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A Huge Shift is Coming to America

January 23rd, 2014 // 10:00 am @

We entered a new cycle of history during 2013.

Like any cycle, this one started small. But it is growing quickly, and it is already swaying the future.

To understand this, let’s briefly go back to the beginning — when this cycle was first described.

In 1836, even before Alexis de Tocqueville finished his famous classic, Democracy in America, a British official named Henry Taylor published a book entitled The Statesman.

Taylor’s main point was that the Anglo world had been focused on forms of government for too long, ever since 1787 when the Americans wrote their Constitution. Taylor noticed that that there are two main types of political leadership:

  1. Setting up forms and systems of government (statesmanship)
  2. The business of governing (politics)

The first, which consists mostly of writing and discussing what is the best constitution or model of government, is always led by statesmen.

The second, which consists of day-to-day politics that focus on the issues, is dominated by political parties, special interest groups, politicians, and bureaucratic agencies.

The first usually emphasizes freedom and liberty, while the second is all about increasing government spending and regulations.

Statesmanship vs. Politics

In 1836, Taylor’s message was that Europe and America had spent sixty years focused on the first kind of leadership, and he argued that it was time, in his words,

“to divert the attention of thoughtful men from forms of government to the business of governing.”

It was statesmanship versus politics, and Taylor believed that it was time to forget statesmanship for a while and emphasize politics. The era of the politician had come.

Specifically, the statesmanship era from 1776 to 1836 was followed by an era of politics from 1836 to 1913, which was followed by an era of statesmanship (changing constitutions and overarching societal systems) from 1913 to 1945. Then came another era of politics (increased government spending and regulations by politicians and bureaucrats) from 1945 to 2013.

We are on the verge of another major shift today, and the changes will be drastic.

Instead of the major national dialogue focusing on issues (e.g. immigration, abortion, energy policy, national security, health care, gun control, education policy, etc.), the increasing focus will be on how to change the Constitution.

It has already started, in fact. Less than a year ago, for example, Georgetown professor Louis Seidman wrote an article in the New York Times entitled “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution.” He argued that the Constitution is outdated, and that it is time to “scrap” it and write something better.

This brought a series of angry rebuttals from the Right, and a number of strong suggestions from the Left, but few seem to realize that this is the beginning of a new era of the American debate.

Several others have entered this growing discussion, like David Brooks, who wrote in the New York Times on December 12, 2013 that the U.S. should alter our system to “Strengthen the Presidency.”

And New York Times bestselling author Mark Levin wrote a series of new amendments that he feels should be added to the Constitution to fix our current system and get America back on track.

Just a couple weeks ago, almost 100 legislators from 32 states met in Mount Vernon, Virginia to discuss the possibility of adding amendments to the constitution through a convention of the states, as authorized by Article 5 of the constitution.

The Next Shift

leadershift cover A Huge Shift is Coming to America   Oliver DeMilleWhen Orrin Woodward and I wrote the New York Times bestseller LeaderShift and released it earlier this year, neither of us knew that 2013 would be the year of this major shift — from politics to statesmanship, from issues to changing the whole system.

This is momentous, and our book outlines nine specific changes, in the form of proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution, that would put American prosperity, freedom, strength and power quickly back on line.

I am convinced that LeaderShift is representative of the best of this new trend, this growing debate on how to change our system to get it headed in the right direction once again. And you can read all four of the new commentaries in this emerging debate (Seidman, Levin, Brooks, Woodward and DeMille) and decide for yourself.

Make no mistake: this is THE debate of the coming decade. As a nation, we have concluded that Washington is broken. The American people generally feel that the system is fractured and needs to be fixed, and those who are focused on daily governing will miss out on the real tide ahead: coming changes in our overall system.

Since such changes aren’t usually the focus in elections, many people won’t realize that this is happening. But as I already noted, the debate has already begun.

Issues and Politics

When Orrin and I were interviewed by many journalists about our book, it was a bit of a surprise to us that nearly every interviewer wanted to focus on issues, issues, issues and partisan politics, politics, politics.

