Last Call August 2012

Last Call

marcfrey150Nobody has time to read, never mind to think

By Marc Frey

Instead of writing the usual 700 words about one topic, and given that we are in the middle of summer, I opted to go with short snippets of thoughts instead. If any of them grab you, e-mail me. It might motivate me to expand on the idea in a future column.

"I'm so energized about the future, but depressed about the present "

I mentioned that in a business conversation, probably expressing the sentiment of many small business owners. Real entrepreneurs always find the energy to come up with new plans, yet see the current economic conditions and the inability to get bank financing as a real hindrance to implement these plans. One has to wonder why government programs always tend to favor big business but don't give small business its fair share of support in helping to reduce unemployment.


"Less government is more"

If you wish for more government-sponsored programs, think twice. Read the book“Bailout,”by Neil Barofsky. Remember the TARP program that four years ago was originally designed to help banks who in turn were going to help mortgage owners? Guess what: The banks got bailed out, but banks never returned the favor to home-owners. So government served Wall Street but sacrificed Main Street.

"Less government is more, take 2"

Does the change in government in France actually change anything? The answer is no. Once you have so many government regulations and programs in place, and everybody has adopted a mentality of entitlement, it becomes very difficult to affect change. So in the end, it does not really matter who is the president or what party has the majority. This lesson from Europe should ring loud on our shores.

"Organized life is faster"

I came to the conclusion that dozens of small everyday tasks in our lives — like looking for our phones — are real time eaters. Insignificant in itself, but when multiplied by dozen of these tasks, it really starts to add up. I venture to say that I have gained ½ an hour a day by being organized, which over a year amounts to about a week. Now don't go wasting your newly-found free time watching TV. Go and take that beach walk you are always talking about.

"If you are out of words, start to listen"

We have become so accustomed to being overwhelmed with information that your brain sometimes simply shuts down, leaving you feeling out of words (or the desire to participate or have an opinion, answer or explanation for everything). This is the equivalent of being out of breath. Simply stop, rest and start to listen while your system regenerates itself.

"Some corporations have become so big that they simply can afford to ignore the law"

How else would you explain the fact that British drug conglomerate GlaxoSmithKline is simply shrugging its shoulders and agreeing to a $3 billion dollar settlement by admitting that it violated FDA regulations. After all, the charges will be classified as a simple misdemeanor.

"Why is violence an accepted form of entertainment?"

It always boggles my mind that as a society we seem to not only have accepted, but actively crave, violence as a form of entertainment. How else would we explain that we allow our kids to play violent video games without even questioning what it does to their minds, or that we rate movies PG 13 in which hundreds of people get brutally killed in the first 10 minutes of the movie (and I'm not talking about a war documentary)? Take the James Bond series for example (all in all, over 20 movies now spanning five decades). Back in the '60s, it started relatively innocently, but as time moved on, it seemed necessary to kill more people, and do it faster. Somehow, the movie industry has found that unless violent scenes increase and the action is more furious, the film will not be as big of a financial success. And while it may be easy to blame movie producers, it's difficult to not lay the blame on our collective state of mind. When the real thing then happens (dozens of people being shot at the opening of the latest Batman movie), we discard it as a single act of a lunatic. I believe the problem has its roots deeper, including our acceptance of violence as form of entertainment.