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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Greed – the cancer of America, or, the end of American domination

Greed – the cancer of America,
or,
why we see the end of the age of American domination.
Note: this piece was sent to The Atlantic, as a proof that no paper will ever print anything that may greatly upset its readers (even edited and formatted for a print). 
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In the following text every link leads to a publication that presents more details on the mater.
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Everything dies.

People die, animals die, plants die, stars die, oceans die, cities die, countries die.

It is impossible to predict when exactly someone or something will die.

But he, she, or it will eventually definitely decline, degrade, and die.

Death – in its general sense – is inevitable and unavoidable.

For everyone.

For everything.

In the history of mankind, mane countries – big and small – disappeared; empires have gone away.

If you are not lazy, search for “world empires”. You’ll find a long list of them – they existed and now they all are history.

Why?

Due to the exactly same reasonarrogance of their elites that had led to detachment from reality, multiple wrong decisions, and, finally, disappearance – sometimes a complete removal from a world map, sometimes the name remains the same, but the actual state of the influence is greatly diminished (hence, we don’t say “disappearance of a country”, we say “disappearance of the influence of a country”).

These days, years, decades we are witnessing how America is being transferred from the country that used to dominate the whole world to just another big country.

This process has been inevitable and unavoidable, like death.

We did not know when would it start, we just knew that it would.

And now we know – it has.

The process of American transformation from a world dominating country to just another big country has begun and is happening right in front of our eyes.

It will last for at least a decade.

We cannot predict exactly when it will end. On the other hand, we know with absolute certainty when America has become the world leader.

In 1945.

Before the WWII America was just one of many other large countries.

Although, the New World had two important differences from the Old World.

Firstly, America was young, hence it did not have yet formed a strong and rigid social hierarchy; that allowed people from various backgrounds to rise up to the top of a social ladder. American capitalism was democratic to people. Nowadays American capitalism has a very rigid structure, major markets have been divided between a small number of large corporations that also control the government, there is no competition (hence, there is “natural” cartel-like price-fixing), an American market is closed to the outsiders, the only way to move a product to an American market is through one of the dominating companies (a mafia-style product moving).

Secondly, America was open to immigrants. Those newcomers wanted to become Americans not because they wanted social security provided by a government, but because they believed in themselves and wanted to realize their potential. Those people had been bringing energy and social pressure that prevented social structures from stagnation. Nowadays, a large part of potential immigrants seeks governmental protection and insurances and does not bring much of energy to a job market. Although, in a long run, strategically, the most important capital of any country is human capital, hence, in general, an intake of people should always be a good thing, without a specific long-term governmental policy for accommodating newcomers, immigration may become a strain rather than a boost for an economy.

The WWII changed the world balance and transformed the world in the favor of America.

Major economies were in ruins. But America was practically unharmed. America had very strong economy. Plus, America was able to siphon into the country from the Old World various multiple treasures – physical (things that can be touched) and intellectual (i.e. knowledge and people with knowledge).

And due to its economic strength America was able to infuse all world economies with its own currency.

These factors ensured that America would dominate the world, or at least the part of it that was not controlled by the USSR and China.

Imagine Formula One race.

All teams but one have cars that are in a very bad shape; with broken parts; teams have no supplies, no equipment, and the best and most experienced  teammates have left.

Where?

For the last team; the one that has a car in a perfectly working condition, and has plenty of supplies, and plenty of parts.

This was the economic state of the world in 1945 (guess, which Formula One team represented America in my example?).

One could think that this state of economic affairs would last forever.

And one would be wrong (evidently).

Countries, like people, like “fish” – “rot from the head down”.

When a decision-making organ gets lazy and fat, its decisions get wrong.

And, unfortunately, because that is just a law of nature (proven by thousands of years of human history), whether we like it or not, every single decision-making organ, – an individual one (a brain) or a collective one (a government, an elite) – always eventually gets fat and lazy (or just old – same thing).

American elite – like any other elite in the history of mankind – eventually got fat and lazy.

Eventually, American elite forgot that the place America had in the world was a combination of many factors, including the economic state of the world after the WWII.

Eventually, American elite has come to believe (like all elites before!) that the place America had in the world was based on one and only one factorthem!

They – American elite – were so damn smart that they – American elite – did all the right things in order to keep America at its place.

Of course, thinking that was just plain wrong, and arrogant, and illiterate, and ignorant, and irresponsible.