That’s been the tone in America for over sixty years, so we probably should have expected it.

But now the tide is shifting. This isn’t something we can afford to get wrong. Change is upon us. President Obama was elected by promising such change. Yet if we make the wrong changes, it can only hurt this great nation.

Change is here, and it is the kind of change that focuses on our Constitution and the very fundamentals of our society and national system.

The debate will grow in the years ahead, the way such changes always do — slowly for a while, and then all at once.

Yet the ideas at the center of this debate, the ideas right now argued by Seidman, Brooks, Levin, Woodward and DeMille, and others who join the discussion, will sway the 21st Century.

I wrote in my book, 1913, that the year 1913 was a pivotal time of change. It looks more and more like its century year 2013 will be even more significant. This is the year we began the shift from politicians, bureaucrats and issues to and major changes to our Constitution and system.

Some will argue that we should change nothing, that the old Constitution is the best. But in reality we haven’t been following the original principles of the Constitution for many decades, and the primacy of the Constitution continues to erode due to the way Washington skirts, reinterprets and at times ignores it.

Whatever you think of our current system, change is imminent. The only question is: How will we change, what precisely will we change?

That is what this debate is all about. A LeaderShift is happening, right now, under our noses. America is changing while its citizens sleep.

What we need is a new generation of Madisons, Adams, and Jeffersons.

We need more men and women who understand how to write constitutions and amendments that create and protect real freedom. If you are one of these people, or should be, it is time to join the debate.

It is time to take action, so we go in the right direction.

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odemille What Every Citizen Must Know About Government Finances Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Blog &Business &Citizenship &Constitution &Economics &Education &Entrepreneurship &Generations &Government &History &Politics

Overcoming Obamacare

January 21st, 2014 // 10:00 am @

Do we have an answer yet? Not quite.

But we’re making progress.

A few months ago I suggested that many companies were going to lay off a lot of employees when Obamacare went into effect — starting in October 2013 and increasing for the next eighteen months.

Then I asked for input from readers: How can business owners overcome the negative effects of Obamacare and avoid laying off or shutting down?

A lot of people responded to this question, and many of the suggestions were excellent. Out of all the wise responses, one really struck me, because it showed true out-of-the box entrepreneurial thinking.

It went something like this: The entrepreneurs in our nation need to put their business innovation skills to figuring out a private business model that will provide effective, affordable health care that beats whatever the government is offering.

While this kind of innovation would require major creativity, initiative, and risk, not to mention capitalization, the rewards would be huge.

Actually, another response to my online question may provide part of the answer: Get people thinking health, not health care. This is much less expensive, easy, and effective. It doesn’t cover emergency care, and it won’t work for everyone, nor will it solve the short-term problem faced by small businesses, but it is certainly the right solution for a lot of people. Get a lot healthier.

A combination of these two might just be on to something.

The biggest problem isn’t Obamacare, it’s a generation that doesn’t naturally think of innovative, out-of-the box, entrepreneurial solutions for every major challenge. Humans are amazingly creative — there are real solutions to the Obamacare dilemma. Entrepreneurs need to find them, and make them profitable so they spread.

In fact, the whole reason Obamacare came about is that for a long time insurance companies could collect payments from a client for twenty or thirty years — and then raise the price beyond his ability to pay when a serious health problem came along. In short, health care was a major problem before Obamacare.

That said, there are solutions. Keep thinking like innovators. And keep sharing your creativity.

So, here is my new question: What is the real solution to health care? Write it, and share it…

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odemille What Every Citizen Must Know About Government Finances Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Blog &Business &Citizenship &Current Events &Entrepreneurship &Government &Politics

What’s Really Happening to Our Nation?

January 17th, 2014 // 10:00 am @

It happened on the same day.

Two people, who as far as I know don’t know each other, asked me the same question. Or, to be more precise, they asked two different questions that have the same answer.

