Lessons From Catherine The Great!

I am reading a novel. It is part of a three book trilogy dealing with my heritage, the Volga River Germans. The first book deals with Catherine, a German princess, who marries an incompetent heir to the Russian throne. History has not smiled on Peter III. I am having trouble putting the book down. The intrigue is amazing, however, what I find extremely interesting is Catherine’s use of politics and leadership to ascend the throne. It has me thinking about our struggles as a nation.

I am not saying we have advocated our international leadership, my point is our focus on the good life may have left us wanting in other necessary skills associated with world leadership. Our businesses are greedy, leading us to dumb decisions that cost us billions of dollar. Our educational systems are hamstrung by high levels of cost that drives our colleges and universities into providing subpar educational programs. We are standing here looking at Rome burning while pointing fingers at each other searching for who to blame. What we should be looking for is creative solutions.

Just when we thought it was safe to go back into the water of investment, J.P. Morgan allowed its traders to exceed its maximum risk values. This risky event cost the company $2 Billion dollars. This loss has the Democrats touting the need for a strict Volcker Rule that ensure this type of occurrence never happens again. All J.P. Morgan did was affirm what our political leaders think about business, it is greedy and needs to be regulated. We’ve done it to ourselves.

Because the boomers did not properly save for their children’s college education, and because of the rising cost of a college education, students are graduating with high levels of debt. Of course, a college education is important, but should everyone get a college education, or should some go to a trade school. The Aerospace industry is crying for skilled workers. The average age of an machinist is in the 50’s, thus many of these jobs will be opening up in the near future. The Germans have recognized this and are now exporting worker-training programs to the US. No one does complex manufacturing better than the Germans. In a Wall Street Journal article a Volkswagen leader states, “We’ve learned it is better to build our own workforce instead of just relying on the market.” While we are trying to get rich quick, others recognize the importance of hard work. All the while, we scream at each other saying it is someone else’s fault. Maybe we are too smart for our own good.

Yes, our economy is slow. Yes, we went into a recession in 2007, and yes, we were in one in 2009, and yes, we are still trying to climb out of it. The other day someone posted on Facebook how much each of the last five Presidents have contributed to our level of debt. The purpose of this was to lay the blame at the feet of George W. Bush. This is what I am talking about when I say it is time to stop blaming and start solving. It is of no consequence to look back and blame, Reagan, Clinton, or the Bushes. The fact is we need creative forward looking people who can solve our problems.

Peter III was a horrible Tsar. He was so bad that Catherine could overthrow him very quickly. She was knowledgable, creative, and an excellent leader. She did a lot for Russia. We need creative leaders today, not blamers.

And that is my thought for the day!


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