Quality Progress - March 2013 - (Page 55)
BY Dale K. GorDon
Standards should assure customers of product safety, quality
For the second time in my 55 years on
this Earth, we are seeing a crisis of confi-
tion, President Carter said (excerpted):
It [confidence] is the idea which
These wounds are still very deep. They
have never been healed. Looking for a
dence. This stems from many factors, not
founded our nation and has guided our
way out of this crisis, our people have
the least of which has been the devastating
development as a people. Confidence
turned to the federal government and
and crushing recession of 2008 to 2009 and
in the future has supported everything
found it isolated from the mainstream of
the very slow and painful global economic
else—public institutions and private en-
our nation’s life. Washington, D.C., has
recovery we are witnessing.
terprise, our own families and the very
become an island. The gap between our
Constitution of the United States. Con-
citizens and our government has never
to more than a generation that saw nothing
fidence has defined our course and has
been so wide. The people are looking for
but unprecedented and unparalleled eco-
served as a link between generations.
honest answers, not easy answers; clear
nomic growth from 1992 to 2001, followed by
We’ve always believed in something
leadership, not false claims and evasive-
a brief recession and growth again until 2007.
called progress. We’ve always had a faith
ness and politics as usual.
The loss of confidence is understandable
This was not the norm from the 1950s
to the 1990s when we would experience
a cycle of five to seven years of business
that the days of our children would be
better than our own.
What you see too often in Washington and elsewhere around the country
These changes did not happen over-
is a system of government that seems
growth followed by recession. Did we
night. They’ve come upon us gradually
incapable of action. You see a Congress
become too confident that growth was
over the last generation, years that were
twisted and pulled in every direction by
never-ending and the positive effects of
filled with shocks and tragedy.
hundreds of well-financed and powerful
that growth—low unemployment and high
We were sure that ours was a nation
special interests. You see every extreme
confidence in future prosperity—would
of the ballot, not the bullet, until the
position defended to the last vote, almost
continue on indefinitely?
murders of John Kennedy and Robert
to the last breath by one unyielding
Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. We
group or another. You often see a bal-
before. In a speech on the subject [of con-
were taught that our armies were always
anced and a fair approach that demands
fidence] back on July 15, 1979, in response
invincible and our causes were always
sacrifice, a little sacrifice from everyone,
to a period of slow growth extending from
just, only to suffer the agony of Vietnam.
abandoned like an orphan without sup-
energy shocks to the economy in 1973 that
We respected the presidency as a place of
port and without friends.
resulted in high unemployment and infla-
honor until the shock of Watergate.
Looking back, we have been here
Substitute the headlines of the last five
years for the events mentioned in this
speech, and it sounds strikingly current
and relevant 35 years later.
So what is confidence? It has been defined in some cases as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction
is correct or that a chosen course of action
is the best or most effective one, versus the
antithesis that confidence is a self-fulfilling
prophecy as those without it may fail or not
try because they lack it and those with it
may succeed because they have confidence
rather than because of an innate ability.
March 2013 • QP 55
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - March 2013
Mr. Pareto Head
The Right Ingredients
Before the Fact
Apples to Oranges?
Five at the Forefront
Measure for Measure
Quality in the First Person
One Good Idea
Quality Progress - March 2013