Adult learning is more than alternative education, self-help, self-study, or training. Self-directed inquiry can free you from the cultural traps of today’s postmodern world. When you think for yourself, you take control of your life. Intellectual ability and critical thinking soon become substitutes for paper credentials. Simply stated aggressive learning is the most practical guide to a passionately rewarding life.
decades ago, futurist John Naisbitt asserted that "it is easier to ride a
horse in the direction it is already going." A slightly modified version can
aptly be applied to the egregiously exaggerated value of CEOs in America. That
is to say, it's easier to be viewed as a wunderkind executive, if the business
one has been selected to run is already booming.
are, in my opinion, few more counterfeit notions than the overstated hype about
CEO expertise on the global business stage. To command obscene compensation requires
that there be an ongoing public relations effort to keep the mythic notion of
exceedingly rare talent in the air. It ought to be called "The Great
Duping of America," because this is precisely what has happened and is
continuing to occur as a way to prevent the rate of exploitation from being
doubt there are many CEOs with good management skills, but it is a stretch far
beyond credulity to say their special expertise is worthy of the right to loot
a public enterprise and to persist in doing so even when the venture is losing
money. This is going on right before our eyes, and yet we watch silently in awe
like nothing more than a bunch of uninformed fools. It's as if we have, as
Erich Fromm put, it "swallowed the principles of power."
this case, we’ve tacitly endorsed the right of certain individuals to collect unlimited
compensation based on a brand of inflated expertise so special and so utterly
unique that few of us are able to say precisely what it is. Not to mention the
corporate missteps and blunders that occur daily, or the criminal malfeasance behind
the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, for which virtually all of the executives
responsible have gone unpunished, though, of course, they did get their
plain truth, if we simply think it through, is that when business is on the
upswing, you could pick as the new CEO any warm body off the street with a
demonstrated penchant for good judgment, and business would continue to thrive.
For every Steve Jobs there are scores of performers who are mediocre at best,
unless their particular business happens to be stuck in an upward cycle. We
have a tendency to remember the successful examples and forget the failed performances.
is harsh, though, as the many CEOs who are not so well endowed with good
judgment prove day in and day out. A Google search on the term CEO incompetence will produce more than a
million hits. These executives can make blatant management errors, and yet the
prevailing fairy tale of extraordinary expertise still awards them astronomical
of the advantages of getting old is that pretentiousness gets easier to spot. I
say, there is no more excuse for stratospheric reward at the top of business
than there is for slave wages at the bottom. The license for executives to loot
is no more necessary or justifiable in a nation that calls itself great than is
the license for businesses to exploit labor with the full expectation that
taxpayers will subsidize via food stamps the employees whose compensation is
below the poverty line.
on the successive generations of us who grew up learning and discussing the
parable of the emperor who had no clothes, but who demonstrate through our actions
today that we have learned nothing from it. It might be accurate to say that
America has become the laughing stock of the developed world, except that our
ignorance-based subservience to powerful myths of excellence and Ayn Rand
notions of self-interest on steroids is anything but funny.
Cold War fear of Communism conditioned millions of our citizens to recoil in a
kind of panic-paranoia at the mere suggestion of anything containing the word social. The result is that millions of
people can be relied on to vote against their own interests and, worse, to
stand by and actually cheer on the looting, as Wall Street skims the cream off
the stock market each day using supercomputers with which no individual investor
America is to save its middle class, we must put ideological fantasy aside and
face the reality once and for all that nations with a strong middle class have
never existed anywhere on earth without an enormous ongoing investment in both
hard and soft infrastructure.
conservative ethos for frugality and stopping wasteful spending is of great
value, but we should apply it judiciously across the board without exception. Instead,
America's military industrial complex, the private prison industry, and our
healthcare and our financial systems have been purged of the ability to
accomplish anything on a broad economic scale except to satisfy the greed of a
few well-placed individuals. This is not freedom. These people aren't really winners.
But the rest of us are indeed losers.
insane to believe we can maintain a viable economy and a strong middle class
with lower and lower taxes at the same time a class of privileged executives,
empowered by their governmental and legislative connections, ransack corporate
finances whether they are successful managers or not. Their real managerial
expertise is too often beside the point. It's quid pro quo all the way, as
these executives and their boards plunder the public trust with enough sleight of
hand that everyday citizens mistake larceny for strategy.
John Naisbitt's horse representing America's middle class is headed for the
abyss, unless average citizens begin to demand a change in direction.