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Post details: Idea is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Idea is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Omniscient talking heads, especially the ones armed with a glimpse of an open economic textbook caught from a speeding train, trash capitalism a lot these days. But their sense of accomplishment is gravely misplaced. The idea of free markets is as good as it was in times of Henry Ford, it is just our recent malpractice which warped the concept to the point of travesty.

There were many bright ideas in the history of mankind that got off to a promising start only to be hijacked and molded beyond recognition by amateurs, zealots, inveiglers, shysters, con artists, charlatans, dilettantes, racketeers, saboteurs and crooks of any imaginable disposition. Just compare the teachings of Jesus with the burning stakes of the Catholic church, or tenets of Karl Marx with the political prisons of petrified Brezhnev's Empire. Just juxtapose the charter of the UN to its swollen bureaucratic underbelly or writings of the Founding Fathers to the agenda of the Junior Bush administration. There is no idea in this world that cannot be successfully abused.

Making a good judgment has never been humanity's strong point, although judging has been its favorite pastime ever since skills triumphed over instincts some ten thousand years ago. You would think that over all those ages we'd have learned how to protect ideas from their botched practical implementations. But we haven't. Lazy and superficial judgment is still humanity's bane, both on a personal and collective level. From Tea Party to Rachel Maddow, we are being aimlessly dragged through a landscape drenched in a polarizing rain of inane soundbites.

Where analysis is a dying art, only a few have the audacity to look under the hood and tweak things around. It is much easier to shoot ideas down without fully considering their potential. True, many are born imperfect and in need of improvement, some get corrupted during their lifetime and other ones are introduced well ahead of their time and may require some mindset adjustment to bear fruit. But the wisdom, effort and insight invested into separation of merits of an abstract process from its practical realization will pay for themselves many times over.

To toss out a good idea because it was poorly implemented is like throwing away a functional device which was merely fed an inferior input. Think of a brand new and perfectly working meat grinder that is being tested for performance. Now imagine that an incompetent lab technician crams some badly rotting meat into its orifice. Consequently, what comes out of it on the other end is a smelly unappealing mush that would make a pack of hyenas run away in panic. But wait a minute - you might think - that outcome does not necessarily mean that the meat grinder is intrinsically defective. Unfortunately, many geniuses think it does.

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