Matt Hrivnak

Kaizen: There's always another future state

Archive for the 'Economics' Category...

Filed under Economics

There are several versions of the 80/20 rule, but primarily it is used to describe an extended version of the Law of Diminishing Returns.  When I say extended, I mean for a certain length of time like an improvement or project plan that might span years.  For those individuals who are not familiar with the Law of Diminishing Returns, here is a quick definition followed by two examples.  The Law of Diminishing Returns states that you have a basic cause and effect relationship, where an increase in variable X somehow affects variable Y, positively or negatively.  At first, when X is increased, Y is greatly affected, but as X is increased, its affect on Y becomes less and less.  This is the fundamental idea behind the Law of Diminishing Returns.  

 

An example of this law:  quenching your thirst on a hot summer day.  After working several hours outside in the hot weather, you come inside and decide to take a drink of water.  The first glass of water is like some sort of magical water, making you feel much better; every sip quenches your thirst.  As you keep refilling your glass, each glass after the first adds very little enjoyment, until finally, you are sick of drinking water and no longer want it.  Big improvement up front and that quickly scaled off.

 

Another example:  installing a light bulb on a lamp on the ceiling.  One person could easily handle this, but two would be safer so that the second person could hold the ladder.  Adding a third or fourth person might help keep the ladder in place, but beyond that, no benefit is being added to the installation of the light bulb.  And so, as you add people, it begs the question, “how many people does it take to screw in a light bulb?”

 

Now that we have covered the basics behind the 80/20 rule, let’s see where it gets its name.  In reality, it is really a mixture of 80s and 20s that form the 80/20 rule.  The fundamental breakdown of the phrase is that 80% of your benefits come from 20% of your efforts.  This is often times used by quality experts to sort out root cause as it is routinely found that 80% of a company’s defects are coming from about 20% of their known problems.  That is, they might have 5 different quality problems, but only 1 of them makes up 80% of the cost associated with the problems.

 

Where do the other 80s and 20s come into play here?  Well, that’s easy.  If 80% of your benefits come from 20% of your efforts that means that you still have 20% of your benefits to come with the last 80% of your efforts.  This is the major sticking point of this rule:  Implement and then perfect!

 

Here is a visual of the 80/20 rule as it would appear on a graph.

 

 

80 20 rule graphed

80 20 rule graphed

 

Some companies perform improvement projects that show great results of upfront, but they never finish the last 20%. Other companies spend all of their time trying to perfect an application before they implement it, resulting in very little success and long drawn out timelines.  

 

Use the 80/20 rule to your advantage.  It is the essence behind continuous improvement.  You might get the big bang for your buck out of the initial investment, but over the long run, you can still pick up another 20% worth of benefits before the well runs dry.  That is, if it ever does 😉

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Comments (0) Posted by matt on Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Filed under Economics, Kaizen, Lean, Lifestyle, productivity

I haven’t posted in quite a few months because I’ve been extremely busy.  My wife and I moved into our new house in April and it’s been nonstop working since then; working on and contributing to surveys, articles and books, performing actual work, house work, yard work, visiting family, etc.  

 

I’ve been doing some work in the past few months with MassMEP.  These guys are great.  They perform a lot of Lean training and facilitation of Kaizen events, and generally, help companies start a structured Lean journey that can be followed once MassMEP has finished its onsite work.  Like most manufacturing support entities, MassMEP gets the majority of its funding from the state government; in their case, Massachusetts.  They’ve been plagued lately by budgetary concerns as the MA state government was going to be appropriating money meant for MassMEP (and others) to pay off debt that the state has racked up.  This is, of course, a prime example of the pitfalls of big government and a major injustice to all of the companies in MA.  Each company pays into a Workforce Training Fund that is specifically setup for workforce education, which includes things like Lean and Six Sigma training.  So, if the MA state government would move those funds to other debts, it hurts the MA companies that would take advantage of the program in two ways:  First, they lose that money they are paying into the program.  And second, they lose out on the thousands/millions of dollars they could save (or grow) had they been able to get the Lean Sigma training and implementation.  A lot of manufacturers have already been to the state house to fight for the Workforce Training Fund money and it seems to have paid off so far, but there is still more that needs to be brought back that was put in by the manufacturers.

