We All Need to Take Responsibility Share:

Travis Stovall, CEO, eRep, Inc.
Friday, May 1, 2020

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Tags: #coronravirus #COVID19 #preparedness

Be sure to read Travis's article, We All Have A Part to Play

There is an interesting rhetoric going around since the start of the novel Coronavirus that someone did not take the correct actions to plan for this pandemic. There are certainly actions that the current administration should and could have taken to dramatically reduce the impact of the virus on the United States. Where I draw the line of responsibility, though, is when we cross over to solely blame the current administration for the overall failure to have an enormous stockpile of ventilators, N95 masks, and other personal protective equipment.

Part of the responsibility lies with us as citizens. Our economy is not the product of a single individual, corporation or entity. It is the collective by-product of what we, as an entire society, have determined to be important. We have voted with our economic power to produce the goods and services that we want. Our economy is the collective allocation of resources into the wants of our society. This distribution values things differently than what we may truly need. Furthermore, our collective society does not necessarily value preparedness for something that may only happen every 100 years. We pretend that the collective body is so different than the individual parts. It rarely is different; most of the time it reflects the individual parts.

I live in the Pacific Northwest and we are constantly told to prepare for "The Big One" which is in reference to the next big earthquake. Parts of Oregon exists within the Cascadia Subduction Zone and this presents a high risk for significant damage when "The Big One" hits. I have been told many times to prepare for this by having at least a month of supplies ready to survive the lack of infrastructure and other needed assistance. I have not done that, and I have a very small percentage of friends who have. The fact that we are talking about an event that happens maybe once a century or two contributes to the complacency toward this type of preparation. So, the lack of being prepared for a mass catastrophic event is an extension of our individual devaluation of the probability of the event happening.

Many may say that it is the government's responsibility to prepare for a global pandemic and I would absolutely agree. Our current situation requires a massive response to coordinate the efforts to combat this formidable submicroscopic infectious foe. The aggregation of resources focused on the virus response needs to happen at the highest level in our country, and furthermore, the world. The government has both access to resources and information that the average person, state, business or any other entity does not. There also must be the political will and capital to prepare and respond to these types of events. So, yes, there have been failures at the highest levels of our country/world in this response to the virus. As an economy/citizenry, though, WE have "invested" the finite resources of our collective wants away from those things that would have better prepared us for this type of mass catastrophic event.

A great example of a redistribution of resources is General Motors retooling a plant or two to manufacture ventilators. The capacity has always been there, but as a society we have not valued ventilators like we do now. This missive is not an admonishment of our collective societal wants and valuation of things. This is just a reminder that when we seek to blame someone for a failure, part of that blame lands back with us. This starts with being more accountable for whom and what we vote for. I am not here to second guess anyone's particular motivations — that is not my judgment to cast — but I am here to request that we spend the time to better understand and appreciate the specifics behind what we vote on and for, either from a political, policy, or economic standpoint.

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Travis Stovall

Travis Stovall

Merchant/Builder - CEO, eRep, Inc.

Travis Stovall is co-founder and CEO of eRep. His focus is helping individuals find work they love and companies build highly aligned teams, one great hire at a time. Stovall holds a Bachelor's degree from Union College in Business Administration, Finance emphasis graduating Summa Cum Laude, and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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