Madmen or Economists? Our Existential Problem with Our Club of 200

"We have a finite environment—the planet. Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth in a finite environment is either a madman or an economist."
David Attenborough

Homo Sapiens.  The dangerously unfinished experiment 

Imagine you are a junior deity.

You have been sent to our planet to follow up on the experiment to generate two legged mammals with a unique non-instinctual skill.  The ability to think about the tomorrow and use their knowledge to plan and execute their actions today. 

However there is a problem.  These bipeds have become really smart.  You gave them the holocene - a period of twelve thousand years of a warm and temperate climate - to see what would happen.  And did things happen!

And here is the problem.  They have become so successful they have learned to breed like flies - an extra six billion bipeds in a hundred years.  Remarkable!  Nothing short of a miracle.  And like a swarm of locusts they are consuming natural resources much faster than they can be replaced.  You really don't have to be too smart to see where this is going to end up.

It turns out that all their creativity has stopped short at the level of imaginary nations and organisations that they have created.

However they have become quite incompetent at a planetary level.  Clueless in fact.

They have a sort of Club of 200, made up of so-called leaders from each imaginary state.  Most of them unfortunately are scientifically and environmentally illiterate.  They wouldn't know how to manage a planet even if they wanted to.

At the corporate level they have also been very clever.  Designing all sorts of wonderful concepts such as liberalism, capitalism and even totalitarianism - which is also an existential problem.  

In additional there is a flood of clever imaginary words they use such as leadership, values, visions and purpose.  These apparently help to keep workers reasonably happy and working hard.  We are not so sure however about this.  Please look into it while you are there.

And now...your strategic task 

It is now abundantly clear that Homo Sapiens does not have the brains to manage a planet.  Let's call a spade a spade.

Your task is to design a strategy and execution plan that will ensure the long term survival of the planet, life on this planet, and as a bonus, survival of these bipeds - at least for a millenium or two.

The best approach that they will understand is to use their corporate-speak.

But beware. They are very shrewd at pretending to change but not really changing at all.  For example they invented the concept of the triple bottom line twenty-five years ago to make corporates and politicians aware of the dangers of ignoring externalities.  Profits.  People.  Planet.

Not to be outdone clever economists, accountants and consultants decided this was too practical, simple and sensible.  (And a real danger that people would understand it and make unreasonable demands.)  So they decided to obfuscate the issue and call it something else.  ESG became the acronym of choice.  And a new game of green washing emerged.

Note.  Of course you cannot mix the E with the S and the G.  This is just plain stupid.  The E is the playing field, the planet, and the S and G the games we choose to play on the playing field.  No field, no game.  Period.

Start with their four-step organisational framework.  It's a good one.  You should use it.

Strategy.  Structure.  People. Performance.


Define the vision and strategy.  This part is not complicated.  Long term survival of planet and life on the planet.  Done.


Now here lies the real and existential problem.  There isn't one.  They have the United Nations - fairly toothless, takes little to no meaningful planetary action.  More of a soapbox really.

Then there is the Club of 200.  We have already covered that.  Totally incompetent and downright dangerous.

Once you have the right structure in place you can look at putting the right people in place for managing and evolving global strategy and its successful execution.

Some practical tips 

Paradoxically the successful evolution of Homo Sapiens has been wholly dependent on a very small band of a unique breed of game changers.  They are smart, courageous, obsessive and imaginative.  They know how to see around corners and create a new and better future.  (To be honest, the rest would still be swinging in the trees if it were not for this special breed.  You will come across some of them.  Einstein.  Socrates.  Tesla.  Jobs.  Musk.  Bezos.  Page.  Mozart.)

Whatever you do, start with a new Club of Rome group made up of the most intelligent game changers you can find.  And then take it from there.  (Of course governments and organisations should use exactly the same strategy, but they probably won't as the decision making power lies generally with the 'don't change' totalitarians.  They simply don't have the special game changing gene.)

Your challenge, dear blog reader 

I am assuming you are smart and have the mind of a game changer.

As the 'junior deity' you will be invited to be a member of the new game changing Club of Rome.

What strategy and structure would you suggest that would best serve successful planetary management?

Let's see if we can get something started here.

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