And, of course, because of that thinking, America now is in a turmoil, that will eventually end American world domination.

The hardest part will be decoupling from dollar – but it will happen.

Like it happened before to many other countries.

Because nothing stays forever in the world.

Because everyone and everything dies.

The End.

Well.

There are specific factors that have plaid an important role in dethroning America.

The #1 is uncontrollable greed.

Greed is a “financial BED” (binge-eating disorder).

Some people never feel full, they are always hungry, no matter how much food they intake.

That’s a disorder. It can be managed, but that requires (1) acceptance that you are ill, (2) desire to get better, (3) willpower to follow the right strategy (plus smart friends).

Some people never feel that they have enough money or/and power (in the eyes of those people money and power are two sides of the same coin).

Greed is also a disorder, and as such it can be managed (on the governmental level, as well as on an individual one).

But instead of managing it, American economists, politicians, managers, all the American establishment, praised greed as an engine of economy.

The only factor that matters is how much money one has (the common economic “wisdom” says that some part of it will eventually trickle down to regular less fortunate folks).

American economy (and, unfortunately, the whole world is following it, except China, where the remedy, a.k.a. soft dictatorship, is worse than the disease) was built on the importance of one and only one factor – money. Especially, if we take a look at the last thirty years, when it was carved in a stone that the only factor any manager must keep in mind is the price of shares of his/her company.

It’s like saying that the only factor that is important to our health is the amount of oxygen in our blood. And just ignore the existence of microbes, bacteria, ferments, etc. Of course, the consequences of this “medical” thinking would be very bad for health.

The social and economic consequences of “greed is good” thinking have been bad for the American economy. Bad things (#1 was the loss of high-paying jobs) have been gradually accumulating and eventually led to Obama (who promised to change things, but didn’t), and then (because Obama did not change things) to Trump (with the promise of an even bigger change – which, of course, also will not be delivered). As I pointed out many times, Trump is not a problem, Trump is the symptom of a problem (Obama was the first symptom, but everyone overlooked it), or, rather, many problems accumulated in American society and ignored by American elites.

Right now, we see three political forces fighting for the power.

Trump Republicans want to return America to the “golden age” of the 80s, or even 60s (other so-called Republicans/Conservatives are simply in hiding).

Some Democrats (represented by Biden) want to return America to late 90s, early 2000s.

And so-called progressive Democrats want to turn America into the former USSR (or current China). They feel, and feel right(!), that the greed must be controlled, that the old free-market-based capitalism has gone away a long time ago and now just a few large corporations rule the country. But for them, the way to make things better is make the government bigger. As a patchwork, it could work in a short term. But they ignore a social and historic fact that the size of corruption is directly proportional to the size of government (again, the treatment is worse than the disease). Like all idealists/utopia-ists, they believe that if they write on paper a perfect law, all people will immediately follow it. But that belief only makes them unfit for governing - the do not know people and how a society works.

So, no one – not a single politician – offers new political and economic solutions. Mainly, because none of them (meaning, their ignorant advisers) offered a detailed political and economic analysis of the processes happening in America in the last thirty years. And no one had taken their responsibility for being a part of those degrading processes. That is one of the reasons why many Americans are looking for a political outsider (that image was projected by Obama, Trump and now by Sanders and Buttigieg).


Democrats still could win in 2020. The winning strategy exists, but unfortunately, they do not know it. As I pointed out before, the winning strategy must be name-independent, and that is exactly why none of the Democratic contenders is capable of seeing it (see – another proof of the degradation of white male American elite – a rigid mind, an inability to search outside of accustomed views).

Greed culture is deeply connected to a culture of male domination. In America it may be not as strong as in Africa or Arab world, or else, but it is strong. Every healthy male has a genetically built-in desire to dominate. That is why when males meet they immediately start measuring who has “a bigger dick” – figuratively speaking, of course – in a form of a wrist watch, a car, a boat, a house, a wife, a bank account. For males, greed is a natural continuation of heir male nature.

The first fallen hero of uncontrollable greed was and is – quality. Quality of everything – goods, products, service, life. Well of everything that does not fall under specific federal regulations (although those are also being under attack by greed). It looks like the old-school business managers have forgotten what professional pride means (or retired), and the new-school business managers simple never learned its meaning.

