Friday, October 24, 2008

Every now and then some American economist is awarded a Nobel Prize for economics based on a simple observation. The award is in excess of 1.4 million dollars. It may come posthumously, or up to 30 years after the groundbreaking principle was first proposed. I have a simple hypothesis that I suspect will play out again and again throughout the course of history and have profound effect. This simple theory illuminates the idiocy of the "trickle down effect."
Investors will only invest in the economic sectors they think they understand and in which they place value.
The theory explains why instead of stimulating expansion of labor and employment, tax breaks for the already rich have simply overinflated values in a few distinct market sectors. So don't expect the leaders of the Wall Street bailout to provide much guidance in our current crisis. They have no propensity to invest in those things they do not understand. On the other hand, I have been a very poor investor in Wall St. I put my efforts and resources in production capacity, knowledge and skill. We have created a class of investors with complete ignorance in two of those three distinct contributors to economic success. CEOs and the corporate investor class, knowing little or nothing about the making of real things will be extremely unlikely to put people to work doing the kinds of things that build a strong, diverse economy.

I may never get my 1.4 million dollars from the Nobel committee for formally stating something that could be noticed by anyone with the slightest modicum of common sense. Making things in America may never lead to such success. It is swimming upstream against an overwhelming tide. But like most American craftsman, I live with the knowledge that making is about far more than money. While some are busy making money, the path of the craftsman is about making a life through which one contributes meaning and value to the lives of others, and harvests rewards moment by moment through the course of one's work.

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