Privatizing profits and socializing losses gets you

Latest posts by Christine Haskell (see all)


Social venture labs doesn’t often cover political or financial markets, but this is an exceptional time in our generation. They shy away from defining specifically how it will affect everyone on Main Street, but they all agree that everyone will be touched by it – so it’s worth a mention.

There is little doubt that this crisis could have been avoided had the people in charge followed the principles they had been taught: Sticking to the basics of savings and loans (rather than making bank products out of the loan process), a long-term approach (rather than short-term gains at everyone else’s expense), and a holistic, pragmatic view of their place in the world’s ecosystem (rather than “it’s not going to be my problem”).

People know the right way to do business. Committing to what is right naturally focuses attention on other people in the system, not just oneself. Companies that follow that approach happen to pay enormous dividends over the long run. Newman’s Own is a perfect example.

I believe in healthy capitalism and the benefits it can bring society, even a global one. But if garbage is going in, garbage is what comes out.

If enough people take short cuts the system won’t perform well in the long run and their comeuppance is just accelerated. And so we are here.

I’ve never been so disappointed in leadership. We’ve already lost respect for big business, favoring the Little Guy. Now we can add politicians as a whole (not that they were that far above lawyers to begin with), though there are some exceptions. Many of those will likely benefit in some way while everyone else – teachers, nurses, designers, middle managers, stay-at-home parents, and so on – will have to pay back those indiscretions for a generation or two.

To the elite running the system, we-the-people struck a rock-paper-scissors deal: best 2 out of 3 and if we lose we’ll pick up the tab. That sort of deal attracted a lot of high risk rollers.

Obviously, the issues go deeper than finding a place to lay blame. The game was made legal by our own hand. We voted these people into office. Is this throw-them-out time or time just to pay more attention? Current events have certainly turned my head. What’s important to focus on is: where we go from here.

My contribution is all about fundamentals: the integration of creative thinking, simple building blocks, long-term planning that builds a valuable product or service for those who need it. I’ll continue, through this blog and my workshops, to highlight creative leaders who take this approach.

How will this climate affect your planning, positioning or how you interact with your customers?

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