The more successful we become, the less likely we are to question our assumptions

I simply love this 7-min video from the Capital Institute founder John Fullerton.

In it, he interweaves reimagining capitalism with the need to shift our underlying beliefs and assumptions about the way the world works.

A need to let go of our entrenched ways of thinking, and recognise that the issues with capitalism are much deeper and more profound than we have collectively woken up to.

“I wouldn’t be working on this work had I not spent years in a very uncomfortable place of questioning a lot of core assumptions — and then realising things weren’t really the way they seam and I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was.” — John Fullerton

In Johns case, it was a realisation that an economic system based on exponential growth fundamentally doesn’t work on a planet with finite resources. Nor does an economic system whose purpose is to invent money to grow more money — at the expense of natural capital and social capital. We have created a system that largely ignores the social and environmental implications of investment decisions — and a shift in this system requires a fundamental shift in our underlying beliefs and assumptions.

Reimagining capitalism and our society

“The will to fix to system begins with the will and curiosity… to rethink the way we think the world works — and that’s not easy for people to do. That’s threatening to academics, that’s threatening to people in positions of power. No one likes to wake up one day and decide that their understanding of the way the world works is flawed.” — John Fullerton

There is a gift in today’s challenging and uncertain economic climate.

Because its only in uncertainty that successful people tend to stop and deeply question the assumptions that got them to where they are and do the reflective work to reimagine what’s required to remain resilient into the future.

The big question John asks in this video is;

What will it take for capitalism to shift?

Is a challenging and uncertain economic climate enough, or does humanity need a profound crisis or complete system collapse to engage with our deeper transformative capacities and shift our underlying assumptions?

Who knows. But I think there is a deeper question here;

As a global society, what will it take for us to create cultures who regularly do this important transformative work?

What will it take for the 62 richest who own half the world’s wealth to regularly question their underlying assumptions? What about the common successful person living in relative comfort and privilege because of their wealth? What will it take for the wide spread emergence of safe spaces for everyone to do this important work together — acknowledging we live in busy, increasingly complex times? What will it take for our education system to familiarise people with both the gifts and the limitations of success?

We live in a world where there will always be success. What’s important is that as a society we recognise both its gifts and its shadows and become wise about how we use it in the world.


If you have any reflections you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you.