Capital Ideas

Jan. 23, 2012
Good ideas are the foundation of good enterprises, and good societies
Robert Brooks

The late Steve Jobs had an up-and-down-and-up-again career, from iconoclast to entrepreneur, to innovator, and then to mogul. The legend is growing now that he finished on top because of his persistence. In the weeks since his passing his goateed visage has become iconic of something even deeper: his cool gaze articulating in crisp black and white that “the idea” is what matters.

But that’s not true. If you can push an idea far enough you may finish ‘on top,’ but the idea has to be worthy to carry you that far, and you must be able to convince others (colleagues, investors, customers) that your idea is worthy of their attention — and acceptance.

Good ideas are the foundation of good enterprises, and good societies: it’s no accident that freer societies are more creative and more dynamic – and over time more prosperous – than less free societies. That’s because good ideas are made good once they are tested and proven, and they become better as they are sustained and extended over time. They hold us together. They carry us forward.

To many of us with a few decades of adulthood behind us, it’s startling to see today’s younger cohort challenging ‘free enterprise,’ as though it is some offense to justice rather than the result of centuries of progress. Worse, it’s maddening to hear elected officials and contenders for high office pitch similarly doubtful notions about the propriety of business and the ethics of private investment. We’ll endure these assaults on good judgment (as we have many worse infractions) because the principles of private enterprise are the basis of stability and prosperity. They will be reaffirmed, and the sooner the better.

Metalcasters, no less than other businesses, know the value of private investment. Without it, many foundries and diecasters would not be around today. When banks are unavailable or uninterested, who will finance the next stage of development, the next big idea, or the next recovery if not private investors?

The best new ideas in metalcasting deserve to be aired, developed, and discussed, which is one reason that our first issue of each year is a digest of insights for all the industry’s critical processes. They direct metalcasting toward a more prosperous future by expanding the wisdom that is its foundation.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)