 

Lastly, I’ve been working on a lean simulation file that includes a basic template for setting up and running a lean simulation in a classroom setting.  I’ve been asked countless times for something like this, so I’ve been sitting down a few hours a week to put something tangible together that can be shared by anyone to explain and really showcase the benefits of Lean to their colleagues and company executives who need convincing.  More on that in the future, and when it is complete, I will post it on this site.

 

-MH

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Comments (1) Posted by matt on Friday, August 14th, 2009

Filed under Economics, Kaizen, Lean, productivity, Six Sigma

ISO, or the International Organization for Standardization (Organisation internationale de normalisation), is an organization that is familiar to most people, but at the same time, requires much explanation.  ISO is headquartered in Switzerland and was founded in the 1940s.  It’s a standard creating entity made up of representatives from several countries that meet, form subcommittees, create and update procedures that are to be used, copied, and/or adapted to one’s business in an attempt to ‘standardize’ operations and improve quality.

Many companies see competitors that have an ISO certification banner hanging on the outside of their building or a .jpg on their website indicating that they have ISO 9001 QUALITY!!.  But what does that really mean?  To tell you the truth, no one knows for sure.  In some cases it means a lot, in others, it doesn’t.

ISO is an organization that strives and survives off of the buying and selling of the unnecessary efforts of other companies.  Each ISO system is different, not only from ISO 9001-2000 to ISO 14000 and so on, but also within each company that employs it.  It really comes down to, in a good portion of the companies, to ‘say what you do, and do what you say’.  But how far does that really get you?

In my opinion, ISO is a great help, if your company is drastically behind the times and has no means of standardization or procedure creation.  However, for most practical applications, it falls significantly short.  All of the companies that I’ve worked for that were ISO certified benefited no more from their ISO system than they did from their own standardized procedures.  In fact, many got worse with their quality levels because of all the red tape and the overwhelming amount of steps to update, change, and even implement new procedures.

Companies need to rely more on their own resources, be accountable for their own processes and procedures, and learn to become a learning organization that continually reviews and updates said procedures in a way that allows for some kind of betterment, to both their customers and their employees.  These days, there are too many companies that are spending good portions of their profits to become ISO certified and to maintain their multi-leveled ISO procedure file for the sake of saying they are ISO certified. 

For good companies that have an evolved awareness of quality and standardization, ISO is nothing more than a bureaucratic overrun of unnecessary red tape, expensive audits, and a faux selling point in the belief that ISO certification will trick your customers into thinking your quality is better.  Quality is determined by the company and its empowered operators, not by their ISO procedures.

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Comments (1) Posted by matt on Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Filed under Economics, Kaizen, Lean, productivity

One of the toughest aspects of the Toyota Production System (TPS) for people to understand is why single piece flow is so important, and how it works.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve answered questions and statements like these: 

“What is single piece flow?”

“If we make one, move one, then our efficiencies will fall and we can’t have that…”

“Why use smaller batch sizes?”

“How will smaller batch sizes help?  We’ll just have more changeovers and our costs will go up.”

“We can’t achieve single piece flow and if we are able to, it will be too costly for us to operate that way.”

“Our customers will never get their orders if we do that because all we’ll ever be doing is changing over and setting up machines…” 

When it comes down to it, single piece flow is the best way that a manufacturing system can be set up.  Now, in most industries, systems are setup that will never allow for single piece flow in the traditional sense because of machining capacities and capabilities.  Examples of this are piece work items that are manufactured automatically by machines that have multiple machining heads that are performing the same task concurrently – something like the minting, pressing and stamping of coins – multiple dies punching hundreds of coin blanks out at one time, etc.  With time and revolutionary machine designs, single piece flow would ultimately be possible. 

In order to highlight the benefits of single piece flow, I’m going to use a list that is characterized by Liker in The Toyota Way (if you don’t own it, buy it – it is well worth the money), pages 95-97.  I’ve kept the list the same, but have added my own reasons as to why these benefits occur: 

