Welcome to Liberrants, a blog dedicated to editorials, discussions, and studies of all things libertarian. Don't let the title mislead you; it's merely my attempt to be creative in describing myself as a "hopeful curmudgeon" who embraces the goal of the free, peaceful, economically vibrant society envisioned by America's founding fathers. Jump in! Contribute! Enjoy!

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Location: Tucson, Arizona, United States

A critically thinking curmudgeon whose goal, in addition to creatively venting about the imperfect world in which we live, is to induce critical thinking in others. The ultimate goal is to help bring about a peaceful world in which we can all live in freedom.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My Employer and the Great Wall of China

Yesterday afternoon I overheard my oxygen-wasting senior manager ask an interesting question of his EA, whose desk sits about ten feet from my office door. The question was prompted by the installation of a long (about eight foot) framed photograph of the Great Wall of China (“the GWOC”, as some of us have dubbed it) on the wall opposite the secretarial bay. His question was “What does the Great Wall of China possibly have to do with our business?” Funny he should ask, since there are some remarkably apt comparisons between the GWOC and our company and its products. Allow me to furnish some.

  1. The GWOC was costly, complicated, took years to build and ultimately failed at what it was designed to do.

  2. Looked upon as a technological marvel at the time of its conception, the GWOC was obsolete by the time it was finished.

  3. The GWOC required engineering skills to build (the picture’s presence serves as a reminder that something is overwhelmingly and glaringly missing in our company).

  4. The GWOC was built at the behest of the government. So is everything our company builds.

  5. Because the GWOC was built at the behest of the government, comparison point number 1 resulted. Again, note the eerie comparison between centuries and circumstances.

  6. The GWOC served as a lesson in strategic failure that no one seemed to learn anything from (remember the Maginot Line?). Oh, and about those five reorganizations you’ve forced in as many years. . .

  7. The GWOC devoured those who built it.

  8. The GWOC was built and serviced by half-starved slaves.

  9. Though recognized as a failure and allowed to crumble into ruin, the GWOC was eventually restored and maintained at tremendous cost in the vague and ridiculous hope that it would ultimately serve some useful strategic purpose.

  10. The GWOC is built with stones, mud and sticks.

  11. The GWOC is immobile and unable to adapt to changing conditions.

  12. The GWOC’s sheer size ensures that it is surrounded by ludicrous myths (e.g., “the only man-made object visible from the moon”).

  13. The GWOC is trumpeted as an engineering marvel and a source of great pride, even though it is both a functional failure and thousands of years old.

  14. The GWOC ultimately got in the way of progress and had to be torn down in parts to make way for modern technology.

And finally, what is perhaps the most apt comparison between the GWOC and our company’s products:

  • The GWOC was never successfully replicated either in China or anywhere else in the world (as Hadrian’s Wall and the Berlin Wall, among other failures, both attest).

How's that for starters?