When you need to cut your spending, what do you cut first? You cut the quality control, because – what’s the point! Consumers are stupid, they believe everything, so, cut the quality and boost marketing (and, my friends, is how marketing crossed the line between advertising and lying).

Examples are numerous and everywhere. At least three quarters of all made in China and made of “stainless steel” items I’ve purchased to my home started rotting in about half a year. Plastic or rubber parts of items made in China often stink because companies use the cheapest materials. Sloppiness (i.e. low quality work) has become a norm.

I used to live in three “luxury” apartment buildings. In Russia those would be the cheapest developments for people who can barely afford to own their own place. 

They are made by the cheapest design and from the cheapest materials (that stink, BTW). The only insulation it provides is visual – thank God neighbors cannot see each other. But they can hear, and even smell everything. God forbid is someone in your building smokes, especially marijuana. You are doomed! 

Thermal insulation deserves only one word – it’s a joke. With such approach to thermal insulation one can only laugh at any attempts to lower energy consumption. Exhaust and air-conditioning pipes that run through the building have so bad junctions that every smell is leaking out through them and through the cracks in the structure. Gas-burning air and water heaters make you feel like you are in a car where the exhaust pipe has a crack. And on a cold winter night don't try to plug two extra heaters in your power outlets, because your circuit bakers will brake, because they can sustain only one, because the electric wiring is cheap. The only factor why developers call those buildings “luxury” is because those buildings are new – no one yet lived in them (I was the first or the second tenant). Those developers of “luxury” apartments are so cheap, they don't even install light switches with an LED in it, and a washing machine and a driver came right from the nearest laundromat. “Luxury”!

A Nigerian bought a hose and was shocked by its low quality – “we don’t have such poorly built houses in Nigeria” (naturally, we aren't talking here about slams). An Indian says “I cannot live in my new apartment, it’s like my neighbors live in it with me”. 

But only few Americans can compare the quality of their products with the quality of products in other places. In fact, it has become more and more difficult to find a good quality product in America. For a decade I have been seeing how good high-quality products have been gradually replaced by cheap low-quality versions. If you find a good product, most probably it is made in Europe and has to be purchased online. 

The quality of roads and many infrastructure objects is to be described by a single word - pathetic. Contractors use the oldest technologies and the cheapest materials but charge like it's the latest invention. This where greed crosses into fraud, like it always eventually does.

The internet in America is the slowest but the most expensive among all the developed countries. The only reason for that is greed - the providers (who divided the market between few big companies) use the cheapest solutions and also have the goverment in the pocket to set any price they want.

Every winter, a year after a year, a decade after a decade, thousands of Americans lose their electricity because electric companies are too cheap to move the wires from old wooden polls under the ground. Due to exactly same reason every year thousands of people lose their homes and displaced because of fires started buy crappy power lines.

Especially upsetting to see how greed affects medications. When Russian doctors learn what Americans have to use, often they cannot believe it – “that’s the 19th century!”. American pharmaceutical firms guard their market by not letting in medications from the European competitors. Greed literally kills Americans, or at least does not let them live longer and healthier (in general, American healthcare system can only thrive when the majority of Americans a sick).

Do you want to know the true sign of greed and being cheep? Every year the toilet paper in many institutions become thinner and thinner; it is almost as think now as a cigarette paper. 

The low quality of American education deserves a special note.
America is the only developed country in the whole world that could not survive without highly educated foreigners. And yet, there is no doubt in the mind of anyone in American elite that this is not right, that this poses a potential threat to the nation – “We got so much money, we can buy anyone, it’s just cheaper than investing in American education” (hail to greed!).

And now we have to turn our attention to one of the most threatening sources of American decline – a low-quality work-force. This conversation is intimately connected to the discussion of the race policies in America. Because a large part of a low-quality work-force comes from minorities.

A nursing home. An elderly patient in a wheelchair is calling for help – “Help! Help! Help!” Later it was found that he was slowly sliding down the chair and was afraid to fall on a floor. In fact, if that would have happened, the institution could have been in serious troubles. But in a meantime, two black CNAs are sitting nearby staring at the screens of their phones and do nothing.

Just one illustration of many cases.

The two CNAs have two superiors, one is white, another one is black.

The white one says: “I cannot be hard on them, they will call me a racist”.

The black one says: “I cannot be hard on them, we are friends”.

I am a good observer. I see that in the last ten or so years, many work places that used to be predominantly white now have much more non-white personal.

