Lessons Learned from 2008: The Long View – ENCORE

10 years ago today (September 15, 2008) …

Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy … and brought the global financial system to its knees.

The whole world was watching, as global markets immediately plummeted.

But this writer was there, on the inside of Lehman Brothers. This fact was related in the opening of the 2003 book Go Lean … Caribbean (Page 8), as follows:

The peak day of the recent global financial crisis was September 15, 2008. On this day, Wall Street giant Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection, and eventual dissolution, after succumbing to the weight of over-leverage in mortgage-backed securities. There is an old observation/expression that states that “there are 3 kinds of people in the world, those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder ‘what happened?’“ Principals of SFE Foundation were there in 2008 … engaged with Lehman Brothers; on the inside looking out, not the outside looking in. Understanding the anatomy of the modern macro economy, allows the dissection of the processes and the creation of viable solutions.

This is the first of a series of commentaries relating the Lessons Learned from 2008.  This first one – entry 1 of 4 in this series from the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean – is in consideration of the “economic chaos” that led-up to the Great Recession and why it is necessary for these commentaries to be so long and comprehensive. The Caribbean problems are complex and complicated – there are no short and simple solutions. It will take a thorough roadmap to effect the necessary changes for the region to reform and transform. If we do not learn the applicable lessons from 2008, we will only repeat the mistakes of 2008.

The commentaries in the series are cataloged as follows:

  1. Lessons Learned from 2008 – The Long View – ENCORE
  2. Lessons Learned from 2008 – Too Big to Fail -vs- Too Small to Thrive
  3. Lessons Learned from 2008 – Righting The Wrong – ENCORE
  4. Lessons Learned from 2008 – Still Recovering

All of these commentaries relate to “how” the stewards for a new Caribbean can shepherd the economic engines of the region to apply the economic best-practices to make progress. As a Caribbean region, we need those lessons, and progress.

Some of these commentaries are Encores, as is this one. So as follows is the original submission from August 26, 2014. See that entry here:


Go Lean CommentaryWhy So Long? Can’t We Just…

CU Blog - Why so long - Can't we just - Photo 1We have now reached a milestone in the publishing of the (sometimes) daily blogs from the publishers of Go Lean…Caribbean, 150 submissions. This is a good time to address a consistent question we’ve gotten from some readers:

Why are the blog commentaries so long?
Can’t you accomplish the same objective with shorter blogs?

This submission here is meant to be a practice in active listening: We hear you! Consider this attribute of  one blog published on August 20, 2014:

3742 words: NYC’s MetroCard – A Model for the Caribbean Dollar – http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2074

So can we accomplish the same objectives with shorter commentaries? The answer: No!

The question is interpreted by us as “Can’t we just…?”

There is a serious reason why this is the answer: These are serious issues. We cannot, must not skim on the consideration of the solutions.

Our experience has taught us that serious problems require thorough and thoughtful consideration. There is no place for abbreviation in this exercise.

Our experience?

Consider these events from 2008, (a frequent topic of discussion in Go Lean…Caribbean blogs):

Video: Too Big To Fail – 2011 Movie (Pardon the adult language):
YouTube Video Sharing Site (Retrieved 08/20/2014) –

As the events of September 2008 unfolded where the financial system (Wall Street) was on the brink of collapse, stakeholders from the US Treasury Department assembled a representative body to conceive a remedy.

The resultant plan/proposal was introduced on September 20, by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and was later named the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)[a].

The plan/proposal was only three pages long, intentionally short on details to facilitate quick passage by Congress.[b]

The plan called for the U.S. Treasury to acquire up to $700 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities…

… in the end, in an analysis by Bloomberg Business News Source, it was disclosed that the Federal Reserve had, by March 2009, committed $7.77 trillion to rescuing the financial system. This amount is more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.[c]
Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia Source (Retrieved 08/20/2014) –

So can’t we just…?

The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) and the Caribbean Central Bank (CCB). This Caribbean empowerment roadmap has 3 prime directives:

  • 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 protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The book described both the CU and CCB as hallmarks of technocracy, a commitment to efficiency and effectiveness. The book itself is 370 pages and covers 144 different missions.

As alluded above, principals in the Go Lean…Caribbean movement were front-and-center in the events that unfurled in 2008.

CU Blog - Why so long - Can't we just - Photo 2

The roadmap was constructed with the ethos to be thorough in the assessment, strategies, tactics, implementation and advocacies to understand the complexities of our time and forge permanent change in the Caribbean region. The following is a sample of these specific details from the book:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Intelligence Gathering Page 23
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Strategy – Vision – Confederate 30 Member-States Page 45
Strategy – Missions – 144 Advocacies Page 457
Tactical – Confederating a Permanent Union Page 63
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Planning – 10 Big Ideas for the Caribbean Region Page 127
Planning – Lessons Learned from 2008 Page 136
Planning – Lessons Learned from New York City Page 137
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Reforms for Banking Regulations Page 199
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Wall Street Page 200
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Main Street Page 201
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Hollywood Page 202
Appendix – Credit Ratings Agencies in 2008 Page 276

Imagine following a long complex and detailed recipe for baking a cake. To get the best results, it is important to include all the ingredients and follow the exacting instructions, the more detailed the better.

The quest for Go Lean…Caribbean is not as simple as baking a cake, rather a goal that is so much more important, to make the Caribbean region a better place to live, work and play.

We cannot skim on this effort – too much is at stake!

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


a.  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/business/21draftcnd.html?_r=0; retrieved August 20, 2014.
b.  http://content.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1843642,00.html; retrieved August 20, 2014.
c.  Ivry, Bob; Keoun, Bradley; Kuntz, Phil (November 28, 2011). “Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion Undisclosed to Congress”. Bloomberg Markets Magazine. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved May 14, 2012 from: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-28/secret-fed-loans-undisclosed-to-congress-gave-banks-13-billion-in-income.html.

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