Monday, February 23, 2009

"...We Will See the Day When We Live on What We Produce" -- Marion G. Romney

Every year, Americans import $731.214 billion of goods more than they export. If foreign trade stopped, we would be forced to consume less than half of what we currently consume. This is the root cause of our current "economic" problems.

In order to buy almost 60 percent more than we produce, we have accepted loan after loan from foreigners. Currently 45 to 50 percent of our federal debt held by the public (the debt issued to fund annual, federal deficits) is owned by foreigners. 70 percent of all our new debt is being purchased by foreigners. This is the equivalent of mortgaging a cow to a stranger to buy more milk.

What is the solution to our problem? Stop mortgaging the American cow, and drink less milk. It appears that foreigners will force us to do just that. For the first time, foreigners are curbing their appetite for American IOUs, and soon, we will be forced to consume what we produce and pay down our $56 trillion mortgage for many years to come.

(Statistics taken from government websites and former U.S. Comptroller David Walker)

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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.