The American people intuitively know that there is something wrong with American capitalism, but they can't quite put their finger on it.
Rasmussen Reports released a seemingly contradictory report on December 29, 2008--just after the economic crisis began. It seems that 70% of voters believe that a free market is better than one managed by the government; yet, 52% of voters believe that there is a need for more government regulation of big business. However, 65% agree that government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors.
Intuition has brought the American people this far, but what are the facts. Nationalization is not democratic because government control is simply a new layer of management on top of the excessive, burdensome layers that already exist.
The way to maintain free markets and regulate corporations at the same time is to truly democratize corporations. Corporations that practice financial transparency, have few layers of management, and offer stock-ownership to all employees are held accountable by the employees themselves and have very little need for government oversight.
(Statistics taken from http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/business/general_business/voters_champion_free_market_but_want_more_regulation)
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.