Question Authority: Queries In the Back of the Wall Street Demonstrators’ Minds

I think the Wall Street demonstrators’ lack of goals and the admission of not having a solution is very important. All solutions offered so far are band-aids at best, and most are likely to do more harm than good.

I think I have an innovative way of articulating the questions people have on their minds. I thought of scattering small pieces of paper anywhere there are these demonstrations going on, with questions like these on them:

Feeling robbed of the trust, loyalty, and commitment you invested?

Unable to get a good return on your investment in your education?

Feeling robbed of your share of the world’s natural resources?

How many shares of social capital do you own?

How many shares of literacy capital do you have on the market?

How many shares of health capital do you own?

How many shares of natural capital do you own?

Wishing there was an easy way to know what return rate you get on your health investments?

Wishing there was an easy way to know what return rate you get on your education investments?

Why don’t you have legal title to your literacy capital shares?

Why don’t you have legal title to your social capital shares?

Why don’t you have legal title to your health capital shares?

Why don’t you have legal title to your natural capital shares?

Why don’t you know how many literacy capital shares are rightfully yours?

Why don’t you know how many social capital shares are rightfully yours?

Why don’t you know how many health capital shares are rightfully yours?

Why don’t you know how many natural capital shares are rightfully yours?

Why is there no common currency for trading on your literacy capital?

Why is there no common currency for trading on your health capital?

Why is there no common currency for trading on your social capital?

Why is there no common currency for trading on your natural capital?

Why aren’t corporations accountable for their impacts on your literacy capital investments?

Why aren’t corporations accountable for their impacts on your natural capital investments?

Why aren’t corporations accountable for their impacts on your social capital investments?

Why aren’t corporations accountable for their impacts on your health capital investments?

Why aren’t governments accountable for their impacts on your literacy capital investments?

Why aren’t governments accountable for their impacts on your natural capital investments?

Why aren’t governments accountable for their impacts on your social capital investments?

Why aren’t governments accountable for their impacts on your health capital investments?

Why are educational outcomes not comparable in a common metric?

Why are health care outcomes not comparable in a common metric?

Why are social program outcomes not comparable in a common metric?

Why are natural resource management program outcomes not comparable in a common metric?

Why do accounting and economics focus on land, labor, and manufactured capital instead of putting the value of ecosystem services, and health, literacy, and social capital, on the books and in the models, along with property and manufactured capital?

If we truly do manage what we measure, why don’t we have a metric system for literacy capital?

Can we effectively manage literacy capital if we don’t have a universally recognized and accepted metric for it?

If we truly do manage what we measure, why don’t we have a metric system for health capital?

Can we effectively manage health capital if we don’t have a universally recognized and accepted metric for it?

If we truly do manage what we measure, why don’t we have a metric system for social capital?

Can we effectively manage social capital if we don’t have a universally recognized and accepted metric for it?

If we truly do manage what we measure, why don’t we have a metric system for natural capital?

Can we effectively manage natural capital if we don’t have a universally recognized and accepted metric for it?

How is our collective imagination being stifled by the lack of a common language for literacy capital?

How is our collective imagination being stifled by the lack of a common language for health capital?

How is our collective imagination being stifled by the lack of a common language for social capital?

How is our collective imagination being stifled by the lack of a common language for natural capital?

How can the voice of the people be heard without common languages for things that are important to us?

How do we know where we stand as individuals and as a society if we can’t track the value and volume of our literacy, health, social, and natural capital shares?

Why don’t NIST and NSF fund new research into literacy, health, social, and natural capital metrics?

Why aren’t banks required to offer literacy, health, social, and natural capital accounts?

If we want to harmonize relationships between people, within and between societies, and between culture and nature, why don’t we tune the instruments on which we play the music of our lives?

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2 Responses to “Question Authority: Queries In the Back of the Wall Street Demonstrators’ Minds”

  1. Grace Says:

    I don’t know who can answer these whys, I also question now whether education could have helped prevent these problems from occurring at the very beginning, and whether education could change the situation to a better way if we go into action from now on. If we believe, then we could. If we don’t believe, things just get worse.

    • livingcapitalmetrics Says:

      Yeah, like that capitalist tool, Henry Ford, supposedly said, “It’s generally true that if you think you can’t, you can’t, and if you think you can, you can.”
      Lately, it seems like no one knows what to believe or what to think. Maybe we ought to just believe in ourselves and the value of our sense of what is fundamentally right and wrong.

      Historically, in our government and our economy we have worked out a good approximation of the 80/20 rule: we’ve invested 20% of our resources to solve 80% of the problem. Now we’re facing the potential of squandering the other 80% of resources to solve the remaining 20% of the problem. But that remaining 20% cannot be solved in the same way the first 80% was solved. We need new ideas and new systems that will solve 80% of that remaining 20% and will do so using only 20% of the available resources.

      So we need an infrastructure that will facilitate a whole new scale of efficiencies. Think about it. We say we manage what we measure, but 90% of the capital under management in the economy–the literacy, health, social, and natural capital–is not systematically measured and accounted for in the financial spreadsheets and economic models. If 90% of the value in our economy is not measured, how well could it possibly be managed? If we don’t have individual ownership of the forms of capital that are most personally valuable to us, how can we be expected to realize the best returns on our investments in them? Let’s believe that we CAN educate ourselves to make a better world. There’s a huge amount of work to be done, but if we do it together, success is assured.

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