Monday, January 18, 2010

A new perspective

Millions of sufffering people,
Thousands dying each day;
disease and destruction unparalleled,
Starving and desperate humanity,
Multitudes struggling just to survive.

It all gives a new meaning to well-being:
A dry, warm house full of possessions,
Pantry and fridge stocked with food,
Techology to entertain and inform,
Connect with friends and research topics...
Even a well-fed pet to provide companionship.

Today, success is not measured by
Achieveing some lofty goal, or climbing
A corporate ladder, or gettting an award.
On this day, I am successful - well-fed, warm,
Dry, healthy, surrounded by possessions - that
Is a greater measure of achievement than anything,
Given the rampant destruction and suffering in Haiti!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Just saw a piece on CBS news about innovation in the US, or rather, the lack thereof. It is really a shame to observe our country being overtaken by the Asian powers, and slowly sinking in our own lethargy as well.

Maybe it is inevitable, given the advancements made in formerly poor, backward countries. They are rightfully pulling themselves upward, trying to improve their lot, and succeeding. And as we trade back and forth with them, the innovative ideas flow both ways, perhaps benefiting everyone.

But there are some things going on that could be changed to improve things, in my opinion.

Ever since the Baby Boomers have moved into leadership positions in companies, there seems to have been a degradation of ethics and patriotism on a grand scale. While our parents seemed to want to

create jobs and prosperity for their entire community, every generation since has seemed focused on only what is in it for them. That old philosophy of helping oneself by helping the other fellow has gone by the wayside, to be replaced by helping oneself by denigrating the other fellow. This is generalizing, but there is ample evidence out there.

We need to create and propagate a new patriotism, a capital-patriotism, or patriot-capitalism. “What is good for my customers, employees and community will be good for me, and my progeny. “

A large number of small family-run enterprises could benefit our communities and society, also leading to innovation and advancements. Rather than gobbling up or selling out, the ethos of patriot-capitalism says “stick it out – think of your larger impact upon American society. You have a duty to your country to make your company the best it can be, for all your sakes.”

There are still a few companies run like this, but not very many. It is hard to create a patriot-capital company in an atmosphere of constant back-stabbing, me-first, 15-minute celebrity fluff. But if we value the American economy and our well-being, we had better try. Not only to invest in new technologies, and better education. But to help employees on a community level, to build that patriotic-capitalist ethos that would hold leadership responsible to help on many levels, and prosper by gaining loyalty, hard work and assembly-line innovation as a result. A first step might be to require every CEO to take an oath of loyalty to his employees, to his community, and to his country. We already require most of our schoolchildren to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. How about requiring those in positions of power and leadership to do the same, and also pledge to help their communities and employees to the best of their abilities? Couldn't hurt, and it may help things along.

As I see giant skyscrapers go up in Arabian states, and ponder the fact that our petrodollars built most of them, I wish that the US could invest in and push hard on alternative energies to give us a new independence and wealth. But this fact has been known for decades, and look at where we are at. No, it will also take something else: a new patriot-capitalist ethos that demands that our business enterprise helps us, here in the US, our communities, our people, all of us. A win-win situation. Thanks for reading.