My last blog took a look back at history while observing today’s world. Let’s now see how our collective future rests on sales as a profession and its impact on society.
The Middle Class is Shrinking
There are many parts of the world experiencing growth and stability, while economic volatility in the West is shrinking the middle class while a small minority continues to grow richer. This trend leads to the instability in society that we’re seeing now and will continue to see if we don’t address the issues causing it.
The present, in our last article, was compared to the 16th-century Reformation in Europe. The Reformation was a major movement posing religious and political challenges to the Catholic Church and the authority of the Pope. This comparison was made to explain the changes in our society from a unipolar to a multipolar world with no clear outcome.
One similarity we see with the Reformation is far more stable urban infrastructures than in other times in history. During the Reformation, cities in Germany (then known as the Holy Roman Empire) were flourishing. The economic situation in the Empire was very positive, mainly due to the exploration and resulting trade with the New World (the Americas). The bourgeoisie was also very successful at this time.
The Reformation, however, resulted in one of Europe’s most bloody conflicts, the Thirty Years’ War. Fought between Catholic and Protestant states between 1618 and 1648, this war left Europe’s positive and successful areas in ruins, along with between 4.5 and 8 million people dead and the population of areas around present-day Germany reduced by over 50 percent. If we do not realize what is at stake, this is the danger we face today.
Salespeople compose a significant portion of the middle class. Hence, we’ve been very interested in the role of salespeople at Pipeliner. Keep in mind that half of the working population is in a related sales situation. The more we shrink the middle class, the more unstable society becomes.
It is a small part of society today—including many lobbyists, the ruling class and particularly some industries—that enforces its will on the remainder. In many ways, we are powerless to do anything about this (what we could or should do, peacefully and with clear protest, would be a separate article).
The wealthy of past generations would probably be amazed at the speed at which fortunes are amassed today. A tiny number of people are making billions in a very short time as never before.
They, along with just about any person with a trace of sanity, would also find unbelievable the Pentagon’s mysterious $6 billion overestimate in military aid to Ukraine, resulting in the sudden “discovery” of a $6 billion surplus. The government and politicians are talking about billions, even trillions—staggering amounts of money that most people, struggling with simple dollars and cents, cannot even imagine.
This money is not just wasted, but is completely corrupt. As this much corruption becomes known, people’s tolerance for it becomes less and less, to the point where the government is worried that people will stop paying taxes because the money is so wasted, as we can now see from the riots in France and other cities. Interestingly, the IRS recently announced hiring even more agents to continue controlling tax revenues.
Why We Push to “Win Together”
We operate, at Pipeliner, under the slogan, “Win Together.” This is a very realistic approach to sales, deeply rooted in the anthropology of the Austrian School of Economics. Why “Win Together”? Because if only one side of a sale wins—only the seller or only the buyer—the losing side will eventually take advantage in the future as revenge. An ongoing conflict is created. When this happens, we create a mindset in which people become less responsible for their duties and stop caring.
We can observe, with this attitude erosion, that people have more of a sense of entitlement as compared to one of contribution, even though John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Then again, if the country is abusing its citizens, why should they ask what they can do?
Speed of Destruction
In terms of time, there is a broad divergence between creation and destruction. Many people don’t understand that it takes many years to create a stable business—for example, Pipeliner took over a decade to build. But it could be destroyed in a very short time. It’s like a house, which can take months or years to build, but it can be destroyed in minutes.
On a cultural level this has been evident throughout history. Have we forgotten what happened to the Greeks, Romans, Tutsis, or other nations and cultures that lasted for centuries but were destroyed in a few years or less?
A direct effect on our mindset is created by these events and trends. Our mindset, in turn, has a direct effect on our behavior. As our behavior as either buyers or sellers deteriorates, we move more and more into deception. This is the undoing of every good sale, salesperson, and frankly, everything else.
This trend is manifested in another way—the erosion of manners. Sellers have grown progressively more rude. Will buyers put up with it? Not for long. They will walk away. For example, someone shops for a house in a nice neighborhood, but more and more the seller will raise the price and find fault with the deal. Eventually, it doesn’t matter if it’s the nicest house in the neighborhood—the buyer won’t stand for it.
You have no doubt heard about the Titan submersible’s disastrous implosion while on its way to view the Titanic. Although there are speculations and claims, we still don’t know exactly what happened. What we do know is that the submersible imploded because the pressure from the outside was much greater than the pressure from the inside. It happened so instantaneously that the passengers and crew were not even aware of it because the human brain takes much longer to react than the millisecond it took for the implosion.
From my point of view, our society is headed for a comparable implosion—not an explosion such as a revolution, but an implosion. People look around our nation and see people driving nice cars, shopping in the malls, going to the movies and eating in restaurants, but the pressure from the outside can grow rapidly. As discussed in the previous article in this series, the U.S. dollar is rapidly losing strength, and the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are gaining trade superiority. 18 to 20 other nations have already knocked on the BRICS door to trade in their own currency or a currency other than the U.S. dollar. Such an action could create significant outside pressure on the U.S. and set us up for an implosion.
From other parts of the world we’re experiencing tensions from China and Russia. There are yet other factors for the implosion of our Western societies such as inflation, insecurity of our cities, the whole problematic COVID 19 aftermath, immigration issues, and AI.
Moving to Mars?
It was trade that provided the spark for civilization. I think we came out of our caves and started to communicate better because we traded. Communication is one of the core principles of growth and prosperity.
Prosperity and growth are being ruined and diminished today. This directly affects sales because sales are at the core of any economy. Of course, one very successful industry right now is the military industry, but how much does that affect ordinary life? The average person cannot buy a tank and put it in their back yard, or have grenades or missiles in their home.
As I have often said, if we figuratively step back, it can be seen that all of humanity shares this tiny blue planet. Our current actions are incredibly stupid. Our planet is surrounded by extreme cold and darkness, and there is nothing immediately out there that we can use to live in the next 100 years.
Perhaps we might one day live on Mars. How many people, though, truly want to move there? There are no lakes, no fresh air, no hiking, no oceans, no sailing or swimming. I would say 98 or 99 percent of the population would not want that kind of life.
Why is it that we must live in peace? People want to travel, as we have traditionally done, and visit wonderful places and cultures like Spain, Italy, France, Japan, or China. Recently, the media showed pictures of citizens in Russia who were very happy that there was no conflict in Russia and no one had to die. These people were happy, and if you look at them in their interviews, they were just like us here.
All Comes Back to Trade
The Austrian School of Economics says, “We have no anthems. We have no flags, no uniforms, no guns. The only thing we have is a better idea.”
What “better idea” might this be? Throughout history, war has never resulted in prosperity. The idea is that we need prosperity so that everyone can live well. We need commerce to create that prosperity. And we need peace so that we can exist and grow.
Once more, it all comes around to commerce. To support prosperity, we need decent trade agreements, which can only exist in peace.
We currently stand, right now, on the brink of ruin. There are intellectuals in Russia right now asking why they don’t use nuclear weapons against the West. I think that’s just as stupid as our side promoting the same idea in the opposite direction, or constantly sending weapons to Ukraine. Both sides could use new leaders because it’s not a winnable war.
What do you say? I believe we can turn things back around and begin heading in a brand new and superior direction.