Chapter 4: A Futile Chore
Footnote: The Personality Barrier
In a natural anthropological community an artisan fails or prospers on the reputation of his work. In a capitalist free-market, success depends solely on his political skills of deception and persuasion. Technical skills are irrelevant. He simply hires them. He must be an artisan of business.
Over the past 30 years or so, I have acquired a vast amount of knowledge. I have also become accomplished in a wide range of skills. These cover economics and business as well as computers and communications. My lack of business aptitudes gave my business certain deficiencies. However, these were not critical to the point of failure. I am knowledgeable about the mechanisms of business, and skilled in the practise of running one. Yet I have never been successful.
Aptitude For Business
Knowing about business is not enough. Being skilled in its procedures and processes is not enough. Having years of experience is not enough. In a competitive capitalist free-market another ingredient is necessary for success. It is one you cannot buy or learn. It is something you must be.
You must be a certain kind of person. You must be a political animal, skilled in the art of deceit and a master of the credible lie. This kind of ability can never be born out of acquired knowledge or practice. It must flow from an in-bred anti-morality which is omni-present at the very kernel of your character. As evinced by the small number of people who grow rich in a capitalist world, it is something not possessed by many.
As an artisan of business you must possess an innate ability to:
- induce in others an exclusive and unshakeable confidence in your good self
- make people feel very awkward about rejecting what you are proposing
- interrupt people disarmingly and shout them down in the nicest possible way
- throw tantrums of a kind which court sympathy in order to get your way
- make people feel uncomfortable and threatened about not having paid you
These are facets of personality. They are the adult manifestations of the qualities of a spoilt child. They are the antithesis of maturity. They are what you are: not what you have achieved. Practice can make perfect only that which is already part of you. One who is not this way by nature can never become this way. And such a one can never succeed as a free trader in a capitalist free-market. Such is the nature of business.
My Own Shortcoming
I do not naturally have this kind of personality. I have tried to acquire it. I have tried to develop it. I have attended many sales training courses in the past. Some of these were very expensive. I have also read many books on the subject. But despite all my best efforts none of the business acumen ever rubbed off on me. I could not connect with it. I know the theory, but the practice is beyond my grasp. It was, and remains, contrary to my innate personality and the whole ethos of my upbringing. I have had to reconcile myself to the notion that I am by nature an intellectual who finds business distasteful.
In business, the first thing a prospective client sees of me is my face. This appears to give the impression that I am much younger and less experienced than I hold myself out to be. I am therefore perceived as one who exaggerates or at least as one who is economical with the truth, and who is consequently unreliable and untrustworthy. Yet I have no aptitude for deception. I cannot even steer their false perceptions into seeing the truth. This is, and has always been, for me a formidable barrier to break through in order to do nothing other than merely apply my skills to the task of 'earning' my living.
There is a diversity of innate human abilities (or talents). Each human being probably possesses all of these to some degree, but some more than others. The various degrees to which he is blessed with these natural abilities together form what is known as his aptitude profile. Each person's aptitude profile is probably unique, although they are perceived as fitting into a small number of discrete classes. By working together in an equitable way the people of Planet Earth could, by combining their talents and efforts, provide each with an abundance of all his needs of life. But this does not happen.
The rules of the capitalist free-market reward out of all proportion those relative few whose aptitude profiles equip them for business. This effectively gives them ownership of the free market. The majority of humanity is thus denied the opportunity to ply its vast plethora of skills other than by the leave of these few. They hold the purse strings. They mete out the rewards. Consequently, by what is natural to them, they reward themselves in far greater abundance than they reward those who work for them. They decide who shall and who shall not work. They decide who shall and who shall not eat.
But is this right? Is this the way it should be? Should whether or not a person is able to prosper upon this planet be determined by whether or not they possess in abundance one small but particular facet of human personality - irrespective of what highly-tuned economic skills they may have worked hard to perfect? Clearly this is not a fair way for a society to operate. The moral question for society therefore is this. Should society be fair? If so, why? And if so, should this state of affairs be allowed to continue, or is it time to rise up and forcibly change the rules?
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©May 1998 Robert John Morton