We are in the capitalist’s dilemma today. Investors continue applying doctrines that were appropriate when capital was scarce. But because today capital is abundant and the cost of capital today is essentially zero, the same rules are the wrong rules. It’s as if our leaders in Washington are standing on a beach holding fire hoses full open, pouring more capital into an ocean of capital.
Clayton Christensen writing on why pouring more money into banks won’t jumpstart the economy. Money has become a commodity, and investors have lots of it, but no safe (‘relatively safe from uncertainty’) investments.
We have uncertain tax policies, uncertain political alignments, uncertain geopolitics: so everyone is waiting on the sidelines as the temperature rises, droughts continue and the water wars start, food prices rise and the poor begin to go hungry, and the liberal/conservative face-off yields no answers.
The postnormal is an era defined by dilemmas to face and straddle, not problems to be solved. Our analytic approaches – that worked reasonably well in the postmodern industrial era and earlier – bring little insight here, if any.
And the majority of the elites and nearly all of the average citizens think we are still in the past era, expecting a conventional roller coaster ride through boom-and-bust, wondering ‘when will things get back to normal?’. But we have moved past that, into a time where we can’t get back to normal. The only way out is ahead, into a postnormal frame of reference, postnormal responses, and a postnormal realignment of the challenges and resources we share, and new perspectives on how to get clear of the trappings and entanglements of the past.