Tag Archives: Capitalism

Romney: Wrong Man For the Job


This Sunday on ABC’s  This Week, George Will said the following about Romney:

WILL: I think they do both. But they probably, on balance, immunize him more. It’s been 70 years, George, since Joseph Schumpeter, a famous Austrian economist then at Harvard, put into our vocabulary the phrase “creative destruction.” American people are clear that capitalism destroys jobs on occasion.

Actually Mr. Will, Karl Marx first used the term to describe the cannibalistic nature of capitalism.  Then, your Austrian friends white washed the term to describe a rebirth.  I am not an economist, but unlike the Federal Reserve governors, I saw the economic collapse coming.   Where George WIll and Romney see creative destruction making room for new companies, I see that society is left with the people and the things destroyed.  Same with the American people, they know that jobs will be lost, but they need and want some kind of help from the nation when that destruction takes place.  In fact, sometimes, if not often times, the Romney style “creative destruction” did not take place because of some up coming new idea, it happened because there was money to be made in simple “destruction”.  The creative element was not part of the Romney equation.

Romney, the “creative destructor”  moved to find another body to destroy.  The destruction, the unemployed and the empty factories then became a social responsibility.   Picking off the carcasses of dying companies, or even viable companies, simply to nourish  portfolios from the transaction of the kill has negative outcomes that are never considered in the cost of the Romney style transaction.  The negative social outcomes are then left  to the individuals and the communities that were effected to manage.  Will and Romney tell us that wait, the public funds, like a Canadian Teachers Union Retirement fund benefited.  Well if they did, that was just as bad and they should have had policies to not invest in such transactions.  There are socially responsible policies that do not rely on such outcomes.

Romney claims that this expertise, the “creative destruction” niche, gives him the expertise to manage the economy.  Well, if you consider that the economy has been savaged and is on the brink of more catastrophe, why, would we hand it off to an expert in “creative destruction”?   There are other capitalists, such as venture capitalists, who invested and financed new companies and new ideas.  Romney was not a “work out genius”, nor did he have a keen eye for new ideas that would take economic sectors out of the “creative destruction” phase.    Now he claims that he has the skills, the knowledge and the credibility to fix the “creative destruction” remnants.

Romney, was good at what he did.  In fact at Bain he was very good at “creative destruction”.  As far as I can tell, these are not the skills we need to serve the nation and the people.  Capitalism may be fueled on “creative destruction”, but nations are not.  Nations are populated and serve all the people, not just the segments that are growing and or have potential.  Nations have to serve the people who were creatively destroyed because frankly, the markets never look back.   Romney has never served or cared for the communities or the people he “creatively destroyed”.   Wrong man for the wrong job.

Is America going to be his last project in his “creative destructor” career?  Creative destruction has negative outcomes and consequences.  Romney never paid attention only to the outcomes that served him and his company.  Let me put it kindly, or in the language he would understand:   ” Mr.  Romney, you are the wrong fit for the position of President of the United States”.

 

The picture is from my garden.  The leaves fall, I gather them .  They go into the tomato cages.  By summer I will have some mulch for the new plants.  Creative destruction at work in the garden and in nature.  Not the same idea in Bain style capitalism.  

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Aggressive Consumer


the Really Really Free Market, Mayday weekend ...

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Modern capitalist democracies have given their populace two  illusory powers: citizenship and membership in free market enterprise.  We all know that our power as citizen is reduced to the vote, a system that is manipulated and gives us little power beyond the lever. Our free market role is given a mythic power, that we choose how the market functions through our purchasing choices.  The customer illusion is not limited to every two years, it is a daily exercise that seems to involve choice and power.  No wonder we talk about it more often.

Just as citizenship has its romantic flourishes so does free marketism, we are labeled customer and we have convinced ourselves  that we “are always right”.   This romantic vestige of our power as customer now is only exercised in some kabuki theater where think we have power.  The only places we get to “act out as customers” is through some low paid  service employee, the euphemistic customer service side of the enterprise.   We all have stories of encounters with airline, banking, insurance and retailers; stories that have a common frustration and shared sigh.   In truth what we are usually sharing is  just a temper tantrum of delusional entitlement.  The entitlement that was never and will never be delivered.

We have confused individual assertiveness with line staff as some kind of power over the bureaucratic juggernaut of capitalism.  A juggernaut that rolls over its workers and over its paying customers.   In our attempts at being assertive, we end up being aggressive.   The size of the system cannot stand the chance that we will not consume, that we may make free choices.  Free choice and the power of choosing with where we spend our dollars is well managed, the system has invested a great deal to rely on our whims of free market choice.

His appetites have to be constantly whetted, tastes have to be manipulated, managed and made “predictable”.  Man is transformed into the “consumer”, the eternal suckling, whose one wish is to consume more and “better” things. (Erich Fromm, On Disobedience)

But, still I read the daily rant against the “stupid help”, the “ignorant line staff”, the” bad service”, the inability of “them” to see the value of “me” the customer and finally the lament of better times, when service was “better”.  I cannot help but notice the futility of such acts of ill placed rebellion.   A demand of servility and obedience from the poor dolts that serve us, the front lines, the ones with the least power.  Then you have entire virtual arenas, such as Yelp, where people will express their anger at a wait person, or manicurist.  They will berate that person, often times destroy a small business, because the “service” was not up to a standard.  We have transferred our anger towards the system, to the low grade badly trained employee.

You say, but if we do not have demands or expectations, how will we make it better?  Well, maybe it will not be better cause the corporate bureaucrats don’t give a damn.  They are insulated from your aggression.   The long time fear of American society of the bureaucratic managed society,  materialized in the trappings of capitalism, with lovely Orwellian names such as:  Sales Associate, for clerk; customer care for the collections office; technical support for the complaint department; customer feedback form, for the suggestion box.

So, we end up with the nasty customer beating up on some hapless employee via telephone, or in person and the corporate bosses are insulated by layers of systems, procedures, policies and legal requirements.   I say admit that you are cog.  When speaking to another cog, or interacting with another cog, humanize the other cog.  Break down the set up and make it pleasant for you and for them.  You are set up for conflict, I say, fight the set up.  Go around it, cheer up the cog, give them a kind word.  If they do not reciprocate, take it on the chin, try again next time.   Keep doing it, till we all stop the warfare among ourselves and we can start breaking down the charade.

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