Thursday, April 16, 2009

In the Land of Small

Among the land of us ladies, big is rarely better. Take, for instance, big hair. Very bad idea in this time in history. Or how about big muscles. No, we much prefer “defined” and “lean.” And certainly God knows we don’t want bigger waistlines! No, no. For belts and buckles, small is better. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that in the land of women, small--not big--is often better.

A Big Hangover
In the case of community and economic leadership, however, Big often trumps the Small. Big corporations with big-time CEO’s are friendly with Big politicians and their Big constituencies. We know, of course, that all this...largesse...can lead to Big problems (aka the recession), which then lead to Big solutions (aka the stimulus), which might lead to even Bigger problems.

Perhaps what we need to recover from this Big hangover is a little bit of...small. Of course, as discussed above, we women understand the value of small. Being the smaller of the species, we know that sometimes smaller can be better. For instance:

Small Solutions:
* small is nimble. I think of it this way: it takes a fly a lot less time to turn around than a horse, meaning that in the business world, small companies or cottage industries can respond to changing trends and forecasts easier than large ones.

* small is sustainable. Growth and expansion is a natural process that should be celebrated. As we’re learning with our bodies, though, obesity should not. Likewise, communities with nothing but “overweight” business (aka big-box retailers) and governments (corruption/cronyism/despotism) would benefit from a serious diet of ma-an-pop shops and grassroots governance.

* small is family. Yes, our interconnectedness throughout the globe has been a boon. Truth be told, though, our recent obsession with globalism could stand to be tempered with a little bit of family. Because family reminds us that genuine relationships matter, and that closeness is an asset. It also reminds us that profit and policy are not always (not often, in fact) the most important thing.

Tipping the Scales
There are other attributes of smallness, but I’ll stop here. For the critical, I’d like to point out that “smallness” isn’t an adequate solution all by itself. It is, however, a good counterbalance to a culture obsessed with BIG. And because women live their lives among small things (families, friendships, neighborhoods, home businesses), I think we are particularly adept at bringing this much needed counterbalance. We can tip the scales back to center.

Just as long as we don’t tip our own scales, of course.
We already mentioned how big is bad when it comes to scales...

Previous Recessionista Posts:
Now is Our Time
It's So Trendy!
The Two-Step Shuffle

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