There is nothing wrong with that!

But I also observe that often the quality of providing services declines with the increasing number of non-white workers.

“Why didn’t you change Mr. X?”
“I didn’t have time.”
“But why other (meaning – white) CNAs have time to go to all the patients and you don’t?”
“I don’t know, I need to go to a restroom.”

I must stress that all I want to do now is to provide an illustration to the statement I made before, namely, quote “a large part of a low-quality work-force comes from minorities.”

I do not have any specific data, I do not have statistics, I do not know how many cases of a low-quality work is related to white and non-white personal. All I know is that this issue exists, and that according to my non-scientific observations, this issue is growing in volume (for example, for a simple reason called – demographics).

Now I want to make another important statement – when people (of any race) demonstrate a low-quality work it’s not their fault, it’s the fault of the management (e.g. I’ve collected a small library of samples of poor management; one of the problems is that first managers are looking for a pal who will not disturb the vibe, and then, hopefully, also can do things.
I would assume that many black CNAs and white CNAs are graduated from different programs with different graduation criteria – set by the management.

We enter here a touchy topic – affirmative action.

There is no doubt in my mind that African-American community has been discriminated and is being discriminated and requires a very special treatment in order to help tis members to achieve professional success. But that special treatment must not lead to the lowering criteria of quality of work.

If we randomly choose a white 17en-year old guy and a black 17en-year old guy and compare their average level of school preparation, I would expect that the white guy would have a higher level of that. So, we want them both to enter the same program and to achieve the same final level of skills, but the black one has to start from a lower level of preparation. How can that be done? There is only one reasonable answer – first, we need to help the black guy to close the gap in his/her preparation level. But that requires extra resources! And now we run into greed.

“No extra resources for African-Americans! It’s not fair for whites!”

Naturally, this is one of many signs of racism in America.

There are three groups of white Americans.

1. “White Ostriches”, i.e. people who simply ignore any race-related issues, do not read about it, do not talk about it, like it doesn’t exist.

2. White supremacists, a.k.a. racists, i.e. people who would like to keep all minorities in an eternal submission. Those people are scared of the growing population of non-whites, including immigrants (hence – the wall). They would even converted America to fascism if that would help them to keep their “white power”.

3. The other whites. Those people call themselves “Democrats”, “Progressives”, etc., but in reality, they use minorities for their own political gain – because without minority voters they would have no chance to be elected.

The only people who could really represent the true interests of minorities are the minorities, but so far, they do not recognize this situation and let white “progressives” represent their interests. In my view, that does not work very well for them.

African-American community has been culturally handicapped, and that was done on purpose by white Americans. To remedy this historic fact, some people talk about reparations. But that is exactly what white supremacists would do, if they would have been forced in doing anything. “Give those n----rs money, let them buy some stuff, drink more, smoke more, it’s gonna be fine, as long as they do not mess with our power”. What African-American community needs is vast and targeted investments into the culture of African-American community.

Number one must be education.

Progressives of all sorts have been reforming education for about thirty years. And the result is, well, absent. Politicians, non-profits, and university entities have been using schools and teachers for their own needs – spending hundreds of millions of dollars on “research”, fancy programs, expensive consulting, etc. If that money would go directly to teachers’ salary, the effect already would be better than any of the “research”, simply by attracting into schools better professionals. Improving education does not need research, it needs (a) improving of teaching cadre, (b) improving teaching conditions. Period.
Knowledgeable and passionate teachers teaching in fully equipped schools will bring the reform education needs. And here we again run into greed. The most disadvantaged schools and the least prepared teachers are the ones that serve minority communities. Those educational zones need specific targeted investments. Not research (sorry, NSF). If money is limited, it must go into buildings, textbooks and teacher professional development in the minority communities.

The problem is that for many whites, race is a very difficult topic to discuss (one of the reason America is id bound to lose the world domination). If my employee would tell me, paraphrase: “I’ m not going to work hard because my ancestors were slaves and my community had a bad school”, I would fire that guy. And I could present a solid argumentation to support my decision. But many Americans always try to avoid a difficult conversationat work or in public.

