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Key Idea: Invent The Future On Strong Foundations

Capitalism is organized around the mind.  In the American version of capitalism, wealth springs from new ideas, from discovery and invention.  This is why the founder of IBM insisted that those on his payroll have a sign in their office that said, "THINK.."   Homepage  Invent

Key Question:


Come up with new and exciting products and services!

Q: How do we small business owners encourage our employees to bring their minds to their work?

A:  Sadly, not very well. Be honest. How would you feel and how would you react if you walked by a manager's office and saw him or her staring out the window? Our small businesses are fast paced, with never enough hours in the day, always too much on our plates. If we aren't talking to a customer or employee in person or on the phone, if we don't have a pen in our hand or our fingers on the keyboard, then we just aren't working, are we? WRONG!

Too often we have a tendency to dive into our work without planning it first. Invariably, this leads to less than the most efficient use of our time and other resources. We all need to discipline ourselves to think, to plan, before we act. We need to challenge ourselves and our people to constantly look for a better way of doing things. We need to work in our businesses and on our businesses with the same passion. We need to encourage our people to do the same. This is so much easier to say than to do. It takes enormous discipline and lots of practice. There is no doubt that the results are worth the effort. 

Think about it

Do you take time to think?  Do you reward employees for coming up with new ideas?  Do you hang around with people who are creative?  Do your friends stimulate your thinking  or throw a wet blanket on your ideas?  Should you distance yourself from people who dampen your enthusiasm for new ideas?

Clip from: Capitalism: Path to Prosperity

Washington, DC:   What are the essential foundations of life, liberty, freedom, and human rights?   The USA as a working experiment is a good model to study.  Here we can study the earliest documents and concepts and see how these also became the foundations for American capitalism.  Within this structure, we can see how just about any family can get on a path to economic independence.

Meet Michael Novak, a man whose life study is of the foundations of government systems that work. And here he discovered small business has the heart and spirit that sustains and nurtures democratic capitalism.   Michael Novak strikes deep into the heart of public debate about what works and what doesn't work within economic systems, and he says that small business owners are demonstrators. They're on the front lines, risking and fighting the good fight every day. Small business owners take lofty principles and reduce them to nitty-gritty practice.

As a people, the debate about capitalism should no longer be the domain of economists. We all need to grapple with the first principles of ethics, economics, and government. Virtually overnight globalization is a reality and belief systems are butting against one another, often shredding civility and undermining any inherent ethics and morality.

Each of us needs to engage in the historic debate about economic models. What works? What is good for people? Is this singular focus on "Return to Shareholders" a truncation of capitalism? Do we need to be looking at a more balanced model that includes more than the growth of the bottom line?

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American Enterprise Institute

Michael Novak, Author

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Year Founded: 1947

Invent The Future On Strong Foundations

(Reflecting on the word, Capitalism.)

MICHAEL: When I realized that the dictionary definitions were wrong, I had to think, `Well, what is correct?'  And I thought what's really new about the world, Lincoln caught better in an address.

He gave a wonderful talk on the six great moments in the history of liberty. Started with Adam and Eve. And one of the moments, which really surprised me, was the patent and copyright act. And he says that was so brilliant.

And I'm going to say it in my own words, but his words are eloquent. But in my own words it was that for the first time in history, the main form of wealth will not be land, as it had been -- even in the Homestead Act, 70 acres -- but the intelligence, the ideas, the insights that led people to treat their land or anything else in a new way.

The main cause of wealth would be the head. I like to say caput. The root term for capital - the discovery, invention.

Lincoln talks about how the man who discovers a new strain of seed for grass and develops a kind of grass that is richer and better and more nourishing than other types, can improve somebody's crop six fold or eight fold, and that new wealth sprang from the mind. And therefore the earth is much richer than we think it is because God gave us minds to improve.

God invited human beings to take part in his own creation. To be co-creators with God and bring out of the earth things that lie fallow and hidden there.

(Voiceover) Ideas matter more than ever before and it's astonishing how many things are born in someone's mind and something comes to be that was never there.

Ideas are really very, very powerful. And if you think about it ... that's what capitalism is. It's the first system organized around the mind, around invention and discovery.

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