Go Lean Commentary
“Stupid is as stupid does…”
Nobody likes to be called stupid!
It has a “stinging” feel to its indictment. It is different than being called “crazy” as insanity may be linked to a physical disability from brain chemistry. No, “stupid” is different. Stupid says that the person is perfectly sane and intentionally chooses an action that they know to yield an undesirable result – “… stupid does …”.
A person knowing they have a balance of $6.00 in their checking account, but newly writing a check for $7, knowing that their bank may charge them a $35 fee and the check recipient may charge another fee ($20 – $50 range). That one $7 transaction may cost up to $75 in fees.
Surely this is stupid! Yet this happens in society again … and again. In fact there is a whole industry based on this reality in the United States: Check Cashing / Pay-Day Loans. This entire industry has been weighed and measured and found to be “wanting” or stupid.
So, knowing that there is some degree of intentionality associated with this question, why do people do the “stupid” things that they do?
Answer: It’s complicated!
Perhaps there’s more to “stupid” than what meets the eye. See/hear the AUDIO Podcast here of a related interview based on a new book:
AUDIO Podcast – What Is Driving The ‘Unbanking Of America’? – http://www.npr.org/2017/01/10/509126878/what-is-driving-the-unbanking-of-america
Published on January 10, 2017 – Author Lisa Servon says a growing number of Americans are giving up on traditional banks and relying instead on alternatives, including prepaid debit cards, check-cashing centers and payday lenders.
“… increasing numbers of working Americans are using those services and turning their backs on traditional banking because banks don’t meet their needs and whack them with fees and charges they aren’t expecting. In 2011, she notes, Americans paid $38 billion just in overdraft fees.”
There is no doubt that there is “stupidity” in society and there is a need to “Wage War” against it. We first need to understand the roots and origins; many times the “rhyme and reason” why stupid policies-practices persist, is because “someone is profiting”. So stupidity may be tied to Crony-Capitalism: the abuse of public funds for private gain.
The movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean describes this stupidity as a societal defect … in America … and the Caribbean. This previous blog-commentary has identified “Crony-Capitalism” as a serious societal defect in the US. The goal is for the Caribbean to do better!
First we start by recognizing that there is a problem: “there is stupidity in our society”. Now we can arm ourselves for battle in this ‘War Against Stupidity’. This is an important first step in reforming and transforming our regional society. This is commentary 2 of 4 from the movement behind the Go Lean book on the subject of Caribbean societal defects. So how do we move our communities from the deficient-defective status quo to our targeted destination: “a better place to live, work and play”? By waging war on our defects. All of these commentaries detail that effort, for the following defects:
- Waging a Successful War on Orthodoxy
- Waging a Successful War on Stupidity
- Waging a Successful War on Rent
- Waging a Successful War on ‘Terrorism’
These commentaries draw reference to the Go Lean book, as it details the quest to transform the Caribbean; it features a how-to guide and roadmap for elevating the region’s societal engines for economics, security and governance. Stupidity can be found in all these three spheres of society. Consider these details:
The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU is designed to be a technocratic – opposite of stupid – intergovernmental entity that shepherds the Caribbean region. The goal is to reboot and optimize the region’s economic, security and governing engines. We have some stupidity that we need to weed out. Our economy currently serve as a parasite of other – more mature – economies, consider the US, Canada and Western Europe. We must not be parasites, we should be protégés. These role model countries have their own stupidity to weed out, consider the recent adventures with NINJA loans.
In a recent blog-commentary, the problem of these NINJA loans were fully dissected. Imagine giving a $100,000 mortgage to someone with No Income, No Job and no Assets. How about $200,000, or $300,000 or worse $400,000 to $600,000? The problem was that bad during the bad old days of the Great Recession of 2008. Many of the heightened financial controls – common sense mandates – that we implemented during the aftermath of the crisis, are now at risk of being dismantled with the new Donald Trump administration in the US.
