This column may seem political, it isn’t. This is where we make our decisions. It’s about how we hold our views. It’s about how we convince and how we try to manipulate. It’s about the common mistakes we make that need to be recognized and ignored. Although many of the examples are political, the gist of this piece addresses the gist of our decision-making and if we are to solve wages, climate, social justice, transportation, childcare, or a host of other problems that affect our business and society overall, we need to start now to do these things.
We need to redefine culture to make decisions about how to make healthcare more affordable, how to build more affordable housing, and how to cool the ecosystem, yet we are so divided that we cannot even start the conversations we are having have to . I hope that what is described below will be heard, taken into account, and ultimately accepted by everyone who reads this.
Abolish the fallacy of the birds of a feather
In the stories that create the most outrage on social media and political “news” programming, what I call the Birds of a Feather fallacy is common. It goes like this: “Look at this ridiculous person (or mean person or unhealthy person or morally empty person), he’s a member of the Pragmatic Party, and so everyone in the Pragmatic Party supports it.” It’s about taking an outlier of a group and painting the entire group with that broad brush. And it’s ridiculous. Still, I see it on the news and social media every day. We don’t do this with other groups, but we do this all the time for political parties to encourage divisions and get more views and clicks. If an instructor is stopped for speeding, we are not saying that all instructors are unsafe drivers. When a plumber overcomes an addiction, we’re not saying that all plumbers are addicts. But if AOC or Gaetz say something unpleasant, their entire party is painted with it.
Now let me say I am not responsible for what any other director of the Chamber of Commerce is doing in the state. Nor am I responsible for what other columnists write in this article. Nor am I responsible for what other chubby white men say. Please do not paint me with views presented by others I am occasionally with but which do not represent me (and neither should we do that for others).
Ignore polls in a vacuum
71% of people want to see a minimum wage of $ 15, according to recent polls. “Really?” In a vacuum poll, I’m surprised it’s that low. It’s no different than asking, “Would you like to get a new car?” Of course you would in a vacuum. What if I told you that the new car has an excise tax and license plate of $ 3,000 per year, and the car runs on a special type of gasoline that costs $ 9 per gallon? Still want the free new car?
What if the question was, “Do you support a $ 15 minimum wage that increases wages for those who remain employed, but 20% will lose their jobs and another 40% will cut their hours?” The point is that questions about political polls are meaningless outside of the consequences of the real world.
Here is my favorite example. 69% of people are in favor of medication for everyone. Maybe you are too. But how does it compare to the Beveridge model for healthcare? Or the Bismarck model? Or the Simmons model? What do you like about the drug for everyone that you don’t like about these other systems? Oh, you don’t know anything about the others. Beveridge is the British system, The Bismarck is closer to our system, and the Simmons model is a fictional name I created but you probably didn’t know that. And that’s the point. We’re pretending these surveys make sense if they really just say people want to make more money and pay less for health care, and dare I say we knew that before we asked the question because everyone wants to .
Stop talking passively in the third person
As a chamber director, I regularly take part in nationwide business roundtables and panels on business topics. They’re extremely valuable and eye-opening, but I’ve encountered a real problem with third parties lately. We are a big state in terms of hectares, but a small state in terms of people – and when it comes to the problems that state is facing, there is no “they”, there is just us.
I had a call to business leaders and lawmakers last week, and people weren’t responsible for finding solutions – they just realized that solutions were needed. When lawmakers and corporate officials speak of more than five dozen of the state’s most powerful corporations in third person, who exactly do they call problem solvers?
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for
It’s a raw deal, but we have to give more. More time, more money and more effort. Why? Because every generation before us gave reasons why they didn’t have time to solve these problems. Think about it, childcare was hard to come by 35 years ago when my people needed a babysitter. Health care has always been expensive. These problems were never resolved. Now they are our problems, and at least I don’t want to make them our children’s problems because we haven’t found time to solve them either.
Next week I’ll be making a few more observations on how we can cut out the things that don’t help us so that we can more easily find change. This topic is at the core of how we compromise and listen to each other, and we need it so badly these days. Side note: Thanks to those who read up on last week’s column. I really appreciated our conversations about wages.
Cory King is the executive director of the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber.