From Peter Drucker's Innovation and Entrepreneurship (emphasis added by me) —
“The Russian economist Nikolai Kondratieff was executed on Stalin’s orders in the mid-1930s because his econometric model predicted, accurately as it turned out, that collectivization of Russian agriculture would lead to a sharp decline in farm production. The “fifty-year Kondratieff cycle” was based on the inherent dynamics of technology. Every fifty years, so Kondratieff asserted, a long technological wave crests. For the last twenty years of this cycle, the growth industries of the last technological advance seem to be doing exceptionally well. But what look like record profits are actually repayments of capital which is no longer needed in industries that have ceased to grow. This situation never lasts longer than twenty years, then there is a sudden crisis, usually signaled by some sort of panic. There follow twenty years of stagnation, during which the new, emerging technologies cannot generate enough jobs to make the economy itself grow again — and no one, least of all government, can much about this.
“The industries that fueled the long economic expansion after World War II — automobiles, steel, rubber, electric apparatus, consumer electronics, telephone, but also petroleum — perfectly fit with the Kondratieff cycle. Technologically, all of them go back to the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century or, at the very latest, to before World War I. In none of them has a significant breakthrough been made since the 1920s, whether in technology or business concepts. When the economic activity began after World War II, they were all thoroughly mature industries. They could expand and create jobs with relatively little new capital investment, which explains why they could pay skyrocketing wages and workers’ benefits and simultaneously show record profits.”
Of course, the Kondratieff industry cycles don't apply to every industry and are hardly proven.
The key takeaway is that industries which no longer need additional capital to scale can see increasing profits simultaneously with increasing variable costs, but the increasing profits are a short-term phenomenon.
History is complicated.
I thought had a fairly clear understanding of the history of modern Turkey. It's an incredibly impressive country that has had remarkable achievements since winning the Turkish War of Independence.
Originally slated to get the same treatment (or slightly worse) as Imperial Germany got in the Treaty of Versailles, a national movement against occupation and control rose up in Ankara in the aftermath of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Led by a one of the 20th century's top commander-statesmen, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, it became one of the most stable and prosperous republics in the Middle East.
I was ready to write a piece on the area and was double checking some of the recent history, economics, and finance here before writing a piece of history.
And then, I start realizing just how much more complicated this area is than I'd thought.
I was doing some reading on the Papal States, the Schism, and various diplomacy and history of the Catholic Church. It's all very interesting, there's many lessons in there, and strangely enough, I see a lot less knowledge and enthusiasm among the people I know of this era of history, despite how rich it is in interesting lessons.
Anyways. In the course of meandering through Catholic history and institutions, I came across this section from James 2:14-18 and thought it was worth sharing:
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Stupid error I'm gradually slowly getting rid of making --
1. Go to the market or grocery store.
2. See that vegetables or meat or whatever costs 50% or even 100% more than it theoretically should cost. (EX: $4 for a big can of vegetables.)
3. Don't buy the food.
4. The next day, run out of food at home.
Some very good feedback and comments from last week on Continual Readjustment — thanks for that, it's very good to see how the work here is actually being read, interpreted and used. Please do keep the good comments coming, especially about how you're putting things into practice.
The first thing you'll note this week is that the Continual Readjustment thing worked just fine; the weakest link of Declare/Complete being at 0 moved to 3 this week, which was good enough to get going.
Now, let's talk about another usage of this type of control:
The Canary in the Coal Mine
The term arrival fallacy is useful —
Happiness Myth No. 8: You’ll Be Happy As Soon As You…
We often imagine that we’ll be happy as soon as we get a job/make partner/get tenure/get married/get that promotion/have a baby/move. As a writer, I often find myself imagining some happy future: “Once I sell this proposal…” or “Once this book comes out…”
In his book Happier, Tal Ben-Shahar calls this the “arrival fallacy,” the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you’ll be happy.
I got this from Kai, who is one of the more effective people I know.
I noticed over our interactions, he'd occasionally make a reference to "closing tabs."
The fifth or so time I heard it, my ears perked up. Hey, Kai, what do you mean...?
"I don't like having lots of tabs open on my browser. I try to close them all as quickly as I can."
Huh. I press for more details. He also almost always closes every tab by the end of the day.
The "Lights Spreadsheet" concept is pretty well-covered at this point. This was Week 8. I think you understand the general concept of what's going on here.
I'll definitely keep using this; it's a wonderful control and it promotes good action.
But I ask myself, "Is this still worth covering on the blog weekly? It works, but is it interesting to read about?"
You're welcome to weigh in -- actually, please do comment and let me know if you find these posts worthwhile in particular, I always appreciate more feedback on what people really like -- but my basic thinking is that picking a specific point or two each week would be more fruitful and actionable.
I was asked a question about building a good readership on a blog. This is my general response on how to get a good dialog going and really understand the people who read your site and connect with them --
It's a luxury you won't have later, though it's still worth doing when you can. I recommend that universally if you start writing. For the first half year or so I was blogging, I had about a dozen readers total, all people who already knew me. It grew slowly. But that was fine; I was having a good time and I was flattered that a dozen or so people would come spend 5 or 10 minutes with me each day.
As people I didn't know came to read more, I tried to get to know them. I don't have as much time to do so now, and more people read here, but I still try to when I get the chance.
If you ever start on a new form of writing or creativity, you want to do almost the exact opposite of the mass media style of broadcasting. You have the really joyful ability to get to know your readers closely. You won't regret it if you do so.
The Sources of Soviet Conduct is the finest piece of analysis on international relations I've ever read. It's maybe one the finest piece of policy analysis and writing of all time, and it's quite possibly one of the ten most influential documents in American history, greatly shaping America's policies from the end of the 1940's to the beginning of the 1990's.
The State Department official who wrote it, George Kennan, had a deep knowledge and love of Russian history and culture, and also recognized something monstrous in Josef Stalin's consolidation of power and the policies that flowed from that. He saw this much sooner than most people, far before others discerned the real nature of the Great Purges, and many decades before the Soviet archives were opened up and vindicated him completely.
The whole thing is a masterpiece of clear thinking and analysis. I've at times thought I had decent analytical ability and good insights; reading something like this makes me realize that there are depths of skill and wisdom far, far beyond my own.
It's long, and not all of it will make sense without a knowledge of the early Soviet period and particularly Stalin's actions, but anyone would get a clear-thinking boost from reading it. It's just -- what lucidity and amazing insight. I'm still a little surprised and awed that a human being did this on the timetables that Kennan did.