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Archive for March, 2019

ASK ME HOW SMART I ARE

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 20, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– We’re probably not as intelligent as we think.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

In the political world, people like to argue which group is more intelligent, particularly liberals. I’m not sure why this is, other than to presume it creates an air of superiority to suit someone’s vanity. I believe it to be a moot point as I know a lot of smart people on both sides of the aisle, but I never saw a big discrepancy one way or another. Come to think of it, such a boast probably denotes some hidden weakness by the person expressing it. The biggest difference between the two sides, as far as I’m concerned, are separate interpretations of moral values. We simply see the world differently and have different priorities.

In terms of pure intelligence though, I think I can count on one hand the number of true geniuses I’ve met in my walk through life, but aside from this I have met some truly intelligent people whom I greatly respect. Interestingly, not all possess a formal education, yet they exhibit signs of intelligence I admire and rely on for advice.

Some people believe a person’s vocabulary is a distinguishable characteristic of intelligence. It may be an indicator, but it is certainly not proof of intelligence. I have met far too many people who have a verbosity of bullshit cloaking other shortcomings in their personality. They may be able to speak well, but so can a parrot if trained properly.

There are those who believe intelligence is distinguished by a person’s ability to absorb and recite facts. I have trouble with this notion as well. To my way of thinking, the person has nothing more than a good memory which any tape recorder or computer can duplicate.

Years ago in an interview, author Truman Capote made the observation that actors and entertainers weren’t especially intelligent. He recounted his relationship with actors Sir Lawrence Olivier and Sir John Gielgud, two excellent and well recognized actors of his generation. According to Capote, both were nice guys, but he hardly considered them intellectuals. Both could memorize a script, but lacked problem-solving skills, and I suspect a lot of entertainers today fall into this category as well.

To me, intelligence is the ability to apply logic towards solving a problem. Knowing facts and possessing an articulate vocabulary is nice, but knowing how to put it all together to solve a problem or achieve a goal is the real measure of intelligence. From this perspective, I have met a lot of people with basic street smarts who are far more intelligent than a lot of college professors or savants I know. In other words, I have more respect for a person who can think clearly for himself, than a person who can do nothing more than parrot facts and figures.

Sometimes we confuse intelligence with experience. Under this scenario, a person who has lived through many experiences, and learned from them, can pass this knowledge on to others who may perceive the person as brilliant. Probably the only thing “smart” here was that the person learned from the experience. Conversely, anybody that fails to learn from experience, and repeats a mistake, cannot be very bright.

IQ scores don’t necessarily impress me either. I remember a classmate in high school who allegedly had a high IQ score. I found it rather amusing when he failed the written portion of his driver’s test on more than one occasion (I think he was looking for the meaning of life in a stop sign). I’ve also found a lot of people like this who simply want to be paid because they are smart, but don’t know how to work productively. In other words, they may know a lot, but have trouble applying it. Those who are perceived as “witty” tend to fall into this category. Most are entertainers who possess an aversion to real work.

To me, the real distinguishing characteristic of an intelligent person is someone who knows what they are doing, does it well, and can be counted on to deliver solutions and solve problems over and over again (reliability). This is why I am so impressed with craftsmen who know how to produce fine work, even under extraordinary circumstances. It is a pleasure to watch such people tackle a difficult assignment, conquer problems, and produce a finished product of exquisite workmanship. They look at a problem, determine the method to follow and the tools to use, and complete the task on time and within budget. As far as I’m concerned, this is the work of sheer genius.

I have also found such people exhibit an insatiable curiosity about the world around them, not just a single area. As the Japanese like to say, such people think in terms of “360 degrees.” In other words, they are always looking at the bigger picture.

Actually, I wish people would be less concerned with being an intellectual, and be more driven by common-sense. I think we would get a lot more done. As one former president said…

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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DEMOCRACY VERSUS REPUBLIC

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 19, 2019

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Do you know the difference?

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

One of my pet peeves involving politics is when people misstate our form of government. Normally, I would claim this as the fault of uneducated young people, but many politicians, members of the press, as well as grown-ups are also guilty of this faux pas. No, we most definitely do not live in a “democracy,” but a “constitutional republic” instead, as does most of the governments in the world.

In its truest sense, democracy means “Rule by the People,” meaning a system of government whereby the populace votes directly on each and every issue. When you consider the voluminous number of bills and candidates to be voted upon, this is simply not feasible, regardless if we had the most sophisticated computer software to do so. Time should be allotted to deliberate on each piece of legislation and, to do so, would require citizens to devote most of their time to such study, and not tend to their own business.

