Founder's Letter

An open letter to share the inspiration of our efforts at E2CX and our focus as we grow for the future.

Give me ten good people who are the height of intellect, wisdom, and virtue, and I’ll take on any army on the planet. That is one of the philosophical drivers that makes E2CX what it is. As we look to the future with a healthy tension of hope and caution, we imagine a better world as our forebears did; and history favors us. To quote the historian Thomas Babington Macaulay, “On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?"

Given the opportunity to address you personally with our mission, vision, and a bit of inspiration along the way, I’d be remiss if I didn’t boil the problems we are addressing down to their base elements.

A foundational problem we as humans face is scarcity, though there is less scarcity now than ever before in human history. And with an eye toward the limitless expanse of space and its inexhaustible energy sources, we are hopeful the trend may render this problem nearly obsolete for our species, though while we remain confined to the planet of our birth, it will be a problem to mitigate and not to solve outright. What human existence would look like without scarcity and whether humanity could actually exist in that state is a different conversation for another day.

Another foundational problem is suffering, though again, there is less suffering now than ever before in history. We believe individually, some suffering is of utmost utility in making us what we are capable of becoming: resilient, stalwart leaders of our generation. But there is needless suffering both here in the US and abroad that US economic systems and western values of individual liberty have historically done the best to combat, though there is room for further optimization. It’s also much more likely that in attempting to make improvements, one makes things a great deal worse, so a fair amount of humility is advisable in trying to find a less terrible idea than its predecessor rather than attempting to bring about utopia.

Those two foundational problems manifest over time in our economies as ‘economic inequality’, which gets thrown about a fair bit as a problem worth solving. But almost exclusively it is misdiagnosed, and therefore wildly varying solutions are prescribed that often rehash the fallacies of previously failed experiments, some of which led to a hundred million deaths in the 20th century. This, to state the obvious, is to be avoided. The root problem of economic inequality predates humans and is beyond our control. It is nature, captured in numeric form by economist Vilfredo Pareto, the principle of which bears his name. Roughly speaking, over time, the square root of a population ends up with more than half the production value of that population.

This principle often gets attributed to economic or governmental systems. But this principal dictates the mass and gravitational pull of the minority of stars and the height of a minority of trees in the Amazon. What economic or governmental system is responsible for that?

We believe the effort toward fairer and more equitable markets must come from a market solution through widespread information and opportunities at more and better relationships. Another serious problem that informs Pareto is the lag in consequences to decisions in complex economic systems. We seek solutions that shorten the lag which ultimately create faster churn in the economic winner’s circle. This means faster wins and losses, and faster appropriation of human capital toward winning solutions. Economic inequality cannot be solved outright. How can anyone suggest this upon seeing that parents in the same household can’t achieve this outcome with siblings under the same roof with the exact same economic advantage or disadvantage and relatively similar life experience? Different experiments bear different outcomes that should inform how best to navigate reality. Getting to that point is what we view as an optimal outcome. But it’s important to navigate reality with a long term mutually beneficial goal that creates positive feedback loops of value. This means making the system you’re in a better one for yourself and others over a longer period of time, reminiscent of de Tocqueville's concept of enlightened self-interest.

In direct opposition to this, in recent decades we have given financing and supply chain power to other countries that pose an economic and security threat to the United States, like China. As a former Intelligence professional, I recognize that my experiences lend me to take a different perspective on national security, however it is part of a wholistic approach of analysis that all companies should consider. What do we want the world to look like in the future? We have Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet as indicators of what that future could be. What we fear will take place if we and others aren’t successful in our pursuits is a further devolution of US free markets into corporatist oligarchism as public trust in markets and Western ideals in general erode. And why shouldn’t it erode based on the narrative of a corporatist rigging of the game explicit in events like the 2007-8 housing crisis and subsequent bailouts to the more recent Game Stop / Robinhood fiasco, perceptual at best, dead accurate at worst?

My background in economic development further illuminated the complexities of this dynamic. Economic developers are consistently looking for Foreign Internal Investment into their states and communities. They do this for good reason, though the economic development community has a largely insufficient incentive structure that I’ll address in a later publication. International trade is a great thing that encourages peace, prosperity, and innovation. But when, in the system of systems, one lacks the foresight to see that one is contributing to killing the system that has allowed for their success and the success of others toward the greatest good over the longest span of time, one is a short-term thinker and should not be leading anything or anyone.

This is why we are different.

We founded E2CX as part of a coordinated effort to support the US economy and we want the global economy to thrive by following its example. We provide this support through small, innovative, and hungry manufacturers who seek to grow and win in fair markets. Our relationships and work with economic developers regarding retention & expansion operations, and government agencies regarding secure critical infrastructure means having our finger on the pulse of the manufacturing ecosystem, given its deep economic impact in terms of jobs and investment, and the greater system of systems. We want to work with companies that know their worth and aren’t part of the bloated culture responsible for the 65% of corporate managers [1] that actually contribute a net negative annual value to their companies. We seek to cut the fat by hastening the disintegration of soft, bloated, bureaucratic enterprises through increased market competition, or by giving them the market feedback necessary to change course.

E2CX is made up of a unique group of individual problem-solvers with vast experience in addressing large and complex challenges. We each strive to become more complete individuals while solving big problems as a team, or at least optimizing the tradeoffs inherent in those problems.

We are excited by the journey on which this vision has set us and we look forward to hearing from, and working with, those who share it.

With gratitude,

Brooks Crenshaw

Founder & Principle Consultant

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