Friday, March 20, 2009

The Great Collective Realization

Much of the recent commentary from politicians regarding the Financial Fuck Up of 2008-2009 has been about demonizing one group of people or the other and assigning blame to everyone else but the themselves. I have said this multiple times, but we just need to take our lumps, change our ways and move on to a brighter future. Part of this demonizing and blame skirting is because individuals do not want to accept that they were part of the problem actively or worse, unknowingly an accomplice to the problem. When we as a nation (and other nations have their part to do) accept the problem is the entire system, structure and framework of the modern economic world, we will then be ready to move on. Unfortunately, coming to this conclusion and accepting the part we all play will cause us to also evaluate things we have done as a society the last 20 odd years.

Somewhere sometime int he past Americans decided that if they wanted somethign, they needed it now. They also decided that everyone deserved a lot of goods and services. Not access to them, but deserved the actual good or service regardless of being able to pay for it with cash. Somewhere along the line no one was to be disappointed or be allowed to feel bad or even have a sleepless night. A movement developed that did not look at failure as a personal thing that you learned from, but as an outcome that should be avoided at the detriment to others and even if it happens you shouldn't be called a failure and should still get a medal. That's a good policy for the Special Olympics, which celebrates people with disadvantages still trying to do what others think they cannot. It's not for perfectly able children and young adults that run into an obstacle. If you never learn that you suck, never feel down, never feel like you're not good enough, you will grow complacent. You'll not have motivation to do better, to achieve, to work for something.
That feeling eventually crept into what we did with our financial lives and even with our business plans. We evaded manufacturing in the US because of environmental or labor regulations for that extra $.01 in earnings per share. We sold out the process for making something as long as we retained property and design rights for stream of passive income. As the idea spread down to individuals, we stopped thinking of the cost of a car, ring or house and started to think only of the monthly payment. We wanted gratification now and at the lowest cost. We need to admit that things come with a cost, and the old way of doing things is over. Maybe we need to think of the old "old ways" of doing things and start anew.

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