I often revisit Fernando Flores quote: “We live in an extraordinary time. We are caught up in a pace of social and technological change that makes our work, our business and education, sources of anxiety and unfulfillment. Thinking about our thinking and observing our observations can bring us a new world in which work becomes a place for innovation, and in which peace, wisdom, friendship, companionship and community can exist. Let us design this world together.” (Chilean Minister; 1943- ).
Changes can be so imperceptible that the general feeling is one of immobility. No one ever saw a glacier move, but they crushed mountains and shaped the earth; species vanished. Vanishing holds true for countries, societies and their economies, when they cannot adapt. Are we one of those countries?
We can easily identify the sudden and violent changes (such as the 9/11 attacks in NY; the Boston Tea Party of 1773 or the 1914 assassination of Archduke Ferdinand that precipitated WWI), but we (as in WE THE PEOPLE) do a poor job at managing the forces that caused such
Our ability to survive and succeed is not challenged by dramatic events such war, destruction of, or threats to property. Instead, they are the result of policies or beliefs adopted away from our homes, and changes that will deploy over long periods of time. They are often imperceptible to us.
Time for a quiz: did you know that Germany’s economy grew at an annualized rate of 9 percent in the 2nd quarter of 2010? This beat even China’s stratospheric growth of 7.8 percent. Or that in the same period India reached a sustained rate of growth that will allow her to surpass China’s economy by 2023? Sweden, Holland, France and the U.K. also posted solid results.
By contrast, the U.S. economy grew by a mere 1.7 percent (annualized) in the same period.
We are the country that embraced change as a way of life, yet we are falling behind. How did those countries do it? For starters, they spent vast sums of stimulus money as we did, and they got results back. We didn’t.
Has the time come to discuss political reform? Spending money, in-and-by-itself, is not a bad thing. Nobody would complain today if we had a lot of money, and the country was on a path of deficit reduction. However, politicians of both parties are busy pinning blames, instead of crafting long-term solutions. We are a nation that is stalling, instead of doing what we do best.
Make no mistake this is relevant to Central Oregon. Take the case of a business here in Central Oregon that for years has been the best at servicing sawmill blades all over North America. Now, those blades are sent to China instead. Why?
Giancarlo Pozzi is a CPA in Bend. He can be reached at Giancarlo@pozzi-cpa.com.