Chapter 7: THE SIMPLE ANSWER TO THE GLOBAL PROBLEMS
“Education is the most powerful tool if you want to change the world”, said Nelson Mandela 30 years ago. Despite this, 260 million children around the world are still left without schooling. Left without a future. To solve the problem, the economical elite continue to utilize the blunt tools that are yet to ever succeed, expecting a new result every time. This is the definition of insanity. Even more insane when you look at it more closely and realize — the solution is right there in front of their eyes.
Following his new book on digital strategy How To Become A Digital Marketing Hero, Rufus Lidman is now translating all his knowledge to the most revolutionary field in the world. A field in desperate need of a digital strategy. In a series of articles, we will get an upclose view of this new mind-blowing market, seen through the eyes of a digital strategist.
>> Chapter 1: The Revolutionary Technology That Will Change Your Life
>> Chapter 2: The Birth Of The Future
>> Chapter 3: A Real Revolution In Practice
>> Chapter 4: A Metamorphosis You Are Not Prepared For
>> Chapter 5: The Apocalypse Of The Establishment
>> Chapter 6: The Secret Recipe To Reach The Absolute Top
After an introduction to the blockchain, both its speculative past and its revolutionary future, we have only briefly scratched the surface on the level of utility the blockchain may still reach.
We have on the one hand seen how Europe, aside from its 41 current unicorns, possesses every structural prerequisite to see its first 100 billion dollar company, its first “gorilla”. However, we’ve also viewed how both the US and China obtain infinitely better cultural prerequisites to do so.
On the other hand, we’ve also observed that we have a golden opportunity ahead of us. This, in the form of game-changing ABC (AI, blockchain and crypto) technology in general, and revolutionary blockchain applications in particular. Something which may very well change all the prerequisites and tip the scales in Europe’s favor.
But that is only if we can culturally adopt the mindset to jump on the given opportunity when it presents itself. And that is also if we dare to focus on the big problems of the world, rather than the smaller ones.
In this chapter, we’ll figure out what exactly these big problems are. At least if you don’t just think with your wallet, but also involve your heart. We will see how solving these problems have been the targets of countries, world charity organizations and the power elite for decades. And we will see how they haven’t had much success in doing so.
Now we are entering the second wave of the second generation of the blockchain technology. It’s therefore crucial to not only set our sight on eliminating the speed bumps of the first wave, but also ensure that we don’t become one of the evil gorillas we saw in the youth of the internet. Instead we need to keep a clear mind and help the blockchain technology in all of its revolutionary power. With that, we can achieve the success we thrive for with relative ease.
“ Populistic political parties will win more votes and in the more extreme cases, terror groups will gain a larger recruitment base.”
A Depressing Analysis
In January this year, the World Economic Forum in Davos started. The biggest event in the world for the global economic elite. And we saw history repeat itself. On the one hand, the IMF concluded that global growth had increased significantly since 2016 and would continue to increase this year and the next. On the other hand, Oxfam reported that it’s of little use, since 80 percent of all the world’s wealth goes to the top 1 percent, and the poorest 50 percent hasn’t seen an increase in wealth at all.
This is insane.
Whatever you may think of wage gaps (a broad subject open to many opinions), if this is accurate, trickle down economy and the age old concept of Reaganomics is not only a proven lie, but a catastrophic failure.
Even though this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone even remotely educated in basic economics, the result will undoubtedly be more polemic between different groups. Populistic political parties will win more votes and in the more extreme cases, terror groups will gain a larger recruitment base. So yes, more innocent people will suffer or even die. Including children.
It’s just so awfully gruesome.
During my efforts in aiding refugees, when we shipped over 50 metric tons of necessities to over 17 locations across the Balkans and the Middle East, I saw these effects up close.
On the island of Lesbos I met homeless, ID-less and orphaned refugee children, who had fled naked and screaming from bombings in Aleppo.
