What Kind of World Do We Really Want?
An op-ed by futurist John Renesch, author, Getting to the Better Future
© 2007 John Renesc
Don’t look at what we claim to value to get to the truth; look at how we live and work, what everyday choices we make, and you will see what we really value – what we think is important.
Sages through the ages have stated versions of this for centuries. It isn’t particularly new. But it warrants another look as we Americans seem to be making everyday choices that don’t match the values we claim to hold so dear.
Do we really want a world at peace or do we want to dominate the rest of the world as stated in the philosophy driving our present foreign policy? 
Do we really care about all human life or are we only concerned about Americans, as appears evident from the news we subscribe to and the conversations in which we engage? 
Do we really care about children when we allow so many to die from malnutrition and suffer from a lack of medical aid? 
Do we truly believe all people are created equal or do we mean only people like us?
Do we honestly believe in the “invisible hand” of the free market when we find ourselves working ourselves to death to pay the debt incurred by our obsessive consumption? 
Do we really envision “joy to the world” while remaining content to live in a world filled with fear and hatred, mostly aimed at us?
Do we believe in a multi-nation approach to the world’s problems or do we prefer to be “king of the hill”? 
Do we mean what we say when we decry war crimes and crimes against humanity yet we avoid persecution for these acts by standing above the laws we agreed to uphold? 
Do we want a united world federation that respects all nations or do we want to everything done our way? 
These are but a few questions we can ask ourselves as individuals, communities and as a country. Once we own these discrepancies between what we claim to value and what we do, once we own our hypocrisy, we can choose which values to honestly live by, which values to put into action and either align our walk with our talk or stop bullshitting ourselves and each other. Then at least truth will be told.
 See Project for a New American Century report
 U.S. news media and citizen awareness of Americans killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorist bombings, airplane crashes and other disasters with little to no attention on other nationalities killed
 “More than six million children under the age of five needlessly die around the world each year, according to experts.” – BBC News
 Lobbying by special interests, subsidies and manipulative advertising stacks the deck against free choices
 Pattern of constant U.S. disrespect for U.N. policies, blocking global initiatives that don’t suit “our national interests”
 See Note 5
 See Note 5
submitted to The Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2007
If America Were Run Like a Business
an op-ed by futurist John Renesch
Imagine a company where the board of directors stood by passively while the management team completely squandered the company’s brand over a period of five years, reducing the firm’s goodwill from “best practice” to “least trusted” by the public and “worst offender” of environmental standards. Imagine the company’s shareholders screaming in protest while the board simply rung their hangs with worry but failed to intervene in any way because they were bound by their employment contract with the CEO and his team.
Even when the CEO announced he was planning things that would further destroy public goodwill and share value, increasing debt to unimaginable new highs, the board’s best remedy was to hope things would improve and talk among themselves about how bad things were. Even when it appeared the management team had become infested with “groupthink” and disallowed any feedback that ran counter to its strategy, the board did nothing. Board members seemed to forget that the management team worked for them!
Board members had plenty of opinions but they failed to do anything to stop the massive hemorrhaging of debt, loss of goodwill and brand deterioration. Those who sat on the board’s media committee sent emails to each other expressing their opinions but still no action was taken to correct the policies and behavior that was causing so much damage.
Imagine the U.S.A. as such a company where the administration is the management team under contract, the board of directors are the electorate and the rest of the world are the shareholders.
If a company were to be run the way I described above, it would be out of business very quickly. The most likely scenario: the board would go into emergency session at the first indication of destructive behavior and demand accountability for the team’s actions. Any actions or plans deemed harmful to the brand or the corporation’s major assets would be countered or the management team would be replaced immediately, contracts or not. Decline in shareholder value and the restoration of the public’s confidence in the firm would become the highest priorities.
American citizens have been ineffective in doing anything to reverse the rapid decline of it’s “brand” value, allowing it to be systematically eroded for over five or six years, seemingly resigned to allowing it to continue for another two years. Will the U.S.A. have any value remaining at that time? Are we so resigned and feeling like such victims of the circumstances we are content to wait until 2008 to begin cleaning up the mess? Does this sound like the same America where our forefathers and mothers left their jobs and took up muskets to fight for individual empowerment and liberty? They fought for what they believed in, they put their lives on the line and risked death, imprisonment and losing everything they owned. What are we willing to risk to merely gain back what we’ve lost in the past few years?
What has happened to us? Why have we become a nation of wimps, allowing the an over-arrogant management team to continue reeking havoc and trashing our country and bullying the world. Our country is at risk of imploding while causing unforeseen horror in the world and “we the people” have the opportunity to stand up and be counted – to make things right. This is not a time for mere rhetoric or opinion but a time to take corrective action – NOW, without waiting two more years when another perhaps slightly less incompetent management team will be retained.
As members of America’s board of directors, let us fire those who are failing their fiduciary responsibility with which we entrusted them and hire a new team which has both the competence and promise of restoring what has been destroyed these past five years. Then we can get on with moving ourselves closer to the true potential we have as a nation. Let us do whatever it takes and not be constrained by convention or existing precedent. After all, nothing less than our country is at stake!
John Renesch is a businessman-turned-futurist and the author of numerous books.