Dominoes Pizza is the only lucky winner with huge free name recognition the past few years of:
Governmental Debt Dominoes (from local to soveriegn)
Environmental Disaster Dominoes.
When I blogged earlier this year with my 2011 Pest Control Industry Forecast I spoke in great detail about the various dominoes that were falling. We looked at the credit, housing and debt bubbles, as well as the cyclical downturn in the termite market. There clearly was no room left for more disasters without it creating a tipping point in a global geo-political and economic tsunami, the likes of which we have not seen since the depression, sandwiched between two world wars. At that time there was a confluence of events: 1) national awakening, 2) the social impacts of the industrial revolution, 3) autocratic political theories of the right (fascism) and left (communism), and the continued search for markets and constituent followers by the right, left and center (capitalists). Great new wealth resulted in excessive speculation and greed. Volumes have been written on the the forces of destruction in the 1st half of the twentieth century.
While the book on the 1st half of the 21st century is not yet been written, the writing is on the wall. As in the 1st half of the 20th century, we have a repeat of extreme technological innovation, concurrent with a human dilemma, that is our inability to match our technology with maturity and wisdom.
Just this month we are seeing major events playing out.
1) The “Arab Spring,” that is, the awakening of the Arab masses that have been politically suppressed by dictators and theocrats for centuries. Each country is somewhat of a different story but the common thread is a repressive society that has denied basic human rights while pointing a finger at external and artificial buggymen. As was the case in 1917 Russia, these tyranies are being overthrown by masses that are by and large uneducated and misinformed. There are no Jeffersons and Franklyns to be found to steer the future toward the best possible outcome. That is why the west is so confused. No one today has a crystal ball that can accurately predict the outcome. What can be predicted are economic markets that are destabilized. This brings us to the next major event.
2) The oil crisis. Prices will continue to rise substantially. This is happening because 1) the physical destruction of oil facilities, 2) the destruction of the human infrastructure to manage and export oil, 3) speculation (such as my own) which drives up the price as fears rise, 4) political gamesmanship by countries like Saudi Arabia, which in the past supported U.S. policy to keep prices in check but now see little reason to support the U.S. when it supports the rebels.
3) The Japanese nuclear disaster has closed or dislocated businesses and populations across northern Japan, our key Asian-Pacific political and economic ally. While some U.S. businesses may gain as the Japanese lose market share, our economies are extremely intertwined. With the Japanese-American economic partnership in decline, China is the big winner – a society that remains closed politically and one that may hold mysteries of instability that few of us in the western world understand. The Japanese earthquakes and tsunami also raise unanswered, substantial issues about the future of both renewable and fossil fuels. Meanwhile, the lack of answers places further upward pressure on the price of gas and other available fuels.
4) The U.S. debt crisis is reaching a precipice. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have a formula that can simultaneously resolve the debt issue while maintaining the leadership necessary in the international arena to steer the world, as it did during World War II.
The dominoes are falling. There is no doubt whatsoever that 2011-2012 will see the continued economic and political mess of 2008-2010.
But should we live in fear?
Honestly, a part of me says yes. But the answer is no! We can’t afford to sit back and watch history happen to us.
As we are often told, we need to be a nation of faith. Not blind faith. We need faith that with an energized public, with a free press and a broad leadership, we can see this through. We need to reach for solutions that are centrist, yet biased toward freedom, so long as it is based on fair play. The national politicians will decide what is rational freedom and fair play at the international level. Here in the U.S., we should all be involved in promoting our economic welfare by advocating what is good for business and for the public. Both are possible. Much has been said about big institutions and “special interests” as well as an underclass of black marketeers, illegals and frauds destroying a workplace defined by fair play. While we struggle to keep and grow our businesses, we can be involved in groups like Pest Control Operators of California, the National Pest Management Association, your local business chamber advocacy groups, and through local political office.
You can build your companies in a way that models what you would like to see happen higher up. You can support your employees with opportunities to gain as the company gains. And when the company is struggling, you can and should keep your employees informed. Ask for their comments, suggestions and thoughts about how they see your company staying afloat and rebounding. Be open to this type of expanded democracy within your own company. As our leaders consider how to preserve our planet for environmental disasters, you should be thinking about how to preserve the soil and water in the locales you serve. You can join or build a network of greeen providers like EcoWise, Greenshield Certified or GreenPro. As our leaders figure out how to create a global team of humanity, you need to think about how your company can be an advocate for a better humanity, as we deal with current challenges and crises.
The dominoes will fall. The only question is: Will we build a better future?
Being an employer is an honor and a privilege. For that matter, having a job that you can love and from which you can sustain your family is also a blessing not to be easily forgotten. As hard as it is in these times of magnifide pain, the role we each play is that much more critical. As the dominoes fall, what mark will you leave?
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