The world we all want to live in
If we look at the current situation through the eyes of the traditional economy, the situation is dramatic. It is unprecedented. It’s the most important economic downturn in its entire history. An example of the unpredictable. A black swan. Shutdown. Recession. Deficit. Debt. All the words that indicate a huge dark cloud from which we are hardly going to get out by the traditional parameters. According to an article by Ramón Tamames, in Spain alone, we would be talking about a 12% drop in GDP.
But what if we turn it around and think of this situation as an opportunity to do things differently, to finally seek the sustainable economic, social and environmental alternative that many of us want, to make a routine of all the acts of generosity that we are experiencing these days? What if instead of thinking in terms of GDP we think of living differently on a permanent basis, of producing less without increasing poverty? If the economy is the way we manage our resources and turn it into what we need to live, the answer is easy. Let us manage finite resources better and encourage infinity ones – time, meaningful relationships, all that makes us feel good. Let all products by default be organic, sustainable, regenerative. Let the prosperity of the few not mean the poverty and exclusion of the many. Let us be more frugal. Let’s share. Let’s not repeat the 2008 crisis in which the powerful, the elite, were saved and people were let down to go to a much more unequal world.
Great advances are often achieved when there is a crisis of brutal dimensions and a group of people fights for change. Like the Suffragettes, who in World War I got women to vote. Like the end of slavery in the United States at the height of the Civil War. Or like the British health system that was born after World War II to realize an ideal that once seemed impossible.
I like to reflect on the future. Anticipating it with words. Because I want to believe that, by daring to express the unthinkable, I somehow push for it to happen. It has something to do with my profession. Branding is always a reflection of the future. A projective exercise in which we give ourselves permission to ask ourselves the big questions, to dream in a giant way, and to express our aspiration. To let us fly.
Things that we are already happening and that I would like that they become part of our future:
#The boom of remote working. Some of us, among whom I count myself, have been working anywhere with our laptop for many years, preferably at home or in our favorite coworking. But for many companies, it has been an accelerated experiment that they are carrying out successfully. Others will need outside help in changing processes and culture. People will be working from home without ties, shoes, uncomfortable heels, or blazer suits. Companies may decide to do without their expensive offices. Trust their people and stop rewarding being present long hours.
#Change in social recognition. If this crisis has revealed anything, it is who is truly important to society today. We cannot do without the teachers, the doctors, the nurses, the cleaners, the people who collect and manage our garbage, the supermarket grocers, or the people who grow our food and the entire supply chain. We are faced with an excess of consultants, advertising, or financial people but many of those who do essential work for society are those who have so far received the worst salaries and social recognition. If we want a better world, we will have to value more those who provide critical services. Because they are our heroes and we applaud them every day.
#The end of consumerism. Confinement has shown us that we can live with much less. Suddenly, things like fashion shows are so banal and out of place for us. Overcoming consumer addiction both in its traditional version of products and services and in its collaborative, “on-demand”, one-click Amazon access economy. Cutting out everything that we don’t need, that does not provide real value. And when we buy something, let us think about its quality, its durability, its origin, the people who have made it, its impact on the environment. It’s the best version of brands, that of guaranteeing consistent quality without hiding behind an awful side. Then everyone will understand that a fair price must be paid to guarantee the dignity of the workers.
#The slow work. An economic collapse like the one that is approaching requires a more imaginative approach to the distribution of work and above all that people be less dependent on a salary to live. A minimum income must be guaranteed for all. We are closer than ever to a universal basic income before artificial intelligence makes most of our jobs obsolete. With that minimum income guaranteed, let people work slower, with less pressure. Let’s leave productivity to the machines we can never compete with. And why not? let’s fill the world with things that are well made, beautiful, manufactured with care and dedication. The things we’d like archaeologists to find in 1,000 years’ time.
#Climate change. Just as we have caused it, we are capable of reversing it. We are seeing it. The apocalyptic shutdown has a clear winner: nature, the environment, which no longer knew how to tell us it couldn’t handle us anymore. There is no pollution, neither in Madrid nor in any other large city in Spain or in the world. The noise level is so low that you can only hear the trills of the birds. For the first time, wild animals dare to enter our habitats. As soon as we give her a break, nature regenerates itself. We will voluntarily retreat to save our habitat without which our survival is impossible. We will put life above the economy forever because we will have learned our lesson.
I am aware that these are draft brushstrokes that open up very large issues. And that’s why I want to summon you next Thursday, May 7th at 6.30pm so that we can imagine without restraint what we want to happen from now on. Would you like to be part of it? Then write it down on your calendar and join us here: