The world actually functioned pretty well before the Dollar.
Back in the good old days, the farmer would trade a pig with the baker in exchange for bread. The baker would trade with the butcher, the butcher with the goldsmith, the goldsmith with the farmer and so on.
Each would invest in two key things in order to make a trade;
- crafting quality products
- building quality, lasting relationships with others
These two things were the origins of value.
The great craftsmen (whose craftsmanship and/or relationship skills were superior) would perhaps command a premium for their goods and services and in turn built up some capital – to trade or to invest in crafting more quality goods to trade. Or for indulging in the occasional beer or perhaps an adventure or two.
Quality products and solid relationships were king. Good bastards with good products were likely best off. They become renowned for their wares and their unique flavour, they built “brands” – or goodwill.
Then the money drug took hold.
As trade got more complex – more complicated goods and services and more sophisticated market structures, cash became king.
The origins of value become less of a focus, as those doing business in industrial economies fixated their focus on putting as much cash as possible in their pockets. The US Dollar became the global benchmark for “value” and the rat race went berserk.
Then, the advertising & media revolution allowed companies to manufacture a brand image and buy an audience in exchange for cash. Earned goodwill become less of a focus, as an alternative was now available to the highest bidder.
It seemed to work pretty well for a while.
Stop to consider for a moment the amount of Dollars our governments now print each year just to keep this system alive. Is it not a false economy, out of balance? Are the masses not beginning to wake up?
As the global economy adjusts from a century of industrial lead capitalism, towards an open, transparent, connected world – the definition of “great” is adjusting alongside it, back to where it all began.
Workers are beginning to recognise and re-connect with the craft behind what they do for a living. Today’s graduates are striving for purpose, striving for quality – regardless of what “industry” they’re in – and so are consumers.
Those at the helm have a clear choice – prioritise creating cash for the short term, or creating great for the long term?
I’m backing the good bastards. Here’s to the return of the craftsman.