Metaphor: how should businesses adapt to the recession … the Famine Metaphor

In an effort to understand the complicated and painful decision-making burdens of businesses effected by a drop in revenue, a metaphor might be useful …

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Imagine a human being who runs a marathon every day. And say that his body requires 3200 calories-per-day in order to fund his marathon-per-day needs. Fortunately he lives in a thriving ecosystem with plenty of food resources.

Now imagine that his ecosystem enters an era of drought and the available food resources drop to provide at most 2000 calories-per-day … what should the runner do?

The runner identifies two possibilities:

  • component amputation … he can cut off his arms, since they require 1200 calories-per-day;
  • system suppression     … he can suppress his marathon-per-day expectation and run only 4 miles-per-day.

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All too often businesses are adapting to their drop in revenue by laying-off accountable percentages of their work force ( component amputation ).

The negative byproduct of this is:
– a burden on individuals that are severed from their lifeblood,
– a burden on the society that will, due to moral obligation, compensate the individuals,
– a future burden on the company to re-hire/re-train a work force when revenues improve,
– ?

The positive byproduct of this is:
– the business maintains selective operations,
– the economic environment in which the business exists maintains it’s ballooned state,
– ?
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Likely, though, a starving person would not choose the amputation option in light of the severe negative consequences, but would rather opt to suppress his expectations during the drought era. This idea is like a business lowering its staff’s salaries whereby employees have less buying power, but enough to sustain themselves.

The negative byproduct of this is:
– ?

The positive byproduct of this is:
– ?

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