  1. Builds in quality – this is the aspect that is most overlooked by opponents to single piece flow.  Since you are not dealing with batches, in particular, large batches, any defects can be correctly instantly or removed from the system at that time by the operator.  Defects are fixed or removed instead of being passed on.  Defects also become more noticeable and do not become hidden amongst a batch.  The most significant benefit is that any quality issues are more apt to begin and end with that one particular unit.  This happens because the defect is located, a cause is determined and a solution is remedied (PDCA in action).
  2. Creates real flexibility – because you are dealing with a lot size of 1 you can end production for that product at any point throughout the day within the number of minutes it takes for that 1 unit’s cycle time to elapse.  This is improved with the advent of SMED as changeovers are reduced and a larger mix of products can be produced within a shift, servicing more customers than a system processing larger batches of products.  If processing a lot size of 20 takes 5 hours of machine cycling time to complete, then processing a lot of 1 will take .25 hours.  In this way, you would be able to switch products and start producing something else after 15 minutes, instead of waiting 5 hours for the previous lot to complete its cycle.
  3. Creates higher productivity – operators focused on single piece flow are working on mostly value added activities leaving less time for non-value added time to interfere.  In addition to this, as each piece is processed, it can be moved onto the next workstation and processing can begin there – eventually you will get to the point where you are producing units at an output rate nearly equivalent to your slowest individual process (i.e. theory of constraints).  Also, any quality issues can be quickly removed or remedied within minutes on a single piece as opposed to reworking an entire lot, this saves larges amounts of rework time that would normally bog down a production line and utilize operators in a completely non-value added manner.
  4. Frees up floor space – because single piece flow naturally works within a cell there is less space for the accumulation of inventory between processes.  A cell is setup to maximize production floor space and improve communication between processes to improve quality and increase throughput.  There is no waste associated with defects, scrap, unneeded stacks of raw material, stacks of finished goods waiting for the next process – none of that because as soon as inventory is created (in the form of 1 unit) it is absorbed and processed by the next station and so on, down through the line.
  5. Improves safety – single piece flow means that there is no need for large batches to be shuttled back and forth, over thousands of feet within a production facility.  All of the processes are arranged in a cell with minimal space between them.  Again, inventory does not build up and will not require movement, batch sizes are 1 so bins and containers used to move products will be very small, allowing for operators to lift small, light packages instead of large, heavy packages that may contain multiple units.
  6. Improves morale – this is a natural phenomenom that occurs because each operator gets to see the outcome of their hard work instantly.  This instant gratification builds a passion for creating well-made, quality items.  Overtime, operators will pride themselves on high levels of quality and products that they produce because they can actually see the benefits that they add to the product – and each one they produce is, in and of itself, a unique special well crafted item.
  7. Reduces cost of inventory – simply due to the fact that you have less inventory of raw materials, inventory of WIP, and inventory of finished goods means that your company will be able to dedicate their capital and resources in other areas instead of overhead.  Additionally, any inventory that becomes obsolete because it is sitting around waiting to be processed will no longer occur.  This could mean expanding by purchasing new capital or technologies, improving existing work centers, giving more benefits, providing higher salaries to attract a better workforce.

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Comments (0) Posted by matt on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Filed under Economics, Lean, Lean Stocks

Questions people often have:  What are the long term effects of Lean Manufacturing?  What does Lean Manufacturing do for a company?  What are the benefits of Lean Manufacturing? How can I engage management and stakeholders so that Lean is taken seriously? etc.  I guess the proof really is in the pudding.  People can deny it all they want, but Lean works.  This simple post, showcasing three stocks that have all had been significant in the progression (and in a lot of cases, regression) of manufacturing principles and techniques, tells the story.  In the chart below, I’ve overlaid the following stocks, Toyota (NSYE:  TM), Ford (NYSE:  F), and General Motors (NYSE:  GM) for the comparison of their performance over the past 30+ years.  Now, when you compare stocks, they are graphed by % gain over time, allowing you to see the real difference in the stocks. 

Look at how GM (BLUE LINE) remains rather flat, while Ford (YELLOW LINE) makes some gains and then retraces, and then, then look at Toyota (BLACK/RED LINE), who makes consistent gains, retraces ever so slightly, and then makes bigger gains, and so on.  That consistency and longterm growth is what all Lean companies are striving for; that is why you implement Lean.  Seriously, look at the difference in % gain (which essentially shows you what % you would have made on your money if you invested it at the time this chart began):  Toyota topped out at 9,500%!!!, F topped out at 1,200%, and GM barely cracked 200%.  It’s even more stimulating to see that at the present time (far right side of the chart), GM and F are both close to being a wash.  Well, in reality, you might have even lost money due to inflation, the time value of money, opportunity cost, etc.  And then look at Toyota at the present time, if you’d put money into this stock in 1974, you would be up a mere 6,500% – not bad for an automaker stock!!  This is always a good chart to show to anyone that doubts the significance of Lean Manufacturing and the exceptional company that Toyota has been, and will continue to be in the future.  An even better chart is this next one, which shows the difference in these stocks over the past 10 years. 

