by Frank Li
I believe I have most accurately identified the root cause of many American ills and provided the best solution. In this article, I will present my Pyramid Theory I as a theoretical foundation for my work.
First of all, what is America, anyway?1. What is America?
America, as a country, has two corner stones:
- Capitalism: It’s all about “making money” (or “profits”), nothing else such as “job creation” (which goes against efficiency) or “Made in USA” (as capitalism is global by definition). The very essence of capitalism is “me first” and self-reliance: If each and every one of us can take care of himself/herself, we, as a nation, will take care of ourselves. I firmly believe this is the best system available on earth, and will remain so, as long as human nature prevails.
- Democracy: It’s all about “votes”. In order to obtain more votes, our politicians pretend to be “you first” and made up such socialist schemes as “job creation” and “Made in USA”, totally going against capitalism, especially the self-reliance part. Worse yet, they are willing to win your votes at any cost, even if it means to destroy America by emptying her treasury! As a result, the “Land of Opportunities” is now filled with entitlements, to such an extreme that America, as a country, is heading toward bankruptcy.
So capitalism and democracy are now on the collision course. What to do?
2. Richard Nixon and China’s Mao
Here is a rumored dialog between China’s Mao and Richard Nixon in 1972:
- Mao: “Aren’t you worried about a revolution, as guns are so widely available over there?”
- Nixon: “No. Revolutions are not caused by the guns, but by the smart people at the bottom. The American system allows the smart people to move up. So there will be no revolution in America.”
Nixon was right! America, as the “Land of Opportunities”, has been the beacon to attract the best to come here and to allow the best to make it (i.e. realizing “my American dream”).
3. Pyramid Theory I
Everything substantive in our society is pyramidal, with the “winners” sitting on the top and the majority filling in the middle and bottom. For example:
- Wealth: Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are on the pinnacle. The rest of us fill in the middle and bottom.
- Jobs: There are always more low-pay jobs than high-pay jobs (relatively). If you are good, get a high-pay one.
- Business: There are always more workers than owners. If you are really good, be an owner.
The pyramidal shape not only follows physics (e.g. gravity), but also is the result of our capitalism at its best: You can make it if you work hard and if you are good (and lucky). I am a modern-day example of an American dream come true. However, no matter how much the society advances (e.g. the computers and Internet), there are always the needs of having garbage collected and lawns mowed. In other words, while we are the best on earth to give anybody and everybody opportunities to move up (= success), the majority of us will end up in the middle or bottom, as it should be. But politics changes that …
American politics is all about obtaining votes. Because of the lack of term limits, most, if not all, of the politicians are on their jobs for one purpose only: getting re-elected ad nauseam. So they will do anything and everything to win your votes, including creating various socialist schemes in defiance of Pyramid Theory I. For example:
- Home ownership: If you want a bigger and better home than you can actually afford, no problem – we will have Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac help you out.
- Job creation: We are willing to spend on such wasteful things as Bridge to Nowhere and Marine One, all in the name of job creation (or preservation), so that some of you can pretend to be working while the government can pretend to be paying you.
- Made in USA: Just compare GM with Toyota. One key difference between them is the UAW, which is endemic at GM but nonexistent at Toyota.
Here is a big problem: the government has little money of its own. Instead, it subsidizes the “losers” by taxing the “winners”. In other words, it punishes success! As a result, the pool of winners will become smaller and, at this pace, will be dried out or chased away soon. Still wondering why I said America is becoming yesterday’s China? Wonder not! Democracy, as we know it today, looks more and more like communism (= China under Mao or the Soviet Union), and it is destroying America faster than most Americans realize! Yes, punishing success, you will end up without any success!
5. What should we do?
We must do three things in principle:
- Clearly recognize America’s two corner stones: capitalism and democracy, with the understanding that for prosperity, capitalism is a must while democracy is merely an option. Sacrificing capitalism for democracy, you will end up having neither.
- Clearly accept the human nature tenet: “me first”. Yes, it applies to the politicians too! However, unlike the capitalists who have no problem admitting “me first”, the politicians pretend to be “you first”. In reality, they are all “me first” (aren’t they human beings too?), for which they care about your vote, not necessarily you. Worse yet, they are willing to win your vote at any cost, even if it means to destroy America by emptying her treasury! Worse still, they can be easily and openly bribed. Just look at this example: 81 House members just enjoyed an all-expense paid hiatus in Israel.
- Design/change our political system: To accommodate this human nature tenet, not denying or defying it, as it is now!
Specifically, we must stick to capitalism and dramatically improve our democracy with one fundamental change: Term-limits for the politicians, starting with the American Presidency: setting it to be 1-term (e.g. 6 years) and raising the statutory requirements! In short, the diagnosis is cancer: the career politicians are destroying America by emptying her treasury for their personal gains; the prescription is term-limits plus more!
About the Author
Frank Li is the Founder & President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action. Dr. Li writes extensively and uniquely on politics, for which he has been called “a modern-day Thomas Jefferson” (see page 31).