Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Don't Be Afraid

With the state of the economy causing fear and confusion in some quarters, it's not difficult to see why people call for a return to an economy where we ``make stuff''. We had an economy up until the 1980s where we largely ``made stuff''. We remember that times weren't ``that bad'' before then, and yearn for a return to that sort of economy as a solution to our problems.

People: That sort of an economy is over and probably won't ever come back until our country's arc bends back in the direction of earth. The United States is inexorably marching into a ``make ideas'' or Ideas economy.

Our can-do, never-say-die, strive-for-improvement, try-something-else-if this-doesn't-work culture--comprise the individual fibers that make us American. This is what makes the Ideas economy something we should be reaching for and not turning away from--we are well suited to this!

It is this very Ideas sort of mindset that has given us the chutzpah to invent, create, and explore new flavors and tastes in beer. Do you think that it's just a coincidence that the craft beer movement began in the very 1980s when the ``make stuff'' economy began to dwindle in favor of the Ideas economy?

Germany has an economy that is still a ``make stuff'' economy, but it too has some of its people yearning to unleash good ideas. While they have a significant number of ``make ideas'' enterprises there, they still excel at making stuff: Machinery, tools, automobiles, suitcases and scientific instruments come to mind. In 1993 the German Beer Purity Law, the Reinheitsgebot , was relaxed to allow adding a few other ingredients. Still, their beer recipes are quite traditional, hence they have not fully embraced an Ideas economy.

And if you look around beyond our shores, you will see that many other countries are still making stuff and not ideas. When's the last time you were sitting in front of your LG flat-screen enjoying a really flavorful and interesting Chinese beer?

What am I trying to say: Don't be afraid. Put your thinking cap on and embrace change. We are Americans. We have a culture that embraces the varied flavors of new ideas. We will survive and grow stronger through this.

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