the same way the Receivers do. And while a few places in the world, like Sudan, Syria, North Korea and two or three others still haven’t stepped into this next area, the world, in general, is moving with light speed towards Utopia. We are already living in the future. To get the numbers straight: less than one billion people are now living in extreme poverty and more than 7bn people above. Consider how significant this is. And while it means we still have plenty to do, it also means that the Behinders are catching up.
One of the most critical aspects here is that we all take a moment and consider what we need to do to help the Behinders to catch up. Because the point that needs to be made is that we have to change our understanding of how the world functions. The concept of going to school for 12 years, college, university, work, retirement and many other things that we have introduced into society over the last 2000 years don’t necessarily work in the new world we are now entering. First of all, we need to create awareness that the world is changing. The Receivers, by far the biggest group needs to wake up. Without awareness, the institutions will not even realize that there is a need for change. Therefore they need to understand that what they learned is not true anymore and that what their parents learned used to be true, but isn’t true anymore either. We know for a fact that parents, school, and environment condition our thinking in a way that makes it hard for us to change. But we need to unlearn that because it is essential for the decision-making in a world of uncertainty. It has a significant impact on someone’s life. Depression has the potential to become “the disease” of the 21st-Century, and we as a society can only fight it if we understand that we are indeed living in a different world. And there will always be a group of Behinders that choose to live like this, but the majority isn’t choosing this way of living, and therefore we need to start making radical changes.
What are these changes? Were should we start? Well, first of all we need to understand the future always starts with our children. Therefore the first thing we need to change is the way education works today.
Schools need to be a life-long experience. The current system of elementary school, high school, universities and post-graduate education needs to change. Why shouldn’t 75-year-old people sit in the same room with 7-year-old kids all of them learning something? Seem far-fetched, what if the curriculum is digital? We need to educate the rising generations in a manner that enables them to learn for the rest of their lives, whatever learning means. And to ensure that they accept this, we need to design the learning process in a way that is positive, something pleasant. The industrial revolution led to a school system that produced highly functional employees that could serve the companies. But now we don’t need these employees anymore. We don’t need many people doing the same task. We don’t need kids coming out of school fast, ready to work. And I don’t have an answer what we need, maybe Thinkers that can work on different problems with a small group of people using various tools, to move on after solving the problem. But no matter what it is we need, we should start a discussion about how the school, as an institution, needs to change now. And we need to start implementing these changes now. Each deliberate move stands to improve the status quo.
And we need to introduce psychology to every classroom, office, and institution in the world. Without an early, baseline understanding of the brain, we risk children becoming victims of the technology. Leaders make selfish, short-sighted or biased decisions can result in systems and regulations unable to produce change due to a failure to accommodate personal reasons which are not in line with data, despite being visible to the common understanding of the population. And people also won’t be happy. We have already decrypted the code to happiness, and while we can discuss the details, the main formula is = having the basics: good sleep, good relationships, good food and good sex.
The second thing we need to understand is that our current form of running governments needs to change.
Democrazy (the spelling here is on purpose) is also facing challenges that we need to discuss. While I am not saying that China or Saudi Arabia have better systems (I am a big fan of freedom and democracy), they certainly can make faster decisions, more focused investments into the future and more efficient regulations, because of the way their current systems works. While Germany needs 18 years to plan an international airport and another 18 years to build it, China will decide, build, and have their first departure, all within 24 months. And yes, maybe the German airport, once finished, it will last 150 years, but perhaps the aviation industry will change in ways that we can’t anticipate today and airports will no longer be necessary in only 25 years. We don’t need to have all the answers, but we need to adjust.
Direct democracy during the era of Ancient Greece worked because it was “direct.” Today we have people, which might be the first problem, elected for a specified time that might not have the knowledge or awareness they need to have. They also might not have the time to educate themselves. They also have ego’s that are part of the problem too. Maybe we need to get rid of borders. Perhaps we need an AI that collects and distributes taxes based on current location rather than nationality. Perhaps we need algorithms to support legislation and at least in a first step recommend changes. I don’t know for sure, but I do know we need to discuss this and start testing it because if we don’t, others will.
The role of Money, or currency, is also something else that will soon become disrupted. Once a basic income, or subsidy, becomes standard, the relationship society has with money will distort in numerous yet predictable ways. We therefore not only need to educate people how follow their passion, but also find new ways of motivation, access and distribution. And here I don’t have any radical ideas on what the new currency can be, but I can already tell you that I hope it won’t be “time” or “health” or “longevity.” We, as a society, will need to discuss these issues because especially in the transition, if not handled carefully, the new currency can create new forms of inequality rather than alleviating those with which we are so familiar. People being able to “buy time” in ways that we can’t presently imagine, as an example; or money being able to buy “longevity” which due to the cost is available to some and not others as another. While today, this can mean living a few years longer because you can afford a better lifestyle, soon this could potentially mean buying decades.
Therefore, we need an intentional and effective societal paradigm shift. Teachers need to be the first people to understand this so they can educate future generations on what these changes mean for them. Understanding is crucial for a peaceful transition into this new brave world. The opportunities are endless, but without careful steps forward we could suffer the unimaginable and lose whole generation or generations, if we don’t start educating educators in the philosophies behind the shift as early as possible.
Also our understanding of whats right or wrong will have to adjust in a way that is not predictable today. Philosophy will be more critical than ever before, and a new limit of tolerance will be necessary in the world of tomorrow.
Moral standards and what’s acceptable in society’s need to become more flexible and more individual. While the discussions about women rights and homosexuality dominated the last three decades and are still not fully solved in all communities of the world, we already see a flood of special interests for which we are not prepared. German courts just accepted a third gender while Sweden already has gender-free schools, the discussion about gender fluidity just started and we don’t even have any idea what is going on in the mind of people — but we soon will have. Data breaches of Ashley Madison and Yahoo only give a glimpse of the sexual diversity. Racial fluidity just made the news. And maybe we are not prepared for what that will mean for society regarding the individual and the people around the individual. But we need to create more open communities that have open arms, rather than closed doors. Education needs to be about that too, since we can’t change the thinking of adults, but might be able to influence the acceptance of the next generation.
But let’s stop here for now. My goal here is to start the awareness process and not give all the answers. Discuss this at home, work, and in school. Help create an environment to discuss these topics and remember; change is more important than solutions. Fostering flexible thinking and instilling flexible systems will be more important than giving answers, while not losing the deep understanding of the basics that matter will be the first ingredient in the recipe for life in happiness.