Once I was getting coffee in a Starbucks in Cambridge, MA. There was a short line of white folks, men and women. And a black man with a cup in his hand was trying to get some money from the folks. People tried to pretend that they did not see the guy, they were looking anywhere but him. He came to me and asked for some change. I looked him in the eyes and said “No, why?” Immediately I was called a racist, and a slave owner. BTW: the guy did not look old, or week, or dirty, his clothes looked clean. But he was agitated by the fact that someone talked back to him in a firm manner. I looked at the guy and said: “You know, I am a Russian. My ancestors had no slaves in America. In fact, my government was supporting the fight of American Africans for their rights. Why should I give you any money?” He just waved his hand and walked away. But everyone around was pretending that neither guy nor I existed.

I was told that many whites feel guilty about the history of slavery in America (Eddy Murphy has a great SNL sketch about this). My view is simple – it does not matter what you feel, what matters is what you do (and I do my part and I'm very good at it). By my observations, all those whites do is pleading to African-Americans: “Vote for me and I will give you stuff”. I’m not sure for how much longer it’s going to work.

As we can see, greed has penetrated, distorted and degraded many aspects of American life. That is why I call it “American cancer”.

Is it treatable?

Of course it is.

Every disease – mental, physical, or social – is treatable.

But sometimes the treatment is so strong, it alternates the body.

For America, there is no going back. The processes of degradation have gone too deep.

It’s like stretching a spring. If you stretch it not too much, when you release it, it comes back to the original state. But if you stretch it too much, if you go over a certain point, it will never go back to its original condition anymore. Never. The only way to have a working spring again is to make a new spring – i.e. to melt the old one and to go through the whole process of spring development from a square one.

A country is not a spring, and does not have to be completely melted, but the transformation can go only in one direction – forward.

And that is the problem with American politics – it has only people who want to move it backwards. American politicians do not think (that includes their advisers), they react. The number one rule of political strategy (or any strategy, including American security) is “we’ll deal with it when we get there”.

Imagine a Formula One race. One team has been winning again, and again, and again, a year after a year, after a year. But suddenly, one year, there was a tie. Managers did not pay attention, just shrugged. Another year and the team lost. Manager got worried. Managers started to think. But there was a problem. They forgot how to think. They got fat and lazy and they lost their edge a long time ago. They have been running the team by inertia. No innovations, no trying new things, no ability to even imagine anything new. There was a time when America was indeed the most innovative country in the world, but that time is long over. Now due to the pressure to demonstrate how “innovative” they are CEO invent fake innovation - anything to show off. That is why, for example, everyone is rushing to adopt AI, even though they do not yet understand what AI is and how it can be used.
They have become incapable of doing anything different from what they have been doing for a long time. They should step down and let in some fresh blood, or at least to hire someone who can think. But they are too arrogant to accept this.

As the folk wisdom goes, it’s got to get worse before it gets better.
The current layer of politicians will have to fail first, and only then a new politician will emerge, the one who will be able to offer new ideas, new vision, new path for new America (America that will not dominate the whole world anymore, cause time does not go back).

That someone will have to start from accepting the fact that his or her old political knowledge has become irrelevant.

“I know that I know nothing” – must be his/her first words.

What’s next?

Or, like Russian used to say for centuries: Whose fault is that, and what to do about it?

Well, I can give a hint.

Embrace the unusual.

You’re welcome.


And - Thank you, World, for our existence!

Appendix: some additional illustrations

1. American Federal Reserve and Wall-Street have created “dollar pyramid” that allows creating significant amount of wealth by printing dollars and then transferring them into stocks options. On one hand, financial institutions and some individuals love it because it gives them an opportunity to get very rich very quickly (while the masses remain outside of the wealth-production avenue). On another hand, that makes the world economics unsustainable.
This will eventually lead to decoupling from dollar. For example, the biggest American rivals, Russia and China, can create their own “world bank”.


2. American richest people do not see any danger to their future, or to the future of their loved ones. They spend billions of dollars on their pet projects and completely oblivious of the social tremors that may break America. Otherwise they would turn their attention to the most fundamental issue of this century – intellectual health of the population.



3. Greed made Americans to love smells. Everything has to have a scent. Your clothes stink? Spray on it! Your garbage stinks? Spray on it! Your air stinks? Spray on it!

This is one of the dumbest/smartest deceiving ideas forced on people who have no habit of thinking for themselves.

Your clothes stink? Wash it up!

Your garbage stinks? Dump it!

Your air stinks? Ventilate it!

Fresh air has no smell. That what makes it fresh.

Clean things have no smell. That what makes them clean.

