"The unedited musings of a
Poverty: Middle Class Consumtariat
I take the term Consumtariat from NETOCRACY,
2002 by Bard and Söderqvist. As we transition through the
information age into networks (digital tribes/teams)—transcending
nation-state, tectonic plate and ethnicity, we are pressed with
serious opportunities and challenges to those opportunities.
My concern at this time is my own—collectively.
My thoughts lie-in my own transitional states
that require me to consider the future, while admitting the future
has no place in the now, I reserve the opportunity to consider mine
and the future of others mindfully.
With that disclaimer, here’s what I feel.
Because of information becoming an entity in
and of itself, without any tangible form or inherent value, we face
times of complexity that are infinite in their ability to confuse,
befuddle and leverage those who get it.
What is there to get?
An understanding of how the “engine” of life
As far back as William James and Abraham Maslow
in recent history, man’s hierarchy of existence has perplexed enough
people that tail-chasing has become the norm. The incessant
climbing of ladders to reach yet another plateau of being, having,
doing and becoming, not always in that order.
Only philosophers have enjoyed the luxury of
“watching” the game, while often refusing to participate in it. I’m
always reminded of this analogy from the movie WAR GAMES, starring
Mathew Broderick, where he hacks into WOPR (War Operations Planning
Resources Computer) and attempts to play global thermonuclear war.
The computer takes him seriously and begin simulation of the
integrated operations necessary to run the simulation in real life.
The metaphor of this story is so profound that it basically sits on
video store shelves…as the greatest leadership training tool in
existence for only a few dollars. The moral of the story, learned
by the computer amidst all the human gamesmanship is that the only
way to win…as the philosophers often realize…is not to play.
What does this have to do with poverty of the
Because the middle class, reasonably devoid of
practical philosophy and guided by the blind merchant society, who
are at higher levels in the game, fail to see that playing this game
only buys them a ticket to become a member of the consumtariat, the
world turns—the engine of life runs…us.
It is predictable, just like clockwork, all the
while the players dream up fantasy games and reasons why they play,
each gear turns the engine of life and it runs…us.
Now, quite frankly, I’m not just being cute
We have serious opportunities ahead as the
engine takes over hill and over dale. The challenges are so
incredible enormous, that some players have devised such intricate
methods of play that we actually fall victim to the fact that the
simple rule: Don’t play, is forgotten.
The nature of things is a fantastic voyage.
Yet, all games have winners and losers, WOPR discovered that and
finally gave up the game. However, it won’t be that easy for the
billions taking their first breath of consumption. Desire is
unlimited. Consumption will follow and this will be that.
The game has become so sophisticated at certain
levels that it requires the attention of every man, woman and child
to play. The analysts have discovered ways to categorize the
attention in a myriad of fashions adding even more reason to “be in
the game.” The illusion produced by people failing to notice that
they’re in a game is all the more interesting and attracting to
Even as the Achievement Champion Warren Buffet
begins to trot around the world in search of even more billions, the
stakes become higher. While understanding the rules at an uncommon
level, he refuses to stop playing…what could possibly be driving
this ambition, this Cyclops of a money-creating machine…. Does he
want to own the world or change it in some unknown way?
There’s a quote from Bard (Co-Author of
Netocracy) in a speech:
“Money is not
important for the upper class anymore. You need money as you need
food, but it is not the most wanted resource anymore.”
And to my point:
Because the middle class requires money to play
the game, they will become the new poor in the new normal. The new
normal being the way things are, versus the way they were in the old
In considering my own fortunes in the game…I
have a strong sense of individual and collective preservation for
those who “volunteer” to come along. I believe this is a shift for
me because earlier in my life I found my power needs met through
controlling others and attempting to persuade them to my way of
thinking. However the shift in my own gamesmanship is to realize
that persuasion is an old economy technique and that attraction
through a quantum mechanical energy is far easier. Becoming a
strange attractor is far more simple than trying to predict where
the next strong attractor resides. Giving up prediction may be my
next step, however my own self-preservation kicks me back into the
I have no real interest in suffering the
fallout of the destruction of the middle class as we know it. While
most will wither like yellow leaves on a plant with too much sun and
water…others scare me. Remembering that much of the world has not
forgotten how to fight is a concern. When things get tough the
tough get going, so I do have some concerns that I might find myself
on the outside looking in without appropriate resources to buy my
ticket to the game.