 

If you would have invested in Toyota 10 years ago, you’d have made 95% on your money, almost doubling it, assuming you still held it today.  In fact, at one point you could have sold it at the high time in early 2007 and made ~165% on your money.  And then there’s Ford and GM.  If you would have put your money into either one of these companies 10 years ago, you’re looking at losses of up around 60% for GM and 65% for Ford.  When the times got tough, Toyota started to diverge from F and GM, and both of these graphs illustrate this point perfectly. 

 I’m a fairly active trader always willing to make investments in companies just making the transition to Lean.  Now, a lot of companies do not come right out and say it, but you can sometimes find this information through press releases or news coming out of publicly held companies, either by information you gain from your trading company or by using a resource like BigCharts.com (which is where this chart was generated!).  Not only are Lean Manufacturing companies worth working for and doing business with, they are also very much worth a little piece of your portfolio.  Cheers!

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Comments (0) Posted by matt on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Filed under Economics, Kaizen, Lean

While working in a textile factory in the early 1900s, Sakichi Toyoda saw a problem with the way the textile looms ran:  if one of the threads broke, the machine would continue to produce bad product until an operator noticed that the break had occurred.  Improving upon this, he developed a self-monitoring device that stopped the loom when one of the threads broke.  This produced dramatic improvements in quality, as well as freed up operators that had previously spent much of their workday watching looms for quality.  That particular invention is still used in many textile operations around the world, as well as in most manufacturing processes in general.  It wasn’t the particular application that was important; it was the overall idea.  This idea was later termed Jidoka, and when translated into English, literally means “automation with human intelligence”.  This idea would become one of the two main pillars of the Toyota Production System (TPS), and is still in use in every Toyota operation and process.

The second pillar of TPS was developed by Sakichi Toyoda’s son, Kiichiro, and is called Just-In-Time.  In the 1930s, Kiichiro, the founder of the automotive branch of the Toyota group, theorized that he could keep the entire production process stocked with needed goods if the previous operation would respond to the precise needs of the downstream process.  This thinking dramatically reduced the amount of time operators spent waiting for parts to work on, while limiting the amount of the waste in the process.  He would continue this idea by working closely with suppliers to level production and ultimately, reduce all excess inventory levels.  Jidoka and Just-In-Time were both developed before the start of World War II.

After the war, one of Toyota’s executives continued the development of TPS and is credited as the chief architect of the system that is still in use today.  As chief of production, Taiichi Ohno developed TPS into a company wide cultural experience which required each associate to participate.  In many American factories, then and now, operators were reluctant to add their input and often feared change.  Conversely, Ohno praised change and suggestions from everyone.  During his tenure (and with the assistance of the famed consultant Shigeo Shingo), Toyota invented many “tools” which would come to encompass much of Lean Production.  Two such tools, 5 S and Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED), have been written about extensively, and are often some of the first steps a company will take while trying to implement the system.  Over the years this developed into the idea known as Kaizen, which when translated means “continuous improvement”.  This idea still stands as the overall image of Toyota, as they are always re-evaluating every process, from order taking to final inspection.

After the publication of The Machine That Changed the World, companies began to familiarize themselves with Lean Production and the toolset became common knowledge.  The overall concept of Lean is what prompted this blog.  As you will read throughout this site, Lean is not an idea, it’s a way of life.  It is about embracing change and being able to look inward and realize that there are always improvements that can be made.  Once a company adapts this kind of thinking, they are consistently able to find themselves improving in all areas, from on-time delivery to quality!

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Comments (0) Posted by matt on Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Filed under Economics, Kaizen, Lean, Lifestyle, Six Sigma

The United States is in trouble.  Being a relatively young nation, it is still developing its own identity; which to this point has been one of adventurers and risk takers.  This is something that one would expect from a nation made up almost entirely of immigrants, as leaving one’s home country requires those types of traits to allow for such thoughts.  This frontier’s man type of attitude is one characteristic that has always led to great accomplishments as a result of such verifiable risk taking.  However, with all of this success comes arrogance, expectation, gluttony, and worst of all, lackadaisical-ness.

