Disrupting the Business Model of War

Can we Raise Awareness Toward Disrupting the Business Model of War?
  • If we become aware of the interconnected systems and interests of political & planetary oppression, we can publicly speak to these issues, and disrupt their functions.
  • We hold that the only truly sustainable world is flourishing – which is present when people, societies and ecologies co-evolve and regenerate their well-being.
  • People experience flourishing as individual thriving and social and cultural belonging.
  • The business models enabling war-making destroy the living systems of flourishing.
  • But war businesses are sustained by political and media organizations that benefit directly, and yet profess their distance from profiteering.

Updated after workshop:

Canada and the US have sustained the longest continuous period of war business growth in history – 16 years, from the prosecution of the war on Afghanistan (2002) which continues now, through Syria, Ukraine, and this month’s NATO exercises of Sabre Strike we led held in Europe. Citizens can be forgiven (but only for so long) for ignoring the pace of growth and excuses for persisting in war-making, as the sustained period of war culture creates a normalization of experience. After normalizing, people tend to detach from any individual responsibility for collective violence under their national policy. Which leaves us with no significant peace movement, and no political urgency.

With the continued persecution of selected nations and cultures, their institutions, their economies and their ecosystems, a more effective alternative to traditional peace movement techniques must be undertaken. We can start with dialogue, we can co-create better future options, we can pitch better policy, but we do need to hear from multiple perspectives. There is no single answer or predictable roadmap here. We have to muddle through.

We can define the situation as one of a reliable and enduring business model between politicians and their lobbyists, the weapons industry, institutional investors, and crony board management across related industries. We call this the business model of war, and we seek to disrupt or replace it as a matter of human survival and societal principles. We can co-create and promote alternatives to the war business that replace the work, capital, and political functions of the obsolete military system.

This framing centres our July DwD and our second workshop to define the conversation for the upcoming World Beyond War conference held at OCAD Sept 21-22, 2018. The #NoWar2018 event brings a serious movement to Toronto with the aim of ending wars through international law and agreements that maintain peace.

The DwD community is invited to participate in World Beyond War 2018 and to co-create and deliver this workshop at the conference. A 90 minute workshop is to be presented by a Toronto and DwD/OCADU-based team to reframe the business model of war. Using the Flourishing Business Canvas we will propose citizen-designer strategies for facilitating a transition to new public policy models that might replace war-making as a core function of Western governments. The vision is to have a significant working group of activists collaborating on the idea and ready to present a strategy of sorts to intervene in the large-scale business model of war-making, to disrupt it and to show a better way at the same time. I’m looking to replace the value proposition and to facilitate breaking the business models so as to cause a transformation of the industry. Think of this as a “market disruption.”

We would be able to also present something of a summary of the policy (or business model) proposals at the conference after the workshop, in a summary brief in the plenary. It can be inspiring for participants to see that real effort has gone into a workshop program and a continuing action plan would be maintained after the event.

We show how the business of the military and the industrial complex are entwined in a long-standing business model of publicly funded international violence that requires a constant flow of new “enemies” and security issues served up to public payers. Presenting concepts and proposals developed from a series of workshops held from 2017-2018, we will take participants through large and small group sessions of designing and proposing alternatives to the post-war, state-industrial business model. An industry that has become extremely expensive, socially and environmentally destructive and is falsely presented by political leaders as there being “no alternative” to the war model. To a social innovator, this appears to be nothing more than an obsolete monopolists’ excuse to maintain a corrupt and immoral business practice.

While its simple enough to identity the dysfunctions of the war business, replacing the business model, critical to the foundation of the American economy, would be one of the largest business undertakings in history. The key to reforming the war business is not outlawing it, because the political system itself would have to completely reform to proceed with such laws. Instead, a better value proposition must be created to offset the markets and public funding of the massive industrial base, while maintaining an appropriate defense capability in legitimate government.

We can admit a claim for legally sustaining a defense industry – but what is their social license to operate based upon? Continuous war spending to artificially inflate profits at the pleasure of the state and its crony investors? Only if their business models conformed to the values and principles strong sustainability would a future aerospace/weapons provider remain in business.  They should be asking what they would do if their purposes are increasingly outlawed and their social license is removed? What is the underlying, real economy level of economic support propped up by the current business model? Clearly here, some form of national transition strategy needs to be considered.

We might first open up dialogue to this provocative idea and then use leading business model methods to construct alternative future scenarios. This would be a trial of the workshop, the whole point is to create awareness and articulation of the cold-blooded, non-political business model at the heart of the war and weapons industry.