You have overwhelmed me.
Since asking for your help in making the article the best we can collectively write, I have received – as of this writing – 294 emails, comments and "Contact Me" forms from my web site. The interest in this issue, the passion with which so many people have written, and the knowledge embedded in those messages is nothing short of awe inspiring.
The consensus seems to be that:
1 – I need to prepare a one page executive summary version, with the full article following it, as well as to format it in 1 column – at least for the on line version.
2 – I have some fact checking and typo editing work to do. (Thank you, Jan. I know full well that the Soviet regime collapsed in 1989; and I am vaguely aware that it is now 2009; but I did the math in my head and called that a 30 year time span. In your comment you stated that you are too young to know about much of the past. I say thank goodness for young people like you who can bail out old guys like me who should know better than to do complicated math like that in my head.)
3 – I need to tone down the rant. You are asking a leopard to change his spots, you know, but I will give it my best shot. The most recent poll I saw gives Congress a 35% approval rating. I am four-square in the 65% who don't think too highly of our political leadership … and I suspect the 35% who do approve did not really understand the question. That said, I will tone it down as best I can, as much as it will pain me to do so.
4 – I need to offer more specific solutions. I deliberately tried to avoid that in this article because many of them require a lot of background and explanation. The necessary accounting changes are a good example. It would take a book (like the one I wrote, for that matter) to explain what is wrong and how accounting needs to be changed. I will take your suggestions to heart, however, and try to find the middle ground in which solutions can be proposed without going into much detail.
5 – I need to work on word economy and shorten it up. I will do so with a vengeance. However, this is at odds with #4 which asked for more information, so it will be something of a literary challenge.
All of these suggestions are valid, and I agree with them wholeheartedly, and the next version will incorporate them all as best I can.
I did not use the word "lean" once in the entire article. My thinking was that lean is very much misunderstood by far too many people, and that using the term 'lean' might cause some readers to turn the article off when they assumed I was advocating some convoluted approach to lean they have come to understand. I think that it is interesting that, while all of you are lean proponents or you wold not be involved in this, not one of the 294 inputs suggested that I raise the subject of Lean Manufacturing.
Thank you all so kindly. I have my work cut out for me. Check back later today for the improved version.