“In a capitalist society, we are saving lives”

I must attribute this comment to my good friend and colleague, Seth Kantor.  Quite often in advertising, as I’m sure in other industries, when we find ourselves killing ourselves to meet an unnecessarily ridiculous deadline, the common frustration is, “we are not saving lives here”.

But when we live in a society that values greed over good (sorry Gecko, greed is not good).  Our reactions to a stressful situation are not mental or emotional reactions; they are fundamentally physical reactions.  They are reactions to fear, so creating this sense of urgency gets to our society’s real fear of failure when it comes to economic success.

Our country’s dialogue over the past couple of years has reached a fever pitch over capitalist principles; whether we are talking about taxes, health care, the rights of unions, etc.  There have been cries of doom and gloom over the impact some of the new policies will have over innovation in our country.  I find those fears remarkable.  I’m not sure anyone could argue that China is not a source of great innovation and prosperity, yet it is a Communist country.  During our country’s heyday, the 50’s and early 60’s our tax rate was as high as 90% yet we still managed to be innovative and prosperous.

Our country should continue to value hard work, and reward such.  But if we value hard work over cooperation, compassion and responsibility to society as a whole, we do so at our own peril.

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