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Sunday, August 29, 2010


Reform? No. Rebuild!

-Douglas Castle,

Dear Friends, Colleagues, Members and Leaders-To-Be:

I have written about this many times before. But some of you are busy multi-tasking instead of focusing on a very important strategy. The current trend in all of the industrialized nations is to talk endlessly and with great haughtiness and self-righteousness about "reforming" and "better-regulating" failing institutions, agencies, laws and systems.

The sobering truth of the matter is that some of these "things" which we have been trying to fix are either 1) rotten through-and-through, and better off abandoned altogether because they are riddled with political and financial contaminants like spoiled food (remember Mad Cow disease? Prions, anyone? -- how about BP in the Gulf? Prawns, anyone?), or they are 2) based upon a hopelessly outdated paradigm that makes them irrelevant and dangerous.

There is always talk about "reforming," and "restructuring." Yet, when there is an inherent flaw in the underlying mechanism of a system, and institution or a device, "reforming" it may be rather like putting a band-aid on cancer. Here's an example from the Money Pit:

Picture that beautiful victorian-era "fixer-upper" home that you purchase for a mere (mere?) $90,000.00, but which ends up costing you an additional investment of $910,000.00 in "improvements" to make it as habitable as a home that you could have bought brand new for $350,000.00 -- you might have done better to have bought the old victorian, plowed it down, and had a brand new house built.

Patch jobs are invariably more expensive than fixing the real problem. Worse, eventually the patch jobs just stop holding. Throwing bags of bailout bucks into the furnace of failed institutions is neither a prudent nor energy-efficient investment. Why keep polishing a turd? Why perfume the garbage bag? Why (as my friends in Washington, DC like to say) "put lipstick on the pig?"

The governments and their agencies can print money, but they can't seem to inspire people to produce. And the archaic, corrupt, non-value-added institutions who receive reams of money because they are "too big to fail" are subsidized, non-productive black holes.

Sometimes it's best to rebuild from scratch.

It is tough. It requires a re-evaluation. It requires new approvals....

But when you've built it afresh, it will stand strong for a long time with proper care, monitoring and maintenance. The only way to eradicate failure is with success. The only way to pay off debt is to generate profits through increased productivity. The long malnourished and ignored economy of entrepreneurs and emerging enterprises is the very engine that creates new ideas, new products, productivity, real employment (jobs!).

If the governments and large "too fat to fail" monopolists are not willing to actually invest in entrepreneurs and emerging enterprises, then it is high time for our sector to unite, to invest in and to support each other, and to rebuild the economies of our respective countries and the world.

Together, as I have said before, we are a powerful lobbying force, a brilliant negotiating body, a veritable nuclear reactor of Human Capital and resourcefulness, and the only truly inspired savior of prosperity and peace. We need to organize, unite and act together, in harmony and in honest collaboration.

We are the troops in the trenches who must win the war against languishing (and lavishing) wasteful institutions, the growingly widespread attitude of entitlement, ignorance, fear, and all of the other dynastically-inbred, deeply-rooted negative behaviors, the "magical thinking" and the other foolishness that we have let happen by our quiet frustrations, our silence and our failure to cooperate and collaborate.

It's time -- we can reverse the downward spiraling of the world economy and the growing black cloud of depression that has enshrouded us for too long. We are a community -- but we must get to know each other as neighbors, friends and trading partners. We must learn to behave as decent Humans in order to turn a catastrophe into an opportunity.

We can. This is your call to action.


Douglas Castle
Co-Chairman and CEO

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Doug - great post and call to better insight. My own take is posted here and encourages a similar call to action - for our mutual benefit, globally. ..That's Life

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