What a title! Is this about what I am thinking? No. No it’s not – but the case here is still going to be viewed by some as insensitive. The Double-D’s that I am talking about are two dangerous but prevalent words/concepts: Deserve and Demand.
No two interrelated words should frighten Impact Capitalists more than deserve and demand
So, what’s the problem? Don’t we deserve things? And shouldn’t we demand what we deserve (and when we want it)? Seems these are words I hear on a daily basis – often expressed on signs and chants. People are demanding and deserving of so many things.
Let’s begin with deserve. What does it mean to deserve something? And who gets to decide what is deserved and what does not warrant such lofty status? Think of all the things that marketers, governments, and activists have told us that we deserve? Wealth, health, beauty, “justice”, university education, cars, iPods, politically correct protected free speech, and so on. And the list of what we deserve just keeps on growing.
The concept of deserving implies that we are owed something. It is a concept where we are inherently worthy – that the world owes it to us just for being born. There is no essence of earning or exchange – it should just be granted.
We are also told that we should not settle for less than we deserve. Anything less than our list of what is owed is an affront and an injustice. And that requires “appropriate” action. We should get it because we deserve it. And we demand that we get what we deserve.
Now, here comes demand – the partner of the dreaded Double-D.
What is wrong with demand? We demand lots of stuff (and we want it now). Not the demand of supply and demand (economics seem irrelevant in Double-D thinking). Demands are often made with absolutely no consideration or care of supply and costs.
The trouble with Double-Ds is people have a warped sense of what we deserve and then go out demanding others give them their booty. Just for fun, type in “you deserve” into your favorite search engine and hit the images tab – that is a lot of things to deserve. And the terms are vague enough that we can cram in a whole bunch of other deserved stuff (exactly what does it mean that I deserve happiness?). Now go out and demand it!!!
So, what are more acceptable replacement terms? What can be a palatable (non-activist) alternative? I propose replacing deserve with desire – and demanding with discussion.
We desire many things. Desire, however, dismisses the notion that we are owed something. In many ways, desire is self-interest and we seek ways to get what we want. And to get what we want, we have to enter the marketplace. We then assess the cost of what we want and compare it to the price WE (not someone else) will have to pay to get it. We can then earn what is needed to get what is desired, or we will search out alternatives. If the cost is too high, we may determine that we must not really want whatever it is we have desired (or we pay the price, get what benefits we want from the exchange, and then change the terms and claim we were screwed/exploited/victims – but that is another blog). Or we sacrifice some other want to pay for it.
It seems that discussion today consists of one party talking/screaming/chanting and the other party should just listen and agree. There is no sense of two-way communication and understanding. If the other party does not agree, then they are a variety of bad actors that need to be set right (by any means necessary). There are too many “demanders” that will argue that if you do not agree with their position, then you are just afraid to have an honest discussion (by honest, they mean where you automatically agree with their position). Disagreement with an action can get you labeled as being in support of killing children, hating the elderly (killing grandma), and being on the wrong side of history.
A mostly-free marketplace is essentially a forum for discussion. Parties work together to understand wants and needs. Exchange parameters are discussed and debated. And a deal is either negotiated or dismissed. Impact Capitalists know this. They have to offer something of value to another party, and the other party returns something of value. There is no deserving or demanding. They discuss desires and prices they are willing to pay for those desires. Deserving and Demanding is the opposite of what Impact Capitalists believe and endorse. Impact Capitalists believe in earning and satisfying wants through fair exchange.