Framework 82 Bentoism (BEyond Near-Term Orientation)


For decades now, the overriding success indicator for most communities/organisations, etc was more prosperity, as expressed by indicators like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for nations, return on investment (ROI) for organisations, net wealth for individuals, etc.

Since the 1980's, 'financial maximisation' has been the main mantra in a capitalist society for prosperity, ie

"...assume that anything that enables them to get richer must be good for the world..."

Michael Lewis as quoted by Yancey Strickler 2019

Financial maximisation (minimising costs, maximising financial returns, extracting value, personal accumulation, etc) is an element of capitalism that is based upon a world of scarcity, not abundance. It is focused on individual prosperity (my) and less on community prosperity (we). It is linked with the concept of 'self-interest' which people like Adam Smith wrote about in the18th century .

Financial maximisation is used to justify concepts like

- downsizing, ie reducing staff numbers, etc

- globalisation, ie shipping jobs offshore to cheaper sources of labour, etc

- automation, ie machines replacing people, etc

- share buy-backs, ie companies buying back their own shares so that the share price increases, as there are fewer shares available; also, is a de facto dividend to shareholders and as most managers' bonuses are tied to the share price, they receive a windfall gain


"... 80% of stocks are owned by the richest 10% of Americans, the bottom 80% of the population owns under 8% of stock..."

Yancey Strickler 2019

Financial security is important. However, there are more valuable things in life beyond money, like love, community, safety, knowledge, faith, health, etc that are important.

" is essential for security. But when money is used as a means of creating status, or ego, satisfying the demands of investors and it becomes a driving force behind every decision, that's when money becomes problematic......having a lot of money would be like having a lot of toilet paper. Good for one purpose but not for everything..."

Yancey Strickler 2019

Thus we are trapped with 3 assumptions, ie

"...i) that the point of life is to maximise financial wealth

    ii) that we are individuals trapped in an adversarial world

   iii) this situation is inevitable and eternal..."

Yancey Strickler 2019

Financial maximisation (pressure for short-term gains linked with materialism, consumerism and self-interest, ie a focus on the 'I', not 'we', eg community) has become the hidden default position (see other parts of this knowledge base for more detail)

We need to expand our idea of value beyond finance to prioritise community, knowledge, purpose, fairness, security, traditions, sustainability, etc. We need to make a more generous world that is more effective and efficient, and also sustainable.


The aim is to go beyond the dominance of financial maximisation as it is too restrictive and simplistic with money dominating, ie make as much money as possible.

"...Bentoism strives for rational and measurable principles......seeks to expand some of the tools of financial maximisation to a wider set of values......
1. It's rational behaviour in your self-interest

2. Your values and context shape your self-interest

3. Therefore, making values-and context-specific decisions is rational all the time..."

Yancey Strickler 2019


It is a Japanese packed meal that is pre-assembled in compartmentalised boxes which involves having a little of everything without having anything in excess. It is designed to satisfy 80% of your hunger, leaving room for appetite to grow until next meal.

As a concept it focuses on

"...balance, respect for available sources, self-consciousness and awareness of the contributions you need to make it a reality in which you live..."

Adriano Silva 2019

Bento can used as a framework that involves 4 fields to work through, ie how something impacts

i) now me (the most self-interested voice; it's about self-preservation; it's about the here and now, ie what is happening today; governing values are

- security (including financial)

- pleasure

- autonomy, ie

"...having the freedom to decide what we will and will not do. Autonomy exists in both immature states (not listening to sound advice) and mature (finding and seeing what we are best at and doing it in a way that is best for us..."

Yancey Strickler 2019

ii) future me (the ideal situation; involves staying true to your values; your legacy and personal values; governing values are

- mastery (passionate about the process of getting better)

- purpose (gives clarity and meaning)

- grit (encourages you to stay true to your values and convictions))

iii) now us (relationships and interaction with others; considers the people around us, their needs, and how our choices affect them; its instincts are solidarity; its values are

- community (those who we rely on and who rely on us; different stakeholders)

- fairness (treat people as you would like to be treated)

- tradition (shared experiences and rituals; linking the past with the present and future))

iv) future us (is the world you want the next generation to inherit, ie how things ought to be; governing values are

- awareness (thinking through the implications; being flexible to handle the unpredictable)

- sustainability (make decisions that are of long-term benefit, not just short-term)

- knowledge (knowledge increases our capacity and capability; new knowledge can challenge the status quo and there can be resistance because of this challenge))

NB "us" refers to stakeholders like family, friends, communities, organisations, etc

It is about broadening out what matters and understanding how to make better choices.

It's not about forcing specific values on others, ie

"...It helps you see how your own values line-up with the situation at hand, and empowers you to make more self-coherent, value-based choices..."

Yancey Strickler 2019

The framework in tabulated form (including values)

Core to this framework is a question - what does each category want and need?

Once the values are identified, the goals and metrics should be developed to reflect them (including accountability in achieving them)

Now Us
Future Us
Now Me
Pleasure Autonomy)
Future Me

An example, ie yourself (what does this category want and need?)

Now Us
Expanding our circle of friends and family
Supporting each other
Fully together
Family and friends are one
Future Us
Safe and healthy
Environment (earth) not collapsing
Smarter and more knowledgeable world
No corrupt
Not isolated
Now Me
Good health
Money in the bank
Sustainable lifestyle
Emotionally grounded
New ideas
Future Me
Don't sell out
Be loyal to my values and people
Be curious/open
Hungry to learn
Understands bigger picture
Knows right from wrong
Moral perspective
In harmony with the world


Then look at similarities and themes in the above diagram, ie

"...What traits, values, or motivations do these ideas share......What am I motivated by? What's my purpose?......What drives me? The essence of who I am..."

Yancey Strickler 2019

For growth, need to look at 3 primary paths, ie

"...1. Growing new value in new things

    2. Growing your new value in the existing things

    3. Growing existing value in existing things..."

Yancey Strickler 2019

Need to put a financial value on non-financial values.

Some examples of people thinking rationally about all areas of their self-interest (both current and future) include

- entertainer Adele (she used an algorithm that gave preference in ticket sales to loyal fans over others, including scalpers, ie focus on now us and future us)

- NBA's 3-point shot (initially there was much resistance. However data analysis, ie effective field-goal percentage, showed its advantages and it gained in popularity transforming basketball, ie focus on now me and future me)

- Chick-fil-A (despite the loss in revenue, the most highly-rated fast-food chain in America decided to close on Sundays so that his staff would have a holiday - as was always traditionally done, ie focus on now us and future us)

- Financial Independence Retire Early movement (FIRE) (encourages people to minimise their current spending and maximise their long-term goals; the point of money is to create security to focus on real value in life; by living within your means, eg your income exceeds expenses; creating a sustainable life; separate money and happiness, ie focus on now me and future me)

- Patagonia (clothes maker which has offered free in-office childcare since 1983; promises lifetime repairs of its clothes; shares its innovations with competitors, especially if better for the environment, ie focus on now us and future us)

- Tesla (electric car maker is making all its patents, ie intellectual property, available to the public to use, ie focus on now us and future us)

- entertainer Taylor Swift (when negotiating a new contract with Universal Music Group, she got them to agree to distribute money generated from any sale of their Spotify shares to artists like yourself, ie focus on now us and future us)

(sources: Natascha Gillezeau 2019; Yancey Strickler 2019)


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