The Business of America is Business

Business Week recently published its list of the best performing firms. Read it to see how transparent American business can be. You can find out all sorts of things about a publicly traded company with a few clicks of the mouse. The old stereotypes about business are just plain wrong or as old fashioned as those cartoons of the fat cat capitalist with a top hat.

People talk about "business" as if it was an individual. In fact, there are many businesses, many industries, each unique and all competing to make products their customers want and need. Successful businesses make money and grow; others shrink. The mix of top businesses changes all the time as successful firms replace those that no longer satisfy their customers. It is a very dynamic system.

Only about a quarter of the firms on the S&P 500 in 1970 are still there today and only one firm (GE) on the original Dow Jones Industrial Average remains. Apple is this year’s top firm. It has been there before and it has been near the bottom. Among the best firms this year is Halliburton. If you take the time to study it, and follow the links you will see how silly the idea is that they are making all their money from the Bush Administration.

Free market seem just too good to be true. I wrote a while back why the market economy is best with its combination of freedom, rule of law and free markets. It produces everything we need and you make money while doing it. We see that the places that have the most economic freedom are the most prosperous.

Most people who criticize the free market system just don't understand it. A generation ago John Kenneth Galbraith wrote that firms like General Motors were so big and so powerful that they could control the market forever. Of course, things didn’t work out as he thought. For all his erudition, this leftist intellectual never understood the free market, but he trained and advised politicians and scholars for more than fifty years. All of us have had professors like that. Their arguments made perfect sense, but were perfectly wrong. It is no wonder we have so much obfuscation. They confuse people and are themselves confused. Many smart guys just can’t understand or cannot accept the simplicity of the market economy.

Ronald Reagan understood how to cut through the confusion.

"They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers."

Posted by Jack at March 25, 2006 11:33 PM
Comments
Comment #135912

The market economy and free enterprise are driven by one factor and one factor alone, greed. Read Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, but, BEFORE you do, read his foundational work for The Wealth of Nations, Theory of Moral Sentiments. His prose is absolutely elegant and flows from the tongue like silk.

But, enlightened, let me repeat that, ENLIGHTENED self interest as developed in Theory of Moral Sentiments is the key to preventing free markets from resulting in Revolution. GM was self interested, just not in an enlightened way. They abjectly refused to accept future market realities and adapt. But, why should they have adapted, afterall, the taxpayers bailed out Bankrupt Chrysler a few decades ago. And now the tax payers are bailing out GM through the Pension Guaranty program.

But who suffers when GM craters? Long term investors made out fine. Certainly upper management made out like bandits compared to the workers who carried the bulk of the weight of the corporation’s activities. And the workers made out fine too over the decades, thanks partly to unions. But, unions adopted GM’s UNenlightened business model at the bargaining table, and acted like a corporation in its own right. Thus unions overreached helping to kill the goose that for so many decades kept producing the golden eggs.

Totally free markets and unfettered corporate environments will of nature, move toward monopoly. And that, Adam Smith warns is the nature of the beast that must be ever guarded against, for monopolies sow the seeds of their own demise, and when demise comes, great social upheaval and harm often attends. He was prescient as the 1929 stock market crash and the ensuing depression proved.

Jack, your faith is inspiring. But, ill founded. For if you understand the psychology of investors and proxy voting, and market demands upon corporate boards of directors and Chief Officers, you would recognize that the demands are unenlightened, short-sighted, and built around instant gratification, as in annual fiscal year returns. This unenlightened short term greed often negates a corporation’s ability to remain agile and forward looking to market climatic shifts.

Of all the free marketers, Henry Ford remains one of the enlightened entrepreneurs, despite his many character flaws. He understood brilliantly when all else couldn’t, that foregoing short term profits to raise wages to make consumers of his products out of his own workers, would expand his market many fold in the decades to come. This is a wisdom that is not lost on CO’s today, but, CO’s ultimately take their orders from the bottom-line, unenlightened, short sighted, investors whose greed makes no room for workers, consumers, or long horizon investments.

And monopoly is the shortest route to maximizing short term profitability and investor satisfaction. That is why completely free enterprise is socially destructive and ultimately elicits responses to revolt.

I know you recognize the value of competition. What you fail to observe is that competition and truly free enterprise are anathema to each other. We have seen many corporations dodge the laws and social responsibilities for these very reasons. Adelphia, Enron, GM, some of the airlines, railroads, and a host of others. Oligopolies represent the giant step for corporations from regulated free enterprise toward unfettered free enterprise and monopolization. No bid contracts by the US government for war, natural disasters etc. also are indicative of this giant step many corporations are taking toward unfettered free enterprise and the inherent dangers to the nation and society that such an outcome would bring.

