Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tribal and thriving

Unfortunately that playing field is long gone, and our inability to pull together says we’re not ready for the 21st century? Even the Brits were tribal yet today the coalition-ruling party is working hard to push the country forward, embracing reforms that hit the pocketbook. [Unfortunately, Americans want their cake and eat it too – and find themselves like cartoon characters spinning wheels?] Deng Xiaoping moved the country to embrace market economy, socialism be damned? People know they have to move beyond warring tribes? And in our Christian faith it’s called the common good? Not only are our big boys in tribal wars but even within the media loyalties between current and past administrations are adding fuel to the fire – and so are clerics? The personal indeed trumps principle in our way of life? Thankfully, there is a great article from the scientific community about countryside development being key to growth – but the article does not speak to execution: ‘who will do what, when, where and how’?

Edison, being more than a scientist, knew that innovation had to come hand-in-glove with capital. And Silicon Valley today mirrors that orientation, i.e., venture capitalists are in bed with the innovators. And someone like Steve Jobs plays both roles so recently he made a presentation to the Cupertino city council explaining Apple’s new headquarters expected to be up by 2015. It will house more than their current 12,000 people spread across the San Francisco metro area. But it will be green and the vision is to make it a model for the 21st century. From photos it looks like a large UFO that had descended on a green earth. And when asked what he expects Apple to contribute to the community, he says unequivocally: “taxes and more taxes. [And added:] plus a bunch of smart people who could afford desirable housing in Cupertino. But you won’t see their cars in the campus because they will be underground. Green is the theme of the campus.” Eisenhower while commanding the Allied Forces in Europe was awed by the efficiency of the German autobahn system and when he became president pushed for what today is known as the Eisenhower highway system. Tribes look at their own; but Edison, Jobs and Eisenhower looked beyond their own and looked ahead?

We truly believe we’re smart and creative people but ‘no man is an island’? Like in institutions public or private, societies that deliver results for the common good are not the same as those confined in their respective tribes. And it is leadership that steps in to pull people and ideas together? It sounds Mar Roxas will be focused? Hopefully being a politician and future president won’t be a barrier to getting his job done? It appears President Aquino needs a no-nonsense manager? And it would pave the way for Juan de la Cruz to support Mar Roxas in his new assignment if he gives the lay of the land, and it’s not pretty?

For instance, getting basic infrastructure projects off the ground and completed in a timely manner is a must? NAIA 3, Ro-Ro ports deal, North Rail, etc.? How we allowed such incompetence and corruption to define Juan de la Cruz and his way of life is the first reality we must confront, and Mar Roxas must address? No amount of ‘Filipino abilidad’ can make up for these failures? Time is gold – and we keep asking ourselves how we could address poverty, when we don’t demand timely execution? We have to roll up our sleeves and get things done? And that means literally paying the price – delays cost tons of money, and sweeping them under the rug as we do must stop? It’s the 21st century and it’s long past for us to have these platforms – of a robust economy. Our economy is frail because we have not faced up to these realities? And that means stepping on people’s toes when warranted? In our desire to please everyone, we have compromised excellence and competitiveness – what the 21st century is about – and not a surprise, we’ve become an economic joke?

Poverty is not the cause but the effect . . . yet we keep banging at the wrong door? It is not poverty that we must fix but ourselves? We don’t do self-immolation or Gandhi-like fasting or the Japanese hara-kiri, but we must find a way to rally Juan de la Cruz’ spirit? Writes The Economist, June 10th: “. . . Italy has failed to renew its institutions and suffers from debilitating conflicts of interest in the judiciary, politics, the media and business”. Sounds familiar?

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