Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Politics & Democratic Business

If you ran the government like a democratic business, who would be correct? Conservatives or Liberals?

(1) Conservatives are correct that regulation is bad. It stifles progress, blocks creativity, hinders adaptation, and humiliates the majority that do the right thing.
(2) Liberals are correct that all centralized power should be regulated and limited by the people whos lives it impacts; ee.gg., banks and depositors, corporations and workers.
(3) Conservatives are correct that "government which governs least governs best" -- Ronald Reagan.
(2) Liberals are correct that workers make better decisions about business than their managers.
(3) Conservatives are correct that the disintegration of morals destroys every great nation. A study published last week shows that a record percentage of American high schoolers cheat. So much for putting political corruption behind us.
(4) Liberals are correct that direct democracy does not cause the poor to steal from the rich. When each person has equal political power, the poor do not care to steal from the rich and the rich are not able to steal from the poor. Which brings me to my next point...
(5) Conservatives are correct that redistributing wealth does not benefit the whole. The Soviet Union and Cuba have taught us this lesson.
(6) Liberals are correct that socialization--if it is at the local level--encourages progress; ee.gg., education, fire department, and health care. When people support their communities, the community supports the people.

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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.