The First Agreement
“Agreement is a wealth builder, a mover, and a shaker”
The conversation of #IsThereEnough starts another, about #agreement, that suggest that wealth is about something larger than money. It is about survival and standard of living. Money is only a means of storing it. Money, even when printed on paper, is backed by something. It is backed by people. When we say that, we mean that it is backed by #agreement. Agreement is an economic driver, an economic measure, and an economic builder. Human beings build all their wealth by agreement. They always have. That idea is so utterly simple that any 5 year old, taxi driver, or diplomat, in any country, in any language, anywhere on earth, can immediately relate to it. All of us know, instinctively, everything we have flows from agreement.
So, how else can wealth ever increase? How else do we get to make more with less than with each other? It’s our connections that allow us to do what we can never do on our own. That is agreement. It is all that awaits us in pursuit of any goal in life. Every creature comfort, every medicine, every new idea to decarbonize the earth that did or will ever make it out there, will do so by agreement.
We humans are all terrible at that agreement thing, though, aren’t we? For 70,000 years we have been good at war. And, when our war is over, whoever won, sets the terms of the agreement, and then wealth (for some) began. This campaign, its ideas, and conversation, are about suggesting that we may be ready to skip war, and go right to agreement, and maybe allow a few more people to survive along the way.
The arc of justice itself is about participation, a widening, in which more people are in the economic game. If there is enough to go around, rich people are safe being rich. We do not have to tip the scales. We have to make more to put on the scales. Whether you are a liberal or a conservative, when the pie gets bigger, everyone wins. Bigger pies do not care about politics too much. A bigger pie just happens to also mean, more people. You cannot have a bigger pie when not everyone is getting to help bake it.
When Martin Luther King, Jr spoke of the arc of history bent towards justice, he was also pointing to inclusion. This is where more people have rights, not just the quality of rights improving for those who are already enjoying them. Inclusion is what we all seek and yet, somehow, that is not our first agreement. We try to make sure we ourselves are included. We as humans do not start with everyone. We might have a problem there.
“The arc of justice is about participation, a widening in which
more people are in the economic game…”
Economics is an agreement. The one we are operating under contains a flaw, a bug in the software. It starts out with a false measure, a fictionally limited pie, that history has never proven, in fact, is limited. But because we all agree with that unproven idea and because we do not really challenge it, that agreement, false as it is, controls our economic results and just leaves people out of the picture. And, even if you yourself believe in abundance, if you live in an economic system that agrees with, and operates out of scarcity, you are still reluctantly in agreement with it. If there is indeed not enough to go around, if that is really the case, then survival and war have to take over, in one form or another, (hot, cold, cyber, information) and some people get to live/prosper and some people do not. But that is a pretty big gamble.
Allowing the question not to be asked of every person, truly asking #IsThereEnough, as a handbook question of life, even at 5 years old, means that life or death decisions will silently get made everyday, even when we do not examine the choice. Our lack of question has as much impact on whether people live or die as if we openly challenged who gets to. If it is ever proven that there really is enough, or at least a credible way to make a lot more to go around than we have done so far, then agreement, inclusion, and a greater, more thriving, survival breeding economic system will have to take over. That won’t even be aspirational. That math will be simple. This is not poetry. This is a destiny.
It’s a choice of who we are to be.