This is why we elect politicians, to represent our interests so the populace doesn’t have to vote on every bill, large or small, and explains why we refer to this as a “representative democracy,” aka “republic.” Here, the elected representatives are governed by a rule of law, such as a constitution, which defines the structure and responsibility of executive, legislative, and judicial tasks. Consequently, we call this form of government a “constitutional republic,” which is a more accurate description of our government than “democracy.” It should also be noted that under this form of government, the head of state is not a monarch, such as a King or Queen, which lends itself more to being a “monarchy” as opposed to a free-standing “republic.”

Every now and then, we hear a politician or member of the media proclaim, “This (or that) is a threat to our democracy.” This tells me they haven’t a clue as to what they are talking about. Instead, they should have said, “This is a threat to our republic.” Alas though, they do not.

The Democrats also have a problem with the name, particularly when they refer to themselves as the “Democratic” party. This too is incorrect. However, it is often difficult to describe the party, audibly or in writing, without making this common mistake. The term “Democracy” is so imbued in our culture, the Democrats try capitalizing on it to confuse the public, portraying the word “republic” as a constitutional threat to the country. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is now the largest socialist organization in the United States and aside from their far-left agenda, it is difficult to discern if they truly embrace democracy or a constitutional republic, I suspect the former.

Another commonly misunderstood area is the concept of the Electoral College in presidential elections, which is indirectly tied to the concept of “republic” as opposed to “democracy” by electing electorates (representatives) as opposed to a popular vote. By doing so, it provides parity between the interests of rural and metropolitan America. Frankly, the Electoral College is a testament to the sheer genius of our founding fathers as it encourages everyone to vote, not just large metropolitan areas.

Liberals believe the Electoral College is a threat to democracy, and it is reported as such by the press. In reality, they are correct as the College is intended to be used in a republic, not a democracy.

So, in a nutshell, No, we do not live in a democracy, in the truest sense of the word. We live in a “constitutional republic” and it is important all citizens understand the differences.

Following the writing of the U.S. Constitution, a woman approached Benjamin Franklin, who was one of the delegates and authors, and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?” He coyly replied, “A republic — if you can keep it.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

THE BEST WORD IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 14, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– And it is certainly not “please.”

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

My company has been fortunate to have conducted business all over the world. Visiting the different cultures has afforded us the opportunity to learn a lot about their perspectives on life, not to mention their humor and speech patterns. Inevitably we often compare notes about the expressions and idioms used by people. For example, in Australia, I was somewhat surprised to learn that a “rubber” referred to an eraser. I went to a restaurant and discovered they didn’t have “doggie bags” but rather “pussie boxes.” I had to bite my tongue on that one.

When people from overseas visited with us, they were enraptured by our slang and colloquialisms. The English, for example, had trouble understanding the expression “G2” which I commonly use in my presentations. The term is derived from the military and used to express the performance of research and intelligence work, e.g., “Did you do your G2?” While most Americans understood the expression, it baffled the British. The point is, I tend to believe Americans use a lot more jargon than we are cognizant of.

There is one word in our vernacular outsiders particularly enjoy, Bulls*** (aka “BS”). In particular, the Japanese have a fondness for this word beyond description. Evidently, they have nothing comparable to it in their lexicon. They consider it the most versatile word in our language fulfilling many applications. It can be used to express intense displeasure with something, to describe a frivolous activity, to refute an argument, to cut someone off in conversation, and many other uses. It was made very clear to me by the Japanese and others, that in the business world, “BS”, is the best word in the English language.

Not surprising, I have heard it used in many settings; in Japanese companies for example, a manager may shout it out for inferior workmanship; in Brazil it is amusing to hear Portugese conversation interrupted by a booming “BS”; or even the proper English allowing it to slip inconspicuously into the conversation, “I say old boy, that truly is bulls***.” The Mexicans have, of course, adapted it to Spanish, “Caca de toro.”

I fear though, the expression is doomed to extinction as it is more identified with my Baby Boomer generation and not by others. For example, my son’s generation has no appreciation for the word and will seldom use it. It’s a pity too, as I’ve found it to be one of the best words I have ever used, both in business and personal settings. Perhaps the Japanese will maintain it for us until future generations in this country rediscover its value.

Originally published: Jul 20, 2012. Updated: 2019.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

Posted in Communications, Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

BREAKING IN NEW SHOES

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 13, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– A “sensitive” topic for all of us.

