The Core Issue in Politics and Finance Which Makes Decision Making So Difficult

Dancing at the Jardin

When you dust away the rhetoric the basic issue is whether a community does better by looking after everyone in the community or just having a loose confederation of individuals who ban together for only the bare essentials such as fire, police, road maintenance etc. And ultimately which form is the most rewarding?  This is the great divide between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. It is the fundamental core philosophical difference and one in which creative thinking needs to move to the fore.

In this debate those who favor strong individualism with minimal government services maintain that those who make the money deserve it, and they will pump more money back into the community for the benefit of all but on a mostly voluntary basis.

In the community first idea where the community provides a safety net for all of its citizens the theory goes that everyone will pull harder to support this set up and as a result it will create a tide in which all boats will rise: the wealthy will actually do better than in the minimal government model.

Which is it?

At our deepest center I feel we all want to belong and feel part of a community, that will look after its less fortunate, not encouraging members to take advantage of one another, but to assist one in getting back on one’s feet or transitioning to a more useful capacity.

From personal experience I know that when we put in place an employee’s stock ownership plan in our business the sales did not go up much the  next year, but the net profits doubled. Everyone in the company did better than they had the year before. In this sense our business was our community and everyone in the agency felt they belonged and were aligned-as much as you can say that about an advertising firm.

It is easy to get caught up in the drama of the debate because each side uses the extremes of their opponents to point out the unfair and absurd and validate their own viewpoint.

I do know that when you have a sense of appreciation and belonging  you naturally  want to want offer what you can to make it a better place. This no doubt is a major  contributing factor to Starbucks’ success. They have created a place of community, suggesting to people that they hang out for as long as they like. And people have supported them by buying exotic coffees and snacks.

When people are aligned in a common purpose there is a focus of energy. A community does this. So perhaps it is this sense of belonging that is an archetypal yearning in the human species. If so how can we better harness it?

The sense of community has many different expressions, Some extremely subtle. In Mexico for example, every town and city has a central  location called the zocolo or jardin. It is the hub, the center, the heart beat of the community.  There are older people sitting, younger people strolling, mariachi bands, food carts, shoe shiners. It is a place for dance, music, film, and meetings of all sorts. It is a place to gather in the evening on a warm night.

We are in Oaxaca, Mexico right now and it has one of the most beautiful and enchanting Zocolo’s  in all of Mexico.  The Mexicans are on to something. Perhaps if our focus was on what it takes to create community our financial and political concerns could find more common ground.

What are your thoughts around this?

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