As it seems to be about the economy, stupid, let’s start with a quote by a famous economist: “When confronted with the facts, I change my mind. Gentlemen, what do you do?”

Here’s my problem with your question, Mr. Keynes. How do we know that the proffered facts are factual? No wonder we are tempted to cling to whatever belief we have always held dear. That way we are at least being consistent.

Consistency matters because it is the basis of trust. It enables others to anticipate how we will act and it allows us to rely on others to behave as expected and deliver as promised.

If you always do the same thing in the same situation, then you are being consistent. But what if the situation has changed? Well, if you are consistently unwilling to adapt, then you are simply stubborn.

And we all know that stubborn makes nonsense of facts.

You can also listen here to the radio version of Stubborn makes nonsense of facts (10 most recent radio files)

© 2012 James Henry McIntosh –


This election season has triggered a quotation which is stuck in my head like a pop song. “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.” So said the philosopher Abraham Heschel.

Of course, for this day and age, and country, the quote plays slightly differently. We no longer admire clever people; we celebrate successful people.

And that’s where a problem creeps in. Clever people tend to be smart enough to know that they will be old one day and might even be wise enough to be kind now in case they need the favor returned sooner rather than later.

But today, successful people are valued in material terms and admired no matter how they acquired their wealth. As we have seen and experienced, too often basic human kindness is not part of that success formula.

And so I vote for kind people. If I can find them.

You can also listen here to the radio version of The kinder vote (10 most recent radio files)

© 2012 James Henry McIntosh –


With all these weird statements and accusations being scattered about during this so exciting election year, I remind all objective voters to stay objective. Actually, all of us who react without thinking should attempt a bit of objectivity now and then.

Let me give you an example to serve as a warning. Many years ago I was walking down a busy city street with a subordinate. Suddenly he interrupted himself and said, “See this guy with the pink shirt coming toward us? He’s a con artist.”

I studied the guy and then my subordinate laughed and said, “I don’t know him from Adam, but now that I’ve planted the seed, you will always be suspicious of him.”

Now, that’s not the sort of trick to play on your boss, nor on friends or voters. The seed is real and will germinate. If it turns out to be a weed, it might be too late to kill it.

You can also listen here to the radio version of Scattering suspect seeds (10 most recent radio files)

© 2012 James Henry McIntosh –

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