What’s Old Is New Again in The New Economy
In the 1976 movie Network, Howard Beale, is a floundering news anchor who goes on a tangent on live television to rouse the citizenry from apathy. He initiates the first step for much needed change in unemployment, inflation, national and international politics and crime, including economic crime, by lighting a fire in people’s bellies to get angry. This isn’t unlike today’s politics and new economy.
Beale says, “Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad! You’ve got to say, ‘I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’” He acknowledges for anything to get better, it starts with us.
You can watch what he says in the video clip below.
Look in the Mirror
Worthwhile change almost always comes from us. The Law of Attraction says that our positive and negative thoughts and actions transmit corresponding positive and negative thoughts and actions that reverberate back to us. This gives each of us profound power to control our own destiny.
The first step to change a negative situation into a positive one is to first think about a positive alternative. Napoleon Hill said, “The starting point of all achievement is desire.”
The responsibility that the Law of Attraction puts on us is accountability. The rich and powerful take pride in being self-made. They boast of their accomplishments. They own their results. On the contrary, many who are not rich and powerful often fault someone or something else for their results.
While neither is 100 percent accurate, there is much to be said for how our thoughts and actions today affect our tomorrow. Religions throughout history, including Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism have taught in one form or another that “energy flows where attention goes”. What we focus on becomes our reality.
This can have positive, negative or neutral consequences. Our new friend, Faith Young, refers to this as the yellow car theory. The yellow car theory says that when we buy a yellow car, all of a sudden we notice lots of yellow cars on the road.
This gives us power. If we find gratitude in our situation, regardless of our situation, our vision becomes our reality. If we are ungrateful for our situation, regardless of our situation, our vision, again, becomes our reality.
The innate response of many is “yeah, well, you don’t know my situation.” True. As Victor Fankl, the famous Austrian Holocaust survivor, neurologist and psychiatrist said, “Between a stimulus and a response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In that response lays our growth and our freedom.”
Fankl, undoubtedly, experienced one of the great human atrocities in modern times. It was his focus on the positive and the belief that he would survive that made it so.
Today’s new economy, WikiLeaks, The Panama Papers and both primary elections taking about the vote of it’s citizens, we don’t have a lot of love for Constitution Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue and Wall Street right now. Regardless of political affiliation or affinity towards an economic theory, government and business have directly and indirectly made their lives better at our expense. While we believe it is fair, even our duty, to fairly appropriate blame and call for change, we believe most change come first from within each of us.
Income Equality in the New Economy
In “The Real Reason for Income Inequality,” we talk about the shift in political and monetary theory and a series of changes in federal laws that made workers second class citizens. These changed traditional business economics for corporate executives from growth and longevity to shareholder value that increased the wealth gap.
A high percentage of corporate executives’ salaries come in stock options, which creates a conflict of interest. The result is that corporate executives’ salaries have increased 10.2 percent annually for the last two decades at the same time that median household incomes increased 0.84 percent annually.
Below is how we can take responsibility and increase our incomes and net worth. This isn’t easy, but change rarely is.
1. Better Compensation in the New Economy
The first thing employees must do is demand more return for our work. When we negotiate salaries for a new job or annual salary increase, we must demand more money for our work. If the free market dictates wages, wages will only increase when we refuse to work for less. If the free market for corporate executives’ salaries demands a 10.2 percent annual wage increase, so does ours.
Then we must demand to participate in company profits just as corporate executives do. We must ask our employers, “Other than my salary, how do I financially benefit from the company’s profits?” Throughout the eighties and nineties until the tech bubble burst, it was common for publicly traded companies to generously offer stock options and profit sharing plans so employees would benefit from the company’s success. With shareholder value the holy grail of corporate executives, share buybacks are more common and stock grants less so. This is because stock grants dilute shareholder value. We must demand participation in these rewards. We must not overweight our portfolios in company stock, though.
2. Better Representation in the New Economy
Citizens must become more vocal and stop voting for the status quo. We maintain a right to vote, but the power of that right is rendered meaningless when we dismiss politicians as “just politicians” and don’t hold them accountable. When we don’t apply the same standards to our party as we do the other party, we show we’re more concerned about winning elections than doing what is right for America.
We must not simply vote against the other party or candidate. This is not a winning strategy for the country. The political class and media have usurped citizens’ right to choose candidates and all but elect the country’s president and other political leaders.
We must stop being married to a political party that, in all honesty, is no different from the other and both of whom are in bed with business. We must apply extra scrutiny to career-politicians whose careers are subsidized by business and who receive kick backs for favors.
Finally, understand that CEOs, bosses, unions and union leaders don’t always work in our or our company’s and country’s best interest. Often our best interest is not aligned with theirs. To have respect and loyalty to a business or organization is not the same as letting that business or organization take advantage of us.
These are a few steps to help take back control of our country and get the new economy working for us and not just the elite.