In Serbia and Slovenia I met wonderful kids, who were not used to the winter season, been near freezing to death without enough food or clothing.
In Iraq I met child after child that more than anything wished for an education to guarantee their future. Repeatedly failed by both governments and their harsh circumstances.
“Despite observing all this misery and hardship close at hand, I have nonetheless met the most amazing people I’ve ever known.”
The “Amazing” Political Solutions
War-time refugees, financial misery, natural disasters and famine. It’s this, the most extreme ends of humanitarian awfulness, which constitute the real bottom of the barrel of today’s global ”success story”. These are people who, time after time, have been the victims of insane circumstances, far beyond their control. People who have lost their will to live and any hope for semblance of real political agency, all thanks to the failures and the greed of the western world. It becomes clear that without a significant political adjustment to create a shift in the global distribution of wealth, nothing good will come out for the bottom 50 percent.
Well, that’s not entirely my point of view.
Sure, political engagement is welcome. But we’ve gone down that road before. And if the rest of us will just be sitting around waiting for things to happen, then we’ll be waiting a long time.
But above all, I don’t see myself as a victim. And, more importantly, I don’t see victims. Despite observing all this misery and hardship close at hand, I have nonetheless met the most amazing people I’ve ever known. Besides my own children, that is.
These are all an unforgettable group of heroes.
The young artist in Kalymnos, whose brother and father were killed and without a cent to his name, without clothes or food, who took on his three nephews with the help of his mother, as they clung to his leg on an overcrowded life raft crossing the Aegean Sea.
The Afghani teenager in a Serbian refugee camp, who after enduring abuse and rape as a child hiked and hitchhiked her way from Afghanistan all the way to Germany. Then failed to get a visa for her next of kin, and with the love of her family at heart, went back to Afghanistan just to make the trek a third time together with her beloved family. Bringing them to safety in Europe.
Or the outright amazing Yazidi woman, who was raped and sold as a sex slave by ISIS, her husband and seven of her children murdered, but continuing to take care of her four remaining children. She built her house with her own bare hands and picks wild parsley to provide for her family. And with a thousand yard stare that reflects a strength I can only dream about.
“These are among the strongest and most amazing individuals I’ve ever met, and worthy of only the utmost respect. I feel dwarfed by their presence.”
They, and many more, are all victims in the deepest sense of the word. Victims of the most awful wars and the worst evil that has ever been afflicted upon this world. But, if I look deep into their eyes, do I see victims gazing back at me?
Not a single one.
These are among the strongest and most amazing individuals I’ve ever met, and worthy of only the utmost respect. I feel dwarfed by their presence.
And I haven’t even started mentioning the biggest heroes of them all — the children. When you ask their parents, what they wish for most of all, they all answer “clothes and food”. When you ask the children themselves, what do you think they answer? ”Education”, ”education”, ”education”. ”I want to be a doctor.” ”I want to be a lawyer.” ”I want to be a teacher.”
Children who have not yet understood that for them, there is no future.
Children who instead obsess over some far off day they’re likely to never see. Dreaming and fantasizing about it, prepared to do anything to get there.
Children who, without getting this education, alongside seeing their siblings, parents and grandparents killed, raped and starving, instead will make up a perfect recruitment base for terrorist groups. Or become a statistic in the wake of famine and pestilence.
…while the rest of us to a major extent are overweight or outright obese. And one percent of us own 80 percent of the wealth. Where we can celebrate a new billionaire every other day.
So, maybe it’s not that strange that people call for a political solution, after all.
Open Your Eyes — And See The Solutions For The First Time
It is still strange through. It is. If people repeatedly keep calling for the same solution that has yet to ever deliver, to, once and again, seek the same ineffective solving of a never-ending problem, expecting a different result every time. It’s the very definition of insanity.
It’s just as insane to leave the problem solving to some hypothetically saint-like figure, hoping he or she will come along and sort things out for you. Instead of just doing it yourself.
