Hosted by top 5 banking and fintech influencer, Jim Marous, Banking Transformed highlights the challenges facing the banking industry. Featuring some of the top minds in business, this podcast explores how financial institutions can prepare for the future of banking.
The Rise of Technosocialism: An Opportunity of a Lifetime
The premise of the book, The Rise of Technosocialism, is that mankind is coming to a fork in the road. Climate change, emerging artificial intelligence, social and economic upheaval, and the clash between patriotic nationalism and the inevitability of globalism are coalescing into a crucible.
The reality is that technology will be at the center of all of these changes.
Our guest today on the Banking Transformed podcast is Brett King, author of the book, The Rise of Technosocialism, founder of Moven, international speaker, and member of the Fintech Hall of Fame. We discuss what the future may look like, what is inevitable, and what can be altered if humans take the appropriate action.
This episode of Banking Transformedis sponsored byMicrosoft:
See how Microsoft can help to unlock new opportunities at speed through innovative business models, deliver differentiated customer experiences across channels, products and services, and redefine new ways of working.
This episode of Banking Transformed is sponsored by PayPal:
This podcast episode is being presented in partnership with PayPal. PayPal provides access to more than 403 million active global accounts and multiple buy now, pay later offers in a single integration. PayPal Pay in 4 enables shoppers to make purchases in four interest-free payments.
Customers get more buying power and flexibility, and you get help maximizing reach and revenue.
Jim Marous: Hello, and welcome to Banking Transformed. I'm your host, Jim Marous, owner and CEO of the Digital Bank Report and co-publisher of The Financial Brand. In the soon to be release book, The Rise of Technosocialism, authored by my longtime friend, Brett King and his co-author Richard Petty, the premise of the book is stated well when it says, whatever political ideology you align with, mankind is coming to a fork in the road. Climate change, emerging artificial intelligence, social and economic upheaval, and the clash between patriot nationalism and the inevitability of globalism are coalescing into a crucible.
Jim Marous: The question becomes, how will mankind emerge from this battle? I'm joined today by Brett King, who I mentioned is a great friend of mine. He's the author of the book The Rise of Technosocialism, along with Richard Petty, and he also is the author of many books on banking, Banking 2.0, Banking 4.0 and Augmented. We're going to be discussing the items that are brought up in the book as well as how it impacts daily life in and out of banking.
Jim Marous: In the soon to be released book, The Rise of Technosocialism, authored by my longtime friend, Brett King, and his co-author Richard Petty, the premise of the book is stated well when it says, whatever political ideology you align with, mankind is coming to a fork in the road. Climate change, emerging, artificial intelligence, social and economic upheaval, and the class between patriotic nationalism and the inevitability of globalism are coalescing into a crucible.
Jim Marous: The question becomes, how will mankind emerge from this battle? While the perspectives provided in the book will certainly be debated, the reality that technology will be the center of all these changes can't be disputed. I was fortunate enough to get an advanced copy of this book, and every page makes a reader think about what the future may look like, what is inevitable, and what could be altered if humans and technology are deployed the correct way?
Jim Marous: As I mentioned, I'm so fortunate to have Brett King on the show today. I'm sure that anyone who is a listener of The Banking Transformed podcast has heard of Brett King, seen him at one of his hundreds of events he has spoken at, or read one or more of his books on the future of banking. So Brett, welcome. And let's start with the most basic of questions, while your book is not the first that isn't focused entirely on banking, what made you decide to author a book that could be best described as a look into the future of mankind?
Brett King: Well, Jim, I've always been very interested in the future. We're recording this on the day that William Shatner just went into space. I grew up on Star Trek and sci-fi, I've always been a big sci-fi reader. Actually my first book I wrote which wasn't published was a sci-fi novel. And so I've always been in a hurry to get to the future. But one of the things that really I carved out a career for myself with is helping business people and those around me understand the impact of technology on their lives, on their businesses and so forth.
Brett King: So it's fairly obvious that when these two worlds come together, or these two thought paradigms come together, namely what's going to happen in the future and how technology impacts, it would lead me to the question of how is society going to adapt to these changes. And in doing my research for that I found very little research that really looked at conventional ideologies around politics and socio-economics, even economics, themselves that had a holistic view of the future.
