election 2012

Running In The Deep – A Tale of Two Cities

Two of the hardest lessons to assimilate leading up to America’s 2012 national elections include the unchallenged devastation from extreme weather fall-out and credible domestic job creation economics by fully globalized industries such as automotive production. The first lesson is being re-learned in excruciating real-time (160 lives lost, $60 billion in damages, and counting) by the country’s powered-out, Northeast coastal populations. Today’s “Weather Security” imperatives are rechanneling yesterday’s “climate change” impasse like an action verb overshadows a noun.

In New York, the city that truly has it all with increasing frequency between reoccurring extreme weather and financial sector meltdown tsunamis, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s prophetic quip that “we have a 100-year flood every two years now” can apply both to Mother Nature and to Wall Street. Mayor Bloomberg’s recent presidential campaign endorsement represents the first and foremost “weather security” candidate pick of the 2012 election cycle.

Forget about the partisan politics, ideological polarization and vested interests distorting America’s climate change debate; hard, cold and wet reality has a way of realigning the national conversation, transforming ranting monologues into chastened dialogues. (more…)

The Shared Prosperity Election

Voting to preserve morally stale, unproductive and oligarchy self-serving economic inequalities will only reinforce the trickle-down public versus trickle-down private sector thematic impedance mismatch. This, in turn, will exacerbate opportunistic tendencies within those who jump to capitalize on so-called electoral mandates to entertain even more disingenuous comparisons between inherent incongruities. Economic statistics prove in jobs lost and created both domestically and overseas during any possible recent timeframe that predatory capitalism’s track record in picking and sticking winners and losers holds a candle to no one among the bottom rungs of America’s social misery index. (more…)

No Longer The “Gimme Election”

This year is no different from any other national election year in recent memory. Primal political party strategies emerging before November’s archetypal vote continue to mark strong differences between “prosperity gospel” versus compassionate conservatives on the right pitted against “divine left” elitist class versus working class progressives on the left. The principal similarities between the two inner party schisms are that both the “prosperity gospel” and “divine left” wings have dominated when governing while the themes of compassionate conservatism and working class justice serve to win elections. Choosing to honor what wins elections while ending this equally flawed dichotomy within either party will create the next decade’s governing mandate.

Similarly, juxtaposing campaign contradictions with economic reality, this year’s presidential candidates confront two principal problems trying to drive a political and philosophical schism between “an opportunity society, where free people and free enterprise thrive and success is admired and emulated,” and an activist, more efficient and effective government working to promote equal opportunities to “ensure that all Americans have a fair shot if they work hard.” First, really smart and competitive nations know how, eclectically, to converge both so that the whole exceeds the sum of the parts. Second, unmistakably skewed U.S. income inequality statistics show that the voting public knows that neither of the two approaches is working correctly either independently or together. (more…)

I Versus We, Me Versus You

For three full decades we’ve seen wrenching social dislocations in America’s rust belt occur when an unleashed, unchained, and morally unregulated private sector picks winners and losers. Today, roughly 23 million Americans are currently unemployed or under-employed, more than five million American homeowners have suffered foreclosure since the 2008 start of the financial “Great Recession” and, as Katrina vanden Heuvel reports in her recent “Extremism in defense of Gilded Age privilege” opinion piece, “the top 1 percent of Americans captured a staggering 93 percent of national income growth in 2010.” Statistics emerging from 2011 and 2012 threaten more of the same.

As a pathway back from this wealth inequality abyss, the Fall edition of the Harvard Business Review, “Managing Your Stakeholders,” stands out as an intriguing oxymoron in a shareholder-centric, “we built it all ourselves” economy that rewards practicing global labor arbitragers with oversized private equity fees for services rendered. The most original piece, “CEOs Must Engage All Stakeholders,” by Venkat Ramaswamy and Kerimcan Ozcan, highlights technology-induced “structural shifts in value creation” platforms that propel successful companies to “engage the individual in both defining and delivering” what really matters to “business-civic-social ecosystems.” According to the authors, these “experience-based,” “co-creative” engagement platforms (“assemblages of people, interfaces, processes, and artifacts”) reach outward rather than inward, embrace the synergistic global creative village rather than glorify just one leading individual, and represent the “new engines of capitalism” with a “more holistic wealth creation process” as their natural outcome. (more…)

The Bane of our Existence

“Sometimes people need to be fired, and sometimes they shouldn’t be hired at all. That’s reality.” So states Washington Post columnist, Kathleen Parker (“Romney’s rivals serve up a heaping helping of pious baloney”, published January 11, 2012). If only it were that simple…the gospel according to job creators.

Surviving the Great Recession with undisputable income inequality now the American norm, unfortunately not the un-American exception; too many unemployed, under-employed, foreclosed, and socially abandoned voters on all sides of the political spectrum are ready for something more useful from our political leaders this election year than a predictable and useless zero-sum debate placing all of the blame either on Wall Street or Washington D.C. In fact, the one percent versus the ninety-nine percent “occupy our public squares” protest-context frames this stand-off as the elites against the rest of us, fingering the collusion between big money and big government as the principal barrier to a more democratic prosperity. Extending this perception means that the powered and monied-up in both principal political parties are in the “peoples’ docket” with the “get out of jail free” verdict going to the most credible, the healers, the ones who lead by example, who turn their backs on trickle down and trickle up, who roll up their sleeves and get down in the ditch dregs with the rest of us as we dig our way out in ways we can believe. (more…)

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