About the book
SHORT-CHANGED! is about my astonishing realisation of the root cause of WHY inequality is growing in Britain and why it will continue to do so, unless WE, the people, decide to do something about it. The same is probably true for all other capitalist democracies, but WE can only change what happens in Britain. It is not a problem with the principles of capitalism, namely the division of labour, economies of scale and free markets, but how they should be managed in a true democracy.
I had been trying to understand why the majority of the western world’s economists and leaders were surprised by the 2007-2008 financial crisis, when I had been expecting it. I started to read what the experts were saying had gone wrong and what they proposed to do about it. While I understood and agreed with what had gone wrong, their proffered solutions of more and better regulation seemed inadequate. Then it hit me! We were misusing the concept and purpose of money and had been doing so since time immemorial.
In Part One of the book, The Way It Is Now, I explain how the misuse first started well before the financial sector and the subject of economics existed. I further explain how the misuse has been continued and expanded over time during the development of our economic capitalist system. I don’t deny that this system has benefited all of us, but today it increasingly benefits the few very much more than most others. I show that it will continue to do so unless we stop the misuse of money, which continues to expand in ever more subtle and sophisticated ways that have now reached epidemic proportions. We increasingly reward people for what they already have rather than for what they do. I show that it is work, not money, that drives our real economy, which means that we should stop rewarding those who do not work, whether rich or poor. The misuse is shown to control not only our economy, but also our politics. In effect we now live in a plutocracy controlled by less than one per cent of us.
A chapter based on my practical experience of the immense difference between managing a truly private company and a public company illustrates how this misuse of money distorts the management of our public companies and hence our economy. Finally in Part One, I present my modern-day version of the principle behind Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’. This is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as applied to each and every one of us and not just the one per cent with the most money.
Part Two of the book, The Way I’ve Learned, draws together what I have learnt during my very varied life, that has led me to believe in the validity of my arguments set out in Part One. It includes chapters on my practical experience as a research scientist, an entrepreneurial businessman, an employee in the NHS and my interactions with government and politicians. My two key learning points are:
- You cannot effectively manage anything over which you lack the right of control. This management truism challenges the role of the global financial market in the misuse of money, since it is out of our control and any other nation’s for that matter.
- Bottom-up management beats top-down management every time. This means that we need leaders who listen and can inspire us to seek common goals that we can all believe in and achieve by managing our own contributions. We need our politicians to cooperate rather than to compete. We need to agree on what’s right and not who’s right.
Finally in Part Three I borrow from my innovatory thinking approach to both business and new product development to imagine what a better way of managing our country and its economy would be, if only we could stop the needless misuse of money. I admit that it couldn’t be achieved overnight. A prerequisite is that enough people both recognise the need and are motivated to participate in making change happen. I make some suggestions as to how it might happen, but call upon all others, to whom this book is dedicated, to add and improve upon those until we can enforce our democratic rights for a better way of managing our country.
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