However, the “smell hysteria” has gone so far that now scents are being used to deliberately cover up things.

If a cleaning crew used a cleaning supply with a strong smell, look closely and you find a that a lot of dirt has been left untouched.

When a nursing home patient has a senior moment, a lazy CNA does not change his/her diaper, but takes a spray and splash it around.

When you enter a new “luxury” building, the first thing you feel is a smell of cleaning supplies – everywhere! Everything smells, walls, carpets, laminate on a floor, kitchen cabinets, a washing machine, a dishwasher. In a store it is hard to find anything unscented. People do not like it anymore.

And then people wonder why do they have allergies, why is their nose blocked, why do their eyes water?
They have hard time to connect two dots: 
* an intake of vast amounts of unnatural chemicals – * the natural reaction of a body with the intention to clean itself.

4. 

Recently The Atlantic “exposed” a sad fact that American managers cannot manage (anymore), because they do not know what a manager does, what  management is, and how to do it. 

When they need to make a decision, to cover their “a$$e$” (picture a “flipped” 🖤), they call on a consulting firm and pay it millions of dollars. Now, if things go south, they can blame it on the firm. No risk! No thinking!

Well, I have been exposing this fact since I started blogging.

For example, read “Why did Hillary Clinton lose the race?” (an illustration about bad political management).

Over time, I've been collecting more and more examples of mismanagement.

For example:





























Well, actually, “mismanagement” is a way too nice word for describing the actual level of “management”.

We should call it “the absence of a basic ability to manage”, but there is no single word for that (and here I explain why did it happen).

There are two fundamental deficiencies many American managers share:

1. they cannot think;

2. they are way too arrogant to accept this fact and start learning how to think.

Most people think that any activity happening a brain is “thinking”.

Well, that is a matter of terminology.

When a mouse is trying to get out of a maze – does it think?

Some people say “yes”, others “no”.

I think we can agree that thinking may have several levels, and what the mouse’s brain does is the “animal-level thinking”.

Many people exhibit a very similar level of thinking in their every-day life. And there is nothing wrong with that, because the vast majority of every-day activities do not require higher levels of thinking. The question is, can they produce a high-level of thinking what that level is needed?

A high-level of thinking, or a human-level thinking, or what I  call – thinking, is, by my definition, a deliberate manipulation with abstract mental entities in order to achieve a specific mental goal, i.e. to develop/construct/design a specific mental object/construct/concept/model.

Once more, by a definition

thinking, is a deliberate manipulation with
abstract mental entities in order to achieve a specific mental goal, i.e. to develop/construct/design
a specific mental object/construct/concept/model.

As a human activity, thinking has a specific goal. As a process, thinking has a structure and a time-line. An ability to think is why we call humans “intelligent species”.


A very good example of thinking is the mental work a chess master does when he/she is practicing a game. The master makes a move, then turns the board and makes a move as the opponent, then turns the board again, and makes a move, and etc. Sometime, he/she makes several steps back and tries a different line/set/chain/sequence of moves. The same type of a mental work is happening in the brain when a master plays an actual game of chess. Some chess masters can even play with several opponents not looking at a single board, just using their mind.

Paul Morphy held in 1858 a blindfold exhibition against the eight strongest players in Paris with the stunning result of six wins and two draws.”

American managers do not possess this thinking ability.

They can only participate in a group thinking – when one participant says out-loud one though, that though excites a reaction in another participant who says one thought, etc.

This is also the reason that many educators heavily advocate for a group work for students – because this is the only way they can think.

As I described many times, thinking ability is heavily correlated with the level of brain development. Brain development is heavily correlated with the main brain activities of students during their school years. Since many managers are the product is the American education system, the main activity for them was memorizing, and that is NOT thinking.

The highest level of thinking is the one used in developed sciences, like mathematics, chemistry, physics.

It is called – scientific thinking.

Not many managers can think scientifically.

In particular, they cannot think from the first principle. Hence, they cannot see a big picture. Hence, they have no vision and cannot devise a long-term strategy. That is why they demand “data” even though in many cases a decision can be logically derived from one or two fundamental principles of management. Of course, having data is important, but only when the person who wants to use that data is smart and clever enough to know what data he/she needs and how he/she will use it – even before any data have become available.

P.S. For the difference between “smart” and “clever” visit “What does it mean to be smart” and scroll down to the disclosure.
5. From "Who I Am"