Thursday, October 15, 2009

Power, individuals and business

There is a direct relationship among power, money, choice and individual action. Money allows a greater range of choices. At the same time, power whether apparent or actual, is often beholden to the money which puts the individual wielding it in position. In business, we are often caught in the middle. Those in power are very concerned about losing it, yet business does not necessarily have the votes needed to make or prevent change. So what does business use? Money. Unfortunately, small business, which represents the largest area of job creation in the US often does not have available cash to throw at the issues or individuals in power. Thus, we become stuck between a rock (the government), a hard place (big business) and a pending earthquake (the volatile, entitled electorate which votes for privileges and entitlements before it will reduce its own standards of living).
Ironically, we compensate individuals which generate nothing of concrete value (professional athletes, government officials, actors, models, corporate executives, etc. . .) but simply produce discussion or entertainment, far more highly than those who create lasting advances in education, health, science, technology, the arts or culture. There are of course exceptions to this rule but by in large it is the norm.
What is more troubling is that unlike the time of the founding fathers, we do not attract the brightest minds to government. We attract and retain stable, workers who do not innovate but simply maintain the status quo. Isn't that because 200 years ago, none of the founders were actually paid to be part of the legislature? When did becoming a legislator become a full time job? Do we really need that? Perhaps I am frustrated because most of the work I do for the Chamber with government officials and staff is done for free! I believe in citizens being responsible for their own government. So next time you wonder why you have fewer choices, perhaps you ought to look more closely at your own finances, engagement in civic duty and power you have accumulated.

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