All Our Children Can Create

Terrance Jackson for NR School Board

We can show fairly conclusively that all our children can create. The challenging part is that there is no magic moment of creation. Creators spend almost all their time creating, persevering despite doubt, failure, ridicule, and rejection until they succeed in making something new and useful. There are no tricks, shortcuts, or get-creative-quick schemes. The process is ordinary, even if the outcome is not.
Creating is not magic but work, and we must teach this to our children.
The best artists, scientists, engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and other creators are the ones who keep taking steps by finding new problems, new solutions, and then new problems again. The root is innovation is exactly the same as it was when our species was born: looking at something and thinking, “I can make this better.”
The vast majority—98 percent—of teachers say creating is so important that it should be taught daily, but when tested, they nearly always favor less creative children over more creative children.
This is not restricted to schools, and it persists into adulthood. Decision makers and authority figures in business, science, and government all say they value creation, but when tested, they do not value creators.
Why? Because people who are more creative also tend to be more playful, unconventional, and unpredictable, and all of this makes them harder to control. No matter how much we say we value creation, deep down, most of us value control more. And so we fear and favor familiarity. Rejecting is a reflex.

New Rochelle Magazine

Click images for draft of New Rochelle Magazine


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New Tax Code Hits Westchester Hard

In 2016, Westchester County ranked first in the nation in property taxes. Westchester residents paid on average $16,500 a year in property taxes, according to a report from ATTOM Data Solutions. High taxes are undermining the Westchester economy. If you were a company trying to find a location for a new office or distribution center, why would you come to the highest taxed county in the United States?
Now, we have another problem. The GOP’s tax plan is likely to advantage wealthy Americans in a number of ways, including estate-tax, private-tuition benefits, and especially commercial real estate. Yet, where the housing market is concerned, proposed changes — particularly those in the House version of the bill — are set to disproportionately affect wealthier homeowners. According to an article in The New York Times:
The bill, if enacted into law, could send home prices tumbling 10 percent or more in parts of the New York area, according to one economic analysis. It could increase the regional tax burden, complicating companies’ efforts to attract skilled workers. It could make it harder for state and local governments to pay for upgrades to the transit system and other infrastructure. And it could force cuts in federal programs that help immigrants, the elderly and other low-income residents afford the region’s high cost of living.

SALT deductions

Westchester residents and Westchester home values could both take a big hit when the new tax bill is enacted. At present the differences between the House and Senate versions of the tax bill will be reconciled by a conference committee and then enacted into law, but both versions include provisions that will be costly to many Westchester residents.

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Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Should be Broken Up

Gladiators

In Fast Company, Douglas Rushkoff wrote “It’s Time To Break Up Amazon:”
Whatever you may think of Jeff Bezos, and whether or not antitrust regulations can justifiably be applied to a company whose expansion doesn’t raise but actually lowers costs for end consumers, may be beside the point. Many of us get that something is amiss, but are ourselves so deeply enmeshed in the logic of last century’s version of free-market industrial capitalism that we can’t quite bring ourselves to call this out for the threat it poses to our markets, our economy, and even our planet….

Douglas Rushkoff

The problem is, when an existing market is merely a means to another end, the company doesn’t consider the long-term effects of its actions. Amazon treated the book industry the same way companies like Walmart once treated the territories into which they expanded: Use a war chest of capital to undercut prices, put competitors out of business, become the sole employer in the community, turn employees into part-time shift workers, lobby for deregulation, and effectively extract all the value from a given region before closing up shop and moving to the next one.

Fat Cats

This model of doing business—one that even a proto-fascist like Henry Ford would have considered obscene—has not served corporations well. As the data now reveals, corporate profits have been steadily decreasing relative to corporate size over the past 75 years…. And by sucking their customers and suppliers dry, such companies end up destroying the marketplaces on which they depend for revenue. It’s a form of financial obesity, where the only thing left for the company to do is acquire a new marketplace, extract all its value, and move on.

Scott Galloway

At Business Insider’s IGNITION conference, Scott Galloway gave a presentation on why “The Big Four” — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google — should be broken up. Galloway is a professor of marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business and the author of “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.”

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