This is stupidity; this is not the role model, we want to emulate in the Caribbean. But we, in the Caribbean, have our own stupid economic policies to contend with; consider this sample list:
- Mono-industrial economy – After 50 years, it is still Tourism or bust!
- Tourism stewardship by politicians, not E-Commerce Gurus, though most travel is booked online.
- Excessive Resort Fees and Airport Taxes sending tourists to cruise ships. as opposed to more lucrative stay-overs.
- Doubling-down on the failing business model of Casino Gambling, in the Caribbean, while it fails elsewhere.
- One City: Only expensive Premium Gasoline available in the entire City – still after many years after a temporary crisis.
- Oil refinery supply-and-demand imbalance – availability per capita is so much worse in the Caribbean. Why?
- Green Energy avoidance despite abundance of sun and wind – costs for electricity can be lowered from US$0.35/kWh to US$0.088/kWh.
- Unrealistic High Cost of Cancer Drugs – Despite Cuba’s cheaper deliveries.
- Caribbean currency standard based on US dollar – so we get punished for America’s mistakes
- Spending $Billions to mask Black Hair – yet this population claims to be “Strong and Proud”.
- Failing to Save – ignoring the positive Time Value of Money
Stupidity can be found in other areas of society as well; take “crime and punishment” for example. Comedians (and other entertainers) often amuse us with stories about “Stupid Criminals” who commit atrocious acts, many times caught on camera. In fact, a proliferation of security and traffic cameras has proven to be a great investigation tool. See this phenomena portrayed in these sample VIDEOs:
VIDEO 1 – 10 Stupid Criminals You Won’t Believe – https://youtu.be/YOivkJxx2_0
Published on Nov 2, 2016 – Top 10 dumbest criminals in the world
Subscribe to our channel: http://goo.gl/9CwQhg
VIDEO 2 – GEICO Commercial – Objection: Great Answer – https://youtu.be/zj_RHi1klRU
Published on Dec 4, 2016 – The savings you get from switching to GEICO make it a great answer for car insurance. But that leads some people to think that GEICO is a great answer to other tough questions. Watch this defendant use GEICO to defend his innocence. *** PARODY ***
But videos from where? Consider:
There is a lot of stupidity in the governing arena.
Consider the US, the most advanced democracy on the planet. The assumption is “one man one vote” and yet in the 2016 general election, one candidate for President had 3 million more votes than the other opponent, and yet lost. By some measures, the Electoral College is considered “stupid”.
In the Caribbean, we have a lot of stupid rules and stupid iterations in our governance; consider this sample list:
- US Territories (Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) are between a “rock and a hard place” – they have no vote in Washington; this guarantees that their voice (non-voting congressmen) will not be heard.
- Depending on the US for Caribbean Security
- Depending “Too Much” on Foreign Investors
- Stupid policies selling Citizenship
- Education – students leave their Caribbean homes to study (college) and most assuredly, many do not return … for permanent residency. The resultant brain drain is near 70 percent rate.
- For-profit Educational Institutions: Plenty of Profit; Little Education
- Textbook Pricing – All Stupid; all Price-gouging
- Deficient Property Tax practices – not even trying to collect badly needed tax revenues.
- Relying on Customs Duties (as “rent”) for government income, while technology is shifting to 3D printing.
- Ignoring obvious remedies for “Too Hot” summers.
The movement behind the Go Lean book wants to help reform and transform the Caribbean. We see the defects; we see the stupidity. We know how to overcome the stupidity. There is an implied Social Contract in every expression of governance everywhere. Technocratic efficiency is embedded in the implied CU Social Contract. The Go Lean book defines (Page 170) the Social Contract as follows:
“Citizens surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the State in exchange for protection of remaining natural and legal rights”.
The CU Social Contract, as specified in the Go Lean book, specifies that governments should serve the people as efficiently as possible. So then, how can we employ more efficiencies?