Opting out of the game is no longer possible as
the world has become too small, too complex, too technical, too
connected…people will find you, unless you live where no one wants
to live…the reason our ancestors traversed the globe and possible in
the future, a reason to go into space—to escape the new normal, when
it’s not, who knows.
In pondering the philosophical and “projected
reality” of my own self-importance, there are actions that I feel I
can take regardless of whether my pontifications become real or not
to more than myself.
I think to myself,
What would I need to survive the calamity of
the destruction of the middle class consumtariat? Then again, if
people are smart, they’ll not allow this to occur, so I already have
a lot on my side. It is silly to kill the goose who lays golden
eggs, therefore the impetus may be to create more geese. In this
case, the game would become interesting to be sure, as the finite
resources known at this time, would surely be used up as the goose’s
nest became full of…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty.
What good is it to be prepared to live in a
These are existential problems that refuse to
allow us into being states collectively. There are those who escape
the din of the game and vibrate into nothingness, I’m sure. Yet, we
no longer have the luxury of avoiding the game because at some
point, it reminds us of its proximity.
I guess I haven’t made much progress, however I
have chosen to consider some existential issues that may help me get
a better seat. There is a of course a caveat, I could opt out and
leave the nest to my children, or theirs? What a wonderful gift
Nope, I need a strategy for the children as
well…this is going to be complex, or is it the simplicity that
Oliver Wendell Holmes searched for on the other side of complexity?
At this point, one might consider absolving
himself of it all and washing one’s hands of what one can’t
control…nothing. Yet, the human experience is the opportunity to
view the game, play it if you must or mess with the rules, your
choice and mine.
I chose to mess and play and view, all of the
Therefore, I have no become part of the
problem. Hmmm. You know, there is just no escaping this once
you’re through the turnstile.
Off we go, into the wild blue yonder…
At this time in 2003, I’m fascinated with a
multi-disciplinary approach. The fascination of it keeps me in the
game and so to move the gamepiece, here’s what I think/feel.
[Developmental] I wish to grow my awareness,
however couching that growth in simple joys of being human. Paying
attention to my children, my whims if I must and considering those
actions in the collective view of it all. Much of the action we
take is destined to create serious challenges, however not-acting is
almost as challenging, therefore the issue lies somewhere between
action and non-action. Perhaps the choices made in the awareness of
[Internal] I want to release myself from the
wanting, but prefer the transition to be gradual rather than abrupt
for those unprepared for what the mistakes of playing the game will
create over time.
[External] I’ll have to choose a place to live
that reduces my dependence on natural resources and allow my bodies
adaptive ability to provide the energy for living. I’ll have to
have sufficient capital in multiple forms to isolate myself from the
gyrations of the game and I prefer to not have to persuade, but to
pursue my own selfish journey of truth—my strength and my weakness.
[Financial] I’ll have to learn to play the
game better, while at the same time, extracting myself from active
participation in it, yet not avoiding my responsibility for it.
Ugh, this could be difficult!
I have to evolve my understanding of the engine that
makes us…run. Wellth
I’ll have to follow my
7 rules of engagement:
The Power of Networks. The
world is no longer anything but a network of relationships. In
order to move forward to protect your standard of living in the new
economy, YOU MUST UNDERSTAND NETWORKS...how they work, how
they're built and what you have to do to maintain them.
Affiliates. This term has
been around for ages, yet few people realize the power of having an
independent sales force that earns money for you without having the
fixed overhead of regular sales personnel. Affiliates are paid
ONLY when they generate sales for you.
Asynchronous Systems. While
this might seem like a new term to most, it is incredibly important
in the new economy. The power of technology and information
to serve us when we are asleep MUST BE HARNESSED for
every person who intends to thrive in the next society.
No, I'm not referring to death
here, but in some ways, people and business that fail to execute
will be replaced by those who can, or suffer the consequences of
lower standards of living and obsolescence in a very short period of
time. Execution is reported by many to be the one factor missing
in modern day business.
