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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Assessing Problems necessary for Solutions.

Over the last several years, while our local economy has suffered from a multitude of issues, this blog has pointed out areas of concern and outright problems that are economic, social, and cultural in nature that not only take root locally, but are the result of global initiatives and governance. Although I have been frustrated and perplexed by the intellectual laziness and lack of desire on the part of my fellow man/woman to understand and take interest in the issues facing our ecosystem, I have not lost faith in the nature of the greater power in this life to bring the forces of good together to repel the darkness that attempts to control and manipulate paradigms towards the personal interests of elitism.

If you don't understand the above paragraph, then please read it again and if you don't understand, then I'll try to break it down, but it loses the gravity of its magnitude when I do so -- and I am not attempting to be arrogant. I am just a regular person trying to figure out life and convey what I have learned and am learning to the people who read this material in hopes that we can become an atomic lifeforce spreading the energy of true openness and love.

We have people who have bastardized the terms capitalism and entrepreneur. They have taken these market principles and contorted them into a perverse notion of I'll get mine whatever way I can, by hook or by crook and you can attempt to do the same; but while you are doing that I'm going to try to keep you from getting yours by erecting barriers and I'm also going to try to steal your livelihood and your assets.

Over the years of this blog and prior, I have been told by local public figures that we need to look on the bright side... we need to be positive. It is easy to talk about problems, but we need to focus on solutions. What these people don't understand is that we can't focus on solutions until we are willing to get beneath the surface and look at what has caused the illness related to those economic, social, and cultural issues. If you have a wound that is oozing puss, then you need to figure out what is causing the underlying issue.

Whether people like it or not, part of the solution is pointing out these problems/issues we face. These issues are not static. They did not come about overnight and as time has rolled on, these issues have evolved into negative issues even bigger in nature. By failing to take action, the problems we have faced have grown even more intensely -- near an exponential level.

When we face down issues head on, in the beginning it might look daunting, but as we gain fortitude through experience, you become adept at adapting. That is what we are talking about when we talk about resiliency. We are always going to struggle, but it is how quickly and nimbly you adapt that separates successful from unsuccessful endeavors, whether on a personal or community level. The biggest negative issues that we face in this community are fear and excessive control to the point of manipulation.

I understand the fear that individuals have in relation to current issues involving personal economics and finance. I freely admit that I have struggled for a long time. It beats you down. It is depressing. I have not struggled to the point that I have seen many others go through, but I am not progressing as well as a person my age should. and cannot afford luxuries. People are worried about the future and this causes them to pull back. This is part of behavioral economic theory. When the population hits a critical mass of people pulling back financially, then on whatever level (local, national, international) we see the economy as a whole regress. That is where we are today.

People and communities grow desperate. Instead of trying to find ways to address issues that will create value, they become obsessed with cutting costs. While keeping tight reins and accountability built into a budget is critical, cost cutting does not create wealth and cutting costs can lead to the destruction of wealth.

Chrysler Corporation learned this in the mid to late 1970s. In college, studying management in the late 1980s, we had this vivid message honed into our minds. Chrysler cut costs to the point that they virtually eliminated the Research and Development program. The book entitled "Behind the Wheel at Chrysler," takes a look at how Chrysler's research and development was constrained while the company invested in ventures that had little to do with the corporate mission; how many of Chrysler's new models were simply redesigned chassis on existing platforms; how internal rivalries undermined the company's productivity; and more.

In my opinion, we have seen a similar dynamic on the local level. Egos and marking territories has no doubt been an issue. That does not mean that there aren't really good government employees on the local level. I think the majority take pride in their work and truly do represent the public well. But, we do see a lot of turf protection when it comes to the openness of governance and pushing agendas, protecting friends and allies, and trying to control outcomes towards personal interests. What this does is limit the public's choices in the marketplace.

If you have limited choices, it leads to a deterioration in the quality of products, the marketplace, and ultimately the quality of life in a community. Why? Because this is what happens with controlled economic outcomes. Let's say that a town deems that there will only be one bakery in town and  an ordinance is created that says no one else is allowed to bake or sell bread. That bakery has a captive audience. If you want bread, you have to buy it from them. They can choose what products they offer. They can set whatever price they want. Sure, the residents might choose to not buy bread or even create a black market, but what incentive does the bakery have to create good products at a good price and what incentive do they have to provide an excellent customer service? In looking at similar metaphors, how does a community benefit from a controlled marketplace?

You see, the solutions will take care of themselves if you have a responsive marketplace. The government can take a positive approach by helping to create a dynamic marketplace. Solutions are derived from the assessment of problems.

1 comment:

Silence DoGood said...

Yeah, I've never quite figured that out for myself either. How are you going to focus on the solution and the problem is unidentified or unspecified?

Total Quality Management at it's finest. The customer is always right, so keep feeding them what they want to hear so they'll keep coming back for more. I think though that people are starting to figure out that no matter what you call it, it seems to taste the same.