- When too much paper finds too little trust – banks don’t lend to anyone.
- When “no solution” is a viable solution – a nation quits trying.
- When stability must give way to flexibility – creative destruction extracts its cost.
- When “no answer” is the “safe answer” – 75% of Republican voters keep looking for a candidate and Democrats need not show up to vote. Trust in the process collapses, “And all best things are thus confused to ill.”
The common message – restore “trust;” find how to get it and how to keep it, because our problems are in more need of poetry than genius.
Absent trust, political and economic processes turn coercive. Coercion can produce economic growth, but it’s rarely very inventive or humane. Coercion subverts the inventive solutions that takes us to a higher ground, it destroys the culture, economy, the housing beneath our feet.
So, the world begins 2012 as unpredictably as it ended 2011.
Some believers are saying technology and its inherent “creative destructive” process is the source of the problem and the way out.
Others see a grim future in attempting to believe in politicians or technology, as they appear to be dividing the population into “haves” and “have-nots” rather than creating a common good.
Amidst uncertainty, a great deal of productive behavior comes to a halt as economic actors attempt to discern “what’s going on” and who they can “count on” to provide shelter from the storm.
In recent years, the absence of good “judgment” has been the most corrosive agent in unwinding trust.
Products, services, governments, educations were all “sold” in the traditional marketing sense with a fake religious zeal.
But in the post modern world, in the creative/destructive internet age, the four P’s – product, placement, promotion and price – have evolved into a monopoly we see as “product,” but which incorporates the very human trait of character.
Before falling into the financial abyss, character was something we could count on, even when judgment escaped us. What was once a given, we have taken from ourselves. The public is longing for trust – the predictability of character among the economic, political and cultural actors on the planet.
How do we turn back the clock, while the world moves forward? We focus, we adapt, we develop and deliver solutions with a predictable (trustworthy) character. Governments, corporations, institutions do not do this – people do. It would be a mistake to wait on a miracle rather than create one.
Accept the frailty of human judgment. This would be a modern miracle.
Don’t ask for what can’t be reasonably delivered without violating someone’s else’s trust or character.
All of the world’s economic problems started when financial engineers violated this survival need of another to meet an abstract financial performance measure of their own.
The future will continue to be bleary until we make character and trust “fashionable.” Rather than tear character down, as we do so well as a nation, our survival depends on being led – in all things – by people who build it up.
In housing, the second coming will be the inventive genius of people balancing character, capability and collateral before coercion takes that freedom away.
More to come.