One of the most thought-provoking animes ever made is airing on Fuji TV. It’s called [C]: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control.
I’m terrible at writing synopses, so I’m not gonna even going to try. Here it is from Wikipedia:
The Japanese government was rescued from the brink of financial collapse by the Sovereign Wealth Fund. For its citizens however life has not improved and unemployment, crime, suicide, and despair are rampant. Kimimaro, raised by his maternal grandmother after the disappearance of his father and the death of his mother, is a scholarship student whose only dream is to live a stable, ordinary life. One day he meets a man who offers him a large sum of money if he’ll agree to pay it back. From then on his fate is radically altered as he’s drawn into a mysterious realm known as “The Financial District.”
All the cool action shots and super eyecandy, Mikuni Soichiro aside, the anime touches on real-world problems such as the volatility of the financial markets and the power of money.
More importantly, the anime brings out the dichotomy between saving the present for the future, or saving the future for the present. This is a very interesting theme because it’s something we base our decisions on everyday. From something as mundane as making a new luxury purchase, “do I spent $1,000 of my savings for the future to satisfy a present pleasure such as an iPad 2 or designer handbag” to something as big and catastrophic as “do I build nuclear energy to satisfy the current demands of energy by risking my nation’s future exposure to atomic energy?”.
Our natural instincts are to satisfy our present needs and wants first because they are more visible, but also because we are often presented with incentives to save the present and jeopardize the future. Case in point — politicians only have 5 years to prove themselves to the public before they are up for re-election. So if I were a politician aiming to secure my job at the next election, would I choose to spend my budget to build a market that not many will benefit from but will only take 2 years to build, or would I choose to spend my budget to overhaul the transportation system that will take 20 years to re-construct because I foresee that my city will quadruple in size in the next 25 years? Given that I want to be re-elected in the next 5 years, it’s a no brainer which I will choose.
This type of short range rules, deliverables, KPIs are encouraging failures. Failure to innovate. Failure to dream. Failure to secure our future.
As a society, as the human race, we need to overcome the shortcomings of short-term decisions. The way we are living now is creating problems for future generations. Just look at the financial markets, growing income disparity and the environment. I don’t think I need to say more.
Anyway, the point of is this post is that I just want to highlight how important it is to balance both saving the present and the future at the same time. While we live in the best of times, let’s not try to live better at the expense our children’s futures.
And to me, one the first steps towards achieving this balance is to re-look at the process and principles of accountability.