This President, and the GOP Congress have opened the doors wide for these giant steppers, and while in the short term, their giant steps will yield bounties, in the long term, they will erode the very cohesion of our society and its future, if allowed to continue in that direction.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 26, 2006 1:35 AM
Comment #135913

P.S., considering you may object to the notion that unfettered free enterprise leads to social upheaval and revolution, I direct you to the monumental growth in unions after WWII as a result of the depression and unbridled greed and amassing of wealth by too few in the period from 1875 to 1929. The union movement was violent - see history of Ford Motor Co., and revolutionary. The union movement had been around since the earliest days in the 20th century, but, had no traction, until the boys came home from the Pacific and Europe. Then, the revolution occured. And it was called the union movement.

STUPID people will insist on following the pendulum from extreme to extreme. Intelligent people will regulate themselves to avoid the extremes of oligopolies and monopolies and too powerful unionization and collective bargaining.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 26, 2006 1:48 AM
Comment #135914

Jack,

It wasn’t the free market that caused the failures of GM, for an example.
It was the “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” attitude that is still prevelent.
Companies still make fortunes on selling crap wtih slick advertising, and the attitude that it is always cheaper to settle out of court than to fix the problems.
I only use American automakers to show that their mistakes have been a learning experience for their competition.
The Japanese, for instance, were laughed at for their “all for the company” ethic in the ’60s and early ’70s until they produced cars that were stylish, got better gas mileage and over all were better built than their American counterparts. With few exceptions Japanese cars were safer as well.
American arrogance and greed has been the downfall of the American automaker.

Posted by: Rocky at March 26, 2006 2:42 AM
Comment #135929

I love the market economy. I also like big business and labor unions. This isn’t an either-or issue.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 26, 2006 9:20 AM
Comment #135931

Anyone who does not like the free market system just does not understand human nature. Individuals who do not depend on the 40 hr work week but who set their own standards and strike out on their own. They are called Entrepenuers and God Bless Them, they are a large part of what made America great. Not the only reason but a substantial part.

Paul

Posted by: Paul Graessle at March 26, 2006 9:31 AM
Comment #135935

Jack good post.
David I beleive you have hit the nail on the head.
IMHO To much of a good thing is not always a good thing. A short term view that caters to the greedy is the downfall of American corporations and will eventually cause serious social problems.
Is what we have here today the free market system or is control in the hands of the few and it passes for a free market system?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 26, 2006 9:59 AM
Comment #135937
People talk about “business” as if it was an individual.

People? What people? You mean people like the businessman members of the Texas Cattlemen’s Association who sued Oprah for libel/defamation of beef? Once again, Jack uses the time-honored Rep/con tactic of standing up a strawman then knocking it flat on its can. Well done once more, Jack.

Posted by: wanna_be_jack at March 26, 2006 10:05 AM
Comment #135938

Jack on the economic freedom list I notice that China and India seem to be less than free, yet China seems to be having its way with the world economically speaking. Is this an arguement for tightly controlled capitalist econimies in lieu of a free market economy?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 26, 2006 10:07 AM
Comment #135942

j2t2, China is fast growing because of its shear human resource size. Also, I don’t understand what you mean by “tightly controlled capitalist” since the control is all political. As long as one does not disagree with the government, it is possible to do pretty much anything (this applies to both businesses and people). As such, your argument for a controlled capitalist economy is weak.

On the subject of greed, “greed” is defined as excessive desire. Who defines what “excessive” is?

Posted by: Zeek at March 26, 2006 10:40 AM
Comment #135946

David

I wrote a whole post about how the free market requires democracy and rule of law. Without those things, it tends toward monopoly. You are right. But any long term monopoly requires the cooperation of the authorities of the state.

The market has its share of problems, but it the best basis for democracy and prosperity.

Re GM etc. Workers, managers, government and owners all colluded to create this golden egg goose killing system.

They all forgot a fundamental rule of negotiations - it is possible to negotiate TOO good a deal. If you get me to agree to give you a million dollars - and I am perfectly sincere in my agreement - you still made a bad deal because I don’t have a million dollars. I cannot keep my end of the agreement. All you can do is drive me to bankruptcy and if you depend on me, you will be coming along. This is what union and management did. It is sad for GM, its workers, owners and unions, but it is also inevitable.

Rocky

Yes. I don’t mourn for GM except to the extent that it was once a great American company. Toyota is eating GM’s lunch and, BTW, is almost as much an American company as GM if you look at who makes the cars and who collects the wages.

Wana

I am just thinking of the shorthand term business or big business, as in “this is just meant to help big business” or “big business controls …”

I felt that way myself. I studied business and when friends asked me what I intended to do, I said I wanted to work in business. That really doesn’t mean anything.