Brett King: We see movies and series all the time depicting some of this stuff, but a lot of the time it's just an extension of the way we view the world today, when in reality the changes we've got coming just in the next 30 years will really challenge our most sacred ideologies in respect to politics and economics. And that needed to be written about and so I did.
Jim Marous: As we discussed a little bit about the actual name of the book, it could be considered a bit provocative in and of itself. Can you discuss a little bit about technosocialism as a name of a book?
Brett King: Right. So the book, The Rise of technosocialism, obviously we chose that name because it was a little provocative, because we want people to read this and we want people to discuss this and debate this. This is not necessarily about presenting a clear outcome that this is definitely what's going to happen. In fact, in the book we talk about four potential futures. And there are different ways we probably could have framed one of those quadrants, which is technosocialism.
Brett King: And I debated this with many of my friends, should it be called technohumanism or technocollectivism or something? But we want people to read this and debate it. We want people to challenge our assumptions. We want people to think about these issues. So we chose that name with that in mind. Having said that, it's not a political book. Obviously some people will feel some of the suggestions in the book, like how we talk about universal basic income and the need for universal services at an economic level and so forth, some people will feel those issues are political.
Brett King: But we talk through those issues in respect to what are the options and what are the choices humanity has and why that we feel this is the optimal path? But we do talk about four distinct possible futures that humanity faces.
Jim Marous: I know you wrote this book at what might be considered the best of times and maybe the worst of times, while the issues of our environment, technology, social injustice, political upheaval, economic inequality, all became front and center issues with the emergence of the pandemic. To determine the impact of these issues was really a moving target. How did you and Richard determine when to stop writing the book and start moving to publishing?
Jim Marous: I asked you this question more than a few times going, how can you stop when the target keeps on moving? But did it really move?
Brett King: Well, we did rewrite the book obviously as the pandemic started to impact. We had planned to launch this book mid last year, and so with the emergence of the pandemic that obviously changed a lot. And when you read the very start of the first chapter, we frame that in terms of what was happening in respect to the pandemic.
Brett King: But at the same time the major issues that we outline, and in respect to the economic uncertainty that the planet faces today, so namely rolling pandemic, so we don't think this is going to be the last one, income inequality and wealth inequality, which is becoming a massive problem globally, and is at its most severe in the United States as an example, and then the impact of artificial intelligence, which is going to be in a gradient over the next 10 to 15 years in particular, and then climate change on top.
Brett King: Those four issues really don't change in terms of the fundamental challenges they present to humanity. And so the pandemic, all that did is give us a lot more fuel for the conversation because it gave us a glimpse into some of the clear shortcomings of capitalism as it stands today, and the problem of inequality. When we look at inequality before the pandemic, the richest 1% of Americans owned as much as the bottom 70%. Today it's the bottom 90%.
Brett King: That's how much the wealth of the richest 1% in the States has increased during the pandemic.
Jim Marous: Getting into your book, and again, the book, I would hesitate to call it a patron because you end up resting on a page to take in everything you say because it is a lot of new stuff.
Brett King: A lot of candor.
Jim Marous: But as you mentioned major challenges facing not only the US but the world as a whole, from your perspective, which of those challenges is right now to you the most daunting?
Brett King: So here's the biggest problem that we as humans have to address, is that these changes that are coming, we can see them coming, we're arguing about how they're going to affect humanity. And that very issue, the fact that we argue and debate about this rather than plan seriously for these changes, means that when they do impact us they impact us with far greater range of impacts than they need to be. The two that are obviously going to change the way humanity lives philosophically and in terms of the systems are obviously AI and climate change.
Brett King: In the process of that, we have to solve inequality and these other issues. But AI, as an example, is completely going to change the way we think about work and its role in society. Climate change is a problem that we cannot fix at a national level. We have to have a collective approach. We have to have a species wide, planet wide approach to this. And the more we debate about national interest in that, the less effective we are at really planning and dealing with those things.
Brett King: So those two core issues, the role that work has in our society and the way economics will change is automation, large scale automation impacts us, and the need for us to really have a collective approach across the planet to tackle climate are the two biggest philosophical changes we'll face.
