For the past years, I have found myself visiting Berlin a few times. If for public speaking engagement of vacation with my family the city is lovely, the nightlife, the cultural arena, the political strength, they all gave the impression that Berlin is the real capital of Europe rather then Brussels. It didn’t take me a long time to understand that no matter how shiny the surface is, something didn’t smell good underground. Maybe it was my argument with the taxi driver who insisted that I paid cash and refused to let me pay with my card, a case that happened almost every time I used a taxi. The few times I was able to pay with my card, not only I was charged extra but I needed to spend ten extra minutes for the driver to read a paper manual on how to operate the mobile card reader.
Taxies are not alone, hell no, from grocery stores to kiosks to museums to restaurants, I was always pushed to pay with cash. To make things more interesting, every time I wanted to check my email, use maps to navigate, upload an image or surf the connection to the network felt as if I traveled in time to the 90th.
How can the so-called most robust economy in the European-union operate under such an old fashioned model?
Berlin is not alone, much of the cities in Europe suffer from similar symptoms. I live in Sweden and the last time I used cash was about three years ago. But paper money in one of many symptoms that indicate a deeper problem and even so this symptom doesn’t show up in Sweden, it doesn’t mean that the country isn’t suffering from fatal diseases. A rotten outdated economic and educational infrastructure.
Let’s go back to Germany for a moment and its connectivity infrastructure. In a world that is shifting its focus from physical exchange to digital exchange to generate value, How does Germany expect to compete on a global scale when it’s basic connectivity is broken? When we see the rise of alternative currency structures that fundamentally pave the way for the creation of a new monetary system, How can Germany, Sweden and the rest of the European Union cope with the changes? Especially when the monetization platforms are in the hand of the big tech companies and social media giants?
We’re surrounded by algorithms, flying cars, electric cars, and sophisticated computation power yet we still teach and think about economic models as we’re riding a horse and a carriage.
Thomas Edison said: “Hell, there are no rules here. We’re trying to accomplish something. And in Europe, we all about the rules. We completely forgot that progress is driven by creativity and inventions. I always like to think about laws in the context of dynamic movement rather than a stop sign, unfortunately, the bright minds of politicians and public servants administrators define our reality by focusing on everything that is not allowed to do (GDPR for example) and ignoring the narrative that society is only great when allowing personal prosperity to flourish – You do that by enabling not restricting.
Out legislative process is designed on old assumptions and by bureaucratic idiots who insist that what exists is right and shouldn’t be changed. The adaptation of technology is slow and driven by gaps of knowledge instead of understanding fractions, growth, and value. We are trying to feed old horses with paper money and expecting to ride it to colonized Mars.
Rules should be designed to help you when you get into troubles not to prevent you from getting there.
Europe lost it’s imagination, passion, and courage. If the vision of past thinkers was ahead of their time and gave us tools to push ourselves beyond anything we thought is possible, we now closer than ever to a point where the lack of it is defining our reality. We can’t continue and search for the new using patterns of the old. We can’t pave new roads, using old told and expect them to carry us into the future.
We know how to sponsor technological research, we’re very good at that yet when it comes to rethinking our policy infrastructure, we dare not challenge the statuesque. Yes, there are some experimentations here there, but the majority of policy decision making is based on fashion rather than thinking. After all, governments are looking for reports, not results.
We use ethical reasoning to justify the judgment of individual moralism, and by doing that, we drive innovation and creativity to it’s ironing edge.