Neo Instituationalism

The title of this post sounds pretty important. That is the idea. It proclaims the dawn of an idea. Here it is.

A long time ago, the idea of “productivity” was not so important. But when machines began entering the production cycle, cutting costs and ramping up production, markets shifted. Suddenly, one could a hell of a lot of money by becoming more “productive”. You got a “competitive advantage”. So, no surprise, lot’s of folks got into that. In the 20th century, this went bananas. And we got used to the idea that no matter what we did, we have to “produce”. We all had to be “productive”.

Will things stay this way? That depends on what you mean by “production”. If you mean working harder and harder still to tweak out marginal cost savings in order to consume more, the answer is “no”. That is a fool’s errand when everyone is doing the same thing. We are smarter than that, right? But if it means working smarter to produce “leverage”, the answer is “yes”.

This is part of a grand 21st century paradigm shift that is just getting underway. The old mantra was “consumption is bliss”.  This produces the sort of “softness” that Horowitz complained of and “passivity” that Csikszentmihalyi thought was less than happy. The new mantra is “leverage is bliss”. Hmmm … and how does that work?

Leverage is a force multiplier. You might call it a tool or a thing that drives other things forward.  Having it empowers. us. And where do we find it? We find it in what we do. That is the source of all happiness. And we find it in institutions. What do I mean? Well, that is next. Stay tuned.

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