Monday, August 1, 2011

Mis-creativity will keep the US in Recession

What is Mis-creativity?

Many of us are denied creativity in our lives, though this is the age of creativity. And for those few who do get to be creative, this creativity often turns out to be “mis-creativity”, because the culture we live in is mis-creative. “Mis-creativity” is simply a “creativity” that is not creative – it is either imitative, destructive, mediocre, superficial, trivial, manipulative, stolen, shallow, exploitive, euphoric, distracting, addictive, entrancing, standard lowering, wasteful and so on. Mis-creativity is the verve and vigor of our modern consumerist age.

Mis-creativity supports the trite, we live in a universe of products where many are simply unnecessary and superfluous. They are new and improved and revolutionary and so on. Billions are wasted on these unnecessary things and services that fill garages and closets and supply ebay with endless items. Mis-creativity takes people away from real values, from the fundamental issues of life.

Not only is mis-creativity shallow and trivial, it also has a quantitative aspect, it stresses quantity, mass and bulk – bigger houses, bigger trucks, more or this and that, more and more stuff which we really don’t need.

And unfortunately, the mis-creative also enters the realm of the toxic and addictive. Most notably are dangerous processed foods designed to taste good, sold at relatively low prices and which lead easily to obesity and diabetes.

Another feature of mis-creative activity is simply distraction engineered by media and entertainment. Distraction at a certain level is necessary for relief from the problems of life, but the current level of it is far beyond what would be healthy. 

Modern media has a way of manipulating time, it puts us in the spell of the “now” as we float from show to show. Euphoria and speed are also factors to enhance the distraction. As a result we focus on moments and not on the continuities that run through all of the moments, on the fundamental and long term issues.

Further, in the world of mis-creativity, standards are lowered to the minimum level to maximize consumption, distribution and influence. In a world of true creativity, creative standards are maintained so that they can raise the level of popular tastes and perceptions rather than submerge them in mediocrity.  Chasing after maximum profit without being limited by principles and values leads to disaster.

In a mis-creative economy we have a high degree of waste because we misuse resources, labor and money on goods and services of questionable value. How much of the US’s $14 Trillion economy would you venture to guess is composed of mis-creativity? The figure if scientifically tallied might be astounding, maybe, 30%, 40% or more.

In recession as we have right now, mis-creativity burns up your options. We have mis-creative industries languishing, yet, we want to restart them. But if we do so, this prevents us from focusing our resources and efforts on key and critical industries. Without a plan that separates the Creative from the Mis-creative we are in great trouble. There are far too many businesses that waste money and labor and material, they are either too big or should actually die.

The US may have only one shot at escaping this recession and keeping its economic strength, and we do not have a wide range of options as the foreclosure/housing crisis continues, deficit problems mushroom and credit rating agencies threaten to downgrade the financial status of the nation -- which will lead to higher Treasury bond rates and then higher taxes, interest rates and inflation.

So trying to resurrect the old economy with all of its waste is not a wise idea…..that is, if we want to improve the quality of our lives and remain competitive in a global economy.

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