Proposed NYTimes Letter to the Editor about a Better Way

I read Paul Krugman’s July 27, 2020 New York Times (NYT) Column: The Cult of Selfishness is Killing America: The right has made irresponsible behavior a key principle. I found it interesting, and disturbing. Can’t we do more than complain? What was his recommended course of action? Seeing an opportunity, I put together a response to his column that I pasted below. I also encourage you read is column. #SelfishSelflessSynergy

Dear NYT Editor,

I think we can all agree, there must be a better way. Most of the NYTs articles published complain about the outcomes from current societal responses. With interest I read Paul Krugman’s July 27th article, “The Cult of Selfishness is Killing America”. I agree with Krugman’s suggestion that America’s response has been a lose-lose for individuals and society.

Mr. Krugman suggested impatience and the rush to reopen was part of the reason we are getting a lose-lose instead of a win-win outcome. He suggested the economy and the well-being are worse and that we are losing the battle because we are using a selfish plan, rather than a selfless plan that would help those hampered by the virus. He says this approach has hurt the economy and the well-being of Americans.

He then suggests the cult of selfishness and the fight for rights was hypocritical because while it proclaimed wearing a mask was a right infringement, a blind eye was given to the rights of protesters being tear gassed. As W. Edwards Deming prophetically proclaimed, “Defend your rights, you lose”. This proclamation decried attempts for individual rights over efforts focused on improving the system. To confirm Deming’s hypothesis, Krugman ends by explaining how these selfish acts to open the economy to get more, cause them and everyone to get less.

It seems this was a sophisticated attempt to tell others that one way was right, and the other way was wrong without offering a better way? The reader is left believing the only option is to agree not wearing a mask was wrong and wearing a mask was right. Unfortunately, this approach generally does not inspire people to change, rather it causes people to dig in their heels. The 3rd Alternative, as suggested by Stephen Covey, in a book by the same name, seems needed.

A 3rd alternative does not mean your way, or my way, but instead it is about finding a better way. It also is not a compromise where each side gets less of what they want, but it is a mashing of both ideas, so both get more of what they want. If they don’t, it is not a better way. If we step back, most will realize we all want the same things: a more active economy, jobs, open schools, lower risks and less virus cases and deaths.

In other words, we all want selfish benefits that can only result from selfless acts (i.e. wearing masks and social distancing) to generate synergistic results, a healthier, functioning society. Synergistic results are better results than could be achieved by either method alone. This means the way to generate comprehensive benefits, more jobs, a better economy, safe schools, and lower virus incidences can only happen from people engaging in Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits.

To move society forward, Paul Collier’s recommendation of reciprocal obligations, which are duties owed to one another such that it binds them, offered in “The Future of Capitalism”, seems useful. Reciprocal obligations are doing things such as developing and implementing or following traffic rules, paying for and or providing quality products or services, or just saying thank you when others provide help, feedback, assistance and or constructive criticism. Complying with current virus tracing efforts provides an opportunity. Collier clearly explains, obligations are akin to societal revenue just as rights are societal costs. Using the idea of reciprocal obligations can create a “richer” and more fulfilling society that yields more rights to all…as a by-product.

There is no downside to this approach. Everyone gets selfish benefits, a fulfilling interactive life, jobs and less sickness, selfless benefits, people can feel good for contributing and for doing good which will mean all can benefit from this synergy or a society that is more than the sum of its parts. Reciprocal obligations will enable all to be selfish, selfless and synergistic. This is Paneugenesis which literally means creating all good. (Pan = all, eu = good, genesis = creation) #SelfishSelflessSynergistic

Unfortunately, I had not read the instructions related to writing letters to the editor at the NYTimes. The instructions explain that letters are to have only 150-175 words, not the 600+ I offered. I therefore cut it down to less than 200 words and submitted it. I tried to keep the message , however I think something was lost in its brevity. I am therefore sharing this with you. What do you think?

I will keep you posted if my shortened letter gets published.

It was not published. Oh well, I will try again.

Either way, I think we can all agree that it would be good if we all start generating comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. What is our option?

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!


Please share your thoughts and questions below.

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A Great Way to Improve While in Self-Quarantine

Tony Robbins sent this message about dealing with this difficult time. “…We will spring back to normal life, like we always do, like we’ve done for centuries. And when we do, will you be prepared? Are you trained for future challenges? I always say: The meeting of preparation and opportunity generates the offspring we call luck.” This post provides you with a great opportunity to help you be more prepared.

In all my posts, I end by asking the reader to share how they “… generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits”. You can LEARN HOW  to do this by actively learning from Dr. Henry Neave’s FREE interactive  “12 Days to Deming” course.

Dr. Henry Neave worked with Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the quality management expert, that changed the world and my life. Henry also wrote a great book, “The Deming Dimension“.