Jim Marous: Of the most significant challenges, which do you believe it may be more predetermined than others? Which ones do you think if we really focused quickly we could have the biggest impact on?
Brett King: Well, I do think ... I'm a techno-optimist, and so that really comes out in the book, I think. Richard, who's my co-author in this, is an economist, and obviously he looks a lot more at the structural elements of the economy. So for example things like the Chinese Central Bank digital currency, the yuan, and how that will affect us. But for me personally, I do think we have the technological capability to solve a lot of the problems associated with climate change.
Brett King: But we have to think very differently about investing in these things. I think when we talk about these sorts of issues, for example, building technology for carbon sequestration, extracting carbon out of the atmosphere, or building seawall defenses around New York, Miami, Shanghai, Calcutta, these cities that will be inundated with sea rise, the first statement you're going to hear from people is, "Well, who's going to pay for this?"
Brett King: And I think there's going to come a point in time where that question is meaningless if we're going to have true action. So I do think that we can solve these problems, but I think we have to think about them very differently from an economical perspective.
Jim Marous: Well, and what's strange is we see some major regional differences in the way different areas of the world view, let's just take climate change. Even the financial institutions the way they deal with it is that in France, in the UK, there's a big focus on being carbon neutral. You don't see that even being in the asterisk within financial institutions in the US. I take it you know it's a big issue, but how do we get more consensus around the importance of this and not make it such a political issue?
Brett King: So I think one of the arguments we use in the book is a fairly simple one, which is the debate over whether climate change is man-made or not, it doesn't really matter, because the need for us to adapt to these changes is going to happen regardless. So let's first of all not get wrapped up in that debate, is it man-made or is it a natural thing? Instead, let's say what are going to be the outcomes of these changes on society?
Brett King: The biggest 570 cities inundated by sea rise by 2050, between 300 million and a billion eco-refugees displaced because of these things and because of food scarcity as a result of rising temperatures that change land use in terms of farming, that is something that every nation on the planet is going to have to deal with at some point in time. Let's take the worst case scenario, a billion eco-refugees, right? One eighth of the planet displaced by this.
Brett King: You can't just say let's close the borders and ignore this problem. It's too big a problem to do that. So this is really the philosophical piece, is that at some point we have to ask the very real question is what's the purpose of us being here? What is the purpose of humanity? What's the purpose of our economies? Is it to create GDP growth, market growth, return profits to shareholders, or is it simply a mechanism to enable or to support the needs of citizens and create prosperity more broadly?
Jim Marous: So you referenced in the book in a number of different places, where because of the fact we have masses of people that are not as well off educationally, economically from the hunger standpoint than others, that revolts are going to happen, and that revolt will happen either regionally, globally or on a local basis.
Jim Marous: Is there any way to avoid to some degree? And maybe it's because of my living in the United States where I feel like we always think we're going to avoid the big problems until one takes us all over like the pandemic, but what is it going to take for governments to realize that the masses are getting bigger, the inequity is getting wider, and we're not coming close to solving it?
Brett King: Right. So you're absolutely correct. And the really interesting data point that we learned in researching this was around the nature of that response that we see globally in respect to economic uncertainty, and the way that plays out in terms of protests. So in the first 20 years of the 21st century we saw a 200% increase in the number of protests globally, where people are dissatisfied with their governments, but 1000% increase in participation.
Brett King: That's from the average of between 1950 and 2000. Which blows my mind that we've had that sort of collective response. It's not limited to the United States or Western economies, this is a global effect. Why are people protesting? Because they're uncertain about their future? All of these things that are happening, people are like, "Well, we don't know what's," ... There's uncertainty, what's going to happen?
Brett King: And so ultimately when you have then AI and climate placed over that economic uncertainty, you are going to have either people will get to the point of revolting because the system isn't working for them, or we have to have some way of reducing that economic uncertainty in those concerns. And that's really the outcome. Now, if you look at just the inequality piece that you mentioned, no nation on earth has ever faced the inequality that the United States faces today and got through that without wealth distribution changing.
Brett King: And so that either happens through legislation or it happens through revolution. And so I know which one I would rather. I don't really want to see a revolution in the United States.
Jim Marous: Right.