Even more so, it’s insane to continue screaming for yesterday’s solutions, when we have new solutions today or even better ones around the corner. All presented right in front of us.
These solutions are not (just) political, nor are they classical notions of a radical redistribution of a static global wealth (= zero-sum game). But more than anything, they are solutions based on individual commitment with a forward-thinking technical solution of a more dynamic concept of wealth (= non-zero-sum game).
The Will To Create Change Is There
Some time ago, I had a meeting with the CEO and primary investor for a digital company specializing in blockchain technology. A company that deals with digital identities. A company that has a number of projects in Sweden, but also got a contract with China to handle all the digital identities for visa-seekers in the Middle Kingdom.
A company that’s looking to be number one in their field worldwide.
A company with a heart, who wants to offer digital identities to every refugee in the world, and all the billions of people in the world without a bank account. With a better way to do it than anyone has had before. A company that, with its blockchain secured technology, could have helped the refugee children I met in Lesbos, with their murdered parents, who fled naked from the bombings of Aleppo without a single ID on them.
Last fall, I held another meeting with the CEO of one of the largest cryptocurrency companies. When I told him about my commitments to the refugee camps in Kurdistan and other places, he immediately got fired up. Two hours later we had a digital strategy in place. We saw how we would ensure donations from western contributors, that securely, uninterruptedly and without middlemen, would be transferred directly to individual refugees in specific refugee camps. Even to a point where a specific donation could be earmarked to a certain supply or for financing a microloan.
There are solutions. And there are people making them happen.
“But don’t the bigger charity organizations handle this anyway?”, someone might ask.
Again, pushing the matter forward to somebody else.
Yes, they do, but you know what? They also have operational costs. They pay employees, they pay for marketing, they pay for transportation, they pay for an unfortunately large administration. Do the math. When you go through democratized cash flows (so called DAO’s), you see that at least 10 percent is extracted for administrative costs. So out of the 460 billion USD that are donated for charitable causes, we’re removing…
…46 BILLION FROM THE TRULY NEEDING!
But if you look at the bright side, this is money that’s already there. We don’t have to wait for increased donations or for someone to present a tenable political solution. We have it. The cash is in circulation, ready to go. Money that today is waste, needless operational expense. Money that, with the right blockchain solution, could go straight into the pockets of the millions of refugees or other people in need. Money that could’ve gone to the amazing children in Serbia and Slovenia, who were living without food or clothing.
Money that could actually cut the number of people in the world living in extreme poverty in half. We’re talking 350 million (!) people, who could be lifted to a new economical level.
Though, those who want to truly change things, they understand that the real catalyst for a more permanent solution will only come the day when we stop looking for victims and start looking for heroes. The day when we stop feeling like the legal guardians, fuelled by a sense of obligation to help the victims left in the wake of our prosperity. And instead start regarding ourselves as enablers. That will be the day when we truly will be able to see the world as more than just a hypothetical list of ideals, such as freedom, fraternity and equality, trapped in a perpetual conflict outlined by the cold hard facts of life. That will be the day when those ideals become universal in practice, and the cold hard facts are revealed as the archaic cultural inhibitions they are. That will be the day when all of us are truly equal, and given equal opportunity in our pursuit for happiness.
If we keep this mental paradigm shift in mind, and if we can add this tech-minded pragmatism in action, then we’re really onto something.
How? And in what area?
Well, we don’t have to look very far. We’re talking about the UN’s fourth sustainability goal, the solution for everything from starvation to empowerment, freedom and development. Something that Nelson Mandela put highest on his list of goals almost 30 years ago.
“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world”, he said.
And the best part is that in the 30 years that have passed since Mandela’s moment of insight, quite a lot has happened. 30 years ago, cell phones were virtually non-existent, www wasn’t even a concept and only 4 million people had access to the internet in its formative state.
Today that same number is 4 BILLION.
