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Food Fight!

Introducing something new is always a challenge. The bigger and more transformative that something new, of course the greater the challenge. Fortunately, storytelling is an approach that can help communicate and even cast a compelling vision for that something new.

Our challenge -- our big and transformative Better Capitalism challenge -- is to help shape America toward a better version of capitalism. What might that better capitalism look like?

Animal House Food Fight | Image Credit: PalmStar Media

Let's explore that question with a story that uses a food fight allegory:

Imagine you’re hiking through a beautifully dense forest. You sit down to rest when, silently, a creature vaguely resembling a human materializes before you. Without it speaking, you understand it wants to show you the difference between hell and heaven. You’re stunned but curious, and not feeling threatened you nod your agreement.

You follow the creature with your eyes as it glides toward then around you. Standing and turning around, you see before you an ancient wood door surrounded by a stone doorway, as if these had been there forever. Just a door frame and door, which you can see behind is the path and forest you just traveled. The creature reaches for the doorknob, swings open the door, and beckons you to follow.

Stepping through the doorway you find yourself in a cavernous banquet hall filled with those large round tables common to conference rooms around the world. Sitting at the tables are people of every possible description and background trying to eat the abundant food heaped in the middle. You quickly notice each person’s arms are longer than usual and proportioned in the oddest way. From shoulder to elbow is half the distance as yours, and from elbow to hand is three times the distance as yours.

The effect is that while everyone can reach the food, their arms don’t bend in a way that allows them to bring food to their own mouth. Throughout the banquet hall what looks like, and is in fact, a perpetual food fight is the result of angry and hungry people screaming and tossing food into the air and trying to catch it with their mouths, but mostly missing. Sporadically food lands in each person’s mouth and occasionally there is an astoundingly obese person who has mastered the ability to catch food in his or her mouth.

Exiting the banquet hall and closing the door behind you both, the creature communicates, “This shows you hell, created by people with free will. Hell is here on earth, and you need not look elsewhere for it.” Pushing the same door open again, the creature steps through and you again follow. You both are back in the same room with the same people and their weird arms. Food is still stacked in the center of each table. The difference in this room is that everyone has learned to reach the food and use their long arms to feed each other. There is no food fight atmosphere, no anger or hunger, and although some have more than others, no one has less than they can reasonably eat to be filled.

The creature turns to you, but it doesn’t need to communicate anything because you say it aloud: “This is heaven, here on earth created by people with free will, and I don’t need to look elsewhere for it.” The creature nods, bows, and disappears along with the door and doorway. In gratitude you resume a better journey with your new mindset.

We don’t need to belabor this allegory. You understand hell is plantation system economics and heaven is Partnership Economics. (Both terms and concepts are further described in our book Better Capitalism.) We don’t expect moving from our collectively hellish version of present day capitalism to a more enlightened version will be easy, primarily because it’ll require a change of mindsets and hard work. But it’ll be worthwhile and ultimately successful because Partnership Economics is supported by the luminary voices and business examples that we post about weekly.

Those invested in plantation economics will necessarily push back on our claim that there’s a better version of capitalism available, and the more invested the louder the push-back. We just encourage them to push back intelligently and thoughtfully, or they’ll undermine their own position and help the rest of us carry the case for Partnership Economics and a better form of capitalism. Better yet, we invite them instead to direct their energy to testing this transformation from plantation to Partnership Economics and proving the results for themselves.

How's your journey to a better capitalism progressing? We'll love to hear about it from you.

What about you? Share your story, question, comment, idea, disagreement -- yes, we welcome disagreement for the sake of mutual benefit! -- with us at We will give a thoughtful response, with prioritized attention to emails from our subscribers. Subscribe here >>

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