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I am finding as we grow older we gravitate to simple creature comforts. We are not easily impressed anymore as we have already experienced a lot and want to avoid anything that might complicate our lives. No, we don’t want to do more maintenance, we want to do less. For example, I have been mowing lawns for 55 years now, which I really don’t mind, but I balk at planting anything new requiring me to do any additional weeding or watering. I also know people who have removed their swimming pools as they no longer use them, nor want to maintain them. The mantra is “Simplify, Simplify.”

Along these lines, let’s talk about shoes. When my father-in-law passed away years ago, he must have had over a dozen pair of white Keds loafers. You know the kind, simple to slip in and out of, no shoestrings to tie, and afforded comfort. I thought it odd that he had so many pairs of them in the closet, all white, some still in the box, but the family knew this had become a part of his retirement uniform and wanted to keep him happy.

Last week I bought a new pair of dress shoes for myself. Men do not typically buy a lot of shoes, at least I don’t as I tend to take good care of them. My problem though is breaking them in. Ever since I was a lad, I would develop water blisters on my heels when I got a new pair of shoes, and it was likely caused by the stiffness of the new shoes. This is why I dreaded the approach of Easter as it meant my mother would be buying me new shoes for church. I remember developing a walk like the Frankenstein monster to minimize bending my feet and rubbing the painful blisters.

I developed a similar problem when I played football and bought new shoes at the beginning of each season. Again, painful blisters plagued me. Even though I tried to cover them with an assortment of bandages and gauze, it still took time for me to break in the shoes. As an aside, I remember one time when I accidentally rubbed some alcohol-based balm, used to relieve muscle soreness, on an open blister, resulting in me shooting out of my chair with a deafening war whoop. I am sure it was rather funny to my teammates, but it was extremely painful, very painful.

Because of this background, you can understand why I am sensitive to breaking in new shoes. In the latest chapter, my new shoes fit properly, but it was a little snug over the arches of the foot. Although my feet were comfortable in the morning, by the end of the day, they were in extreme pain. Realizing I had to somehow stretch them out, I inserted some old shoetrees into the shoes to expand them. It took about a week for them to properly loosen up and are now quite comfortable, even though they turned me into a crab for several days.

I also needed a new pair of knock-around shoes for the weekend. Remembering my father-in-law, I found myself looking for a pair of simple loafers that offered comfort. No, I didn’t want to bother with the hassle of laces anymore; I just wanted something to easily slip in and out of and be comfortable in. To this end, I bought a pair of Skechers. Frankly, I had never heard of them before but, after trying on a pair, I was sold. I actually like them better than all my other shoes, both dress and casual, and I find myself wearing them more frequently as they offer the simple creature comforts I was looking for.

My only concern is that years from now, my kids are going to find nothing but Skechers in my closet, with some still in the box. Just remember, “Simplify, Simplify.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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UNDERSTANDING TECHNOLOGY ADDICTION

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 12, 2019

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

– Time to curb our use of personal technology.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Recently, I happened to be driving near the local high school as it was ending the day. I saw a lot of students walking home alone or in groups. Interestingly, all were plugged into their smart phones listening to God knows what. At the gym later on, I experienced a similar phenomenon. It’s incredibly quiet there as people are plugged into their phones. I’ve given up trying to hold a conversation with people there, and it is pretty much the same in offices as well.

As someone intimate with the industry, I have always found technology addiction interesting, but I wonder if we have taken it to the sublime. I have a friend who moves automobiles between dealerships and is scared to death of the people plugged into their smart phones while driving, either talking, reading messages, texting, etc. None of this is new, but has it gotten too pervasive?

Day in and day out, I have been actively using computers for over forty years, but do not consider myself to be an addict. I started by using mainframes at customer locations. In the office, we used an HP-3000/MPE mini, and a DEC VAX/VMS (my personal favorite), followed by PC’s using OS/2 (which I still consider the best PC operating system ever invented), as well as Windoze. When it comes to phones, I use a simple flip-top to communicate with people, but I never had any interest in surfing the Net with it.

I have used computers for corporate planning, system design, data base design, project management, and a ton of writing assignments over the years, not to mention developing multimedia presentations. I’ve been on the Internet since the late 1980’s, including e-mail, web design, and FTP protocols. When I’m at work, I am on the computer from early in the morning until late in the day. So, Yes, I’m intimate with computers which explains why I want to “unplug” at the end of the day and have no trouble leaving it behind me. When I go fly-fishing, I look forward to the quiet solitude of the river. However, I believe I am an anomaly as I can leave it all behind, and many people cannot.

Through miniaturization, we have made it incredibly easy to perform normal computing tasks in the palm of our hands. Perhaps too easy. This includes all of the messages, e-mails, tweets, news bulletins distracting us during the day. When the phone rings or vibrates, people have been conditioned to respond immediately, not later. Sure, we also have access to games, audio and video, but more than anything, it is this easy access to information that is causing the addiction. It is analogous to the junkie who gives you free drugs to start your addiction.

