Monday, July 11, 2005

Rick Strahl – An era of crooks and thieves

Rick,

I can appreciate how you feel (and I'm in Canada ). So Rick's disclaimer also applies here. ("If personal opinion and political views are not your thing you should probably skip this entry.")

What's interesting, I find, is that the left of center politicos, though, are using this trend to paint these crooks and thieves as being the embodiment of capitalism and NO ONE is fighting back against this.

I recently had a conversation with an avowed "socialist" (take from the rich, feed the poor) who noted very similar positions to you and I said, well, if you think that is capitalism then you're wrong - what they are doing is nothing BUT the exact opposite. The leaders of these companies are doing exactly what the left-of-centers would have them do: make decisions for everyone that only benefit who they think it should benefit - then of course, they add in a bit of narcissism and think it should only benefit themselves.

Fact is: the only system that will get us out of this mess is capitalism.

My friend in this discussion was aghast but the only way to get these things fixed is to let the market decide, the same way it's decided at a street sale in the Bahamas or India or on eBay.

Someone has something to sell - if someone wants to buy it, then let them buy it and they can decide on the price. This is something that Kevin and Michael are actually debating right now as well. What is more value to you - the $5 anvil or the $200 anvil? If you don't want an anvil, then neither (as re-read recently in Seth Godin's All Marketers are liars.)

And don't start on me with that means people can buy weapons on the open market - capitalists realize that the only way they can survive is if people are still around to trade with. And if there are "capitalists" who do business with these people, then they are not real capitalists - they are actually power-over-other seekers, something that a capitalist is not. Am I out of touch? Maybe an optimist and not living in the real world?

USA Today had an interesting article on this here back from 2002. Maybe it is getting to be time when the real capitalists of the world need to simply "shrug".

When the real world is one where a company like Haliburton has made billions on the Iraq war and yet as Rick says, the poverty ratio in the US is 1 in 7, the answer isn't more government regulation ; it's less. And I would rather believe that one day, a world where everyone is free to make what they want, get paid for what they're worth (what others are willing to pay), is possible.

A person, free to spend their earned money (instead of being taxed to death , a requirement for living in Canada), would choose to reward those who also show initiative or promise, not those who live off their laurels or government backing. They would invest in developing countries where growth and enthusiasm for work is easier to be found than in established ones where people expect to be paid for doing half-ass jobs or no work at all.

Unfortunately, to do that today would bring every western country to their knees - what's required is more companies to be run by ethical leaders who do NOT allow Congress or government to fix things in their favor (now - I read recently a blog entry about a state who essentially fixed things in favor of another company and I can't remember who it was, I think it may have been Texas and Verizon but if you know who it was, please let me know so I can revise this) - sadly, you cannot legislate ethics, regardless of what political leaders may think.

There are some companies (although if I pointed to one, I would likely point to one that had some skeletons that someone would push out) that are - and the majority of them would likely be small businesses or individuals who have to live by these ethics every day.

Artists and musicians who "get" this are ignoring the major record labels, who make money off the backs of these artists, in favor of smaller indie labels who come up with ways to promote the artists and get them the money they deserve for their great works, or selling them directly via iTunes or another service.

The people who aren't getting this are those who have nothing to offer and everything to lose - the people who have decided that their way to glory will be paid for by others - politicians and companies who pay politicians to fix things in their favor.

When you find Galt's Gulch (updated: darn keys! - thanks William), let me know. I'm ready.


American Business and Government – An era of crooks and thieves - Rick Strahl's WebLog

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Heya Andrew - it's Galt's Gulch. I have my salesreps read that book once a quarter, actually. Those that have been with us for more than 2 years enjoy leading the 'newbies'.

WilliamSanders said...

Heya Andrew - it's Galt's Gulch. I have my salesreps read that book once a quarter, actually. Those that have been with us for more than 2 years enjoy leading the 'newbies'.

Andrew MacNeill said...

darn - william - bloody typos.

Rick Strahl said...

I am all for capitalism, but what's going on now isn't capitalism. It's corporate socialism with the government giving to 'poor' corporations in the form of looking the other way and allowing questionable accounting practices that are basically swindling huge amounts of money out of the government funding.

Capitalism is based on balance. Right now there's no balance left, and the market alone will not be able to stabalize this unbalance. Two factors: Huge monopolies that don't have competition and can't be broached by smaller companies, and an apathic public who doesn't push harder for reform or even vote out the bastards who are basically bought off by corporate lobbiests.

Andrew MacNeill said...

I agree that what's going on today isn't capitalism.

About those factors, why were such monopolies allowed to exist? Regulation, corporate buy-offs and lawyers thinking it would be good to cut off competition at the knees.

Any regulation, legal contract or law that prevents competition must be stopped. Unfortunately, that requires the politicians who are benefitting from this type of regulation to stop - and that isn't going to happen.

So you're right - the apathetic public is mainly to blame. Interestingly enough, we just had a newspaper article lamenting the fact that parents (in Canada or Britain) are no longer telling their kids "one day you can be prime minister".

Wonder if that's the same in the US? I imagine it is - when the only way to win an election is to buy it or to invigorate people by making them angry and worried about the alternative instead of excited about what's ahead.

But can an average person withold the scrutiny of the press when running for office? As long as the public likes to chew up and spit out any gossip on candidates (and the candidates themselves), I can't see it.