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December 18, 2000—Can We Get Together Again?  Fomenting and Fermenting

Governor Bush now promises to unite us, to be a president for all Americans. Maybe his theme is a bit trite. Maybe it is induced by the politics of an incredibly close election. But it is the right idea.

More than a decade ago, major Japanese businessmen trumpeted the need for all the developed economies to coordinate their growth, with collaboration replacing competition as the driver of global economic development. They, too, had the right idea: they simply couldn't pull it off.

Nonetheless, this is the trick for us now--linkage and harmony, no matter where we sit in the political economy. We must manage relationships for the common good, even though we lack economic or political leverage over most of the players. Togetherness. All this depends on chemistry, process, reasoned endeavor.

In other words, we must swim upstream. While most of the forces of the moment are centrifugal, we must try to be centripetal. It is as difficult as you can imagine. But achieving nuclear fusion is tough, too, even though it has eminently more value for us at the moment than nuclear fission.

In corporate life, we label the bridges we must build, and we call them strategic alliances. In fact, there's now an association of strategic alliance managers that is trying to codify the rules of the road for companies not linked by cross ownership but who want to march in lockstep nevertheless. You will find it under entry #59 in the "Agile Companies" section of our website (www.globalprovince.com/agilecompanies.htm).

If bonding is to become a way of life throughout our body politic, some of our media will have to change. Today the national media gets ahead by exacerbating discord. Neither broadcast executives nor newspaper publishers at the major networks, the national news magazines, and a couple of major newspapers put on the brakes in their recklessly divisive operatives, even though, for instance, their performance may account for the decline in network audiences and newspaper readership. Can we join together in a noisy climate peopled by quasi-journalists and media-created quasi-leaders who foment and ferment?

This week, on The Global Province, we talk about Metro--a Raleigh, North Carolina magazine that is focusing on the best in its region instead of the mediocre--and about the state of New Hampshire, which appears to be the birthplace of a number of health initiatives that just might set our national healthcare system on the right course.

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