Henry has now created a Virtual Way for you to experience the famous, life altering, Deming 4-Day Seminar with his FREE Course, “12 Days to Deming“. This is a great activity to engage with during our shared time in self-quarantine. You can FREELY access and learn from this powerful, educational interactive learning course at 2 sites: (1) the UIC site at and (2) the SPC Press site at .

The “12 Days to Deming course helps the learner understand how begin to apply this breakthrough approach. The “12 Days to Deming program provides newcomers with a great introduction to a better style of manage­ment. It has also been able to fill in gaps in the understanding of well-seasoned Deming prac­ti­tioners.

Henry had the rare pleasure of working directly with Dr. Deming during the final and most pro­ductive few years of Deming’s fortunately long life. He says that he has laid out his course in the form of 12 days of study and activity because it took him personally three of Dr. Deming’s four-day seminars for the latter’s wisdom to begin to sink in!  

The “12 Days to Deming files (ordered by their initial alphabetic identifiers A­–S) are exactly the same on the two websites and are immediately downloadable from both.  The downloading takes only a few seconds at most.  Once downloaded, each file can then be viewed on-screen and/or printed out, irrespective of which of the two websites you are using. 

I encourage you to access these sites to get the course and learn the profound knowledge of Dr. Deming. It will change your life for the better. It is not another way to understand what you already know. After actively participating and learning his teaching you will be transformed because you will experience a very positive dramatic change. I encourage you to start right away, if you do, this quarantine time will help you become the positively productive person you want to be!

I encourage you to use this quarantine time to learn Deming’s teachings by accessing and actively engaging with Dr. Neave’s course, “12 Days to Deming. If you are interested, I share some information below about some ways learning Dr. Deming’s quality methods impacted me, my life and my career.

My life was changed, dramatically, when I was a junior in college (1988).  In my organizational behavior class at Purdue l learned about the quality management methods espoused by W. Edwards Deming for an assignment. I learned a lot about it from my dad who was implementing these methods at his Bethlehem Steel Mill. He shared some materials that I read and it inspired me to learn more.

After reading the only book out at that time, “Quality, Productivity, and Competitive Position“, the methods he discussed were so obvious, my thought was, “How could any other methods be used?” Later I also read his other books, “The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education” and “Out of the Crisis“. The New Economics is a great quick read.

After learning his methods and getting my degree, I entered my career in the working world. I was shocked when I learned that despite the proven success of these methods by the Japanese in the 1980’s and many others, most in America were still not using these methods. The dysfunctional, confrontational “prevailing style of management” was and, even today, is still being used. Many attempted to partially adopt his methods after the TV show NBC White Paper, “If Japan Can, Why Can’t We?“, but partial adoption was insufficient. A transformation was needed. Those that did the transformation, such as Ford in the late ’80’s, had remarkable success.

Although I did not realize it at the time, Dr. Deming’s teachings changed my life. Everything I have done since learning Dr. Deming’s methods attempts to implement his methods. For example, I am applying quality management methods to health and my Paneugenesis concept, of selfish, selfless, synergy that generates comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits is my way of operationalizing Demings Methods.

I had actually forgotten the dramatic impact Deming had on my work until I attended a Deming Conference at Purdue in 2008. At that conference I realized all my work was my attempt to implement the teachings of Dr. Deming so I could have a positive impact on the world by promoting positive health just as Deming promoted quality.

To continue my learning, I read books about Deming written by his colleagues. I also attend and present at Deming Conferences ongoing around the world. In addition to my reading, I regularly listen to Deming PodCasts available through the Deming Institute and also access their resources. In addition to actively engaging in Dr. Neave’s 12 Days to Deming“, if you are interested in learning more, I encourage you to do the same.

In my work I emphasize that we must “Do More Good, Not Just Less Bad“. This was one of my main takeaways from his teachings. As most of us now know, just fixing problems is insufficient, we must revitalize and restore to create a better, sustainable future.

The sustainability concept doesn’t mean keeping things as they are because that is not enough, we must do better. I attempted to describe this idea in the “Create More Good Not Just Less Bad” presentation I did for the sustainability committee at my university. I also address this concept in many other posts on this site.

Dr. Deming’s impact on our world was powerful and there are now many opportunities to learn about Deming’s methods. Without a doubt, one of the best ways to learn about this life changing information is by actively engaging with Dr. Neave’s 12 Days to Deming“. The effort you put in learning Deming will have a profound positive impact on your life. The Deming Institute also offers multiple resources that I encourage you to investigate.

I am promoting this course because engaging with Dr. Neave’s 12 Days to Demingis a great way to practice paneugenesis so you will be able to generate comprehensive improvements by creating of pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. After you learn from this course, please share your insights below and encourage everyone you know to engage with this course so you can help add a surge to the positive ripple Dr. Deming started. Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Please share your thoughts below. If you have questions or ideas to share, please contact me: