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What We Need to Learn From History
Blog / Entrepreneurs / Jul 3, 2023 / Posted by Nikolaus Kimla / 20

What We Need to Learn From History

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We are living, undoubtedly, in turbulent times. Fortunately, we have several hundred years of recorded history to look back on and hopefully learn some lessons from.

The present historical period is uncannily comparable to the Reformation of the 16th century. Certainly one of the greatest events in human history was the Reformation, a major movement in 16th-century Europe that posed religious and political challenges to the Catholic Church and the authority of the Pope.

For nearly 1,000 before the Reformation, the Catholic Church had been a hegemony. A hegemony is the domination of one power over another—and it could indeed be said that the Catholic Church, prior to the Reformation, had that domination.

Following numerous smaller and local wars, the Reformation’s mounting challenges ultimately resulted in the Thirty Years’ War, fought between Protestant and Catholic European states from 1618 to 1648. It is estimated that between 4.5 and 8 million civilians and militia died not only from battle but also from famine and disease. Areas of present-day Germany suffered population declines of over 50 percent. We can fairly call that a time of total devastation.

It is my fear that today’s political posturing, rhetoric, and wars if allowed to continue and escalate, will lead to a very similar sequence of events. The 8 million people lost in the 30 Years’ War would equal roughly 100 million today.

The Catholic Church Versus America

Until the last decade, the hegemony of modern times would be the U.S.A. And until recently, it was unthinkable that the hegemony of America could be lowered in status or overthrown in its global power.

In a very similar way, prior to the Reformation and the Thirty Years’ War, no one could ever conceive that the Catholic Church’s unlimited influence would ever waver.

It’s a demonstrable truth that the hegemony of America has ended. We must recognize this, just as the Catholic Church had to recognize that its total power was gone forever at the end of the Reformation, successfully challenged by reformers such as Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin. Protestantism had risen and would never be brought down again. By the end of the Reformation, we had a multipolar world with the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, and the Reformed Church as the Anglican Church. The world changed completely from that point on.

A number of causes lie behind America’s loss of power, but the U.S. dollar’s evaluation is a primary one. The so-called petrodollar will change the historical approach of having multiple military bases around the world, as when the dollar is completely devalued the U.S. will no longer be able to support them. Other countries are increasingly leaving the dollar behind and trading internationally in different currencies.

Comparing Immorality

In the 16th century, the Catholic Church came under heavy criticism for the immorality of priests, monks and nuns. The lives they led were obviously not in keeping with the Gospel they taught and insisted others follow.

Today’s politics is a very similar situation. The lives that politicians live—as was aptly demonstrated during the COVID pandemic—are very different from how they claim to serve the public.

We’ve observed that, in business, ruling strictly “from the top down” is impossible. The only way to be truly successful is to lead by example. Those who govern or seek to govern us with their often corrupt leadership and special interests are certainly not leading by example.

Immorality, during the Reformation, caused increasing outrage. The ground was thus prepared for the planting of something new. This is exactly what is happening today.

Trade Ceases

The Austrian School of Economics tells us that it is only in peaceful times that robust trade and commerce can occur. Trade can never take place between warring parties. One of the causes of great suffering during the 30 Years’ War was the disruption and loss of trade.

The Catholic Church, prior to the Reformation, opposed free trade. They combated it in many ways, including the imposition of taxes and the declaration of numerous holidays during which trade could not be conducted.

Today’s conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and the U.S. and China, has greatly disrupted trade. Further conflicts and wars will only cause suffering similar to the 30 Years’ War.

Dissemination of Ideas

There is another compelling similarity between these two historical periods—that of the spread of ideas.

Without the printed word, made possible by Gutenberg’s printing press, the Reformation would likely not have happened. Ideas and news, immutable because they were published, were passed on and spread throughout Europe.

The advent of the printing press compares closely to today’s Internet. Without the Internet, the growing range of alternative voices and diverse viewpoints could not be as easily accessed (if they could be accessed at all) because corporate media would have the monopoly on the narrative, the means of broadcast, and the means of distribution. Today there are many what people call “alternative media” channels that attract global audiences traditional media could only dream of. This phenomenon is changing the media landscape, and hundreds of new initiatives are being created behind it, as well as additional technologies like Telegram that open up private channels that cannot be controlled. This could lead to a greater democratization of our social systems and a more transparent and open society.

Changing Times

It’s very obvious that we live in times of great change. This change will either be for the better or for the worse. If it’s good, it should lead to freedom of choice, so that people can decide for themselves. If it’s for bad, it could lead to total domination and manipulation of the majority of people by a small part of society.

People are saying that we’re headed for a slum economy, with centralized money, where few earn enormous amounts while the remainder of the population becomes increasingly poor. This is the danger in which we live.

Taking a practical example, incredible revenues are earned by mega-corporations such as Google. We provide content to Google and YouTube (owned by Google) for free, and a lot of their revenue comes from having so many users. They’re basically using us as a vehicle. We have the risk, we have the work, and we have the problems, and they keep making more and more money.

Their success is contributed to by others—including the government, baling them out when times get rough claiming, “They’re too big to fail.” Apparently, a smaller company isn’t too big to fail, so they keep going as long as they can until they’re gone.

Grasping the Pattern

The similarity between the 16th-century Reformation and our current period is quite clear. It’s not an exact parallel, but a definite pattern is being followed. To change the course of history and not fall into the same traps, we must fully understand this pattern in order to positively change it.

We will be diving deeper into this scenario. Stay tuned!

About Author

CEO and partner of pipelinersales.com and the uptime ITechnologies, which I founded in 1994 and has since played a significant role in the development of the IT-environment. pipeliner is the most innovative sales CRM management solution on the market. Pipeliner was designed by sales professionals for sales professionals and helps close the gap between the requirements of C-level executives for transparency and the day-to-day operational needs of field and inside sales. I am also the founder and Initiator of the independent economic platform GO-AHEAD!, which orientates itself on the principles of a free marketplace in terms of liberal and social responsibility. Connecting people, the trust of business leadership in terms of values such as freedom, self-responsibility, and entrepreneurial spirit, and strengthening their awareness in order to create a dynamic boost within the economy triggered through spontaneity, all stand for the initial ideas surrounding GO-AHEAD! I studied in Los Angeles and Vienna and received my Masters's Degree in 1994. I am married and have 3 children My Specialties are in: Sales Management, Sales CRM Software, CRM Cloud Solutions, SAAS, Business Strategy, Software Development, "Pipeline Management", Social responsibility, outbound sales, b2b sales, inside sales, sales strategy, lead generation, sales process, entrepreneurship, coaching, mentoring, speaker, opportunity management, lead management, Austrian School of Economics

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