(Illustration Kubinka van de Lustgraaf, email@example.com)
Is it true that together we know more … we can achieve more …?
Is there a growing awareness that sharing knowledge and information will bring a larger insight to more individuals? Can we even say that involving other companies in projects is more effective than competing with them?
… Or is it all wishful thinking? Let’s test it with a few examples …
In the year 2000 the deregulation of the taxi industry in Amsterdam was introduced, aiming for better service and lower prices. The supposed magic of the so-called free market had to perform it’s wonders. Unfortunately still in 2011 it is a risky business to take a cab in the capital city of the Netherlands, when you don’t know your way around. Adventures taxi pirates are rude and greedy, easily charging tourists € 20,- for a 5 minute taxi ride.
In a similar manner deregulation took place in the global financial sector. The initial task of a bank, taking care of our savings, aiming for a secure interest was replaced by Gordon Gekko’s slogan “greed is good”. To have a character in a movie talk nonsense is one thing, but to gradually see how pillars of society like politicians and bankers became under the impression that profit “sans scrupules” was normal, was and still is alarming.
Nevertheless, business economics remains more important than social factors of the economic process, while society is mainly thriving on self-interest.
On the surface, however, the awareness that every human being should expand their horizons of responsibility beyond their own concern is growing. Bio food, electric cars even working less and the lower salary that comes with it, is slowly becoming more common.
The hedonic lifestyles of the nineties and the beginning of this century are becoming out-dated. Creative youngsters are interested in re-discovering the past, choosing a meaningful path in life. In the West, in general, we are becoming increasingly self-sustaining and therefore less dependent on conglomerates of power, more and more resulting in a behavior that is less competitive.
The meaning of hedonism – pursuing pleasure, disregarding everything else – as we understand it in our modern world is slowly regaining it’s original meaning, embodied in the definition of the Greek hēdonē “a quest for pleasure that has only good consequences”.
To stay with the Greek, this quest for pleasure was supported by the philosopher Epicurus. He was a strong believer in the positive effects of everything that is pleasurable and the opposite to everything that is painful. Even in the ancient times Epicurus was often misunderstood to be the advocate of unlimited pleasure and self indulgence. The contrary was true, he even warned against the form of hedonism we have come to know in modern times. Epicurus simply believed in the positive power of being friendly, cooperative and pleasant.
Isn’t that what cooperation is about? Working together, sharing ideas, but also having fun, while achieving more than you might when you are in a competition.
Of course this is all a hypotheses, yet the idea of pleasant participation carries a larger chance for a synergy effect than the model of competition. Not to mention the impact of negativity on society as a whole.
If you would ask me again: “Is it true that together we know more … we can achieve more …?”
I am not hesitant to answer with an absolute “yes”!
(This article is also published in the trend forecasting magazine SECOND SIGHT of July)