Instead of turning off the technology now and then, people prefer leaving it on 24/7. This is where I differ with people. Even though I am imbued in technology, I have no problem walking away from it. No, I do not need to read every message, e-mail, or tweet that someone writes. I can look through them later at my leisure, and most likely, I will not respond. Unfortunately, others are less disciplined and find the urge to review everything irresistible. My question is, do we really need to jump for every message, regardless how frivolous it might be? Probably not.

This is all a matter of discipline and etiquette. For example, during dinner time with the family, No, it is not necessary to respond to a message. It’s more important, and courteous, to talk with people around the table. The same is true in a corporate setting where you are attending a meeting or training session. Leave the phone alone, and engage in the meeting instead. As an instructor myself, nothing is more irritating than to see someone reaching for their phone. If you have to answer a call or respond to a message, take it outside; do not distract others.

In other words, we can overcome some of our technology addiction by applying some simple common-sense discipline, such as:

1. In a social setting with others, turn the phone off or at least silence it. Do not reach for it while others are talking. Excuse yourself if necessary. Translation: Don’t be rude.

2. Adjust your priorities so that a live person is more important than a machine.

3. Do not allow the technology to dominate you, you dominate the technology. I say the same thing about guns when hunting.

If all you are doing is responding in a Pavlovian manner to a computer, you have got some real problems. Do yourself a favor, just turn it off now and then, the world will still be there when you get back.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Technology | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CAPITALISTIC CRABS

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 7, 2019

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Even fiddler crabs understand the basics of our economic system.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I went to the beach recently with my wife where we planted our umbrella and chairs in the sand as we usually do. It was low tide so we moved down closer to the edge of the water. Interestingly, we found ourselves situated in the midst of a colony of fiddler crabs who were busy digging holes in the sand and filtering the granules for some sort of nutritious treasure, whatever that might be. Although there were dozens of them around us, they took care to keep their distance from us and quickly buried themselves in the sand if we moved too quickly or stamped our feet.

They appeared to be quite industrious in their work and quite amusing to watch. Each dug a hole and mined balls of sand from it which they patiently picked through for nutrients. I noticed there were physical differences in the various crabs. Some were larger and possessed one rather impressive pincer claw which made it look like it was playing a fiddle (hence the name). Sometimes the claw was on the right side, others were southpaws. My attention focused on a particular crab which I called “Lefty” who seemed to have one of the more prominent holes in the sand. I was genuinely impressed by the amount of sand Lefty excavated from his lair. He seemed to be very concerned with keeping the area around his den neat and tidy. If a neighboring crab came too close, Lefty would ward him off by flashing his pincer. Most of the time though, he would simply push them out of his territory before retreating back to his hole where he would continue in his endeavors. Most of the crabs I saw seemed to follow Lefty’s lead whereby they worked hard and enjoyed the bounty of their efforts. Although they were rather territorial in nature, they allowed neighbors on their property only if they respected his domain.

Lefty became bored with the routine after awhile, and decided to survey the world around him. Unlike others who remained at home, Lefty traveled far and wide looking for new opportunities (at least ten feet away). Inevitably, he would have to cross over the territory of other crabs who quickly rebuffed his advances, regardless of his size. Nonetheless, Lefty continued on his trek until he found himself outside of the colony. He eventually found a new spot on the beach which evidently had a better view of the ocean, not to mention nutrients in the sand, and began to dig a new burrow. Never satisfied, he moved on to another location after he exhausted the nutrients. Interestingly, the other crabs didn’t seem to have his adventurous spirit and stayed home while Lefty saw the world.

After studying the habits of the fiddler crab for a couple of hours, I came to the conclusion they were a perfect example of capitalism in practice. Everyone worked hard for their food; freeloaders were taught to work if they wanted to eat, but some were allowed to graze on private property if the tenant was so inclined. The crabs were also free to roam and explore new endeavors, as exemplified by Lefty who enjoyed the bounties of success after leaving the colony, a very risky proposition. I don’t think Aesop could have made a better analogy.

