A double-edged sword…and we’re not all that bad…
This one came to me after I finished a chat with one of my American colleagues…
He was talking about the absolute chaos that he experiences everytime he comes to India or Africa, and while parts of me agreed with him, there were other parts of me that were defensive, patriotic parts of me I guess!
However, a little later, I chose to ponder on this conversation, and the reflection it had triggered in me. And I came up with the following. Let me know if you agree!
There are basically 2 worlds out there (actually 3, but let’s not be too picky):
2. The undeveloped/developing world – India, China, Russia, Africa etc.
I’m sure you get the picture… And here’s what I see.
The Developed world is well…developed :o) Which is to say, they have become a very structured, organized society. Trains run on time. Everyone stands in queue, things are where they should be etc.
They have managed this because they have developed systems and processes. But it doesn’t stop there. They have built a value-system where you DON’T break the system or process. If
the traffic light is red at 3 am and the streets are empty. They will stop.
This is a good thing. It means you will not have any accidents at 3 am.
However, this is also not a good thing. Because it is indicative of all that is today, destroying the developed world, and making it a has-been in current world-history and commerce.
From the outset, man has had a desire to control his environment (women who expect politically correct writing, please bear with me, it’s too much of a pain to write like that. I respect women. But I will write the way I am stuck with. Forgive me) and towards this objective he has built an ability to predict worst-case scenarios and then put risk-control processes in place to ensure safety.
Over millenia this has led to a mindset of risk-aversion and a loss of the pioneering/risk-taking mindset.
The more developed a nation, the higher the presence of derisking processes and ergo, the more safety-seeking the general population. Do you see where this is going?
Japan, USA, UK, France…take more names – all headed for seeking more comfort. Risk and Comfort are opposites. So what do you think has happened to the overall culture of the developed world?
Now let’s look at the undeveloped or developing world. If you’re an African in Zambia, you likely don’t know where your next meal is coming from. If you’re in India, when you aim to get into a good engineering college you know that you are 1 out of 450,000 applicants vying for 300 seats. If you’re Russian, you know that your entrepreneurial venture will likely need to form some kind of alliance with some form of a cartel or mafia.
Do you see where I’m going? No comfort.
Folks in the developed world grow up in scarcity. They’re hungry. They’re not seeking comfort, they’re seeking survival. They don’t have time for comfort. They want to get to the front of the queue, and they will do whatever it takes to get them there.
They’re flexible, adaptable, predatory almost – in their desire and ability to acquire what they aim for.
While the developed world is looking for the right page in the manual to identify what action to take, the hungry little bugger from the undeveloped world has acted and is already 2 steps ahead.
The universe abhors status quo. The universe abhors control. The universe thrives on the presence of both – chaos and order. And that is the only way to create sustainable, dynamic, long-lived organisms, organizations and nations. Balance. Be the sword and the shield.
Or die, on the edge of your own…I’d love to hear what you think about this post..
- Developing World’s Entrepreneurs: Success in Progress (mint.com)
- India Exports Knowledge, $250 Million to Develop Rwanda’s Health and IT Sectors (fastcompany.com)
- Washing dishes in the developing world (ask.metafilter.com)
- USD/JPY gives ground as risk aversion climbs, US treasury yields come lower (forexlive.com)
- Andy Xie: China’s inflation or U.S. sovereign debt could spark next crisis (investmentpostcards.com)