Brett King: But that requires very different policy thinking.
Jim Marous: Before we take a break I have one more question, and that is as with all your books, the amount of data and research shared to support your themes is massive. There's not a single page that doesn't have a major reference to statistics data that's out there. Is there a section of the book that may have not been in your initial draft or thinking that emerged because the interrelationships with maybe the other themes, or did the book come together as you imagined it would 18 months ago?
Brett King: No. There was always data that I found that surprised me and took me in a different direction, but not in minutia.
Jim Marous: Right.
Brett King: Like for example, the UBI thing, universal basic income, this has been debated a lot recently particularly with the pandemic and the stimulus checks and so forth. But this is one of those things where there were really some surprising outcomes for me, which is when you look at the research particularly coming out of the Nordic regions and places like that where they were in these UBI trials, that actually increased people's participation in the economy, right?
Brett King: And so that's one data point that would surprise most people, I think, that they were where they would think that if you pay someone a monthly stipend then they're just not going to have to work. They won't work. Well, when you have people that don't face the pressure of having to put food on the table and they have that comfort, then it enables them potentially to pursue things that they wanted to as an entrepreneurial basis or community service, things like that.
Brett King: That was one thing that I thought was a very interesting factoid. The other one was, and we talk about this, globally the cost of healthcare is a massive problem. In the United States since the 1980s it's gone to, we're talking about potentially 14, 15% of the GDP focused on these costs. It's extraordinary costs. But there is so much inefficiency in the healthcare system. And I'm not talking just in the United States, I'm talking globally. Almost one in two diagnoses is wrong.
Brett King: You look at the administrative costs in the United States, 40% of healthcare costs is administrative costs. And so there are so many areas where we could reduce government, we could reduce the administration of these systems, and then that allows us to provide actually better care than what we can do today at a dramatically lower cost. And so that's pretty profound.
Jim Marous: And the sharing of data, it's interesting because healthcare is very much like banking in my mind that the efficiencies and the effectiveness of the industry can be enhanced tremendously by the sharing of and the depth of data that's shared. We have some friends at an organization that we're are both familiar with that had two cases of cancer. And when their team was put on the mission of finding where in the world is this cancer or this ailment being treated in, what are the best uses of some resources to deploy and say, where can this be done, they found solutions that have been extraordinarily effective. However, this should be accessible to everybody, not just those-
Brett King: Exactly.
Jim Marous: ... that have a data team. And we keep all the data. Again, it's very much like banking that healthcare system holds all the data. They have a ton of data. It's just the sharing aspect, the deployment of that, that becomes a major sticking point in much the same way that economic data, healthcare data, all these things. Again, the technology can really be a savior in a tremendous way. So let's take a short break here and recognize the sponsor to this podcast.
Jim Marous: This podcast episode is being presented in partnership with PayPal. PayPal provides access to more than 403 million active global accounts and multiple buy now, pay later offers in a single integration. PayPal Pay in 4 enables shoppers to make purchases in four industry payments. Customers get more buying power and flexibility and merchants help maximizing reach and revenue. Learn more about PayPal Pay Later on paypal.com/trust.
Jim Marous: Is your organization trying to embrace digital banking transformation, 2021? Are you trying to elevate the customer experience, figure out what technology you want to implement to improve the customer journey, look at data analytics to really better understand and personalize the customer experience? Are you trying to make it so that more of your employees can buy into and be part of your digital banking transformation?
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Jim Marous: If you're in the midst of a journey, trying to figure out what to do next, maybe trying to find out what other organizations are doing to lift up their experience level, I really encourage you to look at Microsoft. For more information visit microsoft.com/financial services. Welcome back. I am joined today by Brett King, author of the new book, The Rise of Technosocialism. We've discussing the book and Brett's perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing the world in the near and long term and the impact of technology on that future.
Jim Marous: So Brett, as the title of your book suggests, each of the trends in the future will be impacted tremendously by new technologies, innovations and the deployment of data incites. The last time we traveled together, which was a long time ago, was in Shenzhen, China in January of 2020.
Brett King: I know.
Jim Marous: We saw some amazing deployments of data, analytics and technology everywhere we went. You discussed this in your book, but how far ahead is China compared to the rest of the world in the, and not just the development of technology and data, but the use of these?
