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DANNY KENNEDY, ROOFTOP REVOLUTION How Solar Can Save Our Economy and PlanetFounder/President, Sungevity
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I heard about this Occupy the Gap challenge on today’s Free Forum. I wonder if the way the challenge is framed doesn’t play into the tendency to measure virtue by income, a tendency that can just as easily serve to argue the case for the “job creators” whose wealth supposedly trickles down to the rest of us as to argue the case for declaring everyone who doesn’t earn at least $250K/year to be the victim of sinister deprivation.
James Galbraith, in The Predator State, suggests that the current situation is not a class war because there are many one-percenters who vehemently disavow the unholy alliance between the business lobby and the governmental influence peddlars…not to mention corrupt practices in general. Isn’t this more a matter of motive than of money? (Incidentally, I also believe that sending Robin Hood to dispossess the very-rich and hand the proceeds over to the not-so-rich wouldn’t help either the economy or the 99-percenters very much at all.)
It was mentioned in your Roko Belic interview that folks were happier in the 1950′s. I think most people would agree that this is related to the more widespread prosperity of that time. However, I’m convinced that the relationship does not play out the way most people imagine. People sixty years ago were not happier because they were more prosperous, they were more prosperous because they were happier, that is to say there was more emotional satisfaction to be had from buying (literally) into the culture of the time. The clearest example of this can be found in the case of one icon of the 50′s that, through upturn and downturn, is still going strong: Disneyland. Prices are up in Anaheim…and so is repeat business, in contrast with more trendy attractions.
So my personal preference is to say (with apologies to James Carville) “It’s the Culture, stupid!” I agree with Experience Economy gurus Jim Gilmore and Joe Pine that “The present economic downturn we find ourselves in has resulted from a failure to innovate, from insufficient progress in creating experiental (cultural) value for others in the marketplace.” (Parenthetical added.) Similarly, Tom Peters has suggested that the dynamic of effective marketing involves a sequence of four elements: Experience – Emotion – Sales – Revenue. That model offers a creatively strategic framework for reverting from the more-and-more exclusive prosperity of today to the more-and-more inclusive prosperity we knew in the not-so-distant past. This offers a greater chance of mitigating income disparity than does blanket denunciation and demonization of the wealthy.
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