Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cognitive dissonance

If we, therefore, want to have inclusive growth, we should not only encourage the establishment of enterprises but prepare and train Filipinos to be true entrepreneurs. . . entrepreneurs who are deliberate and purposive in their strategizing; entrepreneurs who are innovative and have the capacity for creative destruction; entrepreneurs who are whole-brained and have mastery of the self.” [Entrepreneurship: A roadmap to inclusive growth, Prof. Antonio M. Del Carmen, PhD, Business Mirror, 14th Jun 2013] . . . Amen!

The unemployment problem, John V. C. Nye (economist at George Mason University and executive director of the Angara Centre for Law and Economics, a think tank) claimed, stems from the country’s inability to attract foreign investments and the lack of flexibility in the labor market." [Jobs challenges tagged, Business World, 27th Jun 2013] . . . Amen, again!

But then from clarity . . . we find ourselves in a sensitive area: "We strongly oppose a proposed 100% foreign equity in rice production and supply while allowing for limited foreign direct investments in post-harvest and marketing activities, subject to consultations with rice stakeholders . . .” [Limited farm FDI acceptable, Business Mirror, 27th Jun 2013]

It’s time to call on Mozart? “Mozart helps us cope with cognitive dissonance – the deep discomfort we feel when we realize two of our beliefs are at odds . . .” [To Stay Focused, Listen to Mozart, Pacific Standard, 24th Jun 2013] “The results of [the] experiment [of Nabuo Masataka of Kyoto University and Leonard Perlovsky of Harvard University] reveal that exposure to a Mozart minuet mitigates interference . . . [M]usic can help us see a complex, confusing situation more clearly, and cope with it more efficiently—an ability that facilitates human evolution . . . Music evolved for helping to overcome the predicament of stress that arises from holding contradictory cognitions . . . so that knowledge is not discarded, but rather can be accumulated, and human culture can evolve.” [Beyond economics and poverty we're confronted with another cognitive dissonance, China. In Europe, with the Soviets now history, for example, there is no such dissonance, e.g., wealthy Germany hosts Ramstein Air Base, the headquarters of the US Air Forces in Europe. Wikipedia: “Ramstein AB is part of the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC), where more than 54,000 American service members and more than 5,400 US civilian employees live and work . . . There are more than 16,200 military, U.S. civilian and U.S. contractors assigned to Ramstein AB alone.”]

In this blog “to prioritize and to focus” has been a continuing theme. And it simply is a product of the “many culture shocks” I've experienced from living and working in different parts of the world. And now in post-career I am sharing them with friends in Eastern Europe – and also with Pinoys, because they are the motivation behind this blog. But we Pinoys find unsolicited advice offensive? In the West and even Eastern Europe, people are more receptive to ideas – even from younger folks. [I was the least surprised when one of our young Bulgarian managers was recently named the country’s manager of the year by the Vienna University of Economics and Business.] Should we then wonder why PHL is uncompetitive and isn't equated with a progressive trait like innovation?

It is only in the Philippines where I’ve heard “crab mentality,” and it came from a president, President Ramos. MIA in its heydays was ahead of its time. Today, NAIA is an embarrassment. And we can go on and on with many more examples. Que sera, sera? Are we then in a race to the bottom? “Transparency, fair competition and anti-corruption can become habits that are difficult to break, but it helps to have the right laws to underpin them and deliver us from temptation. Passing laws to entrench competition, counter protectionism, and drive forward infrastructure development should in my view be priorities for the next three years.” [Paalam, Pilipinas, Stephen Lillie, British Ambassador to the Philippines, The Philippine Star, 27th Jun 2013

Leadership matters and understandably we expect President Aquino to set the right course for us. He has, with “daang matuwid.” But we also have to ask ourselves the question: Do we in fact want to move forward because that presupposes change – and Juan de la Cruz is so set in his ways, if not "archaic . . . even damaging," to quote Pope Francis, in reference to the Papal Gentlemen office? [A humble pope in an august office, Reuters, 25th Jun 2013]

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