Brett King: Well, certainly when we look at artificial intelligence, we've seen recent announcements from US Department of Defense where they feel that China has surpassed the US on AI. Shenzhen is just a phenomenal example of a smart city and dramatically reduced resource allocation costs for emergency services, traffic management, all of those things that we saw as a result of the use of AI. So there are some really good examples for us to look at in an in specific areas.
Brett King: One area that we are going to have to look at significantly in Western developed economies is energy, energy use and energy systems. And so we've got some colliding issues there. We need battery, grid level battery storage to be at a store energy. Those batteries could create massive lithium shortages, for example, globally. So there are a lot of roll on effects. But China, generally speaking, the really significant advantage their economy has is that they have fully embraced the future of technology and the role that artificial intelligence will play and what it can do to help them from a societal perspective.
Brett King: And that gives them a huge economic advantage in the medium term. They're obviously well advanced in financial services, despite the fact that they've put some tighter regulations in place most recently in respect to reduction of fraud and financial crime on payments and so forth. They're well ahead of most of the west in respect to this. But as you said, you go to Shenzhen and you really feel it at a city level, they are redesigning the way the city works based on these advances in technology.
Brett King: They're getting energy efficiencies, they're reducing traffic, they're reducing accidents, they're improving the response time of emergency services, all of these. They're improving waste management. All of this is just simply looking at these systems we've had in place for now a couple hundred years and saying, if we were to redesign this from scratch today, would we get a better system? And the answer's fairly clear. But infrastructure obviously takes a long time generally to improve and is very expensive.
Brett King: So again, China is spending $8 trillion a year on infrastructure in belt and road right now. We're arguing about a three and a half trillion dollar infrastructure bill in the US which will spend five years. So they think about this problem very differently.
Jim Marous: Well, it's interesting too. And we talked about it when we were there that you could feel the difference in culture around the acceptance of change and the focus on innovation. We visited a campus that had thousands upon thousands of R&D workers and the city was built to support one company. That commitment to not only change in innovation, but the acceptance culturally within the people of change and moving forward and not holding on to the legacy, and we can go back decades and say there's a lot of reasons for that, but that's a major difference too.
Jim Marous: This podcast usually focuses on the banking ecosystem. Your book spends a great deal of time talking about the economic systems across the globe and the role of banking. Where can banking contribute to the betterment of society, and what is going on and where is it going to change the most with regard to existing banking systems and the way they're going to become more global in nature?
Brett King: Well, obviously we talk about ESG right now, and ESG policies and sustainability and those sort of things. And so banks can be a big part of this where they say we're not going to fund coal plants. We know today that between eight to 10 million people a year annually die from air quality issues. We have the capability to fix that today. In fact, arguably we had the capability back in the 1980s to address it. And yet there was this question about, well, the fossil fuel companies are making a ton of money so let's not disrupt the huge capital growth we're having there.
Brett King: And this is really at the heart of what you're asking the question about is, what is the responsibility of corporations to be good corporate citizens and to make the world a better place, not just generate returns and profits. And this is the cultural question I think we're going to have to ask. Millennials, Gen Zs, the alphas, I think they're going to think very differently about this. I think they're going to be saying to these corporations, "Unless you are a good corporate citizen, we're not going to support your brand. We're not going to buy your products."
Brett King: And I think that that will shift naturally over time. But this brings up this very real question at the heart of how we solve these problems in the future is, is capitalism the best model we have, or the current form of capitalism, the best model we have to fix this? Is the free market going to get there on its own? And the conclusion we come to in the book is no. And so we do need to think differently about economics, particularly at a national and global level.
Jim Marous: Well, it's interesting Brett because two things you hit upon, one is the whole focus on ESG issues. Deloitte just came with a study about serving the underbanked and unbanked and financial institutions rated themselves surprisingly high on serving the needs of the unbanked and underbanked. And I was astounded because the same financial institutions don't rate themselves very high in digital transformation, innovation, use of data analytics.
Jim Marous: And as I peeled back the layers, one of the things that they focus almost entirely on is the improvement of the financial wellness of their employees, which is admirable and a good place to start.