I found this all rather intriguing and wondered if I could simulate this phenomenon on a larger scale. To do so, I purchased a dozen sand shovels and left them on the beach near a group of children who eagerly used them to dig holes and make sand forts. Each worked merrily to carve up their small piece of the beach which they were all very proud of. At the end of the day, they left their shovels in the sand and watched as the incoming tide reclaimed their creations. Again, this was another fine example of capitalism as each person was allowed to work as hard as they wanted and enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

Next, I obtained a dozen trowels, along with four shovels, and placed them near a group of conservatives on the beach. They eagerly picked up the tools and started to create some rather inspiring structures, including a six foot high sand castle complete with turrets, bridges, a moat with water, and the inside was large enough to hold a small child within its walls. It was pretty impressive. Other participants sculpted some interesting shapes, including a sea serpent, a ship, and what appeared to be a submarine. They took turns using the shovels as there were only four of them. Although a few people worked independently, most paired up into teams to create their structures and some friendly competition ensued. At the end, they congratulated each other on the job they had done. It was so impressive, curiosity seekers stopped by to admire their work and praised them accordingly. All of the tools were cleaned off and returned to the spot where I had brought them.

Finally, I took the same utensils and dropped them near a group of liberals. Frankly, they weren’t too impressed with them. Having watched the conservatives work and the adulation they received, instead of building something new, they complained to the media who filmed them tearing down the work of the conservatives. They complained about the heat and the working conditions and fought each other over territory in the sand. They then sold the tools and pocketed the money, and blamed the conservatives for defacing the beach.

Frankly, I was disappointed with the results of my experiment. I hoped the liberals had been at least as smart and industrious as the tiny fiddler crab, but I guess I was wrong.

Originally published: June 27, 2012. Updated 2019.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Economics, Politics, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CAPITALISM VERSUS SOCIALISM: REFERENCE GUIDE

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 6, 2019

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– What every young person should know.

Click for MINI-POSTER.

REFERENCE GUIDE

                                                              CAPITALISM                                SOCIALISM

WHAT IS IT? Socioeconomic system based on PRIVATE ownership of the means of production and operates for PROFIT.

Encourages independence and the rights of the INDIVIDUAL over the group.

The individual is allowed to try any endeavor, including the development, marketing and support of products and services for public consumption.

The individual is allowed to keep and enjoy the fruits of his/her labors.

Socioeconomic system based on STATE ownership of the means of production; not driven by profit.

Encourages state dependency and the rights of the GROUP over the individual.

The state dictates what products and services are to be developed, and who shall produce them.

Each person works for the state, not individually, and receives compensation in the form of shared wealth and free services.

A pseudo-Utopia.

ECONOMY Free economy; based on private buyers and sellers.

Competition flourishes and causes natural evolution of products and services through market demand (akin to Darwin’s “Natural Selection”).

Consumers free to choose the products and services they want.

Economy is controlled by the state; little, if any, competition.
Buyer has fewer choices to make.
CLASS STRUCTURE 3 levels – Upper/Middle/Lower classes.
Middle class powers economy through purchasing power.
2 levels – State/Worker classes (aka, “Master/Slave”).

No middle class, no economic engine, a redistribution of the wealth.

Workers become wards of the state.

THE INDIVIDUAL Independence encourages personal initiative and work ethic.

More earning power, but individual assumes risk.

Enjoys protection of Intellectual Property, e.g., patents, copyrights, trade secrets, etc.

Employment will experience ups and downs due to economic conditions.

Discourages personal initiative (“everyone wins”). No Super Rich.

Compensation is evenly distributed among workers.

Earning power is limited. Individual assumes no risk.

Intellectual Property is owned by the state, not individual.

Employment is guaranteed.

EFFECT ON GOVERNMENT Personal independence requires freedom and equal rights in order to function.

Requires less bureaucracy, smaller government.

Flourishes under a Republic with democratically elected representatives.

Creates dependency on state; Requires more bureaucracy (larger government) through regulation as the state controls everything, including food, education, housing, communications, health care, energy, transportation, etc.

Hinders rights and loss of liberty. Encourages autocratic rule.
Less freedom.

Click for MINI-POSTER.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Economics, Politics, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

THE MIDDLE CLASS: SEPARATING CAPITALISM FROM SOCIALISM

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 5, 2019

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Why capitalism makes more sense.

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One of the fundamental differences between capitalism and socialism is in the area of class structure and, unfortunately, many people do not grasp this difference. Under capitalism, there are three levels: an upper class representing super successful people who have earned a fortune, the middle class representing John/Jane Doe who works diligently to put food on the table for their family, and a lower class representing the less fortunate of us. Influence is top-down based on the economic pecking order, thereby creating resentment by those lower in the chain.

Socialism, on the other hand, has just two classes: the ruling class, as represented by the state, and the working class where everyone is equal. I tend to refer to this as a “Master/Slave” relationship as the analogy to slavery is uncanny, where the Master micromanages everything and the Slave puts forth just enough effort to get by, but expects to be taken care of by the Master. There are many other nuances, but for the purposes of this article, the big difference here is the middle class.

