The Flip Side

Wisdom considers the flip side.

“The flip side of deficient saving…is overconsumption.”  —R.S. Gay

The American two-party system tends to evaluate issues in competing camps. One camp may say, “minimum wage laws benefit the poor by raising their living standards; we support them.” While the opposing camp may contend, “minimum wage laws keep more low-skilled workers unemployed; we oppose them.”

The pundits of the first camp proclaim all the wonderful ways that their solution improves the plight of the poor while avoiding the flip side of the issue. They may deride those of the opposing camp, accusing them of greed, selfishness, favoring the rich, and hatred of the poor. Those of first camp may be right, as far as they define the issue, but they leave out the flip side.

The pundits of the second camp, which sees their solution benefiting the economy and providing more job opportunities for entry-level workers, may shout pejoratives at those of the first camp, accusing them of raising unemployment, slowing the economy, causing wage-inflation, and being anti-business. They may be right, as far as they define the issue, but they too leave out the flip side.

What if one camp is defining one side, and the other camp, defining the other side, of the same coin?  Might both perspectives be needed?

Another example would be someone stepping into a small canoe. If one stepped in near the bow, it would be pressed down; however, the stern would rise simultaneously. The action affected each end of the canoe in different ways. One action created two flip-side reactions, because both ends of the canoe are interrelated.

I think it’s possible that we get stalled in solving many issues because we tend to divide into camps. Each sees rightfully one side of an issue, but almost ignores the other. Each camp acts as if they see everything, but in reality, they are blind to the flip side.

It would be nice if each side would stop and listen to the opposing camp, acknowledging with dignity, the valuable contribution of their fellows on the other side. If both camps would begin to acknowledge that the flip side exists, both sides could start solving many problems.