If you don’t use the term “business” generically, I appolgize. You must be very precise in your statements, but I bet you can’t say much.

J2t2

Re China. No. China is better than it was when they really tried to practice Communism, but it is still not a good place to live. It would (will) be better when it begins to practice rule of law for enterprises and allows freer competition. They could start by giving farmers property rights.

If you read my earlier post (I linked) you see that I advocate the free market with rule of law and democracy. China actually has none of those things.

The market is a means to produce a good society. It is not an end in itself. We have the right to modify those parts we find unacceptable, but we cannot repeal the laws of supply and demand. So we have to work with market forces to produce outcomes we desire. If we respect and try to understand market forces we can’t produce a just and prosperous society.

I spent nearly ten years in E. Europe when it was transitioning from communism. At first, I thought free markets were enough. Just sell off the state firms. I was wrong. You need a firm rule of law and a management culture. These things need to be developed. For example, the Czechs very rapidly divested some state firms and did so before the rules of the stock market were sufficient to protect investors. It was a costly mistake. The Poles developed their stock market rules first and had a better experience. NOT PERFECT but better.

You never get perfection in this world.

Posted by: Jack at March 26, 2006 11:28 AM
Comment #135947

There Jack goes, pontificating his Americancentric ideas on the Chinese. The free market place for farmers in China would result in mass starvation and revolution. China will one day move to private ownership of farms, perhaps even in the first half of this century. But, the transition must be timed to incremental steps and stages to avoid the social upheaval that would occur with a sudden transition.

The Chinese had a population explosion the likes of which our government and system COULD NOT DEAL WITH if our lives depended upon it. China is rapidly solving that problem. What Jack and many on the right don’t understand and refuse to accept is that one size markets and governments DO NOT FIT all cultures and problems.

Something President Bush is adamantly refusing to acknowledge in Iraq as he continues to talk of democracy and freedom ala America to sell his failures. Iraq CANNOT and WILL NOT erase their culture, religion, and history in order to emulate American government and social values.

Jack also says in his reply to me, that democracy and rule of law are essential to free markets. By saying that he is redefining ‘free’ markets as not free, but, regulated markets. And China has regulate markets. The Catch-22 conservatives have themselves anchored to on this issue stems from their use of the words free markets, which as I pointed out, are anathema to well regulated markets by rule of law.

Also, Jack, please address the situation we now face where the government is passing laws and policies to accomodate these giant steps toward monopoly with no bid contracts with Haliburton, Bechtel and a host of others, resulting in things like 10’s of millions of dollars of trailers going to waste rather than housing Katrina victims and billions of waste with law enforcement, DoD, Pentagon and Iraq contracts.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 26, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #135949

Jack, you are right, though, the business of America is Business. Here are a few facts to support that notion:

Rise in per capita consumption in the U.S. since 1970: 62%

Decrease in the quality of life in the U.S. since 1970, as measured by the Index of Social Health: 51%

Share of Americans reporting that they were “very happy” was no greater in 1994 than it was in 1957.

Increase in number of new products between 1990 and 1997: 63%

Facts courtesy of All Consuming Passion

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 26, 2006 11:58 AM
Comment #135962

David
I think of the market like the natural environment. We can do lots of things that would not be “natural” but they have to be in tune with nature. A farmer can grow oranages in North Dakota, but it is not worth it. On the other hand, he can introduce a new strain of wheat that does better than the “natural” stuff.

So there are lots of ways to use the market, but more ways not to. You often don’t know what will work best until you try. And there are trade offs.

The French are now facing riots as they try to change their employment law. They have traded stablity for those who have jobs, for high unemployment among the non established and the youth. It may be a bargain you want to make, but you can’t have everything.

The key to the free market is choice. Only the critics of free markets say that it means having no rules. But the rules should be those that apply to everyone, don’t micromanage and don’t try to pick winners and losers.

The complaint I had (have) against regulations is when they defend special interests. I oppose no bid contracts in most cases. They tend to be used only where time is a factor or where the government is giving preference to minority or female owned firms. I think we need to be very careful in all these cases.

When I was young, I worked at a factory loading trucks. Regulations at the time required the trucks to deliver their loads and then come back empty because of the very strict license re what they could carry. This protected established firms and union jobs at the expense of everyone else. Jimmy Carter deregulated the trucking industry and helped open competition for everyone.

Posted by: Jack at March 26, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #135963

Re life being better in the 1970s, I don’t remember them that fondly.

You can make the stats say what you want when dealing with subjective social indicators.

People say money doesn’t buy happiness. I believe that is true. But lack of money can buy misery.

Posted by: Jack at March 26, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #135964

David,

Wasn’t one of the very first reforms in China to move the farmers to a free market system. The Contract Responsibility System was institued to allow farmers to sell goods at market prices. While the farmers, may not technically own the land, the sure do own the majority of the goods produced and they can sell their right to cultivate the land.