MasterMIND. This principle
has existed since the days of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, who
credits his uncommon success to those people around him who
continuously provided him with good ideas and the critical thinking
that allowed him to gain great wealth. Now, even more than
before the MasterMIND principle is critical to your success in
Resilience. While we list
"developmentalism" as the habit or rule of engagement, we have since
realized that what we are after is in fact resilience.
Resilience is the ability to transcend failure, navigate
uncertainty, persist through barriers and anticipate the future.
RightACTION™. The right
people doing or being the right things in the right way at the right
time for the right reasons. Quite simply, can you make the
"right things happen" to achieve the RightResults™.
Whew, and all of that from a thought about not
being willing to play on a loosing team. Go figure.
Mike R. Jay, June 2003
PS: I can't help but be inspired by the
following quote from Buckminster Fuller
What I Am Trying To Do
Acutely aware of our beings’ limitations and acknowledging the
infinite mystery of the a priori universe into which we are born,
but nevertheless searching for a conscious means of hopefully
competent participation by humanity in its own evolutionary trending
while employing only the unique advantages inhering exclusively to
the individual who takes and maintains the economic initiative in
the face of the formidable physical capital and credit advantages of
the massive corporations and political states and deliberately
avoiding political ties and tactics while endeavoring by experiments
and explorations to excite individuals’ awareness and realization of
humanity’s higher potentials I seek through Comprehensive
Anticipatory Design Science and its reductions to physical practices
to reform the environment instead of trying to reform men being
intent thereby to accomplish prototyped capabilities of doing more
with less whereby in turn the wealth augmenting prospects of such
design science regenerations will induce their spontaneous and
economically successful industrial proliferation by world around
services’ managements all of which chain reaction provoking events
will both permit and induce all humanity to realize full lasting
economic and physical success plus enjoyment of all the Earth
without one individual interfering with or being advantaged at the
expense of another.
R. Buckmninster Fuller
Aboard our l, 000-miles-per-minute speeding Spaceship Earth within
the outer reaches of the cosmically spiraling and expanding Milky
Way, the Galactic Nebula.
Modified from 152 to 200 words at the location on Spaceship Earth
where the first man-made atomic explosion occurred: Alamogordo. RBF
Update on Aug 1, 2003
Source for quote
DC- Do you have
some closing advice for HR people?
individual HR people, my advice is to look at your skill set and
map it against the future of HR. We think the career opportunities
for HR people are going to change dramatically over the next
decade. HR people are much more likely to understand the business
and be involved, but they will more likely work for an outsourcing
firm or consulting firm than inside a large corporation.
Credentials and knowledge of the business are going to become much
what we see here is a
structural shift in business and while it is tucked away in the
interview...this is monumental in scope and the effect it will
have...IF HR is not working for corporations, then where are the
people going to be...?
this corresponds to
the absolutely tectonic shift in employment as CORPORATE AMERICA
changes its contract with employees as I've suggested.
what does this mean
for coaching, professional white collar work?
I believe Peters is
right, 90% of all white collar jobs by 2010 will be gone in
America..."where do you want to go today?"
If you can understand
the earth-shattering implications of this structural shift, you'll
see why we've created the wellthmastermind and why it's critical to
fully embrace the world as it is, and not how you would like it to
Business doesn't care
about you and the reason is, "YOU" DON'T CARE ABOUT BUSINESS!
Here are some of the
messages you send to business:
- Make your stock
returns high or I don't invest in you
- Pay me more or
I'll go to work for someone who does
- Lower your prices,
increase your value or I won't buy your products and services
- Take care of me or
People wonder why
business does what it does:
Business is an
emergent properties of these and other simple rules.
Want to change
business, change your rules!
Consequently, it ain't
going to happen and if I might say, the new poverty will fall on
the middle class, a down-shift so prolific in nature, it will take
most of what we know as America with it.
I hope it doesn't
happen, but unless the simple rules change, business will
outsource everything and when you outsource, it's a commodity
business for the most part--all the perquisites, benifits and
"stability" of fixed cost unemployment evaporate. The economy as
I've said for years is moving to a variable cost economy and if
you don't perform, you're out. The corporate contract with
America has been nullified.
Bye-Bye Standard of
I hope I'm wrong!