What's Fueling the Economic Crisis?

What Happens When Integrity is Overlooked?

Good things can't last forever, the saying goes. 

With the simultaneous emergence of housing, health, education and insurance problems, it can be difficult to stay positive about America's economic future. But why did we get to this point? Where did the most powerful nation go wrong? The answer is integrity.

American products used to be something to brag about. Now it's something that's laughed at as other countries are routinely producing better products at better prices, as we slowly continue to bankrupt ourselves.

Most innovation in the United States has been in the service sector - with most job growth going in low-income areas like fast food and wholesale retail outlets like Walmart. Where's the long-term innovation in green energy and healthcare. We know we have huge crises looming, yet we sit back, afraid, and pushing for "more of the same".

While General Motors and Ford see a resurgence, it still begs the question of why are we faced with so many problems in the first place. Somewhere down the line we lost our integrity. 

The American dollar used to be a symbol of stability and economic power, now it's tinkering on being less valuable than an actual Monopoly dollar bill. 

The 2oth century saw amazing innovations in healthcare, computer technology, and engineering. But as companies grew larger, they grew more complacent. They thought that size alone could save them from the need for real service.

They were willing to let customers sit on hold for 15-20 minutes or even longer before someone answered their concerns. 3-4 transfers and holds later, they might just have had their problem solved. They were willing to pollute our air, soil, water, and food in order to see profits, that's all. This worked in the 20th century, the 21st century requires some mutual cooperation and benefit.

In the financial industry, new "innovation" was in made up securities. Real assets were broken up, speculated upon and sold and resold until noone knew what anything was actually worth. This was useful, because you could name your price, and someone would pay for it. Money was cheap, loans easy to come by, and a lot of people made a LOT of money during this time.

But irresponsibility was taking place. Checks were being written without knowing where the money was coming from. Individuals were blindly making purchases just because they could, not necessarily because they could afford to. It was American to consume, but I argue that what we are now consuming is a far cry from the American I grew up knowing.

Cheap parts, rushed deadlines. Handshakes have become meaningless. Managerial science has focused on how to get the most out of few and fewer resources - always passing the buck to someone else. The "new economy" requires horizontal leadership, wikinomics, as well as culture-driven, employee-centered business practices.

Now it's time to pay the price. It's time to come back to our roots. Instill a little "yankee ingenuity", and pull ourselves out of the deep mess we've created. It's the American thing to do.

The dilemma appears immense, but you eat the elephant one bite at a time. Each individual has an essential role to play. Maintain integrity, think about your neighbor across the street as well as the neighbor across the globe. We are more interconnected than ever. Have some integrity and quit passing the buck.

It will take hard work, but it's work you, your kids, and your grandkids can be proud of.

With the healthcare crisis looming over our heads its incredibly frightful. What's positive is that most companies have the technology needed to solve many of the dilemmas facing us....but they lack the integrity to push technologies forward until consumers demand it.

It's no longer about ICD9 codes and the latest/greatest technology. It's about cost-efficient results that can be scaled to build our nation from the ground up.

Big institutions will never be willing to voluntarily give up power. That means that grassroots efforts need to pressure them enough to adapt, admit to past mistakes, and lead with honesty, integrity, and transparency.

So with that said, regain your own integrity, purchase by purchase, action by action, and let the world know the type of businesses you would like to see by supporting the businesses who support your longterm interests. 

When you judge someone or pass the buck to someone, eventually that judgement and bill comes back to you. Look inside yourself, trust your own potential, and start living with a purpose. Enjoy the journey, that's what we're all here for after all.

Broken Promises