David, you also say,

Jack also says in his reply to me, that democracy and rule of law are essential to free markets. By saying that he is redefining ‘free’ markets as not free, but, regulated markets. And China has regulate markets. The Catch-22 conservatives have themselves anchored to on this issue stems from their use of the words free markets, which as I pointed out, are anathema to well regulated markets by rule of law.

I’m not sure of your point here. There have been no shortage of deep thinkers that have made the point that Democracy and Capitalism are strange if not incompatable bed fellows. Weber springs to mind first. But that doesn’t seem to erase the fact that they have coexisted quite peacably for the past 200 + years in the U.S.

Are laws necessary to ensure the continued success? Absolutely! Does that make the market less than free? Maybe, but to me it does so in the same way that our Freedom of Speech is regulated so that we can’t shout fire in a crowded theater. So by your logic, we not have freedom of speech either. I don’t think many would agree with that statement.

There is not doubt that all freedoms are impinged upon in our society to ensure that we don’t hurt each other. The individual actions of business are no exception. However, do these individual impingements make the whole less than free?

You all say, “What Jack and many on the right don’t understand and refuse to accept is that one size markets and governments DO NOT FIT all cultures and problems.”

I don’t think that your analysis should be limited only to the right. When the Soviet Union fell, Jeffrey Sachs, argued for “shock therapy” on the Russian economy. He’s a self described lefty and spends some good quality time with Bono and working on the AIDS problem in Africa now (kudos for him for doing it).

The tendancy to one-size fits all solutions in my mind has more to do with training than political persuasion. I think that Economists and Business Majors are given over to this on the market side and Political Scientist on the Governement side.

I think that your critique is valid (but I’m not qualified to speak to the personalization of it for Jack). I think it’s born out of trying to using the scientific paradigm to try to solve societal problems. Economists tend to focus on the economy as the solution, political scientists on the government, and business school types on managerial problems. However, as we’ve seen with many problems over the past 30 years, well-meaining solutions don’t work out because it is incredibly difficult to determine which levers to push.

Posted by: Rob at March 26, 2006 2:14 PM
Comment #135970

Jack:

I believe in democracy, rule of law and free markets. But I definitely do not believe that the business of America is business.

The great majority of Americans are not businessmen. They are workers. True they work for businesses, but workers’ interests are not the same as the interests of the business owners.

Unlike what Republicans believe, the business of America is serving the needs of ALL THE PEOPLE, not only businesspeople.

Republicans with their trickle down theory think that helping business helps workers. No way. Today the stock market is zooming, but wages are stagnating even falling.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at March 26, 2006 2:47 PM
Comment #135971

Rob, add the fact which you allude to, that the decision makers and those they rely upon are specialists in narrowly defined areas of expertise. This leads to inadequate solutions by the wholistic scale, and the wholistic scale is the only appropriate scale for measuring societal success.

America has achieved so very much in the last 100 years, surmounted social and economic problems that few if any other nations could have surmounted in so short a time. But by and large, our nation met those challenges through the wisdom and capacity of generalists, multi-disciplinary, and often partially self educated generalists, like Eisenhauer, FDR, Truman, Lincoln, most S.C. Justices, and a host of great statesmen in the Congress.

Many, if not most of my fears for my daughter’s future lie with current leadership which has demonstrated an inordinate lack of general education in world history, military history, philosophy, and economics & probability and statistics. And because of their own lack of well rounded education, they distrust the very experts they rely upon, using ideology as a guide to whom should be listened to rather than 1st hand appreciation and ability to recognize wisdom and fact.

I am under no delusion about facts. Truth is rarely easy to access and almost never simple. Facts are abundant and instantaneous in this information age. Our leadership is not of the caliber needed to bring about wholistic solutions that optimize our future for the greatest good for the greatest number in a sustainable way.

A big part of the problem also lies with the incredible complexity growth of government in these modern times. But, that fact only strengthens the necessity for very well and very rounded education by our leaders who have sufficiently broad educations and experience to assess first hand the expert specialists that should be called in and relied upon, and who can synthesize and optimize the often discordant approaches by each of the specialists in their field, who like a horse with blinders on, see only the path they have set themselves upon to the exclusion of other impacting disciplines.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 26, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #135972

Jack, I would add to Paul’s reply, that Americans by and large work in order to live. Business people live in order to work. There is a psychological difference, chasm if you will, between entrepreneurs who dedicate decades of 60 and 70 weeks to their business, and the host of trades people who like their work, but, it is not their reason for living or what motivates them in life.