Brett King: Sure.
Jim Marous: But the reality is they're doing it because that keeps their employees there longer, keeps them happy and makes them work harder. So really it gets back down to the realities of certainly US banking, which is make it so I'm more efficient as opposed to more effective. Do you see that this may not take place in the traditional sense of the marketplace taking care of it, or maybe this is going to have to be regulated? And regulated to a degree almost exactly opposite of what's going on right now, because right now regulation in the US is protecting banking from outsiders.
Jim Marous: We're seeing it's harder and harder to have a FinTech at a banking license. We're seeing that there's more and more protection being put in place to make it so the banks themselves can exist as they are as opposed to moving to where they have to be. Do you think regulations overall have to change?
Brett King: Yes, I do. In fact I think what we need is we need to start thinking about regulation on a global basis as well, bringing regulatory zones together. We need regulation on artificial intelligence. China's the only nation right now that has any meaningful regulation on AI. But we need a global approach to this. We can't be developing artificial intelligence just without any ethical concerns, for example. We also need to think about how we are going to cater for the 50% of employees in financial services organizations today, to illustrate, that are going to be replaced by artificial intelligence, algorithms and robotic process automation over the next 10 plus years.
Brett King: And if you don't have some sort of corporate responsibility to that, or a tax system that says if you're an organization that's going to increase your profitability significantly by eliminating labor and employees from your workforce, what's your responsibility to look after those employee that have lost their job. And if you don't have some regulatory view of this or some approach to that at a national level, from a macroeconomic policy perspective, then the market's not necessarily going to do that.
Brett King: And the reason we know that is we can see that the most valuable corporations in the world today, nine of the top 10 companies in the world are technology companies who employ far less people than the blue chip industrials of the 20th century. And so we already see labor participation disconnecting from market level output in respect to corporations. And that's not necessarily a good thing because it means high unemployment in the future.
Brett King: Now, we do have some new jobs that are going to emerge. But then the other problem exists is we aren't educating our children to do those jobs. And so at the same time as having large scale unemployment from AI and automation, you're also going to have labor shortages in key areas of economic development that will keep the economy competitive. So this comes back to good education system, as an example.
Jim Marous: Yes. Foundation's everything, isn't it? Education's a foundation, and again, it can't change overnight, which is that long term thinking which is a big leadership issue. You talk about the global regulation of the banking industry. Let's go a little bit deeper and say, what about a global cryptocurrency? It's obviously somewhere in the rights in some economies where cryptocurrency, obviously in China, is becoming more and more likely. Do you see a global cryptocurrency in our lifetimes, maybe your lifetime as opposed to mine?
Brett King: There is an amazing opportunity here to create some sort of carbon coin, a global cryptocurrency based on carbon usage where your wealth or the accumulation of carbon coins could be based on your individual actions to reduce carbon impact, as an example, right? So we could think entirely differently about currency and money and the role it has to play in society in terms of motivating good actions. So that could drive us to a global cryptocurrency.
Brett King: I don't think it's going to be Bitcoin. I don't think it's going to be Ethereum or Tether or Sheba, whatever. But obviously the other aspect of this is trade and commodities on a global basis. And this is where, again, China is going to have a massive impact in reframing. They've got the Belt and Road Initiative, which is going to give them significant trade advantages over the coming decades, and they're going to power that with the yuan, the central bank digital currency there. So that is definitely designed to weaken the influence of the petrodollar.
Brett King: But I would love to see us think about money and the role it has in our system very differently from we do today. It might be a bit idealistic, but I do think there are ways that we could incentivize people in very different manners apart from just accumulating wealth. And that philosophically, I think, is going to be a very important thing that we do. Whether it's corporations or individuals, what incentives can we give people to do the right things that collectively will help us all? Optimal humanity, we call it in the book.
Jim Marous: A major theme that continues to come up as we do these podcasts around banking is a challenge of change thinking and embracing change and legacy leadership. You talk about it quite a bit in your book. So a lot of what you talk about is change that need to be made, but the hindrance of people that are already in place in leadership positions or people that are not maybe as thoughtful in the area of visionary prowess to move us to the next best place.