In truth, this is a question that a lot of Americans have on their mind right now. Many of them don’t even realize it, but every time they watch the news, hear about current politics, or discuss Washington’s latest antics with friends or at work, they feel a growing sense that our government is becoming less and less likely to handle really big challenges.

The first question went something like this: “Oliver, I just don’t understand your logic in a recent article you wrote. I understand your concerns about big government, but why do you think business is any better?”

The second question was similar: “In your book, LeaderShift, you and Orrin Woodward have James Madison say that as business leaders go, so goes America. Why did you single out business leaders, instead of parents, academia, media or the government?”

This is an incredibly important question. Of course, I won’t presume to speak for Orrin — he can answer this question however he wants. His answers are always excellent. As for me, here’s my answer:

Where there is freedom, there is progress.
Where freedom is lacking, there is decline.

Yes, a little regulation can increase freedom — to the extent that it protects people and keeps contracts and agreements honest, and safe from crime. Beyond this, however, increased regulation means decreased freedom and therefore decline.

During the 1990s and 2000s, for example, the computing technology sector was probably the freest major industry in the world — and it brought us our greatest new fortunes, our major new technologies, and the biggest new advancements that drastically changed our world.

During that era, for example, most other sectors were highly regulated — and in decline as a result. Communications and media were highly regulated, banking became highly regulated after 9/11, transportation and manufacturing was highly regulated, and so was education, health care, farming, law, engineering, etc.

In fact, rewind a few decades, and note that the freedom in home construction and land development before the 1990s made real estate a major part of the economy. Huge fortunes, millions of jobs, and a lot of widespread prosperity came from this freedom. Not to mention widespread home ownership — the kind where people could actually afford their homes.

This kind of growth always happens where there is freedom.

And the increase in overbearing real estate regulation began before the housing bubble — it may well have caused it.

Remember: Where there is freedom, there is progress. Where freedom is lacking, there is decline.

Earlier in world history, America rose while Europe declined — precisely because America was free and most European nations were highly regulated. The same had happened when Greece and Rome chose high regulations while the European nations maintained relative freedom.

In the 19th century when Americans went west and found free lands to till, develop and improve, American prosperity soared. Later, when a Civil War gave a higher level of freedom to all Americans by ending slavery, prosperity skyrocketed. It took a while, but in less than eighty years the United States became the world’s leading power.

Freedom brings progress.

When industry, farming, education, and health care were only barely regulated (just enough to provide basic, obvious protections), all of these sectors made huge wealth, built a strong America, created millions of good jobs (where one working adult could support their whole family), and spurred increased innovations and technologies.

While big-government Europe watched its people live in apartments, small-government America watched its citizens build and own independent homes, often with large yards.

In big-government Europe well-to-do families owned a car; in small-government America even many lower-middle-class families owned several.

Freedom brings progress; decreasing freedom brings decline.

So many more examples from world history could be discussed. Sectors free from regulation lead a nation, at least until politicians figure this out and find ways to regulate them.

Today, there are at least five sectors that have higher-than-average levels of freedom:

  1. Family
  2. Home businesses
  3. Network marketing businesses
  4. Online businesses
  5. Businesses that operate across borders in many nations

Note that politicians are already scheming ways to tax online businesses, force people to buy an electronic stamp for each email or Facebook update/relationship change, charge fees for various actions of international companies, and many others.

All such attempts to increase regulation actually reduce freedom and bring decline.

But for now, business is the sector of society with the most freedom. If progress is going to come, it will happen in the entrepreneurial sectors.

Bill Gates said that

“One sign of a healthy industry is lower prices. The statistics show that the cost of computing has decreased ten million fold since 1971. That’s the equivalent of getting a Boeing 747 for the price of a pizza.”

So why can’t all of us afford a jet today, just like we afford a computer? The answer is that during the past thirty years the aerospace industry was highly regulated while the computing sector was not. You can argue that airplanes should be highly regulated; after all, they can be weapons. But, in rebuttal, so can computers.

The principle remains: Where there is freedom, there is progress. Where freedom is lacking, there is decline.

