Monday, January 26, 2009

The Effects of Change

© Business GambleThe press successfully engineered a negative feedback loop in the effort to give their party the presidency and super majority in Washington.

Like many, I am sitting here anxiously hoping that the feel-good-hype centered on the ascendance of the change agent will create a positive feedback loop.

I was expecting a 2000k pop in the market as short sellers take their capital gains while the many people who withdrew from the market for hatred of Bush begin the process of re-investing.

I think a large number of existing revenue streams are currently undervalued. I look at the market and see a wonderland of buy opportunities. I kick myself for buying in too early.

I decided to look at the market with the question: If I had a wad of cash to invest, where would I put it?

While asking this question, I saw a news-blurb with Obama talking about change.

A pit formed in my stomach.

Buying stock is just legalized gambling. Real investing happens when real business people make real decisions about hiring workers, buying product and producing goods.

I rephrased my question and asked: If I were a business, would I take the gamble and hire new workers anticipating a turn around?

The answer, in this day of change, is a resounding "No."

One cannot make substantive investment decisions in a time of change. Margins are so tight in business today that change can lead to a big net loss for a company foolish enough to hire.

I voted for Obama in the primary, and might have supported him in the general election if his campaign was about better quality discourse and politics. Instead, his campaign took a single focus on demanding an undefined change.

I let loose with a really ugly post about change campaigns right be for the general election.

When historians enumerate the causes of the current economic downturn, I hope that they include the change campaign as a contributing factor in the make up of the economic mess.

The change campaign is the very heart of radicalization.

One cannot make substantive decisions in the face of unspecified change. This affects both business and political decisions.

For example, Go Utah Go is arguing that we should jack up gas prices for road projects.

If change means a 40% drop in the number of miles that Americans drive, or a 20% drop in the number of Americans that own cars, then these road projects are superfluous.

What if change means a reversal of the migration to the suburbs? Suburban road construction projects would be a waste.

Road construction does a great deal of damage to the environment. The carbon-tire-track of a road-paver contributes more to global warming than a whole marching band of carbon-footprints.

Road construction for the sake of road construction is needless environmental waste. Sound road construction is built around very detailed analysis of needs. In a time of change, one cannot properly assess needs.

In a time of great social upheaval (ooops, I mean "change"), one can not delve into questions of optimizing resources. One simply falls into crisis mode. Road funds should only be spend addressing crisis. Substantive decisions about the shape of roads should be put off until after we have some idea of how the economy would look after the upheaval.

Change affects every part of business and social planning. Businesses should reduce their workforce to the minimum and hire temps until they have a feel of the shape of things after the change. School districts should shun building new schools in case the suburb needing the new school is changed out of existence.

I had been hoping that the change in tone of the press would be sufficient to remove the negative feedback loop which is wracking the economy.

Unfortunately, decision makers and business gamblers staring into the face of unspecified change. I hope I am wrong, but the engineers of change campaign may find it hard to socially-engineer their way out of the hole they dug with their campaign.

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