Is the “Auto-pilot” correctly set…?

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When I did my mandatory military service in the early 80-ies, I spent almost a year at the Swedish Air force aviation academy – not as a pilot though…

A couple of times I was invited by the flight instructors to have a test-ride in one of the fighter-jets – two strong anti-airsickness pills – and whoooom, up we went. 4,000 meters above ground travelling at 850 km/h, the instructor pushed a button and told me; -“The stick is all yours…” referring to the flight controls. I grabbed it with a “cramp-like” grip – it went really well for almost five minutes, then the instructor once again pushed the button, regained control and made a slow roll (thank God for anti- airsickness pills…) before we landed.

When climbing out of the plane I took a last look at all the complicated controls, especially the button he had pushed earlier – it said “Autopilot”…

This was probably one of my first encounters with the “Lock-In Effect” – an effect that in many ways resemble “Autopilot” in the way it tends to continue along an already set “route”…

Lock-In Basics

Wikipedia -_Padlock_-SMALL“Lock-in means that a particular technology or product is dominant, not because its inherent cost is low or performance is good, but because it enjoys the benefits of increasing returns to scale. As a result, decision makers are greatly influenced by the dominance (large market share) of a product rather than by their preferences for its inherent properties. The wider system can therefore not easily escape the dominant entity.

The result of lock-in is that decision-makers feel forced to choose for the dominant product, even if their intrinsic preference for it might be low.”

“Locked-In” Politicians…

In Sweden we are only days away from a general election. The election campaign so far show an absolutely incredible “lock-In effect”…?

www.sorenandersson.comWhenever one party comes with an idea, the other parties immediately demand them to show a full and detailed accounting of how it will be funded. If any of the funding comes from a saving in another sector, they immediately use the “reduction of funding” in that sector to bash the proposed idea… Apparently the current Status-Quo has to be maintained at all times. Read more in this article about “Our Social Perpetuum Mobile”

Change has to be an add-on to our, already high level of prosperity and any “change of direction” is regarded as a major risk while business-as-usual is communicated as “safe”…

As a result from this “procedure” – ideas and visions are totally missing in the debate, instead it is all about “bookkeeping”. Any proposal, even remotely resembling a vision have to be based on business-as-usual or so close to it that it doesn’t upset the other parties or the public, otherwise it is “dead before it was even born…”

One of the major election-topics is “Jobs”- where the different parties are trying hard to drown out their opponents messages with all kinds of promises for more employment.
What is amazing is that almost all of them seem to be 110% determined that the only way to achieve this is by increased growth on top of what we already have…

Could there be another way…?

What if we, being among the really prosperous countries on this planet could agree that “enough is enough” – maybe even based on the fact that if it was actually possible to distribute “our way” of life to all people in the world we need something like 3.5 planets to support us…

…that´s one impossible “Role-model” for the whole of humanity to strive for, isn’t it?

www.sorenandersson.comOften when I give a speech or a lecture I ask the audience if it would be possible for them to reduce their spending/shopping with 10% and still live a “pretty decent” life – I haven’t heard a negative response yet, quite often the contrary and accompanied by sighs of relief…

Well… that’s actually wrong, once a schoolteacher in the audience immediately said he couldn’t reduce his spending. At the end of the lecture I sat down with him to further elaborate on his negative response – turned out that he had already reduced his spending by more than 30% and had found his “balance” in life. The reduction in spending had enabled him to work a little less than 30 hours/week allowing him to spend more time on the matters that really matters in life – like family, friends, hobbies…

– You know what, he said to me, the amazing thing is that once I stopped listening to the commercial interests who wanted to run MY life and wanted me to fill MY life with an infinite struggle to achieve their ideals and a consumption-style of their choice, I realized after only a short period that “stuff” can never replace the opportunities the extra hours bring.

Now I can spend time preparing all meals from fresh raw products, we haven’t used any prefabricated stuff in ages. If the kids have a free afternoon from school we do things together – quality of life have increased dramatically.

From time to time I take on small extra assignments for free, it could be things like helping out at my children’s school when a teacher is sick or giving a hand to a local shop-keeper, so that he can get a couple of hours off – when doing so I am often asked how much payment I want – to see their bewildered faces when I tell them that I don’t want payment and that I am doing this because I have the opportunity to – that’s when I feel “rich”…

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 “Life is the thing that happens, while we are busy chasing ideals set by others”