America’s business should be the prosperity, security, and liberty of its people. NOT accumulation of the almighty dollar to the exclusion of the nation’s future prosperity, security, and liberty.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 26, 2006 3:05 PM
Comment #135975

I’m just thankful to see most people on this thread agreeing the free market is the way to go, just disagreeing on how to run and rule it.

IMO though, we must continue to allow a free market with as little hindrances as possible. Things like utilities need to be regulated since there will always be a demand for them for basic living. (I personally think fuel for both home and car should be considered a utility.) So I’m definitely not against some regulation.

But over-regulation makes it too easy for the weak to survive (reference: airlines of the late 70’s, early 80’s). When weak businesses survive they hurt the consumer (with poor products) and the employee (with poor conditions). There is no more brutal test than the free market. If a business makes a bunch of money they suddenly find themselves with loads of competitors … making everything better (eventually).

And you can call it greed if you want, but I shudder to think what the world would be like without American entrepreneurship. The fields of medicine and engineering blossomed because they didn’t have too many socialistic rules imposed upon them.

So let’s tweak the world’s #1 economy instead of trying to completely reinvent it. How would you feel if you’re the coach of the perennial NCAA Basketball Champions and someone comes to you some April and says “Your methods … uhh, they’re all screwed up, you need a completely new way to coach.” I don’t think so.

Posted by: Brian S. at March 26, 2006 3:08 PM
Comment #135993

Kudos to everyone who has posted so far. Rational, reasoned discussion, disagreeing without resorting to namecalling and insults is a refreshing change.

IMO, a free market society, or at least a society that has very few rules regarding market operation, is the best way to advance a society. Under a controlled market system, i.e. Socialist or Communist, there is little or no incentive to succeed. Innovation and entrepeneurship are almost unheard of because there is no motive. One of the above posts talked about an individual dedicating months and years of 60 and 70 and 80 hour workweeks to make a dream come true. That will only happen where there is the freedom to succeed or fail.

Does there need to be some regulation? Dumb question, of course there does. Predatory pricing, discriminatory trade practices, price fixing, dishonest accounting procedures, all these need to be regulated. Regulations that confine competition, or strangle the give and take of the market should never be a part of the equation.

Yes, for more than 200 years, we have gotten along pretty good. There have been some glitches, but overall, not too bad.

Will our system work in other societies? Probably not without some refinements and changes. But, given a chance to compete for an honest dollar, or yen, or yuan, or whatever, I believe most folks, after they get over the shock, will be willing to try it.

Posted by: John Back at March 26, 2006 6:24 PM
Comment #135994

Jack:

If you don’t use the term “business” generically, I appolgize. You must be very precise in your statements, but I bet you can’t say much.

What are you talking about? Here’s what I posted:

People? What people? You mean people like the businessman members of the Texas Cattlemen’s Association who sued Oprah for libel/defamation of beef?

I’ve noticed that almost everytime you post a new blog topic, it starts with something like “Everyone says blah blah blah…” or “Hysterical liberals believe blah blah blah…”. But when I call you on the carpet for your blanket statement by asking for specific examples of people who say or believe these things, you change the subject.

So, let’s try it again; here’s your original statement:

People talk about “business” as if it was an individual.

Remember that? Now, who are these people that you claim talk about business as if it was an individual? Can you answer that one simple question? If not, the premise for your original post is but a strawman and the rest of what you wrote is suspect at best.

Posted by: wanna_be_jack at March 26, 2006 6:33 PM
Comment #135995
They say the world has become too complex for simple answers.

Who are they?

Posted by: wanna_be_jack at March 26, 2006 6:34 PM
Comment #135996
Business Week recently published its list of the best performing firms. Read it to see how transparent American business can be.

LOL. Enron, Worldcom and Tyco were on the 1999 list of best-performing firms, all three of which were notorious for the opacity of their business.

You can find out all sorts of things about a publicly traded company with a few clicks of the mouse.

You can find out all sorts of things but how much is true?

The old stereotypes about business are just plain wrong or as old fashioned as those cartoons of the fat cat capitalist with a top hat.

If you say so. Anyone can write anything they like on the internet and it may or may not be true. How that has any relevance to business stereotypes is something you’ll have to explain.

Posted by: wanna_be_jack at March 26, 2006 6:43 PM
Comment #135998

Maybe someday when you get tired of blasting fat change-ups out of the park, you’ll try tackling something a little meatier, like this or this .

Posted by: wanna_be_jack at March 26, 2006 6:51 PM
Comment #135999

Wana

I write opinion and point of view. Sometimes I like to try humor. I don’t write news, as the things you mention and I don’t try to be fair and balanced.

If you don’t get it, you probably won’t get it.

The quotation was from Ronald Reagan. I don’t know who he meant by they.