Jim Marous: And in fact, in the US we see that almost every one of the challenges you mentioned in your book, I wouldn't say are being ignored, but certainly aren't getting much play with regard to more wealth equity, more diversity, everything from the environment to the economic situation. I'm wondering, what kind of challenge is legacy leadership or old style leadership that's right now still very unwilling to change because they don't feel the pain right in their face? How do we change that?
Brett King: There's two elements to this. One is leadership at a market level, in terms of leaders embracing technology and adapting their business and so forth. And we've talked about the need for that culture internally, to having technology leadership at the top of the business and bringing in new skills and new blood. But on an economy level or politically, one of the things that's very clear is part of the dissatisfaction we saw behind protests is the fact that it's getting harder and harder to have representative government that's truly representative of people's needs and their desires and their positions.
Brett King: We look at healthcare provision for example in the United States, and in most cases, particularly for pre-K children and for poorer people and so forth, there's massive support for universal healthcare at a national level, but it doesn't necessarily get through to policy. So at the heart of it, we had to think about how do you produce more effective government, from resource allocation perspective and from a policy perspective.
Brett King: What we determined is that, and this may take a few decades to get there, but that the concept of representative government where representatives determine the laws and determine those policies just doesn't work anymore. Because it's too easy to manipulate. And so what we looked at as an example is Aristotle's story of the stateship. And he argued for philosophers to rule ancient societies because these philosopher kings think about the future and think about these different needs.
Brett King: But the other thing that Aristotle argued, as did Thomas Jefferson actually, is that good education is at the heart of a citizenry that can actively participate in the political process. In fact, Aristotle argued that citizenship shouldn't be a right to vote, as an example. That if you want to be in part of setting policy, that you need a minimum level of qualification or you need to be someone that would be directly affected by that policy to really have a dog in the fight.
Brett King: And so coming out of that, we researched systems around the world where consensus building based on higher competency from a domain perspective where that had worked. And one interesting example came out of the Taiwan, virtual Taiwan, where they did consensus exercises and they found across the gulf of the left to right political spectrum that they could actually form policy and get solutions far quicker than the traditional system, and find commonalities.
Brett King: But it did require a certain minimum level of competency to participate in those conversations. When they opened up the domain of those policies issues to broader demographics and broader universe of people, they found the consensus building mechanism started to break down that that
Jim Marous: That would be interesting. That gets in the whole equality and education issues. So again, it is infrastructure as much anything else.
Brett King: Why Thomas ... This-
Jim Marous: Yeah, go ahead.
Brett King: Most Americans probably don't know this. Thomas Jefferson said public education should always be free in the United States because it was a precursor to your ability to be a good citizen. And so one of the founding fathers, that was his position. I think it makes a lot of sense.
Jim Marous: You can get pretty depressed if you think about just the negatives of what the future may look like, but your book also provides some solutions, some ideas, that you say could be implemented that could actually change some of these dynamics and futures. What are some of the solutions that you thought were probably the most likely to be implemented that could really make a big difference in what our future may look like?
Brett King: Well, one of the biggest issues is just more efficient resource allocation. Our current system is, in many areas we identified, fairly inefficient. For example, we have government in most of the world that has a ton of bureaucracy and inefficiency built in. So we argued that small government is much more possible through the application of technology. And that means that overall the economy then has more money to invest in the citizens providing basic services.
Brett King: And so our view is that this technology is applied at a state and national level, and if you get better at resource allocation then you simply have more resources, capital resources to deploy. So for example, in the area of healthcare we found that we could reduce the cost of healthcare in the United States by 70% over the next two decades with the application of technology. If you can get healthcare cost down to that level, then it's immaterial about providing healthcare to the entire population for free because it's now cheaper than the existing system, far cheaper actually.
Brett King: And the same exists for basic services like solving the problem of homelessness and access to housing, access to education. If you can make government massively more efficient in terms of resource allocation, then you can achieve these things. But the other issue is we have a lot of inefficiency in the capitalist system. We think about ... I'm a big fan of Elon Musk, but Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, these guys have enormous wealth tied up in their companies or whatever. That wealth is not deployed efficiently.
