Humanity is many things – adoring, inquisitive, rational, altruistic, creative and self-interested. But the market is one thing only: self-interest. The market is humanity distilled. It is not drones and AI that are consuming work, but dysfunctional corporate governance that has stopped valuing workers. We are at risk of being overwhelmed by a utopia of wealth and a dystopia of personal relations. We are living Oscar Wilde’s aphorism – knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing – at incalculable costs to the earth and our children.How do we rebalance the essential dynamism of capitalism with our broader social goals? This is not a naive aspiration.

The 2008 financial crash was not a flicker in the furnace, but a consequence of the essential ways in which modern economies are growing. Financialisation has dammed humanity between the devil and debt. A Janus faced financial sector is providing finance to other parts of the financial sector, fittingly called, “FIRE” (finance, insurance and real estate) while the other façade creates profits without prosperity. This obscure face of financialisation deals with the knotty ways in which companies in pharmaceuticals and energy have spent large parts of their profits on share buybacks, simply to boost share prices and stock options.

Banks allowed their balance sheets to grow exponentially without risks – another market will handle that – indulged by governments and regulators who believe that markets are always right. A pandemic of avarice has seeped deep into our social marrow. The Archegos Capital fire sale is a spark in a cane field at crop time. Japan’s Nomura is bearing the brunt of the burn from the total return swaps (TRS) that transferred both the credit risk and market risk of underlying assets.

Markets do unleash energy and dynamism, but they are never always right. Accepting anything else is faith in a fake god. The persistent market fables are worn out. “This time will be different” is a lie as old as Adam. “Markets always clear” but the effects of the leftover supply or demand is always for theschool child in Ravin Anglais, Poole, Auchenskeoch, Cushe, Indian Walk and Lengua.

The Austro-Hungarian thinker, Karl Polanyi, argues that markets are not “natural” or inevitable – rather, they result from the ways in which movements shape them and also from purposeful policy-making. Markets are the outcomes of the interactions amongst civil society, policy and business. Trade Unions gave us the eight-hour work day and that has shaped the market. It is therefore not market forces themselves that are the problem – nor is it privatisation.

We are approaching the extremes of commodification as commerce swells deep into the personal and civic realms. The price of everything is now the value of everything. Markets now determine the worth of everything and the outcomes are in no one’s interest. Greta’s Extinction Rebellion and spiralling income inequality that leaves everyone’s real earning and prospects stagnant over their lifetimes have been similarly driven by the fealty of governments toward markets.

This accentuates the moral error of many economists, who miss that public-spiritedness, civic virtues and values are not scarce commodities. Civic virtue is the harvesting of habits important for the success of the community. Interlaced with notions of citizenship, civic virtue is often considered as the dedication of citizens to the common welfare of their community. Incivility is a general term for social behaviour lacking in civic virtue or good manners, on a scale from rudeness or lack of respect for elders, to vandalism and hooliganism, through public drunkenness and threatening behaviour. The word incivility is derived from the Latin “incivilis”, meaning “not of a citizen.”

Civic virtues are generally transmitted by schools as a matter of chief concern in nations under republican forms of government, and in societies with cities. When final decisions on public matters are made by a monarch, it is the monarch’s virtues which influence those decisions. When a broader class of people become the decision-makers, it is then their virtues which characterize the types of decisions that are made. Milton Friedman, in a now-famous 1970 Times magazine article, argued that businesses’ sole purpose is to generate profit for shareholders. Moreover, he maintained that companies that adopted attitudes of corporate social responsibility would be faced with burgeoning binding constraints compared to companies that did not, thereby rendering them less competitive.

The new fiscal quest is one that searches for an economics of objective values grounded in the essence of our humanity. It is an economics that abandons markets that reflect subjective preferences where we have been misled to trust that there is nothing to be done except surrender our free will.

The pandemic is a portal. A gateway to other worlds. Our environments are adapting to a cloud-first approach to the enterprise-wide modernization of culture that taps into the full range of cloud-native capabilities. Things have changed – on earth and on Mars. We are in the midst of a great upheaval. A new open architecture for non-financial risks from everything from contagions to climate change that requires a “mission-oriented capitalism” in which “purposeful” corporations see profit as a means to an end is now unfolding.