So if you don’t believe life is complex and you don’t believe big business is a problem and you make a clear distinction among enterprises, and you don’t get my sense of humor, maybe you are too sophisticated to read what I write.

Posted by: Jack at March 26, 2006 7:07 PM
Comment #136000

>> We see that the places that have the most economic freedom are the most prosperous.

Except that Commutist China is earning 20% on our national debt…oh, that’s right China has an open market…or…maybe not…

Posted by: Marysdude at March 26, 2006 7:28 PM
Comment #136002

Jack:

I write opinion and point of view.

So, bottom line is you just make stuff up, right?

I don’t write news, as the things you mention and I don’t try to be fair and balanced.

So, bottom line is its a waste of time trying to have a discussion or debate a topic with you, right? I think I’m starting to “get it”.

So if you don’t believe life is complex

It’s very clear to me that life IS complex. You, on the other hand, seem to think “free markets” (however you define that) are a panacea to all the world’s ills.

and you don’t believe big business is a problem

Wrong again. In many respects big business, particularly its ruthless, mindless pursuit of short-term profits regardless of cost, is a bigger threat to our national security than most terrorists. So, I do believe big business is a problem.

and you make a clear distinction among enterprises, and you don’t get my sense of humor, maybe you are too sophisticated to read what I write.

Oh, I make a clear distinction between enterprises, like most people do. I’m still trying to get you to answer my question about all these people you claim to know of who don’t make a distinction, who look at big business as a cingle entity.

As for your sense of humor, perhaps if you could repost something that you consider to be an example of your humorous writing and maybe a hint of what is humorous about it, I could let you know whether I get it or not.

Posted by: wanna_be_jack at March 26, 2006 7:32 PM
Comment #136003

>>I write opinion and point of view. Sometimes I like to try humor. I don’t write news, as the things you mention and I don’t try to be fair and balanced.

Except when someone else makes a point in a similar way…then Katie bar the door! If they don’t site specifics and/or statistics they become hysteric fools…

Posted by: Marysdude at March 26, 2006 7:33 PM
Comment #136004

You must be more precise about your definition of free market.

Does free mean the government isn’t playing games with businesses, favoring some over others with subsidies? In that case, then you must consider what a tax break constitutes. It’s a left handed way of doing the same thing. Because of that tax break, other taxpayers are either billed later by way of the national debt, or find their share rise on account of what the businesses who get these tax breaks get to keep for being on their good behavior.

Or does that mean free of regulation? In that case you and I agree that this shouldn’t be the case. Corporations shouldn’t be the special case when dealing with the rule of law. If a man poisons, kills, steals, or whatever, then they are punished. Should corporations, being the individuals in the eyes of the law that they are, be spared the punishment given to other individuals who commit offenses? Given the the continuous calls for deregulation, and the continual focus of anti-big government rhetoric on these matters, it seems you have something of a difference of opinion with your party.

Or maybe we’re talking free trade? Free trade is wonderful, as long as its mutually practiced. It’s not, though. Other countries subsidize their factories and their profits by keeping labor artificially low-priced. Many of those same nations also subsidize their industries, so they accrue economic advantages on that account.

Much of the free market rhetoric aims to free businesses to practice how they please, even as they destroy the very thing a true free market is supposed to encourage: informed choice. Consolidation of businesses reduces choices. Secrecy in businesses about the flaws and real qualities of the product reduce choices, even making a mockery of them in the process. Laxness about accounting and finance make it difficult if not impossible to rationally determine the health of businesses, leaving investors deprived of informed choice dealing with who they give their money to.

I would submit to you that we do not have anything approaching a free market, that we do not have free trade- only a willful negligence on the part of this government to hold corporations accountable to the public, and to fight for a fair playing field in the world markets as a whole.

Worse, in the name of making a free market, your party has helped create a parody of that, Where the government intervenes near constantly to help businesses, even when that business is making record profits. Meanwhile, your party has pulled the teeth out of nearly every effective regulation that would keep corporate behavior in line.

The Rigidity of thought on the right, coupled with an unwillingness to believe in the fallibility, and even hypocrisy of their leaders has allowed us to get into this situation, where the economic policy, meant to give us great prosperity, has become a cruel joke that mainly benefits the few, the powerful, and the rich.

