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The Cost of Being Comfortable

The Cost of Being Comfortable

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

This article was originally published as The Cost of Being Comfortable on Technorati.

I read an interesting article from a Forbes advisor called A Young World is No Place for Old Corporations; in a nutshell it talks about nostalgia for “what the WSJ calls America’s  ‘Midcentury Moment’, those post war  “golden years of the 1940’s, ‘50s and early ‘60s?” The boom years when Americans forged the world’s new super power, as those in Europe diminished.

It goes on to say, “During this time US companies became dominant corporations on a world stage, strongly influencing how business was conducted all over the world.

Fast forward to 2011, America now competes in a fierce global market against young and dynamic economies.”

It lauds the dynamic spark that drove the US economy; a common theme, but one I get tired of seeing.

Tired because it only tells only the upside of the story and ignores so much.

I am neither an economist nor an historian, but here is my view of the same history.

  • European industry didn’t diminish, it was crippled by WWII.
  • The US became dominant because we were the only country in a position to produce as opposed to spending our efforts and money to rebuild.

In other words, in comparison to the material and psychological devastation experienced by the rest of the world what the US suffered was more like a serious inconvenience.

But not too inconvenient, since we kept on producing and selling.

War’s end left us in the cat-bird seat—not rebuilding, just retooling to sell what the rest of the world needed to rebuild.

A lack of competition breeds arrogance, sloppy practices and fat—fat management and fat labor; it is easy to succeed in a world with little-to-no competition.

When countries no longer needed us because they produced their own we were surprised; when they went beyond and more efficiently produced what we produced and innovated where we had not bothered we were shocked.

When comfortable, we humans seem to believe that some version of what is will always be; it isn’t that we don’t believe in change, but we seem blind to radical change.

We are taken by surprise when it happens and long instead for whatever version of the “good old days” brings us back to our (false) comfort zone.

Flickr image credit: Bruce Turner

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