"When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's difficult to remind
yourself that your initial objective was to drain the swamp."

—Classic management allegory

The foundation of effective leadership...


(and How to Restore Voters’ Belief in Government)

THE DESTRUCTIVE ACHIEVER; Power and Ethics in the American Corporation

       Democrats are passing up what should be one of the most powerful and persuasive principles of modern management: it is far more effective and cheaper to prevent problems from occurring than to let problems grow and then try to solve them. It is especially important not to let short-term expediencies add to the growth of long-term problems. This is THE most important justification for government that the public needs to understand.

         Unfortunately, as human organizations or societies get bigger, older and more complex, "Destructive Achievers" tend to become dominant. They are promoted or elected to power because they are willing to satisfy the short-term desires of the most powerful members of the group, even at the expense of the group's long-term health. Republicans personify  the popular "reactive leader."     

       True political leaders have a proactive approach to problem-solving. They believe that the first role of government is to prevent problems from getting worse, or from occurring in the first place. True leaders understand that it is quite possible for problems to expand beyond solution. Destructive Achievers, on the other hand (in order to satisfy their political supporters) try to cut short-term costs (e.g., taxes) by not addressing, or even admitting, that problems exist.

    In today's political environment, progressive Democrats are beyond doubt the proactive problem-solvers, and Republicans and conservative Democrats are reactive Destructive Achievers. This obvious fact MUST be demonstrated to the American voter. It should be quite easy to do.

 The Record is clear:


Democratic Solution

Republican Solution




   Use objective and scientific expertise to analyze likely vulnerabilities to terrorist attack. Prioritize solutions to maximize the best use of available funds, not only for defense, but for the ultimate welfare of the country. Do what's right, not what's popular    Treat every security threat as an individual problem. React to industrial lobbyists and political supporters on an individual case basis, as if solutions were not interrelated. Take the easiest challenges first, not the most important. Ignore the impact of impulsive decisions on the general welfare.





    Raise taxes on those who benefited most from an economy that has been deliberately biased in favor of  investors and the established wealthy, and at the direct expense of workers. This reduces interest costs on the national debt, results in lower total taxes, puts more money in the hands of consumers, and actually stimulates the economy.


    Cut taxes on the wealthy, thus increasing interest costs and leaving higher taxes for future generations to pay. As wealthy investors continue to put money into third world countries, wages and working conditions for American citizens continue to degenerate. The country becomes less able to deal with emerging and unanticipated problems.

Crime     Prevent crime as a proactive first priority (midnight basketball, improving education, reducing poverty, improved social services). Deal realistically and economically with those who have committed crimes with punishments that make sense.    Ignore the conditions that create criminal behavior. By "keeping government out of peoples' lives" (by not funding education, poverty reduction, monitoring business behaviors, etc.) let people develop into criminals and then build prisons to keep them from society (privately funded, of course).
Environment     Prevent environmental destruction with necessary regulations. Use public funds to educate people about how best to protect the environment.     Let corporations do whatever is cheapest today, and if possible, clean up the mess later. Keep government out of environmental issues. Let the private sector do whatever it wishes.
Education     Constantly upgrade education. Put more people into higher income and tax brackets. Supply our own high-skill labor needs. Make more people financially secure and put fewer strains on the environment.     Minimize educational costs. Rely on private expenditures to provide society with our highest income citizens. Import immigrants to meet increasing skilled labor needs (thus increasing our environmental and social problems, and cutting wages for skilled workers).

     The same kind of analysis could probably be made on most other issues. Rs routinely want to save money today, no matter what the issue—except possibly for military and police protection—and then wait for problems to develop that can no longer be ignored. Even then, they seem quite capable of willfully ignoring significant problems. Most notably today: the environment.

     So, a major effort needs to be made to educate voters about proactive vs. reactive approaches to issues. (Until the U.S. also adopted quality control measures, the Japanese stole our markets. After WWII, the Japanese learned from our own quality improvement experts [who American industry ignored] that it is much cheaper and more effective to prevent problems than wait until they develop, and then try to solve them. )

     It is simple, basic management. The Rs are terrible at it, and our future depends upon the public understanding that. And it’s not just about economics. It’s about family welfare, social conditions, the environment, crime and virtually every aspect of our lives that our national policy affects.

Keys to Understanding Proactive versus Reactive Approaches in Government:

    The Two Bases for Moral Standards and their Impacts on Governmental Effectiveness

    Utility: Our Abandonded Moral Standard

    Today's Right-Wing Conservatives: Not Your "Eisenhower Republicans"

    Background: Three Types of Manager

    Destructive Achievers, the Glorification of Greed, and Their Impact on Socitey

    Destructive Achievers in Politics

    Why the Destructive Achiever Concept Matters

    Pin the Tag on the Elepahant:"Reactivists"

    Why Today's Liberals are Proactive Problem-Solvers, and Today's Conservatives are Reactive Problem-Solvers

Destructive Achievers in Corporations

Destructive Achievers in the Labor Movement

Environmental Destructive Achievers: A Grist Magazine Interview with Bill Moyers


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