Sunday, July 3, 2011

Words of Wisdom from Barry Ritholtz

From and opinion piece by Barry Ritholtz in the Washington Post:
Government as the problem? “Government” is not the problem, “bad government” is the problem. There is an enormous distinction between the two.

Being surrounded by two oceans — and being so powerful since WWII — has allowed you to become too insular. Your “not-invented-here” attitude has led you to miss many other good ideas. Have a look around the world and see what other countries are doing right:

Canada managed to come through the financial crisis unscathed — what was it about its banking regulations that protected it? Why is Finland the best country for education? Why does Australia have the world’s lowest jobless rate? How are Germany’s highways so darned good? What is it about Japan’s health-care system that has made it the best in the world? Norway has the highest adult literacy level and is often ranked as having the best quality of life; what is it doing right? And Singapore has the highest per-capita GDP and one of the recession’s fastest-growing economies. Why?

It sure wouldn’t hurt you to put your pride aside and take a few lessons from the best ideas in the world.
What are the chances that this good advice is heeded? I would say it is close to zero. People say they want advice, but secretly they hate it. They don't want to hear bad news. All they want is for people to flatter them. Americans want to hear that they are "the world's best" even when it isn't true. They remind me of Wiley E. Coyote who is several steps past the edge of the cliff but not yet willing to look down and see the real situation he is in.

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