Do we have to have losers?

“The achievements of an organisation (society) are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”
- Vince Lombardi

Dr Herbert G J Hermens

Chief Executive Officer

Keech Castings Australia Pty Ltd

A recently made observation suggested in economic development and change there must always be winners and losers.

This is said with an authoritative air as if there was no alternative nor a right by anyone to question this proclamation. 

A just question that extends from such an observation aught be ‘why do there have to be losers?’

Vince Lombardi suggested that “The achievements of an organisation (society) are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”

If that is the case why should part of society need to lose if they play an element in its success?

Aught not our society seek to strengthen the awareness of the need for and the real contribution of and between each member of society and be able to devise economic progress that ensures there are no losers in our society!

Lombardi went on to say “To achieve success, whatever the job we have, we must pay a price.” Should the price for those that make the greatest gains, or any gains for that matter, recognise their profit could only be achieved by the combined effort of all so consequently they need to ensure they reward (make good) society so that there are no practical losers.

Michael Crichton noted (that) “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree. ” The history of millennia demonstrate that when the ‘losers’ find the continued requirement to contribute to societal success has no prospect of personal gain they will eventually conclude they can no longer withstand this constancy then they will no longer accept the political status quote at hand and seek change no matter how extreme, surely by now a fair expectation of society as a whole should be that the leadership has learnt this lesson.

The most effective way to enrage the populous is for its leadership to seek to deny the lessons of history. These are not lessons that need to rely on ancient history, in modern history and the history of today that is being created as we read this, we can discover the lessons that should inform our economic and political leaders. We have seen extreme reactions throughout history, war compensation from Germany after the first world war that had the populous look to extremes for salvation, Brexit that sought to blame others by the disaffected for their personal malice, the burgeoning extreme right and left movements, the frustration of many in denouncing the political elite through the recent USA election and of that of the far right in Australia.

What can we do to ensure that success(?) is shared equally? In simple words plan for change, let us not wait for it to just happen. Plan and implement change that involves and takes in to account everyone.

In Germany there was a recognition that industrial change was going to inevitable, well over thirty years ago planning commenced to ensure smooth transition to the new or revitalised industries, the new norm, this design work involved government, industry, education, and the population.

In Australia change is happening, as we change to the new paradigm of Industry 4.0, the internet of things, service and automation, are we ensuring that this transition happens seamlessly? Have we explained why we need to change ?, will we provide opportunity for all and plan not just for now, but for what will inevitably happen to the economic wherewithal twenty and thirty years from now?

Do there need to be losers? If we plan and recognise the contribution of all, it would seem we do not need to deem some to be the losers, short or long term. If we plan to ensure that at the very least we safeguard that those that are not immediately rewarded for change are transitioned through change so they don’t lose. If we plan for economic challenge we should plan for change in all parts of society, through education, developing industrial relation systems that recognise change, developing society to adapt to change with positive responses, such as reducing labour hours with some relative relation to productivity increases, educate society to the new norms and to ensure all contribute in labour or value their just share so that governments can facilitate fairness across and through society.

To borrow from Seth Low ‘A great country can teach something that no individual can altogether impart: a vivid sense of the largeness of human society, a vivid sense of our increasing obligation to all; a vivid sense of our absolute dependence on one another.’

This article courtesy of Dr Herbert G J Hermens. For more articles by Dr Hermens click here.