24 October 2011

Just What is this Business Plan for America, Anyway?

I recently proposed compulsory business education in primary and secondary school, a topic I could easily dive into in order to debate its merits and make into a cause of its own.  Instead, that idea must be viewed as part of a larger system for improving our nation's outlook, both economically and morally.

The mission: propose a new way to govern ourselves based on a business model. I am not speaking merely about maintaining the capitalist system; a business plan is not an economic model. A business plan sets out to achieve a vision and make a profit while preparing for competition, downturns, disasters, and growth. I am suggesting that if we begin to see citizens as human resources, and we equip every citizen to compete in the world in his or her own way, we'll be able to withstand the forces that would bring our demise.

Every class can benefit from greater knowledge, greater purpose, and greater cooperation. When we operate in a system of law alone, we are living in a self-imposed dictatorship declaring who can do what and when. We must operate instead as an organization conceived in liberty and working together to improve lives, shifting our focus from suppressing the bad to creating and spreading the good. Average Americans can no longer afford to wait for a few to create jobs for the many.  No matter our vast ideological differences, people need a way to support themselves and their families and have an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor. This is our common purpose.

We all want to have a comfortable place to sleep, food to eat, and we all want the potential to reap great rewards, as different as interpretations of "great" may be.  Not every American desires extensive wealth, but part of our culture insists that the freedom to pursue happiness, or wealth, or simply economic sustainability, be available to every person. From this foundation we can build a nation that operates like the sort of company that recognizes the worth of its employees in balance with its customers.  Some companies, like Southwest Airlines, see the value in making every employee a stakeholder.  No greater stakeholder exists than a citizen to its nation. We, the masses--we, the People--must learn from these types businesses and use our common values to create more jobs, create more opportunities for the disadvantaged, and create more security for the nation as a whole. We aren't just trying to sell products to the world: we're creating a better world.

Thousands of people have gathered in cities across the country to protest big business and big banks, but they currently lack a common vision and mission in order to make the types of demands that will lead to real change.  To those protesters and those who just want to work, get paid, and go home; to the company loyalists who lost their retirement and the small business owners who lost everything; to the kids on the free lunch program and the college students with no job prospects, I offer my vision for America.  We will adopt a plan: a plan for profitability and continuity, a plan for diversification and internal competition, a plan for giving back and getting more, and a plan for better education to prepare our citizens to compete in a global economy.  Many resources may be limited, but our capacity to adapt and prosper is limited only by our mindset.  No matter our ideological differences, when the need arises, we crave and will fight for liberty together, united.  We're not going to war with poverty or injustice or inequality.  We're going into business together, and that requires an entirely different mindset.

Next time: defining our product.

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