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The political divide and long term thinking - Phil's Rambling Rants
August 31st, 2006
10:02 pm

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The political divide and long term thinking

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From:sukaycirquegirl
Date:September 1st, 2006 03:48 pm (UTC)
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I think you are right on target. I currently work for an organization that has completely lost sight of anything beyond the next fiscal quarter. This lack of foresight is causing pain for the employees and the clients but apparently the board of directors, the CEO, and the chief stock holders don't care about anything beyond this quarter's perceived profit and the share price.

It is demoralizing, discouraging, and (when I have the energy) extremely frustrating. Unfortunately, I don't see anything much better in other organizations. I think this is more true of the publicly traded organizations, but I'm starting to see a similar trend in state-run organizations such a school districts and universities.
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From:tigertoy
Date:September 1st, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
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My point isn't that businesses are stupidly short-sighted; I take it as a given. My point is that there's a direct connection between the way the people running corporations have to think to maintain their jobs and the way those same people think when they turn to politics.

Republicans often talk about how government needs to be run more like a business, but the way businesses are run these days, that's not a good thing.
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From:sukaycirquegirl
Date:September 1st, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
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Agreed.

My point (or at least my current observation) is that this behavior/attitude is spilling over into more than politics. It used to be (in my experience) that educational institutions at least had more of a grasp of the long view. In the last decade, I've personally seen a big change in that arena as well. In my opinion, "high-stakes" (or Exit) testing is one indicator of this.

It isn't just our corporate and political culture that is severely short-sighted, it is (or is becoming) our entire culture on a personal and public basis. Look at the lack of foresight many individuals have regarding their own physical and financial health. Heck - even the entertainment industry has moved in this direction (it used to take at the very least an entire season before a television show was canceled, now it can be canceled after only a couple of episodes don't make the ratings target).

In my opinion (as a generality) our society consistently chooses to ignore long-term consequences in favor of short-term gratification. We often seem to choose short-term limited solutions for our problems and assume that the long-term situation will just "take care of itself."

I agree that the current state of politics is related to current state of business, but I think it runs deeper than that.
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From:tigertoy
Date:September 2nd, 2006 02:15 am (UTC)
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It's always hard to divine where the root cause of something is; everything is interrelated. There certainly is a general lack of sensible attention to the future in our culture, and I hadn't considered that before. But just off the top of my head, I think the business culture is pushing the general culture at least as much as the general culture is pulling business.

I hope that's the case, anyway. I can understand what's wrong with business. There are concrete, logical reasons why it works the way it does, and that means it's at least theoretically possible to address those reasons and improve the situation. Correcting the fact that people in general are stupid is hard to imagine solving even in an "if they made me king" thought experiment.
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