Inhale, exhale. A beating heart. The tide. Sunrise, sunset. The global economy. Cycles not so much define the human existence as surround and integrate themselves with it. They are natural, expected, and predictable. Yet it seems the human existence is more about trying to control and smooth out these cycles.
The first chapter of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged seems to direct the storyline in some interesting though predictable paths. I'm hoping I'm either wrong or that the story becomes so intense that in either case my own thinking and preconceptions will face some strong challenges. Still, the first idea that struck me is the human response to cycles, and in this case economic cycles.
[James Taggart to Eddie Willers] ...I'm not so sure that his oil fields are such a beneficial achievement. It seems to me that he's dislocated the economy of the whole country. nobody expected Colorado to become an industrial state. How can we have any security or plan anything if everything changes all the time?
Good God, Jim! He's--
Yes, I know, I know, he's making money...We can't help it if we're up against destructive competition of that kind. Nobody can blame us.
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand - Chapter 1.
Constant change and perceived unfair competition. Sounds like any run-of-the-mill management conversation. Well, at least the constant change part.
Although published in 1957, these words could describe the economic state that America finds itself in today. And I'm guessing that the rest of the novel will be the fight to overcome whatever is perceived as unfair - with Machiavellian decisions made along the way. The bottom line? As with past economic cycles, America has faced intense competition and has overcome. Rather than fighting each other to redistribute the remaining gains, let's get at overcoming the challenge again. We're not going to gain ground trying to smooth out this cycle. After all, a flatline only means one thing.