Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Who knows best?

Greg Mortenson, co-author of Three Cups of Tea shared an interesting story when he spoke at Brigham Young University.

For his book Greg wanted the subtitle to be "One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time." The publisher said that title wouldn't be interesting enough and insisted the subtitle be "One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations...One School at a Time." To get the book published he was forced to use the other subtitle. But he told the publisher if the hard cover did not sell he want the subtitle changed back to the "Promote Peace" subtitle  for the paperback.

Well the hard cover did not sell very well and so the paperback came out with the "Promote Peace" sub-title. The book went almost immediately to the NYT best seller list and stayed there for something like 140 weeks. So, who knew best the publisher or the author? I don't think either did.

The experts know their business and what works most of the time, but the world is constantly changing. We must always be open to trying new ways of doing things. No one way will work all the time or in every situation.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Capitalism flawed?

Sramana Mitra gives a well thought out reason for why she feels Capitalism is flawed. I believe she's wrong.

Capitalism works. Free markets will hold in check the greed inherent in human nature. The greed we must fight is that of politicians and regulators to have control. Free markets cannot hold that in check, and once control of free markets is gained by the government they are no longer free. Wresting control from government is only done at great cost, e.g. Fascism, Nazism, Communism, and–I have to add–well-intentioned Socialism.

When the government gets involved there are always strings attached; too many strings. The banking industry has been controlled (regulated) by government for 70-plus years. What happens in the industry happens because regulators allow it to happen; including the greed we see now. If a free-market system had been allowed to develop over the past 70 years greed would still exist, but the system would never have allowed it to get to the point we see now under government control.

Sramana says there are some systemic problems with Capitalism, but what she is looking at in the U.S. is not a Capitalistic system. Seventy years or more ago we planted a seed called socialism. At first it was small and not very noticeable. Over the years it has grown large in stature, and it's roots and branches extend into every nook and cranny of our once Capitalistic system. Capitalism is a different tree.

Is Sramana right? Or, am I right?

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