Improving inefficient projects

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 27, 2002

Very seldom do I have an occasion or an opportunity to travel overseas.

However, such an opportunity was presented to me this past week and I have just returned from eight days in Europe.

Among the things I did abroad was to attend an international economics conference where I heard several interesting presentations on the state of our national and international economies.

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First of all, let me share with you that what I heard almost scares me to death.

All of us have some degree of obvious awareness about the stock market trends in America, but I am not sure that most Americans fully appreciate the precarious nature of the international scene.

Although he did not attend in person, the presence of management guru Peter Drucker was felt very strongly.

Dr. Drucker is 92 years of age and has authored 33 books translated into more than a dozen languages on the subject of business and the economy.

One of his most famous quotes, which I very much like, is that "nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all."

It seems that governments and peoples pursue the opposite of this with some degree of regularity.

If those of us who have responsibility in government, at whatever level, would take this "to heart", then I feel we could make that over which we have some degree of influence much more productive for the citizens we represent.

President Bush will present to Dr. Drucker the presidential Medal of Freedom later this month at the White House.

His body of work on management, according to the President, makes him the world's foremost pioneer of management theory and champion of those ideas which make America strong.

At this conference there was a full discussion of the market meltdowns, corporate accounting scandals, mismanagement practices and unethical behavior in the executive suites of America's major corporations.

What scares me most is that the "experts" said the unfolding of these scandals is just beginning and is having a direct effect on all world markets.

These corporate misdeeds threaten not only the investors but also the workers.

I actually heard no concrete solutions to these problems proposed at this meeting.

There was some discussion of President Bush's legislative recommendations for remedies, but most of those whom I heard speak felt like it was too little, too late.

Anne Yerger, of the Council of Institutional Investors, stated that "my sense is this is a time for real reform and real changes, not political rhetoric".

She and others have called for the replacement of the head of the Securities Exchange Commission, but so far the chairman has refused to resign.

What does all of this mean to you and me who live in rural south Alabama?

It may mean very little, but again it really concerns me for those who have taken their life's savings and invested in corporate stock and other forms of investments which have for so long been the strength of America.

I cannot help but feel that there are literally thousands of such persons in the senate district which I serve, and I am always eager to stay apprised of the status of economic trends and how it could affect my constituency.

I also feel there is a lesson in the messages that are coming forth about the economy that needs to be heard by leaders of Alabama's government.

We cannot continue to manage from one crisis to another.

Rather we need to be working on a long-range plan that makes government more efficient and responsive to the citizens of Alabama.

In my judgement, this principle applies to education, to transportation projects, to retirement plans, and to any other area which is governed in large part by the making of laws and the administration of our government.

Remember, "I'll go with you or I'll go for you" to help you solve any problem related to state government.

You may contact me at 735 Alabama StateHouse, 11 South Union Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36130, or P O Box 225, Luverne, Alabama 36049.