Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Octopus

I wrote last week about why, the imperative of focusing – personally and entrepreneurially – on the root, not the obvious activities, of your doing. It’s lazy and perhaps overly philosophical to offer such a thought, but I continue forth.

Beyond, or perhaps inherent within, the why are forces that drive activity. (Back in July we explored the virtue of opportune [obvious?] scenarios where demand > supply.) A primary example is demand: Once such a force, to whatever degree it may catalyze a person’s decisions or a company’s progress, emerges, grab its tail. Or, in tonight’s blog-a-blah blah, its eight legs.

Thumbing through The Literary Book of Economics tonight, I thumbed upon Frank Norris’s 1901 opine, The Octopus: A Story of California. Norris asserts individuals decide what they will buy and produce, but in many ways market forces for goods and services operate automatically and impersonally. My take: The what and how are less relevant; the why -- the forces -- count (i.e., drive market activities). His take:

You are dealing with forces, young man, when you speak of Wheat and Railroads, not with men. There is Wheat, the supply. It must be carried to feed the People. There is the demand. The Wheat is one force, the Railroad, another, and there is the law that governs them – supply and demand. Men have only little to do in the whole business. Complications may arise, conditions that bear hard on the individual – crush him maybe – but the Wheat will be carried to feed the people as inevitably as it will grow.

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