(philosophical reflection on real-sector horizons)
The present civilization is obsessed with technologies. Various technologies. Whole countries bet on a particular technology for a living. It is often difficult to figure out why one or another technology is chosen to be a national economic driver after all. The balance between costs and benefits in such cases is all the more unexplainable.
Whether inertia, whether tradition, but many countries move from one type of economy to another quite spontaneously. It looks like that from the outside at least. Take Venezuela, for example, — the oil-driven economy suffering from hyperinflation is going to jump into another post-industrial paradigm with the help of the national cryptocurrency “Petro”. It seems the fancy blockchain technology has intoxicated president Maduro…
Actually, we can recognize only a few countries in the contemporary world whose economies are tightly linked to either a particular industry or a definite socio-cultural lifestyle. Switzerland has always been associated with banking. Nepal has probably nothing but Buddhistic tourism for a living. The Middle East region depends on oil exploitation.
But the global leaders such as the United States and China both cover a vast variety of industries whose powerful development results in the recent trade wars between those two economic giants.
Unlike the latter, many outsiders and developing countries are still hesitating with regard to a particular industry to choose. Such unstable states as the CIS countries keep jumping from one economic model to another in finding a suitable technology for grounding their economies.
Ukraine, for example, inexplicably disrespects its huge scientific and industrial potential inherited from the Soviet times in favor of wheat and sunflower farming like it’s the 19th century when Ukraine was famous for nothing but agriculture…
However, when it comes to a new promising technology capable of bringing significant benefits to everyone who proceeds it, every country has a chance to take the lead. Moreover, the current situation in a national economy plays almost no role in such a case. Determination, flexibility, and the ability to recognize far-reaching opportunities constitute some critical features of the visionary leadership. But the most important capability of a true leader (no matter whether s/he is a government official or a business person) is a specific spirit of pragmatism especially inherent in the traditional American entrepreneurship.
It seems just a lack of such a pragmatic American spirit puts in doubt the above-mentioned initiative of Venezuelan president with the national cryptocurrency. Let’s pay tribute to Mr. Maduro for his non-trivial and even avant-garde approach to the blockchain technology, but it can hardly meet the challenges of the national Venezuelan economy. Every economic decision made at a national level should imply the strategic long-term vision of all possible consequences. The “Petro” coin meets some tactical short-term challenges instead. Although “Petro” corresponds to the major principle of the pragmatic American spirit in general, no one can guarantee it will succeed even a month longer because
no durable practice of a non-volatile cryptocurrency (and this is just the feature seemingly able to fix the Venezuelan hyperinflation) is historically available.
What is that major principle of the pragmatic American spirit?
In two simple words, it can be expressed as “It works”.
So primitive? — some may ask. Let’s not jump into conclusions since the issue may appear much more fundamental than meets the eye. In order to grasp the very phenomenon of the pragmatic American spirit, we have to realize some peculiar features of the American philosophy. The modern philosophy as such is in a deep crisis nowadays, it’s true. Nevertheless, just the philosophy determines the entire existence of people — not for nothing the Club of Rome emphasizes the urgency of some new global philosophy to be invented.
Many European intellectuals take the authentic American philosophy easy relating it mostly to the American pop culture. What can the nation of McDonald’s, Hollywood, and endless tv-shows understand in philosophy? However, such a simplistic view of Americans is fundamentally misleading.
Even being utterly specific, the true philosophy exists at the deepest unconscious level of the American mentality. In contrast to Europeans, they disrespect both subject and object as the key philosophical categories. Only a process between them matters. Americans always ask whether something works or not. And such an approach is the very background of all achievements in the American society, economy, and technologies.
The ultimate pragmatism of the American world vision ignores the rationality of an object. You invented perpetuum mobile? — No, problem, just prove it works, you are welcome. The whole Silicon Valley acts in such a manner — everyone can offer any “fantastic” or “unreal” idea to be developed. And no one rejects the idea at once because “there could be something valuable in it, what if it works?..”
The traditional American philosophy pays no attention to the veracity of a subject. You are reincarnated Elvis Presley? — Nice to meet you. You believe that Mark Zuckerberg is a reptiloid? — That’s your business.
You can be whoever you want and believe in whatever you wish. Your image doesn’t matter when the thing you do works.
No conceptual limits are available in the American philosophy. And this is what distinguishes the pragmatic American spirit from the rest approaches. And it works!
We have to admit with regret, by the way, that the contemporary globalized elites are trying to interfere in the American lifestyle in order to change the very authentic American philosophy imposing foreign values from outside. But this is another topic…
Let’s consider how the true American spirit can help people figure out the viability of one or another direction of a sustainable economic development.