I have nothing against the rich profiting from government’s decisions, or profiting in general. But it should be profit fairly attained, not profit at the expense of the interests of the public. The time has come to choose what’s right over what’s easy, what works, over what simply requires the least of us.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 26, 2006 8:09 PM
Comment #136005

I have a friend who was an airport manager. On occasion he was invited to speak to the local civic organizations about the airport. His favorite topic was “Airports Are For People Who Don’t Fly”. He then went on to explain the amout of business that was coming through the airport that benefited those in the community who did not fly.
The paralell is that just because an individual is not a “businessman” does not warrant that individual to be opposed to business. The reason we have had and continue to have the best economy in the world is “The Rule of Law”. In our weakest economic moments we were still strong. In other countries of the world where the “Rule of Law” is not applied aggressively or not even at all, you will find all the negative indicators thriving and the systems throught the world are continuing to fail. This country is greatly unique to have the ingredients for success no matter who the scoundrels in businesses are. We are strong and we will survive as long as we continue to stay the course. The danger we face and have been facing is government growth. This is a serious problem that over a period of time, if it is not corrected shortly, can cause great damage to the economy.
The whole key is smaller government and applying the “Rule of Law”

Posted by: tomh at March 26, 2006 8:14 PM
Comment #136006

Wana

You tell me big business is a threat and then want me to show you someone who thinks of business as a single entity. Look in the mirror. As a mattter of fact, you can look in the mirror on generalizations in general.

Re humor etc - I think everything I write is amusing, although sometimes I am the only one who gets the joke. I don’t care if some people don’t get it. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. If nobody pays attention to me, I will probably go away after a while and you all will be rid of me. I like to do this, but I have lots of other things to do.

Marysdude

I use counter information and I read the sources people use. If they are mistaken, I point it out.

Wana is giving me a problem for not being a news source and for using generalizations he doesn’t like. That is where my opinion and style come in. I don’t intend to change it, so we are just out of luck.

If someone makes a specific point, I try to answer it. My general style will not be changing.

BTW - I don’t usually call people fools.

Posted by: Jack at March 26, 2006 8:22 PM
Comment #136009

>>BTW - I don’t usually call people fools.


Posted by: Jack at March 26, 2006 08:22 PM

Only via your egoistic, arrogant folderol.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 26, 2006 9:25 PM
Comment #136011

Marysdude

I tend to get more than I give. I believe Eric is probably the Watchblog record holder for being called names, but I figure I am at least second.

But you know that if it I wasn’t arrogant and egotistical I wouldn’t have any personality at all and if liberals didn’t give me so many opportunities I would not be able to keep it up.

Posted by: Jack at March 26, 2006 10:01 PM
Comment #136012

Jack, I see you don’t deal with subtlety or distinction well, do you? In general I don’t have a problem with business big or small, only with those businesses with (quoting here) “…ruthless, mindless pursuit of short-term profits regardless of cost.” Is that clear? Or do I need to spell it out more clearly? I can distinguish between, for example, Berkshire Hathaway and Halliburton. I have no problem with Berkshire whatsoever. My problems with Halliburton (especially its cozy relationship with the Bush administration) are too numerous to mention. Suffice it to say that success in Iraq is probably defined by the Bush administration as whenever Halliburton has wrung the last penny to be gotten out of the war.

Well, maybe you’re right and the thing to do is ignore you and hope you go away. Maybe someone who actually has something to add to the debate will take your place. It’s rather embarrassing to think I believed at one time that this blog might be a haven from the seething hatred I get from Reps/cons on the Yahoo discussion boards and that it might be possible to discuss current events in a calm reasoned manner here. My bad.

I’ve never asked you to be a news source, so I don’t know where you’re getting that. I did post links to a story about the 60 Iraqis killed in the civil war going on in the modern-day Nirvana you seem to think the US has created and a story about the federal debt ceiling being raised (again) due to the spendthrift policies of the Bush administration, but that was a suggestion that you try commenting on something important instead of the sort of topic like “The Business of America is Business”. Obviously if you don’t care to comment on the two biggest Rep/con albatrosses, that’s your prerogative, but I never have asked you to be a news source. I just don’t know where you’re getting that.

As for your constant use of generalizations, I have no problem with the ones you can support. It’s the ones you just make up and throw out there unsupported that I object to. For the most part (and yes, I realize this is a generalization) none of the other contributors to the rep/con engage in the sort of strawman generalizations that you do, nor do the contributors to the 3rd party or Dem/lib blogs. If they did, I would call them on it as well.

Posted by: wanna_be_jack at March 26, 2006 10:04 PM
Comment #136016

Hey wanna be,

Do you know anything about halliburton besides the latest contracts? Or are you just knee jerking like most people. I am surprised you did not throw a wal-mart slur in there as well.

Posted by: scottp at March 26, 2006 10:33 PM
Comment #136019

Scottp:

Do you know anything about halliburton besides the latest contracts?

Yeah, I sure do. Halliburton is an oil industry services company formerly headed by Dick Cheney. The conflicts of interest are mind-boggling. In addition, it seems they are responsible for providing contaminated water to our soldiers in Iraq. They’ll pay a wrist-slap fine and still make out like bandits.

Or are you just knee jerking like most people.

