Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Survival of the fittest II

Is it the one reality that subconsciously we resent that we confuse compassion and sympathy with paternalism and overprotection? And instinctively we rely on others to propel us, like today it’s China and/or Russia? Not a surprise given our leader dependency and paternalistic needs.

It may not be second nature but we must step up and take personal responsibility to find our place in the sun. Consider the following exposition re survival of the fittest:

“The Matthew Effect, ‘For all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away . . . The Amazon rainforest is one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. Scientists have cataloged approximately 16,000 different tree species in the Amazon. But despite this remarkable level of diversity, researchers have discovered that there are approximately 227 ‘hyperdominant’ tree species that make up nearly half of the rainforest. Just 1.4 percent of tree species account for 50 percent of the trees in the Amazon.

“Imagine two plants growing side by side. Each day they will compete for sunlight and soil. If one plant can grow just a little bit faster than the other, then it can stretch taller, catch more sunlight, and soak up more rain. The next day, this additional energy allows the plant to grow even more. This pattern continues until the stronger plant crowds the other out and takes the lion’s share of sunlight, soil, and nutrients.

“While 77 different nations have competed in the World Cup, just three countries—Brazil, Germany, and Italy—have won 13 of the first 20 World Cup tournaments . . .  Just two franchises—the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers—have won nearly half of all the championships in NBA history . . . In the 1950s, three percent of Guatemalans owned 70 percent of the land in Guatemala. In 2013, 8.4 percent of the world population controlled 83.3 percent of the world's wealth. In 2015, one search engine, Google, received 64 percent of search queries.

“Like plants in the rainforest, humans are often competing for the same resources . . . From [its] advantageous position, the winning plant has a better ability to spread seeds and reproduce, which gives the species an even bigger footprint in the next generation. This process gets repeated again and again until the plants that are slightly better than the competition dominate the entire forest.

“Scientists refer to this effect as ‘accumulative advantage.’ What begins as a small advantage gets bigger over time. One plant only needs a slight edge in the beginning to crowd out the competition and take over the entire forest.

“[T]he process of accumulative advantage is the hidden engine that drives the 80/20 Rule . . . Sometime in the late 1800s—nobody is quite sure exactly when—a man named Vilfredo Pareto was fussing about in his garden when he made a small but interesting discovery. Pareto noticed that a tiny number of pea pods in his garden produced the majority of the peas.

“As he continued researching, Pareto found that the numbers were never quite the same, but the trend was remarkably consistent. The majority of rewards always seemed to accrue to a small percentage of people. This idea that a small number of things account for the majority of the results became known as the Pareto Principle or, more commonly, the 80/20 Rule.

“Small differences in performance can lead to very unequal distributions when repeated over time. This is yet another reason why habits are so important. The people and organizations that can do the right things, more consistently are more likely to maintain a slight edge and accumulate disproportionate rewards over time.” [The 1% rule explains why a few people end up with most of the rewards, James, Business Insider, 30th May 2017]

Do we wonder why Singapore and the rest of the Asian Tigers and the up-and-coming ones continue to leave us in the dust? We want to write our own recipe book – a.k.a. “Pinoy abilidad” – instead of replicating what our neighbors have done? But what we want is not what the world is about – and why we must recognize the body of knowledge that is out there. On the other hand, it is. Those that cannot evolve and develop go extinct, which isn’t the first time the blog has raised Darwin. [And it isn’t the first time the blog has raised the Pareto Principle.]

And we applaud Du30, given our leader dependency, for pivoting away from the West into the arms of China and Russia, and embracing Putin and Trump – wanting to write his own recipe book. But Trump is not what Darwin speaks to. He refuses to evolve and develop that the cream-of-the crop of the US CEO community, including those in the oil industry, are distancing themselves from him. Instead of American exceptionalism, Trump is taking America back to the stone age.

Trump behaves like Philippine oligarchy – being the poster boy of political patronage, and then some.
David Gergen, who advised former Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, strongly called out Trump's decision . . . 

‘Some 70 years ago, the United States entered an international agreement called the Marshall Plan, when we came to the aid of Europe, and it was one of the noblest acts in human history,’ he said. ‘Today we walked away from the rest of the world, and it's one of the most shameful acts in our history.’

“Gergen added that ‘we're the largest contributor to carbon dioxide in the world, and for us to walk away as this carbon dioxide threatens the future of our grandchildren -- for us to walk away from that, it's grotesquely irresponsible.’

“He also predicted that the decision ‘will widely be seen around the world as a terrible, terrible setback for the planet,’ and that poor nations will pay the greatest price for global warming, even though the US has contributed the most to global warming while poor nations have contributed the least.” [Gergen: Why Trump committed one of US's most shameful acts, Jason Squitieri, CNN, 2nd Jun 2017]

That’s how Trump is perceived by someone who knows the Oval Office first hand through different occupants. But Du30 sees Trump differently – because birds of the same feather flock together.

Yet we must – especially the chattering classes – figure out why we’re stuck in this Pinoy paradigm. Because if we cannot look in the mirror and answer the question, where are we, we can’t learn to be forward-looking and forward-thinking.

The failure will leave us unequipped for the journey from poverty to prosperity. It is not a walk in the park and demands that we establish where we want to be and how we will get there. Recall that the human species aren’t meant to live in the moment – as in que sera, sera – which is what sets us apart.

“Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? And that they will be such is not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it.” [We are ruled by Rizal’s ‘tyrants of tomorrow,’ Editorial, The Manila Times, 29th Dec 2015]

“As a major component for the education and reorientation of our people, mainstream media – their reporters, writers, photographers, columnists and editors – have an obligation to this country . . .” [Era of documented irrelevance: Mainstream media, critics and protesters, Homobono A. Adaza, The Manila Times, 25th Nov 2015]

“National prosperity is created, not inherited. It does not grow out of a country’s natural endowments, its labor pool, its interest rates, or its currency’s value, as classical economics insists . . . A nation’s competitiveness depends on the capacity of its industry to innovate and upgrade.” [The Competitive Advantage of Nations, Michael E. Porter, Harvard Business Review, March–April 1990]

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” [William Pollard, 1911-1989, physicist-priest, Manhattan Project]

“Development [is informed by a people’s] worldview, cognitive capacity, values, moral development, self-identity, spirituality, and leadership . . .” [Frederic Laloux, Reinventing organizations, Nelson Parker, 2014]

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