If you want to promote freedom today, think entrepreneurially — and encourage your youth and others to do the same. The future belongs to entrepreneurship, because freedom leads to progress.

This is what’s really going on in our nation, and only those who understand this realize what’s coming — and what to do about it.

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odemille What Every Citizen Must Know About Government Finances Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Blog &Business &Constitution &Entrepreneurship &Family &Government &History &Leadership &Mini-Factories &Prosperity

The Legacy of 2013?

January 8th, 2014 // 1:31 pm @

drowning-laws-300x231The year 2013 is over, and it may go down in history as another drastically negative year like 1913. The hundred year itch? Maybe.

The year started out with high political drama as Republicans and Democrats argued late into the nights on January 1 and 2 in search of a fiscal cliff agreement.

In May and June we watched a domino series of major scandals, including the IRS targeting of conservative groups and the revelation that the NSA is consistently spying on all American citizens.

The drama didn’t let up over the summer, culminating in the widely watched government shutdown in October.

Then came the rollout of Obamacare, and the fact that no, you can’t “keep your doctor, or your insurance company,” no matter what the President promised.

Many Americans lost all faith in politicians — all of them.

But the worst news came in December, with the little-publicized announcement of the two major things that will most likely stand out about 2013:

  1. First, China landed a probe on the moon, symbolizing a new level of Chinese expansion into world leadership.
  2. Second, the news came out that during 2013 state governments in the United States passed over 40,000 new laws.

That’s not a typo. It’s 40,000 new laws — which means five times that many regulations when all the agencies of government write these laws into agency policies. It’s even more if you add the new federal laws.

Taken together, these signal a serious period of decline for America. We are a nation being overtaken by our biggest competitor (some would say future enemy) China, and simultaneously mired in skyrocketing levels of regulation.

Governments, federal and state, now seem determined to regulate and overregulate every facet of our lives — private and business. Many entrepreneurs, who were already reeling from reams of Obamacare regulations, are now facing more government red tape from every flank.

The free enterprise economy is literally under siege. Those who think this is exaggerated should try to open a significant new business in the United States. Most of the biggest entrepreneurs and corporations who have attempted this recently have decided to build in China or some other economy instead. The U.S. government has become generally hostile to business.

This is a strange reality for the land of the free and the home of the brave. Long considered the bastion of world freedom and economic opportunity, America is consistently less appealing to many businesses and investors.

The December 31, 2013 issue of USA Today summarized this overarching trend by saying that “aristocracy” is now “in” in America.

Aristocracy, really? That’s a bold statement. Yet it is increasingly true. The lower classes are more dependent on government, and the middle classes only survive by using debt. Only the upper class, the elites, are financially flourishing — and many of them rely on international investment that is growing in foreign economies.

Anyone relying on the U.S. economy right now is concerned. What will the escalating rollout of Obamacare bring? How many more government regulations will come in 2014, and how will this further weaken the economy?

The experts are finally taking notice of sharply rising levels of regulation, even if Washington isn’t.

For example, Francis Fukuyama called our time “The Great Unravelling” (The American Interest, Jan/Feb 2014) and Steven M. Teles called it “Kludgeocracy in America” (National Affairs, Fall 2013). We have become a Kludgeocracy indeed, with more business-killing regulation every week.

In The Discovery of Freedom, Rose Wilder Lane said that,

“Men in Government who imagine that they are controlling a planned economy must prevent economic progress—as, in the past, they have always done.”

What is her definition of a planned economy? Answer: modern France, Britain, and the United States. She quoted Henry Thomas Buckle, who wrote:

“In every quarter, and at every moment, the hand of government was felt. Duties on importation, and on exportation; bounties to raise up a losing trade, and taxes to pull down a remunerative one; this branch of industry forbidden, and that branch of industry encouraged; one article of commerce must not be grown because it was grown in the colonies, another article might be grown and bought, but not sold again, while a third article might be bought and sold, but not leave the country.

