Constitutionally Right

The only way to predict the future is to create it.

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Location: Yardley, PA (Bucks County), United States

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Brave New World - Philly Burbs

I have a sense that the recent challenges in my own business are similar to those experienced in most organizations. I began my independent orthopaedic sales business 20 years ago that almost completely fell apart 3 years ago.
I initially did what many are doing which is to blame the economy and business climate, but the truth is that I was searching for business that didn’t exist anymore. Without boring you with details I spent the last 3 years trying everything with varying degrees of success. This deep-digging period of reinvention has led to a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
The light’s still a little ways off, but its spark is deeply rooted in how to serve others better than ever and by doing more with less. We serve ourselves best when we put the needs of others before our own.
The answers that many are looking for get even more elusive when we blame the prosperous and/or look to government for a solution. The “occupiers” on Wall Street, City Hall in Philly and other venues all over the nation remind me of the large numbers of students protesting Apartheid at Penn State during my sophomore year. I hadn’t a political bone in my body and had no idea what Apartheid was, but was curious about the sea of mock graves, banners and the like. Not one protester could tell me why they were carrying on like maniacs. I was truly interested, but luckily there was a very comprehensive article in the paper the very next day that answered all of my questions.
This leads to the one thing in politics today that should be more effectively addressed. Everyone’s running around saying that they’ll create this job or that job. Really? The notion of “job creation” only focuses on the employee as if the end-game is having a job. What about the job itself? Employment is a mutual exchange of valuable labor and pay. The entire argument does little more than to perpetuate the entitlement mentality that’s taking down the nation. Job creation is a “What’s in it for me?” discussion which would have a much better result if addressed as “What’s in it for us all?” or “What can I offer to others?”.
Economic growth is a result of everyone working together in a productive exchange of labor, innovation and investment. Free markets are a perfect machine that serves us all better than anything else ever could. They are void of blame, self-pity, government interference and political manipulation. And, above all, free markets are pure honesty.
Of course we’re pretty far away from a free market, but we can still do the best we can regardless. Take the healthcare industry for example. The patient ultimately is not in charge which is why everything is paid at prices that don’t reflect real environments. This can easily lead to a $60 aspirin or $100,000 knee replacement and inefficiency of epic proportions. Just think what we could do if we were to craft an environment where people made their own decisions. For some reason I’m a bit optimistic that the day is coming.
Another example is high-frequency-trading where complex mathematical algorithms determine what stocks to buy by the millions and then sell in a matter of seconds or less. This sort of manipulative modeling seems to be inconsistent with real market conditions and may create a series of damaging ripple effects. A little regulation here, if done correctly, might be in order, but typical knee-jerk reactions need to be resisted in favor of honest investigation and resolve.
We could endlessly go on and on, but should really start with ourselves. What would happen if every one of us pursued the best ways to participate and contribute? The right answers are definitely in there even if they don’t immediately jump out. Many of us constantly readjust and reinvent to changing environments while others are stuck in old, outdated and irrelevant models. Success isn’t easy, but anything worthwhile rarely is. Reward and difficulty tend to go hand-in-hand which would imply that challenges are the vehicle of prosperity and are to be embraced. They force us to search hard for the best answers possible that often come after considerable failure.
We’ve tried the “all government all the time” approach (with predictable results). Let’s try something different and stop it with all of the politics. It seems as though to many of us wish to be deceived, but we’re better than that and can do much better.
A return to what made us who we are would be a great start.

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