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Working and competing Working and competing
by Joseph Gatt
2020-11-17 10:42:53
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Working means you're giving something. It's usually giving something in exchange for something.

It could be a product in exchange for money. It could be a service in exchange for money. It could be more complex schemes, like providing security in exchange for taxes that you pay that are partly used to pay the police officer. Or it could be a very complex scheme, for example, you give up “ownership” rights on your country's oil and gas fields to the government, and that government pays people to give you subsidized bread, cooking oil, and police officers who make sure you don't try to overthrow the government. And other complex schemes.

Where does working go wrong?

comp001_400_01-Albert Einstein for example discussed how in Europe in the early 20th century, Europeans spent so much time discussing how to get organized, that they weren't getting any work done. And that's why Einstein chose the United States where people do discuss how to get organized, but they also provide the services they need to provide.

-Israel in the 1980s had something called “Histadrut economics” where a very large labor union called the “Histadrut” made sure no employee could get fired and every Israeli, Jewish or Arab, had a job. That meant, back then, people showed up for work, headed straight to the kitchen, brewed a few cups of coffee, caught up with the latest basketball scores, sang the hit pop songs of the moment in unison, gossiped about Shimon Peres, Itzhak Shamir and others, made plans for after work, discussed food and entertainment. But they forgot to “give” the product or service, and the economy wasn't really producing anything. People were paid to do nothing.

-Then you have the Japanese model where people are so busy setting up rituals to provide the service that they forget to provide the service. Kind of like when you were a teenager and you were so busy scheduling how to do your homework that you had no time to actually do your homework. The Japanese are so busy writing rules that they forget to provide the product or service.

-Then you have the United Nations model, where people aren't even sure what product or service is being provided. 60,000 people work for the United Nations, and yet no one knows for sure what it is that they are supposed to be doing or what their role is in the supply chain.

-Then you have those who believe that when workers compete against each other, they tend to be more efficient in providing the service or product that they are providing. For example, if John sells 100 packs of gum, that will motivate me, Yossi, to try to sell more than 100 pieces of gum and get all the respect.

-The problem with this competing model is that, I, Yossi, am more likely to try to harass John into selling fewer packs of gum, maybe sabotaging his gum stand, or maybe start rumors about his gum being toxic, rather than actually try to outcompete him by selling over 100 pieces of gum.

-Then you have people who spend so much time discussing ways to sell gum that they forget to sell gum.

-You also have people who form a team to try to sell gum, and yet never talk to each other, and are not sure how it is that they are supposed to sell him. They communicate with eye contact and hand gestures, and in the end, no one is sure who's the one who is going to try to sell gum and who is going to do the accounting and who is going to the gum factory to get the packs of gum.

-Then you of course have teams who fight and argue so much that they no longer want to sell packs of gum.

-Then you have people who show up to the chewing gum shop and want the paycheck but don't want to stand behind the counter and sell gum.

-Then you have Coronel Sanders who comes to your chewing gum shop and forces you to hire his nephew and give his nephew a good paycheck, but his nephew never shows up.

-Then you have this model called Socialism or Communism where the belief is that “the government gives everything.” Problem is, the government is not a ghost, is not a group of cherubim fallen from the sky, it's a group of people like you and me who are producing and selling and giving the products. But the government makes it sound like it's reindeer and Santa Claus who are doing all the producing and giving.

-The ideal way to “give” a product or service is to agree on vague guidelines on how to divide the labor, meet every now and then to discuss the supply chain and its defects, try to fix the defects, and keep focusing on providing the product.

-Each company or organization tends to have its own personality as to how to get organized and provide the product. But, very often, workers at companies and organizations are so busy fighting each other or debating ways to get organized or chit chatting about ways to get organized, or just doing other stuff than providing the service, that they are not working. And that doesn't work!

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