“Then, too, we find laws to regulate wages; laws to regulate prices; laws to regulate the interest of money…The ports swarmed with [government officials], whose sole business was to inspect nearly every process of domestic industry, to peer into every package, and tax every article…”

This was written about France, just before it lost its place as the world’s most powerful nation, and it was published as a warning to Britain, just before it lost it’s superpower status. This quote applies perfectly to America today.

Great nations in decline need innovation and entrepreneurialism, but instead they choose anti-innovation and anti-entrepreneurial regulation. It’s amazing how every nation repeats this well-known but addictive path of self-destruction.

As Lane Kenworthy argues in Foreign Affairs, opponents of bigger government “are fighting a losing battle.” In the near future, he says,

“More Americans will work in jobs with low pay, will lose a job more than once during their careers, and will reach retirement age with little savings.”

But this will be offset, he suggests, by more vacation days, less working hours each week, and more government programs that pay for many of these people’s needs.

Many of the experts agree — he U.S. economy isn’t going to boom anytime soon, but this will be balanced for investors by significant economic successes in Mexico, South Korea, Poland, Turkey, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, among other places.

All of this adds up to an America on the verge of what Paul Kennedy called the “fall of great powers”: overreach in international affairs that spends much of the nation’s prosperity, and simultaneously too much government regulation at home — shutting down a nation’s innovative/entrepreneurial class at the same time that the government taxes and spends more and more.

This same pattern brought down the top leader status of Spain, France, Britain and the Soviet Union. Before these, it brought down Athens, Rome, and the Ottoman Empire. Unless the United States changes course, it is following this same blueprint for decline.

When historians look back on 2013, they may well see it as the tipping point to a rapid American downturn. Partisan conflicts, government spying on its own people, drastic government spending, constantly increasing regulation, the rapid rise of China — any of these could fuel real decline. Together they may be insurmountable.

But one thing stands out: In a nation desperately in need of innovation and entrepreneurial initiative, the government is handing out innovation-blocking regulations at a breakneck pace.

The good news in all this is that entrepreneurs don’t give up easily. Tenacity is part of their DNA. The future will be determined by this race between politicians (increasing regulations) and entrepreneurs (innovation and prosperity).

Whoever wins will lead the 21st Century.

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odemille Why Washington Cant Be Fixed, But America Can Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Aristocracy &Blog &Business &Citizenship &Current Events &Economics &Entrepreneurship &Government &Politics

The Death of The Middle Class

July 19th, 2013 // 10:51 am @

Columnist Joe Klein said on The Chris Matthews Show:

“This is the biggest problem that we’re facing going forward. We were a homogenous, middle class country, by and large, for the fifty years after World War II.

“Now we’re no longer homogenous, and there’s a good aspect to that in that we have become a true multiracial country. But there’s a bad aspect to that, in that the middle class, which was the heart of this country, is beginning to fracture, and to panic, in many ways.

“And unless we figure out a way to find jobs for the vast middle class in this country, it’s going to be really hard to sustain democracy. We now have a plutocracy in this country.”

This is exactly true, and many Americans feel Wall Street and Washington are working together against the middle class.

Worse, many people aren’t sure that any solution is ahead.

Many experts suggest that education can solve the class divide, but the people realize that most schools are actually increasing the gap between elites and the rest.

Modern schooling has become a huge part of the problem, not a solution.

The only real solution is a widespread shift from the employee mentality to entrepreneurship.

As David Ignatius points out, many immigrants to America see the United States as a great place to start businesses.

Sadly, most native-born Americans are afraid of entrepreneurship and feel that jobs should be plentiful—as if it were a birthright.

The future of American freedom hinges on this question: will the current generation of Americans embrace entrepreneurialism, or will we keep whining about Washington while waiting for more jobs to somehow appear?

Is the American spirit dead, or is free enterprise still one of our greatest American traditions?

Only the regular people can make this choice.

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Aristocracy &Blog &Business &Citizenship &Culture &Current Events &Economics &Entrepreneurship &Featured &Leadership &Producers

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