65 million people in the world today are refugees, of which 51 percent, or 33 million, are children. Most of these children have zero access to any form of education. Another 230 million children live without education due to poverty, social oppression or other harsh circumstances.
And yet, nearly everyone today is equipped with a smartphone. This is something many xenophobes often use as a talking point of false equivalency. “How can they truly be ‘in need’ if they can afford a phone?” But the truth is, it’s a basic necessity. It’s the only way for a refugee on the road to stay in touch with the families they left behind or maybe got separated from. It’s the only way to figure out where to go next and how to get there. To stay up to date with political movements that might hinder your path, information about borders that may close. Luckily, thanks to ubiquitous satellite networks and the boom of inexpensive cell phone towers, most areas of the world also have relatively decent cell phone reception and cellular data.
So in the midst of these statistics and facts, we have the seed for a world-changing solution of global learning — mobile learning. Which, after its first challenges of waning desire, economy and cheating, is about to get its first real substantial solutions to truly fulfill its destiny. To create the very tool that could realize Nelson Mandela’s dream of democratizing learning on a large scale. By the use of AI and machine learning, we can personalize the educational experience to further appeal to each and every individual, eliminating the problem of motivation. Through cryptocurrency, we may solve the issue of economy, as virtual tokens may be both earned and spent through the mobile apps directly. And thanks to blockchain, we can guarantee valid and globally acceptable certifications to vouch for each individual’s knowledge base on both a local as well as a global marketplace. All of this, as well as serving to help people directly gauge their own development and enlightenment. And create their own emancipation through knowledge.
Davos, You’ve Identified The Problem — But Not The Solution Right In Front Of You
Dear financial elite and participants in Davos. You know your economics and you know your politics. Maybe you’ve even figured out the seriousness of the situation, that most of the world outside of your immediate vicinity is in. ”A shared future in a fractured world” was the theme of Davos this year. But I don’t know if you’ve well and truly understood the bigger picture, or even the simple truth that presents itself in relation to it today:
The solution to the problem is right in front of you. It’s here, now.
And that is a fact.
No matter if the technology behind the solution is AI, blockchain or cryptocurrency, we have no excuses left to not realize the full humanist potential of it. So the big question is instead if the awareness of it exists? If so, where’s the courage to act? Where’s the drive? Where’s the pathos? The seemingly overflowing pathos of western media has failed to spill over into action thus far. Instead of solutions, we’ve only offered distractions. Mobile gaming, music services, streaming video and social media.
What if we could offer more than that? What if we could direct all that technology, all that effort and all that strength and money to offer solutions to all the world’s real problems?
Who You Want To See In The Mirror Before You Die
Some time ago, I had a magical breakfast meeting with the CEO for a Swedish billion dollar company in education. He told me that even after just signing on to provide an educational platform for a large number of schools in India, they had amassed an enormous amount of public respect and goodwill for Sweden and the Swedish educational system. The US equivalents are persona non grata, by comparison.
Sweden is not just leading the way in the digital domain, with our six unicorns, but also in education. Holding the second place, after our immediate neighbor Finland, in multiple surveys about global quality of education. With such a cross-platform dominance, shouldn’t it be our nation’s duty to not only benefit directly from it, but also share the joy? Shouldn’t we stop chasing futile political solutions and actually start saving the world? Isn’t it our goddamn duty as human beings to give children around the world, who still think they have a future despite all odds, the chance to actually succeed in life?
All of us who have had the good fortune to hail from a country such as this one, we have all the chance in the world to not just make a difference, but to seriously change the world. It’s good time we reflect on that.
It’s good time to look ourselves in the mirror.
It’s good time to decide if, when we are put into the soil for our final slumber, this world was made at least a tiny bit better with us in it, than without us.
It’s simply a good time to act. As a nation, as a company, as an individual.
That’s what I’m going to do.
So for your own sake, and for the sake of the world and all the children in it, tag along and take action!