A sizable middle class represents an economic engine for a country. Capitalism encourages people to work, to invest and to spend their money, allowing a country to collectively compete. The average person wants nothing more than to earn a respectable livelihood, so they can enjoy life and raise a family unencumbered by overbearing government regulations. As President Calvin Coolidge observed, “After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of the opinion that the great majority of people will always find these the moving impulses of our life.”

Do people truly understand the power of the middle class? I think they’re starting to overseas. We may not have invented the concept of a middle class, but we sure perfected it, and everyone wants to emulate it. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, countries around the world have been re-configuring their economic policies in order to remain competitive in a global economy. In case you haven’t been paying attention, new middle classes have slowly emerged in such places as China, Belarus, Brazil, Russia, Vietnam, and among South African blacks. People in these countries now have spending power thereby causing a demand for products and services, not to mention a call for construction of new houses and businesses.

In order for capitalism to work, you need to be allowed to have certain freedoms, such as the freedom of expression, the freedom to innovate and invent, the freedom to choose your own path, the freedom to conduct legitimate business, etc. This is why it is rather ironic how some of our former communist foes are now embracing capitalism. Under socialism, there is no protection of intellectual property, such as patents, trade secrets, copyrights, etc. Everything is owned by the state, not the individual.

In the absence of a middle class, you have just the rich and the poor (the “have’s” and the “have not’s”) which lends itself to being a feudal state controlled by dictators or monarchies. Such a state does not operate harmoniously, corruption is rampant, and unrest is common. The “have not’s”, which is a sizable majority, have little to earn and spend. Consequently, the economy sputters and stagnates which our communist friends discovered the hard way.

As mentioned, in order for capitalism to work, certain freedoms have to be permitted to allow a person to work, earn, and save their money, not to have it redistributed to others by government decree. This means there is an explicit relationship between freedom and capitalism. Implicitly, it means capitalism requires a certain amount of democracy to allow the citizens to participate in how the government runs, which means capitalism cannot work under a dictatorship (see Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, et al). As an aside, it is the middle class who elects government officials, not the upper or lower classes. The upper class may support politicians economically, but it is the middle class that casts the votes.

When someone asks me about my political leanings, I tell them I am an unabashed capitalist. This of course means I believe in liberty, and the right of the individual to lead a meaningful life, and I abhor any attempt by government to alter this or forcibly redistribute the wealth earned by the individual. I can understand government monitoring the legality of someone’s occupation, but aside from this they should not hinder a person’s right to earn a living.

Capitalism is our greatest export. It represents the seeds of freedom and economic prosperity. If it spreads, it could lead to world stability and peace which, of course, certain tyrants and crackpots openly reject. For example, Iraq will be an interesting experiment in capitalism. If Iraq succeeds, freedom and democracy will succeed, which is why Middle Eastern terrorists desperately want to see it fail as it represents a challenge to their authority. It’s not so much about religion as it is about control. Capitalism is a genuine threat to feudalism, a system which has no regards for the rights of the human-being and respect for the human spirit. Make no mistake, feudalism is barbaric.

To summarize:

1. In order to effectively compete in a world economy, you need capitalism.

2. In order for capitalism to flourish, you need freedom and democracy.

3. A byproduct of capitalism is a sizable middle class with spending power.

4. Therefore, any attempt to change capitalism is a threat to freedom, democracy, and the middle class.

No, I am not a proponent of government sponsored bailouts, stimulus packages or the creation of artificial jobs. Such devices does a disservice to capitalism and is unnatural. It is not government’s role to tamper with capitalism, only to establish the environment for capitalism to flourish, namely assuring freedom and protecting rights, serving its constituents, and providing incentives to encourage new avenues of business.

I am also of the belief that capitalism is very much akin to Darwin’s “natural selection” whereby goods and services evolve and improve in order to effectively compete. Under socialism, there is no competition as everything is controlled by the state. From this perspective, it is not “natural.” In other words, capitalism recognizes change through competition; in order for it to succeed, you must allow for the right to failure. By doing so, you assure our right to succeed.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Economics, Politics, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

THE TRUMP CULTURAL REVOLUTION

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 1, 2019

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Is the nation changing or resisting?

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

When I hear the vicious political discourse and boisterous hyperbole of today, it suggests to me the country is embroiled in a cultural revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since before the Civil War. One of the basic precepts regarding culture is, in order for a person to function and succeed, he/she must learn to conform to the culture or face rejection. Enter the ultimate outsider to our federal government, Donald Trump, a businessman who has never held political office. It is the very fact he was an outsider that propelled him to the presidency. After all, people had grown weary of “business as usual” in the nation’s capitol by both Republicans and Democrats, and were ready for a change.

