Monday, March 29, 2010

Thanks for the memories...

March 28, 2010 – Dan Trachtenberg, Chairman of the SS United States Foundation, recently announced the organization would cease operations “in order to present the most unified, concise vision possible regarding the future of our beloved vessel…” The Foundation website will now direct visitors to the SS United States Conservancy site and will encourage its membership to support Conservancy efforts on behalf of the ship.

It’s safe to say that the Foundation re-introduced the American public to the history and plight of our great national flagship and for that, true believers in the SS United States should be deeply thankful.

“They really did a lot to kick-start the movement to save this irreplaceable national icon,” said Dan McSweeney, who currently serves as Executive Director of the Conservancy. “Dan Trachtenberg has been a part of the SS United States preservation movement for well over ten years and he’s never waivered in lending an encouraging word to those who share his vision for saving the ship at any and all costs.”

The Foundation scored major media placements in the late 1990s and early 2000s under the leadership of Robert Hudson Westover, who founded the organization.

“Robert’s efforts will not be forgotten. His enthusiasm attracted many supporters who went off to pursue their own efforts on behalf of the ship,” said McSweeney. “He was a resonant voice in support of a deep and strong vision to ensure this great ship is not lost.”

The Conservancy thanks the Foundation for its many years on behalf of the “Big Ship.” We are glad to be combining the different organizations that have worked to ”Save Our Ship” and understand the importance of unified effort, both in order to maximize impacts and minimize confusion about how members of the public can join the cause of ensuring the SS United States is not lost to future generations of Americans.

“This is a time for unity,” said Conservancy Board President Susan Gibbs. “There is much hard work to be done.”

Friday, January 15, 2010

China: The Sword, the Purse and the Word

The Sword, the Purse and the Word. No, this is not the title of the next Harry Potter book. It is the simple formula as to how Western nations have managed to prosper and hold the levers of world power for over 500 years. The simplistic breakdown of this formula is roughly: The Sword (military power and empire). The Purse (the bootie and accompanying wealth of empire). The Word (the philosophical principles and laws—the governance of a people).

The third, the Word is the most crucial. Without a system of just and humane laws a nation, no matter how wealthy, will collapse in on itself through its own corruption and ineptitude.

Since Magna Carta the West has managed through fits and starts to bestow upon the common man the rights and privileges once afforded only to a tiny and elite aristocracy throughout the great expanse of human history. This is the Western world’s Word. And this is why the Western powers will continue to prosper and control those levers of international power. (I remember how Japan was supposed to be the next superpower—speak of collective intellectual amnesia!)

As many American companies are learning (the hard way) China has the Sword (for sure) and now a lot of Purse, but it has very little of the Word as it applies to the rights of the common man and for this reason it will fail.

It would behoove American companies (and other international companies that are based in human rights-oriented political systems) to sparsely invest in countries, institutions and/or cultures that repress the Rights of Man. And those that do not tread lightly in these totalitarian systems, despite their misguided convictions of some elusive political stability, will eventually regret such investments—just ask Google.