A Lighthearted Look at Ideology vs. Reality

In a 1993 contest, Swedish newspaper Expressen gave $1,250 to five expert stock market analysts and to one chimpanzee, named Ola. They were all free to invest in the market as they wished, in a contest to see who could produce the best profit in 30 days. The four analysts used their expertise. Ola threw darts at the financial page. One month later, Ola was $190.00 richer – and the winner of the competition.


This sort of thing should keep us all skeptical about experts, analysts, academics. I happen to be an expert, so I know from personal experience how often we can be beat by chimps throwing darts.


Unfortunately, President Obama and his expert economists seem entirely unwilling to admit they’re being made monkeys of by economic reality: no matter how much you cherish your Keynesian theories and redistributionist ideology, markets and people respond to actual situations. Businesspeople won’t spend or invest, the rich will withdraw their money, and consumers will reign in spending when everybody is daily threatened with new uncertainty, new taxes, new confiscation and re-distribution and social engineering schemes.


In scrounging for any good news about the economy, I found an article in The New York Times (August 5) reporting on the fast-growing trend of big name, fancy-pants law firms outsourcing legal work to India, to avoid their customary hiring of U.S. law school grads to get their start doing legal research and other grunt work. According to the article, the number of legal outsourcing firms in India has grown from 40 to 140 in five years, with revenues up 38 percent from 2008 to the present $440-million. If there has to be high and rising domestic unemployment, I’m sure most business owners and entrepreneurs reading this will join me in approval of it hitting lawyers. Shakespeare wrote, famously, “First, let’s kill all the lawyers” – which I have considered on numerous occasions, dissuaded only by it being a crime. But maybe we can outsource all their work and send them all in search of honest jobs. Now here’s some globalism worthy of our support.


If this weren’t so sad it would be funny: full-page ads in The New Yorker urge businesses to re-locate to Canada – offering the lowest corporate taxes on job-creating businesses in the G-7, the lowest government debt (2.7 percent of GDP target for 2011), and, “a dynamic free-market environment.”


The United States of Obama cannot, I’m sorry to say, counter such advertisement. Now even Cuba is shedding government jobs and extricating itself from government ownership of business in grudging admission its ideology is a practical failure. This, while our president wages war against private enterprise, seeks dominion over entire industries and moves toward unprecedented micro-managerial dictating to small businesses of almost every stripe. It took the Castro brothers a nearly interminable time to face their reality.


Fortunately, we still have real elections here. But it’s going to be awhile before we can again advertise the United States as offering a dynamic, free market, pro-business, pro-success environment.


Dan Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur, adviser to business owners, sought-after speaker and author of 14 books. His latest, “Make ‘Em Laugh & Take Their Money: A Few Thoughts on Using Humor as a Speaker or Writer or Sales Professional for Purposes of Persuasion,”  contains a selection of his BMI essays. More information about Dan can be found at www.NoBSBooks.com, and a free collection of his business resources including newsletters and webinars at www.DanKennedy.com.<?xml:namespace prefix = u2 />

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