Society is in a challenging time of disruption – akin to the transition between the agrarian period and the industrial economy, but at a much faster pace and on a larger scale. Suddenly, people who were good at or sustained by the industries of the day are being displaced by those who are part of industries on the next curve. Without support to transition, these folks are angry (and afraid) and will support people and political parties who promise a return to the “good old days.” The tragedy is those promises can’t be kept and will mean further struggle without transition plans, re-skilling efforts, social programs, and safety nets (provided by organizations and governments alike).
In a number of recent provincial, state, and national elections, leaders and parties voted in on the promise of prosperity from years past also campaigned on a platform of austerity. Ironically, as those in power go about removing social supports they cause greater harm to the people who put them in power and are actually the ones who need help to transition. In response to criticism and protest, politicians will spin fictions about who’s truly to blame (someone else of course), play up “us vs them” narratives, and prioritize their own interest and the interests of their political contributors above the greater good. It’s maddening to watch this unfold time and again across the globe.
My prediction is that it’ll take another election (or two) for people to finally accept that no one person or party can resurrect the past and that people need to change with the times. Unfortunately, these folks will face an even greater challenge the longer they delay. The good news is that there are many people in the world working to help others get to the next curve. And, if you’re nodding your head as you read this, that group of people making the world better includes leaders like you.