Democracy, Babies, Big Tech, Germany and UK: The Reluctance that Defines Us

Reluctance in Strategy

Reluctance is one of the most complex equations of the human mind. Reluctance that comes from conscience, the reluctance that comes from inertia and the reluctance that comes from being hesitant to burden new responsibilities all bring new complexities into decision making. There is some science behind it. The brain has D1R neurons which simply tell you to go for it.  And as Newton told us, for every D1R, there is a D2R set of neurons which tells you to not go for it. And multiple researches have proved that D2R is stronger than D1R. So the no-go signal is stronger than the Go signal.


Infact for me it is the defining trait that shapes the world across. From the Bible to the Gita, and Moses to Arjun, reluctance was the central story that stood out. From Yahoo’s reluctance on Google to the World’s reluctance on climate change acceptance, it is reluctance that in many ways affects our world the most. In the biggest fight of really tiny neurons D1R and D2R, our personalities,our companies, our economies and the shape of the world is decided. 

So today we talk about reluctance and the reasons for it. These are the ones with the power to change the world. The reluctance of countries to accept an age of data where the UN is probably the most irrelevant organisation. The reluctance of FDA ( sometimes big companies help the reluctance of regulators) in approving new baby food and the rise of a startup from the same reluctance. The reluctance of America to go the antitrust way or not and its reluctance in accepting the real problem. We move on to the reluctance of Germany to accept global leadership and how reluctance doesn’t help. And then we talk of the United Kingdom. From Brexit, to COVID, to Scotland, it has been defined by reluctance and indecision in the last decade. So here we go !


1. The world before the internet had one defining event which shaped everything. The Second world war. The formation of blocs, the rise of the United Nations and the understanding of the impact of nuclear weapons. The whole world formed around these learnings and to be honest the reluctance to change in a new world is a global phenomenon. As democracy itself takes a back seat in global happenings and individual opinions, the world is devoid of principles to follow in the new world. Is freedom of expression absolute, is democracy right for governance in the internet world. Can the government ask tech companies to hand over data. Is political mis-information on the internet okay in a presidential battle? It always takes some time for ethics to gain the momentum to become laws. The question is in a world which changes so fast are the models which countries follow for law, finance, economics and beliefs built for flexibility and adaptability. This article gives a new model to follow, for the post internet world, where a new set of rules are required and dwells on the reluctance which has hampered their development

A Governance Model for the Internet Democracy


2. Some years back I had worked on a project for toddler and infant formulas. It is an intensely competitive sector with an immense loyalty and retention factor. The complexity of the sector unlike its target market makes it wonderful for a study.  But this story is not about the sector. It is about the reluctance of regulators world over to be flexible and understand change. At the same time it is about the forming of a startup that defied norms and existing products simply based on some logic and common sense. Read it just for the story if nothing else.

Babies and the FDA


3. In 1956, America decided that Bell Labs was too big, needed to be broken up. For 13 years Antitrust regulations were made against IBM. In 1998, Microsoft came into the lens with similar accusations. The other common connection. None of the antitrust regulations worked. None of these companies broke up. And now the war is on Google and Facebook. It might seem like that is one of the most pressing problems of the world. But 165 million people today don’t have access to the Internet in America. That seems huge, considering America’s development in the field. Sometimes the reluctance to accept the real problem is the biggest problem. There are always less urgent, less important problems easier to solve. When your solutions include building walls, the more difficult problems stop appearing in front of you.

America’s Biggest tech Problem


4. Germany has the toughest task of any nation in the world. It had to lead Europe and the EU project and now post Trump has to essentially lead democracy and the view of one world. Doing all this, it has to appear benevolent and non aggressive at all times, because the scars of the second world war have not completely gone away. And this leadership is one which Germany has always been reluctant to take. The refugees were taken in, when no one else would take them. The criticism of China needed to be made, when no one else spoke out and Greece had to be bailed out, because no one else could have afforded it. Germany and Ms Merkel as she nears the end of her term have tried to escape the burden, but it was reassuring to see in the last decade, that when the world needed them to lead, they had the courage and the determination to shed their reluctance.

The Reluctant Leader


5. You can’t talk of Reluctance and not talk to the United Kingdom. They tend to make spectacles out of their reluctance. And none bigger than the Brexit referendum. But a slightly less publicized referendum was that of Scottish Independence. Sometimes reluctance comes from denial and Scotland and the UK are a wonderful example of the same.The post COVID political scenario in Scotland seems very different from the one which went to referendum in 2014. This is a long article but it points out something very unique and specific about Scotland. It is not nationalism that drives hope for a unification. It is the hope for a modern country and a modern democracy. In the muddled up media today, democratic, nationalistic, fascist are often confused to suit the narrative. There are huge differences, and I was surprised that Soctland and its people have managed to differentiate between them despite the media misinformation.

The Scottish Conundrum

So don’t be reluctant to read today !

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