It wasn’t always this way.  After the World War I, the United Stateswas riding the victory bus all the way to Prosperville, but then the wheels fell off and we were stuck in the middle of the Great Depression.  That should have been the first sign that our independently spirited behavior was leading us in the wrong direction.  This fact was forgotten, however, on December 7, 1941 when warplanes from Japan performed a devious preemptive strike on our naval base at Pearl Harbor.  The following years led to the country coming together to fight the Axis of Evil, and along with that came production on a scale that had never been seen at any point in history.  Because of this, the United States went onto success, not only in the war, but also inside of its own borders. 

The Great Depression had ended.  No more soup lines and government cheese.  It was time to go to college on the G.I. Bill, and have some kids.  We had survived the biggest threat to the known world in recent history.  Let the party begin.

The 1950s and 1960s saw the rise of television, the space program, and most of all civil rights.  Within this time, Americans familiarized themselves with many comforts developed from technology discovered during World War II.  One such invention was the use of microwave ovens in the home.  No longer would the family cook have to slave over a hot oven all day.  We could cook our meals in minutes and eat them while enjoying our favorite television program which showcased people that were just like our closest friends and neighbors.  Everyone was becoming identifiable.  Celebrities were becoming more iconic, and so, the great American ideal of merchandising was born.  More and more regular citizens began to purchase products not simply on the fact that they needed them for some common use, but more because their favorite celebrity supposedly swore by it.  This generated a feeling of belonging for some, but for others, a feeling of envy.

With such a huge rise in home ownership, Americans were living side by side in a manner never that was never really developed before.  Homes were now being built and setup in curving neighborhoods with every other house looking the same.  And once again, the American people’s ability to take a common characteristic and turn it into something completely over the top had succeeded:  If your neighbor had it, you had to have it.  Of course this envious character has existed in human nature since the beginning of things, but nothing had been developed into such a hate machine as this.  And so the American spirit worsened, and we turned from a nation of “I need” to a nation of “I want”.

This all continued to worsen during the 1970s.  The Great American Consumption Machine rolled on and on.  Automobile manufacturers started developing cars that were no longer to get you from point A to point B with a few creature comforts included.  You could now get a car with an engine big enough that you could out race anyone in your neighborhood.  Americans were becoming increasingly more self centered, and the “gimme gimme gimme” attitude continued from infancy into young adulthood.

This was the crucial point in American society when certain individuals began to realize the downward spiral we were taking.  Since the end of War World II, Japan had been rebuilding, and in their traditional way, rethinking and continuously improving their ways.  The American unions, along with the Great American Consumption Machine, were causing increasing prices for consumers, which affected everything from food to automobiles.  Like Japan, other countries were taking notice.

The formation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1960, allowed those countries to establish exporting policies as well as oil prices.  The United States never really a felt a serious pinch from this until 1973, when during the Yom Kippur War, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) decided that they would no longer export petroleum to countries that supported Israel.  Coupled with that threat was that at the same time, OPEC decided to quadruple the price of oil.  All of the highly industrialized nations, including the United States, attempted to put forth measures to prevent future shortages and price run ups.  This held over the American people until the early 1980s.

Seeing an open market and piles of money awaiting them, Asian manufacturers began to increase their exports to the United States.  Along with their pennies-per-hour-manufacturing-costs and significantly lower prices, they brought their compact automobiles.  Since the oil crunch of the 70s, several groups within the U.S. were pushing the idea of smaller, more fuel efficient automobiles with a higher regard for the environment.  So, as Americans do, we followed the head lemming and moved towards the Asian edge of the manufacturing cliff.  While the quality was not great from American manufacturers, it was even worse from most Asian companies.  One of the few exceptions was the Japanese automobile giant Toyota.  However, the quality aspect of things never seemed to matter to the American society as a whole.  True to form, they were consistent with their previous trends of purchasing and went with what was of lower cost.  And so, many more Americans began losing their jobs, as companies that were started and grown in the U.S. decided the only way to compete was to move operations off shore.  After all, wasn’t it the American labor policies and rights protections that had led to this run up in wages and costs?  Apparently, most of American companies felt this way, and the life of the ordinary American worsened.

