November 28, 2018 |
The Great Depression caused untold misery to millions of people in the 1930s and is often held up as an example of how greed and a corrupt system can quickly unravel years of economic and fiscal strategy. World leaders shook their heads, which is quite a feat when they are generally stuck in the sand, and set about developing solutions to ensure they featured in the history books of the future.
President Roosevelt’s solution was to create the New Deal, with reforms and regulations that sought, amongst other things, to constrain the banking industry and encourage farmers to start reproducing crops. Sounds good, except that over time it created another inflated banking industry that ultimately imploded in 2007, and a farming industry that sprayed chemicals over their crops like a small boy after five cans of soda. As the world lurched towards another self-orchestrated disaster, the perpetrators cried ‘oh no we’ve done it again, silly us’. ‘It’s ok’, they rallied, ‘we can dust ourselves down and start again.’ And so it continued until today’s innovators decided that enough was enough, and frankly the world was fairly screwed and things needed to change.
Destroyers of the old world order like Uber and Airbnb are challenging the institutionally protected status quo, and look at the reaction – Cairo and London banning Uber. These businesses have become a phenomenon in an incredibly short period of time, and not just because they offer convenience and choice. It’s because they seek to dismantle the self-serving fortresses that protect products and services that should exist to make our lives easier, but instead protect generations of institutional money and ensure that the wealth is kept in the hands of the few. This is how the world has always operated, and this is the very thing that will change as transparency becomes the most important word in society.
Transparency in the food supply chain is paramount if the consumer’s desire for knowledge of where their food is coming from is to be realised. The huge increase in vegetarian and veganism is a direct reaction to the lack of transparency in the meat supply chain. But this lack of transparency is set to be a short-term syndrome as social media and technology collude to create a democratic voice. A rare opportunity therefore exists for countries or companies to use this to create additional GDP or profits.
The United Arab Emirates, for example, imports around 85% of its food needs and local agriculture contributes just 4-5% of GDP, so it has a great opportunity to create a blockchain-supported supply chain that can increase demand for locally grown, responsibly farmed produce. Blockchain as part of agritech can track the growth of its produce, allowing buyers to ensure that it was harvested at the right time and that no modifications have been made, and crucially give consumers visibility on buyer prices. This increase in demand for local produce based on the transparency of information will lead, in turn, to the development of more farms, and a stronger, local supply chain, equalling jobs, money, and profit.
So ultimately we have a choice. Either continue travelling around the same loop, blinded by the lights shining from the torches of convenience or make a conscious decision to change and put an end to the greed that has blighted our society for generations. Sadly, society is meek and will find a thousand reasons to remain mediocre, and allow the global bullies to protect their wealth and keep the wheels of inequality turning.
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