Question Your Assumptions

Many things in the world we take for granted, because we assume that they are true and will stay that way. The fact is, we are wrong most of the time. Let me cite a few common examples:

A business that takes his customers for granted runs the risk of losing them. The tastes and preferences of customers change, sometimes too quickly for you to cope with. Besides, your competitors are watching you, as you used to watch them. They will move in when they see you become slack.

We tend to assume that because something has not happened before, it won’t happen in the future. Well, most things are not related to the past at all. Take drunk driving for instance. The fact that you did not have an accident was due to pure luck only. But you cannot push your luck every time. The same is true with health. We tend to take good health for granted until we get sick. So we don’t bother about healthy living and eating.

All crises are unique in nature. Crisis prevention cannot be patterned like the old one. We have to focus on the causes that change with time and circumstances. The Asian financial crisis of 1997, and the US financial meltdown of 2008 may repeat in the future, but the causes will be different next time.

Is price determined by supply and demand? Usually, provided there is good competition and substitution. The price of oil keeps on rising even when demand slackens during a recession. Why? The price of oil is controlled by OPEC, meaning little competition. Besides, oil is a non-renewable product of nature with increasing environmental costs.

Will tax cut for the rich create jobs? Every politician in the Republican Party is blowing this trumpet. You have to ask what makes a company hire more people. A company starts to hire more workers if demand increases faster than wages. This is how they can make a profit. It has nothing to do with tax cut for the rich. On the other hand, a tax cut for the poor and middle class will increase demand and thereby employment, because they will spend the tax refunds quickly on the things they need. The rich do not have to wait for a tax refund to buy the things they want. Therefore cutting taxes for the rich to create jobs is a smokescreen used by the politicians to favor their rich patrons, and shift the burden onto the lower income groups.

The biggest untruths passed down through generations are probably the following: First, the earth is the center of the universe, until proved wrong in the early 1500s. Second, the earth is flat, until proved wrong about the same time. Third, women are not as capable as men, still held true by the die-hards. Fourth, some race is inferior to some other, still held true by a large segment of population. You will find more if you look around. What causes the longevity of the untruths? Because we assume them to be true, and never bother to question them. All it takes is a change of attitude and ask, What if otherwise? Or ask, Why not?

If you try to question your assumptions with an open mind, you will discover many smokescreens and fake things in the world. At the same time, you will prevent yourself from being deceived or misled.

(April 2011)


This entry was posted in Business/Investment, Economics/Politics, Inspiration. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Question Your Assumptions

  1. This is so true and well said.

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