45.1 - Give and Take: America First

As 45 takes office, I happen to be reading Adam Grant's Give and Take. The central premise is that Takers can have short term success, but over the long term Givers have much higher degrees of success.

Obviously Donnie is a Taker (I'll refer to him as Donnie because you can just imagine what he was like in the sandbox as a kid and there was one dump truck toy to play with).

He has to be the "winner". This has resonated with a majority of the Electoral College, so he gets to set the public persona of America. And his "America First" approach is clearly the "Taker" approach that Grant writes about in his book.

This works very well for short term negotiations, which seem to be Donnie's focus. He wants to renegotiate all trade and defense agreements to save us a few dollars. There are two problems with this approach.

First, people see right thru the charade and play to the ego. This is seen by the march of CEO's to Donnie's Castle. Even Jeff Bezos has said "Donnie, you are right, we will create 100,000 jobs right here in the US." This is not a change in plans, and Donnie had no effect on things like this, or hiring an additional 10,000 Walmart employees for their already planned store openings. It serves to raise Donnie's ego, but does little to really make America First.

Second, he has ceded America's leadership position in the world. As Noah Feldman writes in Bloomberg, "there’s no simpler route to renouncing leadership than saying you don’t care about your followers for their own sakes." 

Sadly "America First" will not keep America First, nor will it help advance the world in the direction of freedom. 

Sad!

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