Monday, July 02, 2007

No-Cost Solutions

People who see me on the streets or read my writing, often comment that my “solutions” while unquestionably simple, logical and commonsensical,, won’t be taken seriously because they don’t cost any money -- and if there’s no money to be made, nobody will be motivated to pursue that solution or provide that information/insight.

Therein lies the problem -- for most, if not virtually all of contemporary problems -- that the solution-provider has no interest in it unless there is a way they can profit handsomely from the implementation of their solution -- feeling fairly confident, that the consumer won’t be interested and motivated enough in the solution, unless they themselves have to pay handsomely for it. They have been conditioned to believe the value of anything is what one has to pay for it -- while dismissing the notion that anything of value could be obtained for “free,” or just in the rethinking of the problem.

Such ideas are actually the greatest need of these times -- and not the money or the materiel, which is usually just wasted, or “underutilized.” All the elements for a life of prosperity for virtually everyone, are already in existence, but there is a need for a greater unifying idea that makes everything mesh and work. Otherwise, all the resources are going for the purpose of canceling out one another -- which is what reflexive competition does -- to produce only one winner, despite how advantageously everyone begins.

We see that most frequently at athletic events -- that no matter how proficient all the competitors, only one emerges victorious, and the rest are rendered “losers,” no matter how admirable and capable they are. This is a mentality that now prevents human progress -- how much money and other resources is available to all, if the conditioning in society continues to be, that there can only be one winner, and that one has to compete to be that winner -- and that is the only game in town.

Thus lawmakers and policy makers also compete on that same basis -- of how valuable their work and ideas are, based on how much money it costs -- and never that ideas that cost virtually nothing, could ever be a good idea -- or is even recognized to be a valid idea at all.

Of course, it is quite possible to spend nothing at all and obtain the poorest quality of existence that compounds all one’s problems in life. Cheaper is not necessarily better -- but neither is the most expensive solution either. The consideration of value is not related to the money but is the appropriateness of the action to the circumstances -- something else entirely than just the cost.

People who have grown up thinking that “more money” or just “more,” is the solution to every problem, are difficult to convince that “better” solutions exist than simply more of what they’re convinced is the only solution -- especially one that is not working very well. Still, they will persist in thinking that all that is required is simply more -- and not a different approach entirely.

At such inflection points, that which has greatest value is free because it is unappreciated, while that which is most expensive, is obviously that which is not working but is an unlimited drain on one’s resources.

2 Comments:

At July 10, 2007 8:24 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

http://spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=11675

Another Perspective
Bush Amazes
By Ben Stein
Published 7/5/2007 12:08:41 AM

This George Bush fellow has major league cojones. It really amazes me.

Start with the obvious:

The case against "Scooter" Libby was a total fraud. Completely bogus. The publicity-mad demoness Valerie Plame was not a covert overseas agent at the time the whole megillah about her erupted. So there was no, none, nada, law breaking by reporting that she was a CIA employee.

Second, there was no reason for the special prosecutor, the full on publicity hound Mr. Fitzgerald, to have even gone on with the investigation for a week or even a day. He knew in the first 24 hours who had told Bob Novak that Ms. Wilson was the one who sent her husband, the Democrat operative, de facto if not de jure, Joe Wilson, to search for facts about uranium in a little known African nation called Niger. And Mr. Fitzgerald knew it was not Karl Rove or Scooter Libby. Why then did he continue the investigation and torment the many totally innocent people he tortured? Why did he drive honest civil servants to despair and impoverishment when he basically had no mission?

(And isn't he a lot like a certain prosecutor in North Carolina who pilloried totally innocent Duke University La Crosse players in a totally trumped up, absolutely bogus case when there was no solid evidence against them at all? Is it not frightening what an out of control prosecutor can do in a free country? The wicked man in North Carolina faces prosecution and has already had other sanctions. Is this being considered for Mr. Fitzgerald?)

Third, while prosecutors can do almost anything they damned well please, it is not considered de rigueur to prosecute for perjury in an investigation in which there is no underlying crime. But that's precisely what happened in the Libby case. Mr. Fitzgerald prosecuted for perjury even though there was no crime he was investigating. It was just a mammoth unnecessary, phony fishing expedition to snare Bush operatives that caught Libby. He had been asked countless questions and finally got a few wrong and so the prosecutor sprung.

The judge should have just tossed out the case on the first day of the trial. There simply was nothing there but prosecutorial overreach. But the trial went on. A Washington, D.C. jury -- a pool of men and women who were confused, to put it charitably -- found for the prosecution and then the real evil began.

At the trial, the prosecutor had conceded that there was no underlying crime and that Libby had not "outed" anyone. But then in the sentencing phase the prosecutor completely falsified himself and claimed Libby had done serious national security damage -- by naming an employee of the CIA who was not covert and not overseas, contrary to his statements at trial.

The judge, who must have been a real whiz in law school (yes, I know he was appointed by Bush), sentenced Libby, a first offender who will never be in court again, to two and a half years in prison. It was insane.

Now, enter George W Bush. Desperately wounded by the Iraq War, basically friendless in Washington, D.C., he was not expected to risk one iota of his dwindling political piggy bank to rescue Scooter -- who had, of course, been chief of staff for Bush's Vice President, the cordially disliked Dick Cheney. Why should he? He has enough troubles.

But Mr. Bush saw a basic wrong. A man who should never have seen the inside of a courtroom as a defendant had been pilloried for no good reason and then sentenced to a Stalinist sentence. His basic decency overrode political and PR considerations. He simply did the right thing. He let an innocent man breathe the air of freedom. He used the power of his office to say "enough" to an out of control prosecutor, an out of control grand jury, and an out of control judge and jury. In a simple phrase, once again, he did the right thing regardless of cost.

I am not sure if this was his finest hour, but it was a fine hour.

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He also writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator's monthly print edition.

There are some great writers out there. Unfortunately, the local newspapers don’t know any of them -- preferring to spend all their lives on the Democratic Underground blogs, where they can plagiarize their rant of the day.

 
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