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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Politics Headlining Issues We Have Today - Society - Politics

Have we been lulled into this sensibility by the period of rapid population expansion we've experienced in the historically-recent past? Certainly markets for almost any good have been expanding with the population, and growth has become synonymous with prosperity in almost any endeavor (except when one is fighting cancer. Population can't continue to increase forever, though. When will the concept of growth be reconsidered in mainstream human culture?

Obviously, someday the language, and the context behind it, will change as human civilization approaches natural limits. Few seem to see those limits today, and business and the markets that drive it are far too short-term focused, especially in North America, to consider them. But is there really NO long range planning going on, or does it just appear that way?

Of course, corporations are notoriously secretive, as they consider just about any future-oriented thought to be a source of competitive advantage. Perhaps that is why I see practically no evidence of the kind of long term planning I would expect in the business world. I would not expect long-range government planning to be nearly as secretive, though, and I don't see much of that, either. I can try to write that off to elected officials not thinking beyond the next election, but there are many with planning responsibility who are not elected. Perhaps they are just too "whipsawed" by the back-and-forth influences of changes of control and influence between the conflicting parties in the U.S., both of which appear to have an intense aversion to any idea the other came up with, even if it might have merit - a powerful "not invented here" ideology motivated by... the next election.

The press have been increasingly motivated by the need for ratings, which has driven sensationalism, opinion-as-news, and apparent strong influence from corporate owners as media consolidation has continued apace. This precludes much reporting on long term issues except when they surface in a potentially sensational way in scientific reports, and, even then, those reports get better coverage if they occur on a slow news day. Historically, I have to wonder if we aren't in a period of "yellow journalism", as was decried at the end of the 19th century.

At the risk of stirring an unmanageable political debate (please keep the discussion in line with the "respect for people" principle), it's interesting to hear so much about manufacturing jobs in Ohio. I was born in Dayton and I still have a lot of family in the Youngstown area. As a kid, we drove past the empty shells of closed steel mills as we went to my grandparents' house and that left quite an impression.

So Ohio has been losing industrial and manufacturing jobs since well before NAFTA. NAFTA is being blamed today, particularly by Obama and Clinton, as the main culprit for recent job losses to Mexico or overseas. I'm excluding McCain and the Republicans from the discussion since the primary race is over and the news coverage is dominated by the Democratic side of things.

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