I agree with John Jantsch's statement "The current state of economic affairs cries out for leaders." (Lead for Selfish Reasons, October 27, 2008.)
How could a political leader take charge and walk on the correct path if the country looks like it is divided into separate parts instead of being integrated into a whole map with independent states that are united? I think you could see that division in an historical perspective and look back what happened eight years ago. Here is an eloquent example by Robert Tracinski from his article, The Two Americas:
"And that is the conflict in this election. It is a clash primarily between urban elites and what those elites sometimes call "flyover country." It's a clear contrast between two Americas with two different views of life.
Rural America generally reflects the original values of America's founding. In all things, wrote the famous 19th-century observer of American culture, Alexis de Tocqueville, the American "relies on individual effort and judgment." The typical American was contemptuous of tradition and authority and confident in his ability to solve his own problems. This led the Americans to accept a moral philosophy of "self-interest properly understood" -- that is, long-term, rational self-interest -- a viewpoint "you hear . . . as much from the poor as from the rich." And for the early Americans, greed was good. "What we call love of gain," Tocqueville says, "is praiseworthy industry to the Americans."
This is the outlook summed up by that uniquely American phrase "rugged individualism," and it is still dominant in much of the country today. The American "common man" tends to believe in independence, individual responsibility and self-reliance. These people don't want government interference in their lives, even if it's billed as "help." And so they want smaller government, less welfare, less regulation -- and it's no surprise that they responded to Bush's campaign rhetoric." (Capitalism Magazine, November 13, 2000.)
In 2008, both presidential candidates were talking against individualism. McCain put the "country first" and Obama explicitly attacked selfishness. Instead they should have focused on individuals and defended their rights even if it means some will be more successful and make more money than others. Edwin A. Locke discusses the virtue of justice in chapter 8 of his book, "The Prime Movers. Traits of the Great Wealth Creators":
"The virtue of justice means rationality applied to other men. This means perceiving them objectively, according to their actual characteristics ability, knowledge, expertise, reliability, effort, performance, honesty, integrity and evaluating them accordingly to a rational standard. Knowing whether another person is for against you and your values can be a matter of life or death. Electing to office or taking a joyride with the wrong person can be fatal. The failure to judge employees objectively and threat them as they deserve can destroy a business.
Persons of justice operate on the trader principle." (Hardcover edition, Chapter 8: Virtue, page 166.)
The trader principle says, "A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not ask to be paid for his failures."
My question to you as a business person is: Will you take the lead in making your business a success, or become a passive backseat traveler? Will you be responsible for your business's successes and failures? Will you be a leader?
I am signing-off and wish you all the best by paraphrasing a signature tagline by Cory Miller, also known as Core the Well Driller. I am just an ordinary, extraordinary "trader in matter & spirit," the way Americans used to be.
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About the Author: Martin Lindeskog is a "trader in matter & spirit" and a small business entrepreneur in Gothenburg, Sweden. He is a board member of the Swedish National Association of Purchasing and Logistics (Silf, Western Region). Martin also writes a long-standing blog called Ego and will soon start a new series of interviews for his podcasting show on the Solid Vox network.