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Passport to International Profit was published in the 1970s, at the epoch of the American Dream. The concept conversion trick was described in this way.
“The Concept Conversion Trick works like this: A government starts when people agree on a good concept for working and living together. The people go to work and if the concept is good they will create a paradise. The government gives them a flag and a song. Then they pull the trick. They convince the people that the flag and song are important and while the people are busy watching the flag and singing the song the government replaces the concept with a set of ever increasing written rules and regulations administered by bureaucrats and backed up by a police force.”
I would feel somewhat prophetic if this trick had not been pulled again and again and again for thousands of years.
Last week an OP ED article in the New York Times “It’s Now the Canadian Dream” (1) by Nicholas Kristof highlights how much trickery has taken place in the US since the book was published.
Here is an excerpt: It was in 1931 that the historian James Truslow Adams coined the phrase “the American Dream.”
The American Dream is not just a yearning for affluence, Adams said, but also for the chance to overcome barriers and social class, to become the best that we can be. Adams acknowledged that the United States didn’t fully live up to that ideal, but he argued that America came closer than anywhere else.
Yet today the American dream has derailed, partly because of growing inequality.
Or maybe the American dream has just swapped citizenship, for now it is more likely to be found in Canada or Europe — and a central issue in this year’s political campaigns should be how to repatriate it.
A report last month in The Times by David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy noted that the American middle class is no longer the richest in the world, with Canada apparently pulling ahead in median after-tax income. Other countries in Europe are poised to overtake us as well.
In fact, the discrepancy is arguably even greater. Canadians receive essentially free health care, while Americans pay for part of their health care costs with after-tax dollars. Meanwhile, the American worker toils, on average, 4.6 percent more hours than a Canadian worker, 21 percent more hours than a French worker and an astonishing 28 percent more hours than a German worker, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Canadians and Europeans also live longer, on average, than Americans do. Their children are less likely to die than ours. American women are twice as likely to die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth as Canadian women. Most sobering of all: A recent O.E.C.D. report found that for people aged 16 to 24, Americans ranked last among rich countries in numeracy and technological proficiency.
Why? This would appear to be the nature of things. As just mentioned, if we look into history we can see that all societies have evolved. This evolution is what the “The Concept Conversion Trick” describes. Here is another excerpt about the Concept Conversion Trick from the book.
“This trick trades people’s individual freedoms for a shiver up the spine and when a song is played or a piece of cloth waved. It turns spirit into matter. Like trading love for a beautiful plastic doll. When the trick has been pulled, the dust settled, the people realize too late what happened. Anyone who steps out of line is called unpatriotic or even criminal. He is swatted down by the bureaucracy or police force, crushed with overwhelming power or made an example so others will tow the mark for the good of society. All this is done in the name of public interest.”
As societies age, they often lose their original vibrancy and life. Should we be surprised at the change in the US?
If this drift away from the American Dream in America is natural, what can we do about it? What changes can we make both to stop the loss of the American Dream and to adapt and continue to enjoy a great lifestyle?
One approach is to study the history of other great nations.
There are several strong actions we can take.
The first is to take a realistic look at the state of political system. Do we see strong leaders who will turn things around? If not then the answer is to look for the problems that weak leadership create. Problems create opportunity. History suggests that political tension will remain but strong leaders can emerge. Going into the 1st century BC the Roman empire was racked by a series of civil wars. The Octavian took charge and though he had plenty of political risk, a great deal of economic and social order were restored.
Next, let’s take a realistic view of the global economy. Even during political turmoil and great socio-economic inequality there can be great economic opportunity.
Finally suck it up and get on with life! We did not make the state of the world. And we probably cannot change the state of the world. But we can make a positive difference though IF we can change our reaction to events as they unfold. Complaining will not help. Analysis, decisiveness, acceptance, action and evolution are the only logical, positive steps to take.
You can use the business evolutionary cycle that we teach in our Self Publishing course to improve your lifestyle and make the world a better place.
A reader once asked about this evolution when he wrote: “Gary, I keep asking myself, how do Gary/ Merri Scott continuously continue to produce uniquely insightful information for readers? How could I model just a small slice of Gary ‘s success online? I truly do not understand how you have been able to continuously grow for decades while evolving from print to internet/online, covering totally new locations, new businesses and completely new subject matter (not only investing, but health, language, Real Estate Retreats, Import/Export, Publishing, Country- UK, US, Ecuador, etc).
“Other than sheer determination and follow-through, which are obvious requirements, what is your long standing secret to success in ‘lifestyle marketing’?
“What would you say to someone like me just starting online and hoping to succeed to even just a small degree of your success over the internet? Of course, truly unique content and building a growing list of readers is key, but how do you manage the load (so many subject matters – keeps me in awe) and yet you always deliver relevance and uniqueness?
“What angle on marketing (small secrets) has allowed you to continuously succeed? I realize there are no miracles other than hard work, but any pointers to leverage? Gary, you truly are in the genius category and I am a true admirer.”
Here is what I replied: “Do what you love and have a great day.”
This may seem too simple. Yet this truly is why our business has evolved and why our business grows even though we had intended for it to slow down.
We really do what we love.
We continually ask how we can turn our passion into profit and do business and invest in what we know.
Passionate beginnings allow the business evolutionary cycle to begin. An idea, dream or passion creates enthusiasm. Enthusiasm leads to education.
Education leads to action. Action leads to profit or loss and experience.
Experience leads to new ideas.
The process starts again, but in a larger way and again and again.
This is the start. Figure out what you are really interested in and become enthused about finding some small or large way to do some good as you make money from being involved.
(1) New York Times It’s Now the Canadian Dream