Welcome to 2018. A year of hope for many, a year of doom and gloom for others.
You might not be surprised that I received a very large response to my last blog post, Time to Change the Narrative. What you may be surprised at is how clearly those responses demonstrated the clear divide that exists not only in our country, but across the world.
And the division was evident not only on the issue of climate change, but on economic trends as well.
Without exception, those in the business or private sectors who responded agreed with the premises of the post that business is strong, getting stronger, and that the new administration is a breath of fresh air to the economy. And that the issue of climate change is drawing an undeserved amount of attention from academics and policy makers.
Also without exception, those in the academic and government sector who responded disagreed with the premises of the post, or attributed the resurgence in the economy to the policies of the last administration finally kicking in, not to the efforts of the new administration.
Both sides are responding to their immediate environments. Business folks know that the phones are ringing, and their inboxes are filled with orders. The plants are running full out again, and new employees are being hired as fast as they can be found. Raw material prices are increasing due to rising demand, and credit is coming easier than a couple of years ago. The economy, from their perspective, is hotter than it's been since the crash of '08, and the weather...well, it seems the same as always.
Academics and government employees live in a different world. There, the economy is the same as usual...budget fights, not sales, determine who will prosper this year. Policies and programs initiated ten or twenty years ago are just now reaching a point where they can have real impact, and academics who launched their careers years ago as idealistic students fighting to save the world now have large research programs in place and depend on ever-increasing government funding to keep them afloat. What the weather is doing is irrelevant...that the world is facing long-term climate catastrophe is irrefutable, and taxes must be procured to prevent it.
I was not surprised at the differences in perspectives, only that the differences were so clearly illuminated and strongly expressed. There seems to be no middle ground right now.
But in reality, I think there is clearly a middle ground, one occupied by the whole world of non-respondents. That is, millions of people who really don't know what's going on with the climate of the world, if the economy is really improving, and if so, who is responsible for it. This huge middle ground is, and will ever be, the market place for those on the opposite sides of the struggle.
One side hopes to win them over with better products, cheaper prices, improved service, and better-paying jobs. The other side offers protection from excesses of the capitalist world, more education, fairness, and security from whatever fear can be manufactured.
Both sides will win enough believers to continue their missions. In the process, some states and countries will succeed and prosper, some will fail and collapse into chaos. Both sides will lay claim to the successes and point at the other side for the failures.
What is important is that all who take up a cause really believe in it, and that they're not doing it out of capitulation to political correctness, or hate for the other side. After all, everyone is a potential friend and customer for your goods when you first meet them. So sell the merits of your own products, and don't exist off of hate for the other side's efforts.
2016 and 2017 were worlds of confusion, hate, and misinformation. Let's use 2018 to share the truths of our goods and services, and ignore whatever doesn't tell your own good story. We can all make this world a better place, in our own way, one customer at a time.
One thing all sides agree on...Wood is Good. :-)