Were Bill and Dave right?
Yet, thanks to Justin Tilson, I discovered Chris Martenson's Crash Course. It makes the claim that debt is a key factor in creating growth and the problems of growth. I found the series interesting, but I wasn't in tune with his recommended solutions. They struck me a bit too much as "run for the hills" and not enough "here are some ways we together can craft systematic solutions." I should listen again to see if I get a different impression in a second pass, but I don't have the time. That's why I usually prefer well-written and -illustrated text to video—it's faster to read and faster to review—but that's just my personal preference.
Later, reading (or reacting to) James McCusker's Federal loan guarantees mean more jobs made me wonder: did Bill and Dave get it right on a more global scale than they perhaps realized?
What does that mean? If you know that I used to work at Hewlett-Packard and you recall any of the twentieth century history of high tech in the USA, you likely know that I'm talking about Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. In one famous case, which you can find described in multiple books, Dave returned from his stint working in the US Department of Defense to find that HP was about to raise money through significant borrowing. His reaction made it abundantly clear to a generation or two of HP managers that HP did not raise significant money that way; HP funded future growth out of current profits.
Putting McKusker's commentary, Martenson's ideas, and Dave's values together, I wonder if a focus on supplying real needs and growing through profits rather than growth for growth's sake and growth through borrowing would be better for businesses, better for the economies of the world, and better for people.
Incidentally, McCusker is in favor of more loans right now to get the economy moving again. With so many people out of work, I realize that something must be done and that interim measures may not match long-term solutions. I'm musing about long-term approaches here; how to get from here to there is a different matter.
What do you think?
PS: If you wonder what Dave's reaction to debt was, ask an HP veteran of the time, or check out Chuck House's and Ray Price's upcoming book; I'm sure it will mention it.