As an outsider and businessman more concerned with results, Mr. Trump decided not to adapt to the Washington culture, but deliberately contested it instead, thereby causing friction with both parties. His agenda included overturning a great deal of former President Obama’s policies and treaties. More importantly, he wanted to change the mood and outlook of the country. To the public, this represented a “correction,” to the politicians, it represented heresy and a significant change to the status quo. The big question thereby becomes, was this change necessary? To those who elected Mr. Trump, the unequivocal answer is “Yes”; to everyone else, he is perceived as a genuine threat to their existence, which has triggered an uproar.

Some time ago, I wrote a review of author Mark Leibovich’s book, “This Town.” This was a fascinating description of the power and control of the Washington establishment. As I wrote back then…

“Leibovich reveals the true culture of DC, where an incestuous relationship exists between Government, Journalists, and Lobbyists. All scratch each other’s backs in order to climb their respective totem polls and grab as much money as possible along the way. He paints a picture of unadulterated collusion. He makes it clear Washington exists not to solve the problems of the country but to line the pockets of the residents there.”

“Through the book, Leibovich slips and reveals the Democratic bias of the press. Regardless of President Obama’s problems, he can do no wrong in the eyes of the mainstream media. In their eyes, the president is blameless for everything and genuinely the most brilliant president there has ever been. This is only surpassed by the media’s love affair with the Clintons. For some unknown reason, they are totally in awe of Hillary as well as her husband.”

“If the book teaches us anything, it is that the system is broken and in need of major repair.”

More than anything else, the corruption of the Washington establishment paved the way for Donald Trump’s ascension to the presidency.

The push back to President Trump has been incredible, yet expected. Both political parties could not believe he was elected to the highest office in the land. The media considered him DOA as a candidate and nothing but a joke who could be easily defeated by Her Highness Hillary. They grossly underestimated the dissatisfaction of the American public to the goings-on in Washington. In contrast, Donald Trump didn’t underestimate the people and used this to his advantage. His election left the establishment in shock and awe, thereby creating the push back we’ve been experiencing since Mr. Trump’s election.

To illustrate, consider the substantial body of changes we have observed in just the first two years of Mr. Trump’s presidency, and how our lexicon has changed. It has hardly been “business as usual” since his arrival.

* We’re now familiar with the concept of the “Deep State,” representing a body of people believed to be involved in the secret manipulation of government. We never heard of this expression prior to President Trump.

* The terms “resistance” and “obstruction” are now commonly used in Congress to delay and thwart the president’s plans and appointees, such as the recent showdowns over the wall along our southern border.

* Talks of presidential impeachment have surfaced in both the press and the Congress. The 25th amendment of the Constitution was relatively unknown. Now it is frequently quoted as a means to remove the president.

* The “Mueller Probe” was initiated in the hopes it would discover the president was working illegally with the Russians in the election. So far, nothing of any substance has surfaced.

* The term “RINO” was coined to denote “Republicans In Name Only,” meaning moderate Republicans who resist the president’s agenda. There is also the “Never Trump” movement consisting of Republicans dead set against Mr. Trump’s election and policies. It is this latter group that foiled the President’s plans for replacing Obamacare. He could have done much more without such people in the political establishment.

* The “take a knee” protest in the National Football League caused a furor over the patriotism of the NFL players. Further, snubbing a White House visit upon winning a sports championship came into vogue. Such shenanigans were never considered before.

* The public now accepts “Fake News” as a valid concept associated with the Main Stream Media, which continues to lose credibility (and subscribers). According to the MSM, President Trump is incompetent and, as such, is incapable of doing anything right, be it large or small.

* Anti-Trump marches are still popular. We’ve also witnessed the rise of “ANTIFA,” self-proclaimed “Anti-Fascists” who use violence and mayhem as their tactics in demonstrations. We’ve also seen the rise of left-wing organizations, such as the Sunrise Movement, representing young demonstrators supporting such things as the “New Green Deal.” There is also the rise of the “#MeToo Movement” who attempted to disrupt the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

* Free-speech on college campuses is under attack. If a talk does not conform to “political correctness,” the person’s 1st Amendment rights are suspended or assaulted. This has resulted in states writing legislation to overturn this policy.

* It is not uncommon for social media to censor postings supporting President Trump.

* Entertainer award ceremonies are now used as a political soap box as opposed to recognizing their craft.

* Trump supporters are now regularly ridiculed and demeaned in terms of their intelligence and values.