The well-worn example of the crypto economy is irrelevant to the issue even though the “Petro” coin can be quite illustrative in case we consider a bubble-type project. But we don’t since the pragmatic approach suggests us looking for something tangible, something capable of withstanding some unpredictable fluctuations of interest inherent in quite narrow geeky audiences.
There is another example of a real American entrepreneur whose projects reflect the true spirit of the American philosophy.
Just imagine that 15 years ago someone told you about a private company successfully competing with NASA in space exploration. The very possibility of such a situation could sound childish at that time, to put it mildly. Nevertheless, today SpaceX is leaving behind both NASA and Russian space industry in what we understand under space flights.
Please note, that Elon Musk disrupted one of the closest business segments demonstrating that even the extremely knowledge-intensive industries such as space exploration can be occupied by a single private person.
Which innovation made it possible?
Was that a new business model re-establishing the entire space flights’ market? No, that wasn’t. Even though some new approach to the very feasibility of space flights was invented by Elon, he hasn’t obviously applied the principles of the new trendy shared economy to his business, for example.
The basis of the commercial success of SpaceX is grounded on a purely technical innovation — reusable launch vehicles.
Thus, we can see a “classic” real-sector business model on the one hand and unprecedentedly promising horizons of growth and development on the other hand.
Such a combination became possible thanks to the true spirit of the American pragmatism Elon Musk fully possesses.
All the other can relax and forget about the space flights’ business while SpaceX is so successful in it, some might notice. Wrong conclusion. Both Richard Branson with his Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos with his Blue Origin don’t think so. There is always space in Space for everyone, pardon the pun.
However, the science-intensive industries are beyond the capacity of many average persons who are looking for a sustainable business to establish. The same relates to many countries where any hi-tech sector is hardly affordable.
Wouldn’t it be easier for them to do something virtual, something similar to financial speculations capable of bringing easy money? Post-industrial virtuality starts dominating in a public discourse — why not jump into this train once the only things necessary for it are the Internet along with a personal profit-related demagoguery?
And people go for that oftentimes — the above-mentioned Venezuelan president is a living proof of this. Crypto economy, shared economy, and some other virtual economies of nowadays remain attractive for the majority of modern entrepreneurs due to the easy start, loud promise, and wide publicity. But does that directly meet the pragmatic American spirit?
Not at all. Because just the sustainability is highly questionable in virtual sectors.
Look at Elon Musk as at the iconic business person of these days. Look at China as at the most powerful and rapidly growing national economy of the modern times.
What are they both engaged in?
They both are developing real-sector businesses — space rockets, electric cars, hyper-speed trains, solar electricity — they are engaged in manufacturing.
What the weird days we are living in! It seems the true spirit of the pragmatic American entrepreneurship is migrating to China.
Among other things, the process is symbolized by the ban of the Chinese Government imposed on crypto speculations while the science-intensive real sectors are kept generously funded.
What to choose when the reliable promise of a real-sector economy is accepted?
A prospective field of business should, inter alia, meet two main requirements:
- The sector should not be overloaded with competitors, and
- The applied technology should be protected against obsolescence.
Hard task, right?
Nevertheless, we can hint at one of the business segments strictly meeting every aspect of the true spirit of the commercial pragmatism. Before disclosing it directly, we’d like to outline some major properties of this business in brief:
- This is a real-sector industry having nothing similar to a bubble-type speculative economy;
- The end products of this business are crucial for the most important hi-tech industries of nowadays including electronics, spaceships, military and medical equipment, solar electricity etc.;
- Only a handful of the actual competitors are available in this sector now;
- The resource deposits for this business imply hundreds of years of intensive development. And in many cases they are renewable;
- The technology to be applied to this business is absolutely eco-friendly — no pollution, no contamination;
- This business is uniquely irrelevant to the spatial location of its owner — every nation can be engaged in it;
- The demand for the end products of this business will always exceed their supply most probably;
- This business corresponds to the very essence of the technological development of the human civilization.
We are talking about the advanced seabed mining or Extractive Industry 2.0. The detailed description of the profound deepwater technology, thoroughly calculated business plans, resources-related info, as well as the other dedicated materials all are available on the official website.
While considering a real-sector economy of the nearest future we do not see any other business segment as promising as seabed mining in relationships with the true spirit of commercial pragmatism which made America great and which keeps making China great today.
Against Virtuality: Why The True American Spirit Supports Only Pragmatic Projects was originally published in Extractive Industry 2.0 on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.