Monday, February 16, 2009

We Should Learn about Democracy from the Chinese

There is very little authoritative difference between a government and a bank. To understand that all centralized power is dangerous and should be democratized is to understand that centralized economic power (like political power) must be democratized and must serve the entrepreneurs that create wealth.

In the same way that the Federal government and State governments are supposed to serve the people, the Federal Reserve, local banks, and Wall Street must serve entrepreneurs. The benefit of these institutions is to provide funding and diversify the risk to entrepreneurs. Arguing that free market policy should apply to Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, and local banks is as silly as saying that the Federal Government should be free to make it's own rules.

The best, current example of a democratic economy is the Chinese economy. While the Chinese are politically oppressed, their democratic economy is inspiring entrepreneurs and creating the fastest, sustainable economic growth ever seen. Maybe we can learn a thing or two about democracy from the Chinese.

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How Will You Measure Your Life?

I recently read this article by Clayton Christiansen out of Harvard entitled, “How will you measure your life?” It is what he tells his students on the final day of his class.

One of the items that he mentions sticks out to me. It reads as follows:

“One of the theories, . . . . . how to be sure we find happiness in our careers—is from Frederick Herzberg, who asserts that the powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements. I tell the students about a vision of sorts I had while I was running the company I founded before becoming an academic. In my mind’s eye I saw one of my managers leave for work one morning with a relatively strong level of self-esteem. Then I pictured her driving home to her family 10 hours later, feeling unappreciated, frustrated, underutilized, and demeaned. I imagined how profoundly her lowered self-esteem affected the way she interacted with her children. The vision in my mind then fast-forwarded to another day, when she drove home with greater self-esteem—feeling that she had learned a lot, been recognized for achieving valuable things, and played a significant role in the success of some important initiatives. I then imagined how positively that affected her as a spouse and a parent. My conclusion: Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement, and contribute to the success of a team. More and more [people think] that a career in business means buying, selling, and investing in companies. That’s unfortunate. Doing deals doesn’t yield the deep rewards that come from building up people."

I’m sure you can see why it sticks out.