– Ron Page
Economics is not something I’ve studied, and, for that matter, it is not something I even begin to understand. But they tell me that somehow, when people are productive and no king or abusive central government takes an unfair share, prosperity emerges. So far, no one has been able to explain to me exactly how the total money supply keeps growing, but it seems that so long as we keep adding to the supply of food, raw materials, finished products, and completed services a value gets assigned to everything and we print up money to trade with so that we don’t have to chop down a tree in exchange for a cow, or swap a beehive for a fur coat. Rotarians knowledgeable about finance and economics may be able to lend clarity to my vague idea of how this all works (or tell me that it doesn’t work like that at all).
Another financial thing I don’t totally understand is that all those trillions of dollars’ worth of stock are valued based on the confidence of the stockholders. We are told the great depression was simply the result of a lack of confidence by the population as a whole and we are told that are times of prosperity are bolstered by the confidence of the population.
I would like to think my reasoning on economic matters, naïve as it may be, does have some validity and that my thoughts about Oklahoma City’s current situation may be of interest to my readers. I think we just might weather the downturn in oil prices for the following reason: The core of our “workforce” will maintain its productivity and confidence irrespective of layoffs in the energy sector.
My generation came out of college with the thought of making a lifetime commitment to the largest and most prestigious corporation that would have us. Even slackers found a way to make a career of filling a slot in the corporate bureaucracy. Victims of layoffs thought mostly about finding their next corporate job while doing little or nothing in the interim. Our productivity and our confidence were the results of the perceived value added to the corporation. We all had great ideas that would take us outside the corporate world but we lacked the confidence to act.
Today’s generation is not burdened with the belief that “the company” will always be there for them and understand they can be productive with or without a large employer. Entrepreneurship and self-confidence abound. Being “laid off” by an energy company may be the impetus to pursue with confidence and enthusiasm that “great idea”, and there have never been more “great ideas”. As I meet the entrepreneurs at all the new software firms, biotech firms, healthcare operations, shops, bars, restaurants, galleries, service companies, I develop great respect for their absolute confidence in what they are doing and their willingness to put in the hard work necessary for success. I notice that if one attempt fails, they are right back at the helm of another project.
If productivity and confidence make for prosperity, Oklahoma City should weather the storm just fine.