Saturday, March 05, 2005

Greenspan, the US Economy, Your Love Life, Music & Hope

Let’s begin by considering this fact; your success and happiness are interrelated to many aspects of your experience. For instance, your personal life does have a part to play in shaping your professional life and vice versa. It is no surprise to you that the political world, the economic and social aspects do have an impact on our individual, as well as our collective affairs. Our lives, and this includes our businesses, are the stuff history will be made of.

From the writing of my first business article I feel I have been making a case for relationship marketing, encouraging your personal experimentation with the concept. Hoping it could shed new lights on what is possible when the essentially meaningful qualities of successful relationships are understood and honored.

Economics has been the driving force behind many of our historical events and to attack capitalism is like blaming money for evil deeds committed in pursuit of it. Think of the different aspects shaping reality as partnerships, kind of like marriages. Consistently twirling within a mysterious core to create a gravity-like force in our lives are complex relationships.

Think of it like musical tones that have to be arranged to create something that you’ll actually appreciate as music. Let’s take a quick look at musical “marriages” and the wonder of what is possible before we delve into what is. Have you run across any impressive “newly discovered” musical collaborations recently?

I refer to “newly discovered” because I don’t tend to really follow new music, but occasionally something “new” comes to my attention (usually a year or so later after release). One such project was Van Lear Rose a Loretta Lynn and Jack White collaboration. This reviewer echoes many of my sentiments about this one so I’ll spare you the repetition of doing my own. Interestingly and without warning listening to it made me wish Billie Holiday were still alive. Imagine the amazing potentiality between someone who could reach inside you with music that ranged from “God Bless the Child” and “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” to “Strange Fruit”, and the contemporary talent of someone such as artist (actor, rapper, singer, writer) Mos Def . Although I am not a “hip hop” fan in the general sense, I can appreciate talent and message within in any genre and I know that misogyny is not synonymous with rap, but with stereotyped- commercialism and narrow-minded unawareness. To dismiss the diversity inherent in any generalization is discrimination based on ignorance.

Mos Def is one of few artist in the last decade to come to my attention prior to exploding on the scene. At the time I stumbled upon his work he was doing some interesting music backed by a band with reggae and jazz roots. His lyrics and delivery were thought provoking and layered with powerful metaphors and socio-political statements backed by instinctively polished grooves smoothed by knowing. I wish I could remember the name of a specific title, but my point is that it was an incredible fusion that was rooted in the history of each genre it united.

Another example would be Ronald Isley and Burt Bacharach’s incredible and memorable work together on Here I Am. I am not huge Ron Isley fan, particularly his better-known commercial work of the last decade or so, but on that pairing up he scored big. His phrasing echoing the elegant style of Nancy Wilson and I was pleasantly astounded. It was a small reminder of what is possible when opportunities are emphasized over perceived limitations.

Society and the evolution of communities are much the same way…an attempt to merge diverse elements to form a cohesive harmony. After listening to Mr. Greenspan’s testimony before the Budget Committee I seriously pondered the future of our economy, it’s global impact, and what it means for business entrepreneurs and the labor market. In light of news like this how can anyone in good conscious propose a “Consumption tax”?

Go here to watch the US House Budget Committee and just enter "Greenspan" in the search window. If you haven’t been following this check it out before continuing. It’s several hours long so you may not want to watch the whole thing. Nevertheless pay particular attention to the Q & A occurring 2:49:14 and 2:56:20 into the 3:09:01 broadcast archived here.

In addition to Greenspan or the political side of things, you’re encouraged to follow economic and business news from various sources to get a better picture of the situation. All that being stated, in the end I wasn’t convinced that Social Security Privatization is the right answer in terms of achieving sustainability. I have yet to hear/read anyone explain what the plan for implementation is or what other components are recommended as part of this privatization concept. How does that work when the number of people living at or below poverty is increasing? Are we going to choose to be a society that spits in the face of the religious/humanitarian principles people conveniently bring out to show off when it suits them?

Instead the picture emerging represents a fundamental shift away from the spirit of FDR’s New Deal programs, the issues brought to the forefront during the civil rights and women’s movement. Therefore forcing some very important questions to reverberate in my mind.

Ø What does a “bullish” economic forecast really mean?

Ø What does it mean when the very public maneuvering of corporate executives between the private sector and political offices that regulate them, isn’t noticed as an obvious conflict of interest?

Ø How can the economic updates and forecast ignore the near strangling underemployment of too many Americans?

Ø What does that mean for the future of states like North Carolina that already rank at the bottom (that ranked 46th out of the 50 states last time I checked) for its number of minority owned businesses?

Annual incomes have taken the hardest hit in eleven years and this has spurred many to come online seeking their fortunes. If you have an online business or are considering one, you’re more than likely hoping it will grow to become your main source of income. Job security is not guaranteed and this new reality will inspire many people around the world to use the internet as a means of attaining economic freedom which could translate into political capital.

Equally important are the agencies charged with serving the unemployed/underemployed in communities where job creation has fallen far short of what was expected despite the number of people attaining advanced educations. Instead of new full time job creation, too many communities are seeing increasing numbers of layoffs and part-time employment. How will the Workforce Development Centers charged with helping them ensure investments in new technology yield the required results? I think I smell opportunity for new solutions.

Share your comments on Greenspan’s rationale for the facts presented in the questions from the last few representatives. He seemed to totally ignore the social context of economic growth and stability. After a little research what do you think?

From a historical perspective, there are more minorities holding advanced degrees than ever before, particularly women. Overlooking a multitude of presumptions let’s just toss the issue of student loans on the table. It’s the children of the lower and middle class who depend on financial aide, primarily in the form of loans, to get their educations. That means they walk into their new careers (if they’re fortunate) saddled with debt in an economy that devalues masses of working people, except as consumers.

Yet, the social context judging from what has been crowned as “popular culture” is a national community that for the most part has rejected intellectualism in favor of education for the benefit of commerce proficiency based on old business models. Economic policy and projections are based on the exclusion of the concerns of labor, but its profitable operation requires the labor of those being disregarded. That’s like having a marriage where only one partner’s needs count and become the basis of all decision making. In his March 3, 2005 appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box Barry Ritholtz of Maxim Group echoed similar concerns pointing to a flawed strategy in addressing the Federal deficit, social security solvency and long-term economic growth.

My report “Dinner Scooped Off the Floor” and my article “The Right To Choose To Think” touch upon aspects of the social context that are extremely relevant since they help inform the basis of individual decision making and consequences which result in the world we create. There is undeniable benefit to the global community in approaching the economy from a relationship marketing mindset that respects the needs/objectives of everyone with the clear mission of inclusion and mutual benefit.

While I do want you to investigate and ponder the issues shaping your future, I also want to support you in doing so from the basis of personal empowerment. Education is the first step, but it must be both specific and broad based, as well as respectful of both intuitive and intellectual traditions within diversity. Rather than discussing “He’s Just Not that Into You” and who was wearing what at the most recent award show, let’s start discussing subjects that ACTUALLY matter once you decide to get on with living full meaningful lives.

Chris, a character from the CBS show Northern Exposure (from another decade), reminds us,

“We’ve all been invited to the same party so we might as well make room.”

Because I think multiple sources and perspectives helps provide a more complete or truthful understanding of an issue, perhaps as objective as a subjective reality can get. Study of such information helps inform one of my hobbies, developing business models that will bridge capitalism and social entrepreneurship. But we can have that philosophical discussion in another conversation.
Here's a list of links to get your research underway:


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