Temple to Multiple Gods (Guanyin, Buddha, and one other), Mekong Delta, Vietnam, 2013
One of the things I harp on over and over in this blog is the power of empathetic evolution, and its accompanying phenomenon of increasing agency in creating economic value. Whether on the small scale of the individual company, or across the larger society, people who are empowered to seek meaning are going to do much better making/doing stuff faster. They’re also going to have greater coherence in information sharing activities with real empathy than those that don’t. You’d think this would be a settled business principle, what with histrionic Authoritarian Hitler’s defeat in WWII, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Authoritarian societies (please spare me the ‘no, the USSR was socialist’ hokum!) with command economies, combined with the necessary repression (and incumbent psychological depression of the population!) never do well economically.
So it comes as no surprise to me, with our latest government-sponsored mass survey of v-Memes (I’m talking about the latest November election) that the almost-supermajority of areas with intense economic activity went for Hillary Clinton. This paper, titled ‘Another Clinton-Trump divide: High-output America vs low-output America’from the Brookings Institute clearly shows this.
Though Clinton was a modest communitarian-oriented, classification-heavy Legalist, with the elimination of Bernie Sanders, our true, data-driven Performance-based Communitarian, she still had something to offer to our urban centers, which are becoming, through forces of diversity and the need for global-oriented economic activities, more empathetically evolved all the time.
The Performance-based Authoritarians, who overwhelmingly weighed in for Trump, not surprisingly, don’t make that much stuff. And not because they’re lazy. They’re just depressed.
The whole thing is more complicated than just a v-Meme snapshot. There have been empathetic evolutionary dynamics going on in America that have created this divide really since the Great Depression, when the opportunistic rural folks from all parts of this country did things like hit the Mother Road to California — or Cleveland. And had to learn to connect with lots of new folks, both on their way and when they got there.
It’s still worth pondering, instead of just screaming ‘unfettered capitalism’ as the source of all economic benefits, on the role of v-Meme scaffolding, or how guaranteeing workers rights, and making sure they don’t have to worry about health care, increases both labor mobility, and how facilitating that personal agency-driven allocation maximizes economic benefits for everyone. The short, ‘no v-Meme squirrels running around Chuck’s brain’ answer is this: when people don’t have to worry about solely surviving, they make better, more optimal economic decisions, where everyone benefits. Of course. Because you’re far more likely to be rational when you don’t have to worry about starving to death, or not being able to pay your medical bills.
Here’s one more insight. Instead of taking this v-Meme signal from those poorer areas that what they really want is to drag us all back, I’m saying we on the economic winner side of the aisle take it as a little electro-shock and work to connect back to those that got left behind. It’s the empathetic evolutionary, and rational thing to do. And we could all use just a little more rationality about now, on both sides of the political aisle. Don’tcha think?
Further Reading: Daniel Pink’s book, ‘Drive’ is all about this. He’s also easy to read. Pink’s view is a little narrow, v-Meme-wise. But this is still a good primer on why paying people more doesn’t necessarily get you where you want to go.
Further Thinking for my Psychonaut Friends — is there a way to characterize information density and understand its effects on prosperity, as well as agency? Can this be a way to understand how to create triage strategies for rural areas struggling with job loss? Could this be used to threshold v-Meme transformation?