It was during this time that two of the most significant publications in American history were released.  First, starting in 1984, people were introduced to Eliyahu M. Goldratt’s book The Goal:  Excellence in Manufacturing (later called The Goal:  A Process of Ongoing Improvement). the goal cover The book, a work of fiction, led readers into the concept of the Theory of Constraints through an easy to read novel setting.  While this book has had great impact and has sold millions of copies (over 3 Million in fact) worldwide, it is virtually unknown outside of the manufacturing world.  This sadly rings true for the second publication, especially since it had a far greater message.

After a five year, five million dollar study, Massachusetts Institute of Technology associates Daniel Roos, James P. Womack, and Daniel T. Jones released their groundbreaking work The Machine That Changed the World:  The story of Lean Production.  Between the covers of this book, they explained much of the same message I am trying to convey with this site, but strictly towards manufacturing.  Most importantly, they detailed how Toyota could produce cars with a third of the defects of American cars, using half of the factory space, half the operator and production time, and consequently, about half the cost.  While recording their findings, they coined the term Lean Production, which is still used today when discussing the topic.  Again, just like The Goal, this book gained much acclaim from the business and manufacturing world, but received very little coverage in the American mainstream which was centered around soap operas, game shows, and “Who shot J.R.?”  The one good thing that has materialized from these two books is the acceptance that as Americans, we need to change our ways if we wish to continue our lavish lifestyles.

Around the same time, as previously mentioned, American companies were not only losing ground on the fact of cost, but their quality was driving consumers to move towards lower priced goods produced offshore.  At Motorola, Bill Smith was pioneering a new quality initiative to reduce defects that would later become known as Six Sigma.  The name is derived from a statistical metric that measures defects as a percentage of total production.  It states that when a company is operating at a Six Sigma level, it will produce no more than 3.4 defects for every 1,000,000 parts produced.  Just like Lean Production has done for manufacturing, Six Sigma is still increasing quality of American products as more and more companies familiarize themselves with the program.  Because of this, Americans slowly became more and more comfortable with American products; technology continued to advance.

With the rapid movement of technology resulting from the unparalleled advancements of the computerized age we currently live in, Americans have become lazier and lazier.  When you thought about dinner in the past, you’d expect to eat a couple hours later.  Now, it’s almost unthinkable to have to wait that long.  If you want a hamburger, you’re in and out in five minutes at your favorite drive-thru window at the local fast food restaurant.  Or if you’re looking for some pampering, you can go to any of the thousands of chain restaurants and dish out some extra cash to have your food and drink brought to your table.

Along with the growth of fast food is the growth of the American Value System.  I will touch more on this in later, but here’s a preview.  We, as the American culture, have for some reason come to the conclusion that more is always better, especially when it has a cheaper per unit cost than buying what we will actually consume.  One of the sources for this thinking comes out of marketing and getting people to buy as much as possible.  Another source is most likely the rise of “discount” clubs which allow consumers to purchase large quantities of goods at a lower per unit cost, if the consumer is willing to pay an upfront cost as well as purchase in quantities greater than those normally found at regular retail outlets.  For Americans, this is true for almost anything, from underwear to food to toiletries. 

The same idea can be said of our lives today.  With so many advancements and creature comforts, why do so many Americans say they don’t have enough time for things?  Yes, people have children and jobs and responsibilities, but then again, so did our parents, and all of our ancestors.  We have built ourselves up so much that our quality of life has decreased.  Television and other people’s affairs take up more of our lives than what is actually important.  Cell phones are literally almost a dime a dozen, children don’t even know the history of their own country, and most adults find refuge in some sort of drug, whether it’s been prescribed for them or it’s been purchased from a liquor store or the corner drug dealer.  And as is our tradition, we cover the problems up instead of actually confronting them.

So, as technology is improving our lives in many ways, it is ultimately moving the American consumer further and further away from what is really needed.  At this point in time, American manufacturing is swaying from stable to unstable and back again as companies shift operations from Asia to China to the U.S. and abroad.  Gas prices have never been higher, causing other basic costs to rise, and how are the American people responding?  Not by solving the problem, but by name calling and the pointing of fingers.  On this blog, I offer simple solutions to help relegate a small portion of the overall problem by making Americans understand that we are the cause of many of our problems based off of the way we live and how we consume. 

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Comments (0) Posted by matt on Monday, March 17th, 2008