Brett King: We have to wait for Jeff or Elon to determine what they want to spend the money on. Apple as a corporation, $300 billion in cash, that's more than many small nations on earth today. That cash just accumulating in a bank account is not an efficient allocation of resources for making life better. And so I think we've seen this argument before actually that you should tax corporations at a higher level so that they're incentivized to spend money and invest rather than just earning huge profits.
Brett King: But again, this is a question of philosophy, which is why my journey through this book I make no qualms about saying I'm center left in terms of social policy. I'm probably center right in terms of economic policy. But what came clear of this is that the most efficient form of humanity is where we can actually build an economy that allows us to compete for the future and the prosperity of humanity as a whole, rather than competing against each other at a national or economic or corporation level.
Brett King: That competition may seem as a good way to stimulate innovation, but the times that we'd come together as a human species collectively in large groups, we show far greater progress in innovation. So the Human Genome Project, the Great Wall of China, you could put that in there, the mobilization around the World Wars. We had huge advances in [crosstalk 00:47:21].
Jim Marous: Our highway system.
Brett King: Absolutely. Right?
Jim Marous: Yeah.
Brett King: And even the Apollo program and what we're seeing must do today in terms of the space industry. These are all really interesting examples of when we come together with purpose as a human species, we make massive advances. When we get into the weeds of competing against each other because of this political view is better than this one, or this economic model is better than this one, then it just increases these inefficiencies.
Jim Marous: Brett, it's great to have you on the show today. It's also great to talk about a book that I know you've lived with for a long time. And I go back to the very first days of you starting to write this book. I know it's the longest it's ever taken you to get a book out that you've had your vision on.
Brett King: Absolutely.
Jim Marous: But I'm going to tell everybody, everyone of my listeners, the book is on pre-order. I'm going to ask Brett how to get the book, but this is a must read. I'll be honest with you, I haven't completely finished it yet. However, it is a very important book because it doesn't hit upon subjects that any of us are highly aware of. Brett's done a lot of research for us and allows us to really make our decisions as to what we feel the future should become and what it's going to take to get there. But again, it's an amazing book.
Brett King: Thank you, Jim.
Jim Marous: It is a fun book because it really keys into your biggest traits, your best traits, Brett. And as a person I've known you for a lot of years and you're right, you grab on the future all the time, but you didn't just raise questions, you provided solutions, you provided ideas, you provide hope. At the same time there are parts that I have to admit are pretty depressing because, man, this is pretty far away. But we didn't think we'd be able to get through this pandemic the way we have.
Jim Marous: As bad as it's been, it could have been a lot worse. We didn't lose the number of people that we could have lost, even though we lost way too many. And I think the reality is if we stay in a crisis mode towards a lot of the things we have to deal with, ranging from the environment, to quality, to economic stability, we'll get there. So Brett, how do people order your book?
Brett King: They can to a riseoftechnosocialism.com or technosocialism.com and you'll find links to various bookstores around the world. But of course for now if you just go to amazon.com and type in technosocialism and order it from the US site that would be something that will help us in our goal, which is we're going to try and get this on the New York Times bestseller list. So if you can order it through amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com in the US that will really help us.
Jim Marous: And also Brett mentioned, go to the riseoftechnosocialism.com, the video snippets, the highlights, the vision of the book, it will get you to buy the book if nothing else, because it's really intriguing and inspirational. So Brett, again, thank you very much for being on the show.
Brett King: It's so nice to have your support, Jim. I'm very grateful and touched by that. Just like anyone, I just want to make a dent in the world. I just want to do something good for the future. So thank you again. I really appreciate it.
Jim Marous: Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed, [inaudible 00:50:46] top five banking podcast. I generally appreciate the support you've provided over the past two years. If you enjoy what we're doing, please be sure to follow Banking Transformed on your favorite podcast app. In addition, please take 30 to 45 seconds and show us some love in the form of a review. It means the world to us. Finally, be sure to catch my recent articles in The Financial Brand, and check out the amazing research we're doing for the Digital Bank Report.
Jim Marous: This has been a production of Evergreen Podcast. Special thank you to our producer, Leah Longbrake, audio engineer, Sean Roll Hoffman, and video producer Will Pritts. I'm your host Jim Marous. Until next time, remember, the future's not predetermined. We can have an impact that can have lasting effects.