* Late night television, which used to avoid political subjects, is now dependent on jabs at the president.

* We have witnessed fraudulent claims of victimization (e.g., Jussie Smollet, Covington Catholic) and false accusations of hate crimes, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia. This is all widely reported by the news media, regardless if it is right or wrong.

* Anything said or done by the President, be it meaningful or a trifle, results in a Pavlovian protest and lampoon. This includes his family, the Vice President, and his inner circle of advisers. Opponents encourage people to openly harass them in public.

* President Trump is frequently labeled a “pathological liar,” yet when the establishment is caught spreading falsehoods, “Oops” is the typical response and all is forgiven. Further, the days of respectful debate are long gone, and replaced by hate and yelling.

* Today, we are witnessing the migration of people away from states controlled by Democrats, such as California and New York, to Republican controlled states, such as Texas and Florida, which are considered economically stable.

* We are seeing the erosion of history and civics in our classrooms, thereby grooming a generation of people ignorant of how and why government works, thereby making them more manipulative.

* Democrat candidates for president in 2020 have difficulty demonstrating their accomplishments. Instead of touting policy, they promise a multitude of public freebies and bash the President at every opportunity. Linked to this…

* We’re witnessing a rise in Socialism in this country as it is perceived as the antithesis of the policies of the Trump administration. Even though Socialism has failed throughout the world, liberals continue to embrace it and vilify anyone opposing it.

Gee, have I missed anything?

Does this sound like a culture embracing Mr. Trump or stubbornly rejecting him? Such fierce refutation of the President denotes the severity of cultural change. It also appears to be orchestrated. Whereas the country was rapidly moving towards a liberal agenda under former President Obama, President Trump has changed the course of the country by 180 degrees, hence the push back.

Within any culture, a person must observe the rules of morality, protocol, and socialization. To change the culture, you must address all three areas, which is what the president has been doing since his inauguration.

* In terms of morality, he has embraced God (and refuses to apologize for it), believes in the rule of law (particularly in the areas of immigration, and law and order), he is pro-life, supports charitable organizations (especially those for children), and believes in the dignity of work as it is important to the well-being of humans, both financially and mentally.

* In terms of protocol, President Trump has let the world know, under no uncertain terms, it is no longer business as usual, that important treaties have to be renegotiated, he has re-appraised our allies and enemies, and spurns the culture of political correctness.

* In terms of socialization, he has assumed a brash, unapologetic tone, and is unafraid to push back against his opponents, particularly the main stream media, which other presidents have been afraid to do. He has effectively used social media to perform an end-run around the press and get his message directly to the public, without the media’s filtering, something no other president has had the luxury of doing.

In other words, he has been bucking the establishment as described in Leibovich’s book.

President Trump has embraced the 3-Cs, Christianity, Capitalism, and Conservative values, all of which causes the news media and Democrats to panic, as well as a few Republicans. Yet, he perseveres. To change the culture of the country, he must remain steadfast and resolute, in spite of constant criticisms and resistance. This is something he became adept at as a successful businessman. He is fully cognizant success depends on “winning,” which explains why he has been pushing hard on economic initiatives, trade, peace, and safety of the country. This is not so much about creating a “Win-Lose” scenario (whereby in order for one to win, the other party must lose), as much as it is about changing the culture to “Win-Win” whereby the secret to success is getting people to take pride in their country, themselves, work together and thwart those who would undermine this extraordinary country as devised by our founding fathers. By doing so, he hopes to restore a sense of patriotism, citizenship, work ethic, and family values.

Yes, President Trump understands this is a cultural revolution we are embroiled in. He has seen it before in business on a smaller scale and understands it is difficult to change it, but he also understands the virtue of having everyone pulling on the same oar. He may have a few scars on him before he is finished, but he is unafraid to lead us into this brave new world. If he was to quit, the status quo wins and the establishment continues unabated.

Had the Democrat candidate won in 2016, there would not be the brouhaha we are experiencing today. Had any other Republican won the candidacy, most of whom were politicians, there would have likely been a cultural revolution, but not to the degree we are embroiled in now as Mr. Trump is the outsider and willing to push back against his opponents.

One last note, the 2020 election will tell us the effect of changing the nation’s culture. If President Trump wins, we know he is being successful, but if he is defeated, the Washington establishment will return to normal and the status quo has won. This will also affect the 2024 election in terms of electing Mr. Trump’s successor. Our support for President Trump will be measured by whether we want to see the culture of the country return to a liberal agenda, or if we favor a return to traditional conservative values.

Stay tuned.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Politics, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
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