Right and Left

Why do business people lean right and academics lean left?

It’s not that business people are greedy exploiters and academics are compassionate analysts. And it’s not that business people are practical realists and academics are idealistic dreamers. We’ve all seen plenty of counter-examples to put the lie to these stereotypes.

One possibility has to do with status. In business your status comes from market acceptance. Holding onto your status requires you to compete for consumer acceptance. In academics, status comes from credentials. Achieving higher degrees confers increases in both pay and influence. Maintaining your status means maintaining a good working relationship with the conferring authority, usually a centralized body.

People on the right tend to be distrustful of centralized authority and skeptical of claims of market failure. People on the left tend to see market failures all around and rely on governments to regulate markets. Both sides have a point—but where you stand may depend upon where you sit.

The question is how we handle the inherent conflict. A 50/50 political world isn’t necessarily dysfunctional—it’s more competitive. And healthy debate usually leads to better outcomes. The key is respect. Respect for differences, respect for integrity, and ultimately respect for the process. That’s what’s made the American Experiment prosper thus far.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
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By |2014-09-11T12:29:21+00:00April 21st, 2011|Global Market Update|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mr. Tengdin is the Chief Investment Officer at Charter Trust Company and author of “The Global Market Update”. The audio version of each post can be heard on radio stations throughout New England every weekday. Mr. Tengdin graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude. He received his Master of Arts from Trinity Divinity School, Magna Cum Laude and received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1992. Mr. Tengdin has been managing investment portfolios for over 30 years, working for Bank of Boston, State Street Global Advisors, Citibank – Tunisia, and Banknorth Group. Throughout his career, Mr. Tengdin has emphasized helping clients manage their financial risks in difficult environments where they can profit from investing in diverse assets in diverse settings. - Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all! - And Follow me on Twitter @GlobalMarketUpd

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