When we enable distributed power, everything changes. In place of the relative certainty of expert central control, we get the wisdom of crowds and all the volatility that implies.
At 10:00 pm last evening I was returning from a dinner with friends, and the consensus view was that REMAIN had it. When I switched on the TV at 3:00 this morning, I watched that certainty melt, the shocked, instinctive reactions of those that rely on certainty.
As the immediate collateral effects of the result start to show, from resignations and power plays, to demands for referenda elsewhere, we can lose sight of the real signals.
Closely controlled power may offer greater certainty but almost always results in assymetric distribution of the benefits. Those who gain think somewhow they deserve it, whilst those who lose feel disenfranchised. The interesting thing about a referendum based not on party lines, but how we feel, is that it releases a whole new set of dynamics. Those who assume they have authority find they don’t, no matter how much they try and exert it.
The wisdom of crowds has had its way, and it will be very difficult to go back – that may be no bad thing – and it raises the question of how we work from today onwards. In many respects, the fundamentals don’t change – the sun will still come up, we will have ideas, create things, and trade.
How we organise will. For the last two hundred years or so we have relied on industrial economy models – centralised, hierarchical organisations which created frameworks, sourced capital, provided jobs and distributed proceeds. It hasn’t been working well for some time. Everything from the 2008 crisis to corporate failures to the Euro crisis signaled it.
What today has crystallised is that, as individuals we have to move away from dependence – on governments, or organisations, or debt to give us the freedom we need to be independent. With independence, we can choose who to work with, and with whom we choose to be interdependent. Who we choose who to be dependent on, rather than have to be dependent on, we can align our own deep sense of purpose with the purpose of those we choose to work with, and within that define our role such that it complements, reinforces, and grows the purpose that gives our life meaning.
No doubt we will hit real bumps in the road through the post BREXIT process, but it is what it is. To borrow an old saying, whether we choose to think it is a disaster, or an opportunity, we will be right.