Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Tortoise And The Hare

Illustration from here

I read an essay recently about the economy needing a bit of ingenuity.  The essay discussed the problems with short-term thinking and quick profit in the context of the present state of business.  Demand for goods and services is currently assumed to be depressed and stimulation of this demand will cure the economic sickness.  The author suggests that demand for goods and services is not presently depressed.  Instead, the business community needs more long-term investment, innovation, and hiring to correct deep structural problems in the economy.  I was reminded of the tale of the Tortoise and the Hare

The hare brags that he can beat anyone, especially the tortoise in a race.  The hare's hubris is overwhelming and he loses the race with the tortoise.  The tortoise understands the value of slow and steady effort made with insight into the long-term goal of crossing the finish line.  The hare is controlled by his appetites for sleep and food, short-term gains not connected to the long-term goal of the finish line.

Conservation of economies, wetlands, and wild spaces is similar to the tortoise's focused effort to reach the goal.  Sustained vision and development of community and political support is needed to raise funds for investment, including conservation easements, acquisitions, and management.  How delightful it would be if business could relax and take a long-term view of profit and well being, instead of quarterly returns and short-term profit.  We could expand the scope of investment, with stable reliance on our ingenuity and connection to nature.  Returns on investment would be higher and not subject to the uncertainty and risk of markets that are controlled by a few big players using computer trading with little regard for the ethical aspects of resource development and human capital.  

Posted by michael  

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