The Age of Creativity (2 of 3)

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Access: Fair Markets

Trust and knowledge are useless without a goal. The primary goal of the individual is to succeed individually. But, the market health that includes one individual’s success is often open enough to support other community members in a reciprocal exchange of goods, services, or trust. This exchange, coupled with the individual need to succeed (and possibly disagreements), creates new markets. As long as the motivation of the individual is high, the markets function to sustain the community.

Knowledge

Knowledge is defense against the pitfalls of ignorance. Often, failures of omission are founded in ignorance—not knowing the proper preparation or response. The only thing worse than lack of knowledge is knowledge that is flawed. Ignorance with confidence is dangerous.

People

The greatest fallacy perpetrated in the individual pursuit of success is that anyone achieves success alone.

Even the most solitary entrepreneur only succeeds when his product is purchased by others. This reality suggests a level of interrelatedness among producer and consumer.

This fallacy supports envy of those that seems smarter and more capable. You attempt to pattern yourself by the success you see on the surface. You refuse help and neglect partnership. You are not proxy to the nurturing, supportive environment, and the people who have contributed to the success you now witness. You miss the lesson to engage, to seek new knowledge, and rely on others for courage and motivation when your endurance wanes.

Markets

The insistence on free market consumerism, must give way to open market access. Open markets are not a simple motivation to buy, but a motivation to participate. It is the foundation of thinking as an investor. The value of any purchase made must first be evaluated by what it enables. If I am barred from participation in the market enabling the distribution of my goods and services, I refuse to buy because my purchase is a dead end. If, on the other hand, I have a clear path to market for my goods and services, I purchase understanding that my purchase enables my participation in the market.

Mechanisms

Cliché marketing and slogans would have less effectiveness if we knew how things worked. If you knew that you could receive more money in your paycheck each pay period and owe the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) $100 at tax time, you may be inclined to do what it takes to owe money to the IRS.

The mechanism refers to how the system under review works. In the IRS example above, you complete a W-4 form that identifies the deductions that you will claim during tax preparation for the year. To receive more money in your check, you list multiple deductions on the W-4 form, say 5. Each pay period, your employer takes less money out of your check than if you had written 1 deduction on your W-4. Rather than giving that money to the treasury, that money is given to you to do with as you please. If you invest or save that money, the return on your investment is yours to reap. If you allow the treasury to have the money, you gain no return.

When you file your taxes, your tax preparer inputs your W-2 information. The preparer includes your wage income, your actual deductions, and your tax payments throughout the year. The result is a refund if you have overpaid the treasury. The result is a bill if you underpaid (held onto money) the treasury. Knowing how things work enables you to make more informed decisions.

[This post is excerpted from the book Living, Learning, Leading in the Age of Creativity: Addressing Institutional Barriers to Individual and Community Development available Spring 2013 by MAWMedia.com]

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