Human progress has been possible largely because of our dogged determination to invent, improve, achieve or succeed while pushing the human limitations, demonstrated particularly by some extremely motivated individuals and those who follow their examples. The push of motivation inside each of us is very powerful, like a mighty internal engine that has been taking us progressively farther, higher and deeper wherever we want to go. Unfortunately, in our economic pursuits, we have been going in the wrong direction, solely because we have the wrong kind of motivation. The world’s economies have never been bigger and we never have a larger array of products and services for our consumption and at our disposal for an ever increasing population. Yet, no one has sufficiently answered the questions of where the limit is, to what end we are chasing after and at what cost we should continue.
The general clichés are for prosperity and progress and claims for bigger, better and more are always good. If the majority of us also posit that profit is our motivation and money is our reward in our economic pursuits, then there will be no limit as to how big we should grow our economies and no ceiling for what we want to produce and consume without regard as to whether it is the right or wrong path. As a matter of fact, there is a strong imperative to carry on or even accelerate the status quo, as long as we believe in and trust the capitalist system of pursuing perpetual economic growth at any costs. Except that climate change has thrown a monkey wrench into our path and shown us that we cannot sustainably continue business-as-usual onward, now we have to seriously reexamine and reevaluate our motivation collectively and change course accordingly.
This is actually fortuitous timing because after achieving basic safety and security, we are also realizing individually that something is not right with where the economy is going and how the economy is working. As we are working harder and longer at our jobs, we are also constantly keeping up and catching up and we do not know how to be content anymore, hence the economic treadmill. In economics, the law of diminishing marginal returns indicates the point where enough is enough and there is no benefit and even harm to do more. In the real-life economy, it seems like we do not know when and where to stop. In fact, we do not even recognize that we should ever stop at all.
Climate change forces us to stop and think about what we are really doing and pursuing economically. More and more of us are starting to ask questions. If we are working our fair share of at least eight hours a day, are we not at least entitled to a decent living standard? If we are working harder and longer, why are our lives not getting better and why will our children’s lives get even worse? If our collective hard labor and productivity keep growing the economy bigger and bigger, why is our individual economic pie getting smaller and smaller? If capitalism is so great and efficient, why is it not preventing climate change from happening or solving it already, even as some of us ignore the possibility that it may be the cause? The current capitalist system obviously is not delivering what it promises.
Of course it is much easier to raise questions than to find answers and solutions. However, we can at least start to accept the harsh reality of where our capitalist economy has led us. Firstly we have to be skeptical about the current capitalist system driving and dictating our economic lives that overshadow and dominate but also diminish our personal lives. Secondly we have to recognize the point of enough is enough in our personal lives and acknowledge the point of diminishing returns in our economy or when and where to stop growing our economy. Thirdly we have to find and reconcile the balance and equilibrium between our individual personal pursuits and the collective economic pursuits.
NATORZ is offering us the opportunity to reconsider our options and choices. Countless researches have already shed lights on how to motivate people, especially at work, and how to pursue happiness. Purpose and meaning always seem to be among the top of the list, but they are hard to come by in a capitalist economy which puts profit before everything else, assuming that one can afford to put purpose and meaning over and above the financial consideration necessary to support oneself. Based on the general assumptions that purpose and meaning can be found in making our world a better place for everyone and helping other less fortunate fellow humans, NATORZ has designed its economy to focus on benevolence and has redefined our work life to fit those criteria.
Imagine every NATORZ economic enterprise is non-profiteering.
Imagine every NATORZ economic enterprise’s mission is universal lifetime labor employment.
Imagine every NATORZ economic enterprise pays a living wage or its equivalent.
Imagine every NATORZ economic enterprise puts people first before profit.
Imagine every NATORZ economic enterprise engages only in sustainable, benevolent and productive economic practices.
Imagine every NATORZ economic enterprise takes care of its employees just as well as how it takes care of its customers.
Imagine every NATORZ economic enterprise reinvests all its profits back into itself, its employees or its community.
Imagine every NATORZ economic enterprise prioritizes needs over wants and public good over private good.
Imagine every NATORZ economic enterprise directly or indirectly solves critical problems of the world and relieves pain and suffering of fellow humans.
When purpose and meaning are already built in the economy, NATORZ can expect a working class that has a higher morale and better productivity, because they can devote their time and attention to things that matter and give them worthwhile reasons to do their best, day after day, instead of the money chasing and spirit crushing aspects of capitalist employers with profit overdrive. NATORZ may not be an ideal employer for everyone, but the notion of a work life that is purposeful and an after-work life that is self-empowering is compelling.
Let us imagine what if…