HOME   //   PROFILE   //   RSS

The Problem Isn't Trump - Four-Dimensional History
by John Jazwiec

I couldn't keep up with all the events in August. I didn't know what to write. I was trying to grapple with what the bigger picture is/was. The following are my thoughts. 

There is a retired DePaul University professor, who argues that history has four dimensions - tradition, vision, time and place - and they all interact and influence. 

Let's take Martin Luther King for example. If you were trying to explain why he was important to a young student today in China, you couldn't properly make them understand, unless you told them a four-dimensional story. 

First, let's start with place. MLK's story only makes sense in the US. Next, time. MLK's story took place at a unique time. Finally, tradition and vision. MLK and his influence - at a certain juncture of time and place - was an internal and external struggle between the traditions of African-Americans and how people viewed those traditions. 

Which brings me back to the history of us today. How will people explain it, hundreds of years from now? Of course I can't predict the future, but I can describe today's four-dimensions. 

Time. The world has always changed; mostly through violence. But the world has changed historically rapidly - from the late 20th century to today - and it has been less violent. If I had to put a label on the time we live in, it would be something like "darwinistic mass commercialization without borders". This has come about from three main forces. The first is technological. Computing and the internet have enabled unprecedented information flow across the word. But they also have enabled unprecedented tribalism within a country, where such like minded people, never would have had a chance to congregate. The second force, is the drive to produce more for less and sell it for less. Prior to the late 20th century, profits came from steadily growing prices. Now profits come from ways to cut costs of production and increasing demand by lowering prices. The third force is the most overlooked - the lack of world-wide violence. One can get caught up in the headlines of Syria, Iraq and terrorism to name a few. But the world has never been more peaceful than it is today. Without a peaceful world, the other two forces are not enough to create today's "darwinistic mass commercialization without borders".

Place. The US is the world's most powerful economic and military country. It is physically isolated from most of the world by two vast oceans. It has one border to its north - Canada - that has cultural/economic similarities and has been an ally for two hundred years. It has one border to its south - Mexico - where there is less cultural/economic similarities, but nonetheless has been peaceful since the beginning of the 20th century. Through NAFTA, and tourism, many Americans - of a business nature and of a non-business nature - are familiar enough to interact with Mexico. So, the intersection of time - with "darwinistic mass commercialization without borders", and place - within the economic powerhouse of the world, is a self-reinforcing relationship.

Tradition. The US is the melting pot of the world. The country's success, in no small order, has been the assimilation of generations of immigrants - from a population of 100 million to 300 million in the last 100 years - who drive economic growth from being new producers and new consumers. A car in the driveway of every house. That is how most Americans have seen themselves since the end of World War II. There is a fairly-distributed economic upper class, middle class and lower class. Each economic class, can dream of and achieve, moving up in class and/or remaining, in the case of the upper class. Finally, a rising tide lifts all boats. Each economic class is either positively or negatively impacted by overall economic growth or contraction respectively. 

Vision. Vision is defined as how each person views tradition, through time and place. Too many Americans - place - have a negative view of time. "Darwinistic mass commercialization without borders" isn't a particular good time to live through. Today, too many Americans view its traditions with either skepticism or downright contempt. I might view immigration, through a traditional lens, due to what I do for a living. But many more Americans view immigration as a threat. A car in every driveway of every house also isn't a shared view today.What is a shared common view, is a fairly-distributed economic class system is now non-existent. And so goes the idea of a rising tide lifting all boats. To simplify the prevailing national vision, is to acknowledge an unsustainable continuing yawning of the wage gap. 

When you consider a time of "darwinistic mass commercialization without borders", in a place where traditions are falling by the wayside, being reenforced by electronic tribalism, you inevitably can see why too many people are angry and/or have given up. 

You can also see why such people took a chance on Trump. Trump isn't the problem and he isn't likely the solution. If HE isn't the solution, what comes next?

In summary, the US is the most powerful economic and military country in the world. But its main threat doesn't come from foreign foes. It comes from a wage gap that divides the 1% from the 99%. It comes from a continuing cycle of hope and change devolving into pessimism and the status quo. It comes from the tribalism that pits the 99% against each other instead of the 1%. And one is left to wonder - when people step back from Trump and his news cycles - will the author of our destruction be ourselves. 



Comments

Great post!
When the first industrial revolution created similar wealth disparities a progressive movement was born and with the great depression the New Deal.
The country is now in a similar trend as the second industrial revolution creates the same disparities and similar movement's.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

From athletic scholar and satirist to computer programmer to CEO success, John Jazwiec brings a unique and often eccentric perspective to business and supply chain challenges. Exploring how they can be solved through the leadership and communication insights found in untraditional sources. This CEO blog demonstrates how business insights from books on history to the music of Linkin Park can help challenge and redefine “successful leadership.” Read Jazwiec’s Profile >>

Hierarchy of corporate success

What does it take for businesses to break out of bad habits and succeed?
Download John’s free white paper >>