As far back as June 2012 I realized a deep and unsettling truth: that our financial and political systems treat people badly, including in wealthier countries.
As I listened to words like NeoLiberalism and NeoConservatism I wondered, where is the word that mean “People matter most”?
So I created the word NeoPeopleism. The meaning behind it was already there, and has been throughout history – from the first ancient circle of humans sitting around a fire. We have always known that caring for people and sharing prosperity are vital for stable and successful communities and societies.
It is clear that denying people a fair wage and respect is increasing social tensions, including division, racism and nationalism. Healthy, respected and employed people spread compassion and inclusion, not violence and division.
Since then we’ve seen the unsettling force of social media pulling people’s attention toward unfiltered, often inaccurate information sources.
For 5 years I explored the concepts of community, poverty, corporations, equality, social change and politics. I read thousands of articles and tried to understand both the big picture and the small details with an open mind. I created dozens of posters that – at each moment – helped me crystallize an element of NeoPeopleism.
As the 5 year mark arrived in 2017 I had a deeper but sadder understanding of how widely some people’s love of money and power had diverted our world into greedy corporatism, disrespect for people, and ridiculous politicians. And things were not getting better, with many more bubbles of inequality, institutionalized mistreatment, and misguided decision-making by business and government.
In 2018 I took a break from updating NeoPeopleism.com and its 10,000 followers on Facebook. There are no articles about #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter or LGBTQ. I respect all of those concerns, and each is worthy of immense effort, empathy and change.
But I did not stop thinking about our world and how we need to get it back on track, and be putting people first. I did not stop hurting and anguishing about our collective need to reset how things work.
Today I understand more earnestly than ever that things must change.
As you’ll find in these NeoPeopleism pages and posters, changing the world is something each of us can do. Literally every person has ways to show that people matter most. But to be clear, no one person can be active in every single area that needs change.
We need to be supportive and encouraging of righting all wrongs, but just as each person is different we will each find unique ways to show people matter most. If we get into arguments about whether one wrong (say women’s inequality) is more important than another wrong (say bigotry toward aboriginals) then we are defeating ourselves. We need to honour and support each others’ choices for advocacy because there are so many wrongs to right, and we need our individual passions and skills applied in personal and unique ways. Improving our world will take a lot of love and approaches.
Change takes action. It takes getting involved. It takes repeated and respectful voicing of concerns and calling attention to wrongs. Change takes better decision-making, and that goes in personal, work, community, political, social and business situations. Change also requires exploring variations of systems and accountability that make more sense. As an example, our winner-take-all, tax-dodging economic system needs reworking. Generating billionaires ever more rapidly does not make sense while hard working families barely get by and infrastructure crumbles. That does not at all mean switching to communism, but it does mean sharing prosperity fairly, as people experienced from 1950 to 1975, and as our ancestors sitting around the communal fire knew we had to.
I don’t know how many different actions are needed to help our world, but I do know that inaction will get us more of what we’ve already got: more overly-rich, uncaring, business-blinded politicians and more mega-rich, unaccountable corporations.
Here’s to each of us finding ways to put people first, and to encourage others to show that people matter most.