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October 18, 2012 / Dale Melchin

The Tao of Economics Part I

In Taoism the universe is made primarily of two parts.  Yin and Yang.  Those could be respectively called passive and active, light and shadow hot and cold and so on.  These forces however are opposite, but complementary and interdependent upon each other.

The same principle applies in our economic system.  You have on the one hand business leaders, managers, executives and business owners who provide direction and capital to a business and are mandated to turn a profit.  On the other side you have the workers who work for a paycheck, and who save and invest toward retirement, or the future, and so on.

The reason why I bring this is up is because of the issue of class warfare that is constantly going on in our country.  Regardless of what you may think, both sides of the economic engine are necessary for continued growth.  Investors, owners, leaders and managers are necessary to provide capital and direction for business.  As a result of there involvement they have a right to the share of the profits of the company that is not otherwise allocated for reinvestment.  There was no capital, investors, owners, leaders, managers etc, there would be no business for the worker to go to work and earn a paycheck.  Owners, investors, leaders and managers do work.  It is generally high level strategic and tactical work that is done.

On the other hand we have the workers.  Without the workers, the business would either go no where, or management would be relegated to performing the front line tasks.  The workers have the real time tactical skill for performing the various tasks that are required of them in a business.  Whether it is answering phones, building a house, painting a wall or other skill craft, they are a an absolutely necessary and vital part of the whole.

Since in both cases of the business man and the worker, the goal is to make money, the interests are the same.  They are just being approached from different angles.

The problem happens when relationships break down between the workers and the business men.  Now granted.  In a business situation, the needs of the business come first. I’m not just using work speak.  I am speaking this thinking of a lesson learned as a business owner myself, many moons ago.  However, the relationships within that business must be well managed to maximize effectiveness.  However, a business man becomes too greedy, not rich, but greedy.  If a man has a good year, that is the market telling him he is doing a good job and should keep it up.  If the business man does things to alienate his employees, that is when we have a problem.

Or the other way around.  A worker slacks off, takes too many breaks or thinks he’s entitled to more of the business mans money than he really is.  That is when it becomes a problem from the worker’s stand point.  The relationship begins to fail because the worker is destroying his the business man’s trust.

This can apply in any organization large or small.

The solution to this problem is for both “classes” to recognize that they need the other and seek to advance both interests without stepping on the other.  It is not a zero sum game.


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