The Go Lean/CU roadmap seeks to deploy the technocratic efficiency by embracing the latest project management methodologies and best practices. In fact, the roadmap calls for the establishment of a Project Management Office in every Cabinet Office for the CU Trade Federation.
Further, the Go Lean/CU roadmap employs a tactic of a “Separation-of-Powers between CU federal agencies and Caribbean member-state governments”; so the limitations of national laws in a member-state does not have to override the CU. The CU constitution would apply to the installation of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and Self-Governing Entities (SGE) that operate in controlled bordered territories like campuses, industrial parks, research labs and industrial plants. Lastly, there is the power of “peer pressure” where progress by one CU member-state would incline others to follow suit. In total, the Go Lean/CU roadmap will employ strategies, tactics and implementations to impact its prime directives; identified with the following 3 statements:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety assurances and protect the region’s economic engines.
- Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.
The Go Lean roadmap seeks to “Wage War against Stupidity” by optimizing the entire Caribbean economic/security/governance eco-system with the adoption of best practices. This vision is defined early in the book (Page 12) in the following pronouncements in the Declaration of Interdependence:
xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.
xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.
The Go Lean book posits that inefficient Caribbean communities can be reformed and transformed if they adopt the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies as depicted in the Go Lean book; consider this sample:
|Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Choices & Incentives||Page 21|
|Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives||Page 21|
|Community Ethos – Lean Operations||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Turn-Around||Page 33|
|Strategy – Mission – Foster Local Economic Engines to Diversify the Economy||Page 45|
|Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy||Page 64|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – Self-Governing Entities||Page 80|
|Implementation – Steps to Implement Self-Governing Entities||Page 105|
|Implementation – Ways to Deliver – Case Study on Project Management Offices (PMO)||Page 109|
|Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better||Page 131|
|Advocacy – Ways to Measure Progress – Case Study on Six Sigma Methodology||Page 147|
|Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy||Page 151|
|Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs||Page 152|
|Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract||Page 170|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Communications||Page 186|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Urban Living||Page 234|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Rural Living||Page 235|
The Caribbean can succeed in our efforts to improve our regional efficiencies. Consider this sample of previous blog-commentaries that delve into aspects of transformation in the Caribbean region:
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10043||Integration Plan for Greater Caribbean Prosperity|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=9595||Vision and Values for a ‘New’ Caribbean|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7989||Transformations: Money Matters – ‘Getting over’ with ‘free money’|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7646||Going from ‘Good to Great’|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7628||‘A Change Is Gonna Come’|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6993||Forging Change: ‘Something to Lose’|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3915||‘Change the way you see the world; you change the world you see’|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1596||Transforming to where we can “Prosper where Planted”|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=623||‘Only at the precipice, do they change’|
The vision for a new Caribbean is one that has successfully ‘waged the war on stupidity’. This is easier said than done, but we have seen it (and done it) in other societies with measurable success, and we are ready, willing and able to succeed here at home.
Deploying a technocracy is how the Go Lean/CU roadmap wages a successful war on stupidity. Technocratic executions include the “arts and sciences” of project management and Quality Assurance (QA) deliveries. As related in the Go Lean book (Page 147):
… one QA methodology – Six Sigma follows a methodology, aimed at improving existing business processes – uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization (Champions, Black Belts, Green Belts, Orange Belts, etc.) who are experts in these very complex methods. With Six Sigma the maturity of a delivery process can be described by a sigma rating indicating its yield or the percentage of defect-free deliveries it creates. A six sigma process is one in which 99.9999998% of products manufactured/services delivered are statistically expected to be free of defects (3.4 defects per million).
This is heavy-lifting, but ‘Yes, we can … do better‘.
We can work towards making our region a better homeland to live, work and play. We urge everyone in the Caribbean to lean-in to this roadmap for change and optimization. We do not have to do as stupid does. 🙂