Friday, February 11, 2011
© 2011, the Institute for Applied Common Sense
Maybe we exaggerate, a little.
But as we watched the coverage of the slowly evolving Egyptian Revolution, we found everyone second guessing everyone else.
The President of the U.S. should do this. President Mubarak should do X. The prior administration should have done that. The monolithic student movement is doing Y, and the older citizens - this and that.
Finally, the neighboring Arab countries should do Z, T, U, M and B.
This cacophony prompted us to surf the media outlets to identify a consensus regarding what should be done and what is going to happen.
We had some difficulty.
At last count, we found 7,493 options available to the various factions and interested parties. This gives us some appreciation of the complexity of it all.
However, something else occurred to us, just with respect to the American talking heads.
First of all, with few exceptions, few of us (the Fellows of the Institute included) have even a modicum of understanding of the culture in that part of the world, and yet so many of us have become experts over night.
Second, somehow we think that we can influence the actions of President Mubarak, despite having so much difficulty just getting Osama bin Laden to answer our phone calls.
Third, the situation in Egypt is so fluid that even the great engineering firm of da Vinci, Newton, and Bernoulli would have difficulty keeping track of it.
Just a few minutes ago, we received a breaking news e-mail from the Washington Post claiming that the Obama Administration is on the defensive because of President Mubarak’s defiance, and refusal to take a permanent trip to France.
(BTW, what’s with Baby Doc returning to Haiti? Anyone having visited Grasse, France, will tell you that it is Nirvana, not to mention close to the beaches of Cannes.)
Perhaps it would be helpful for us to realize that we do not know how to solve every problem in the Universe, and that there are some issues beyond our control as a nation.
But something else bothered us last evening. When we examined the 4,678 talking heads expressing the 7,493 different options, we noted that only 3 of them had real jobs, and they weren’t talking.
Well, maybe another exaggeration. But here’s our point.
If we had more things to do (namely, real jobs) in our country, we wouldn’t have as much time to weigh in on the problems of other countries, nor would we have what seems to be a virtual, 24 hour army of talking heads.
As soon as the great prognosticators started talking about our economy transitioning into a service economy from a manufacturing economy, we began to get concerned.
Call us Neanderthals, but in our view, servicing others only lasts as long as the people or entities we service have a desire to purchase our services, and more importantly, money to pay us.
Just take a look at all the free services provided in our economy. Many of the incredibly innovative web sites on the Internet are provided at no cost, while the owners have to beg for advertising revenue.
Our food is increasingly being grown in other countries. The Chinese are no longer leasing natural resource real estate in Third World countries, but buying the property outright. And we don’t need to talk about American manufacturing prowess.
It has gotten to the point when one asks an American what he or she does for work, after they provide their job title, one has to follow up with 27 questions to really figure out what they do – on a part-time basis.
The Logistician, still working on his doctorate at a samba school in Rio, once got in trouble while running the orientation of community college students in the Southeast. He gratuitously noted that too many black folks spend their time performing landscaping and fixing other black folks’ hair.
His point was that the segment of the population needing landscaping and hair care services was not growing, and that too many people entering the field would lead to a glut of workers. He was simply encouraging the potential students to think ahead, about jobs that might be in higher demand, and require more technical expertise.
Needless to say, there was one very vocal young lady in the room who flipped on him. He later discovered that it was her life long goal to be a cosmetologist. He now realizes that he should have encouraged her to become a news commentator on Fox News, or MSNBC.
Because that’s where the opportunities are; at least in America.
Inventing stuff, finding cures for diseases, and making stuff is way too labor intensive.
We’ve somehow figured out that we should outsource that to the Chinese.
Opportunity to Serve as "Guest Author"
This forum was designed to be YOUR forum for the civil exchange of ideas by people with all points of views. We welcome the submission of articles by all of our readers, as long as they are in compliance with our Guidelines contained in Post No. 34. We look forward to receiving your submissions.