No, I don’t think I’m knee-jerking.

I am surprised you did not throw a wal-mart slur in there as well.

I have no major problem with Walmart. The difference between Halliburton and Walmart is that while Halliburton pretends to believe in free markets and competition, Walmart actually gets out there and does it without suckling at the government teat. If Halliburton hadn’t been run by Dick Cheney, most likely the only contract they would have landed over there would have been getting the oil refineries up and running. Instead, they’ve got their fingers in a lot of pies related to Iraq and Afghanistan, and while they would still be profitable without those contracts, they have been implicated in a lot of waste, corruption and ineptitude.

I’m fine with Walmart. What kind of Walmart slur were you expecting, that you were surprised I didn’t throw in there?

Posted by: wanna_be_jack at March 26, 2006 11:03 PM
Comment #136027

I just wanted to throw in my two (or 3) cents on this one. The United States is a country of both workers and businesses. For the most part, we have worked together (or apart) to make the most of the system we have. Together, we (workers and companies) have made a good life in comparison with most countries around the world. Like American Pundit said earlier, this is not something you have to feel totally one way or the other about.

One more thing. I work with Chinese farmers on an regular basis. The situation is something neither Jack nor David really can understand well. It’s best to leave China out of debates about the American economic system. They play an entirely different game.

Posted by: Beijing Rob at March 27, 2006 1:00 AM
Comment #136028

Jack,
Until the Republican Leadership get it through the Head that it is their Duty and Responsiblity to Lead “I the Corporation” in a direction that will produce an Unlimited Sustainable Global Economy that will see “We the Consumers set free of the Burden of Society than their battle will always take second place to what “We the People” demand of Our Government and Society. Thus, the idea of what is adding to the positive function of society has to be redefined in America and Humanity’s Civilizations of Law.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 27, 2006 1:07 AM
Comment #136034

Rob said: “But that doesn’t seem to erase the fact that they [markets and government] have coexisted quite peacably for the past 200 + years in the U.S.”

Sorry, but, the tech bubble of 1999, the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the gas lines of the 1970’s, and more, all stand in contradiction to your statement above, unless, by your statement you mean, that such upheavals and social costs born by Americans during such times, we resolved in a relatively short amount of time. War was the answer to the Great Depression, I would hardly call that peaceful coexistence. War appears also to have been the answer the 2000 recession. Again, not a peaceful coexistence. WWII was not elective however, and that makes it unique in that it was not a choice to economic demise.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 27, 2006 2:49 AM
Comment #136037

David,
Is that because War is the only way we know to make money or the only way that humans have been taught? Peaceful Coexistence can take place two ways. One is M.A.D. and the other is learning and understanding the limit of our Society Today with hope that our Children’s Children have a “Better World” to live in.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 27, 2006 3:45 AM
Comment #136038

Jack,

Free market seem just too good to be true. I wrote a while back why the market economy is best with its combination of freedom, rule of law and free markets. It produces everything we need and you make money while doing it.

If it was the case, why most human are still developing beliefs systems?
If it was the case, why most human are still after being loved and searching someone to love?
If it was the case, why free market didn’t produced yet eternal life?
If it was the case, why making/having babies?

We see that the places that have the most economic freedom are the most prosperous.

Economically properous, yes.
Doesn’t resolve the lack of values or fullfillment (spell?), though.
Here in France we have a song called “Sentimental Crowd” (Foule sentimentale” for french fluents here), which I like a lot:


Sentimental crowd
Thirsty for ideal
Attracted by stars, the veils
All things not commercial

Business is just business. Not life.

Many smart guys just can’t understand or cannot accept the simplicity of the market economy.

Ronald Reagan understood how to cut through the confusion.

“They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers.”

Indeed. Like the jungle’s answers: to survive, be stronger. Until you die, after years of being the strongest. Hurray! For one to be the winner, all other should be losers. Every model where “everybody win” is utopian.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at March 27, 2006 4:13 AM
Comment #136039

The standing joke on American business in today’s headlines is the Mazda hydrogen vehicle announced to be released in Japanese markets soon.

Japan is to American Auto Industry what China will be to the rest of American business in just 20 years. American business had better get their pointy heads out of their short term rectums and follow Carla Fiorina’s model of taking American business into long term planning and strategy initiatives, post haste!!!

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 27, 2006 4:27 AM
Comment #136040

Jack,

The French are now facing riots as they try to change their employment law. They have traded stablity for those who have jobs, for high unemployment among the non established and the youth. It may be a bargain you want to make, but you can’t have everything.

The key to the free market is choice. Only the critics of free markets say that it means having no rules. But the rules should be those that apply to everyone, don’t micromanage and don’t try to pick winners and losers.

Agreed. French youth are striking because french government are trying to micromanage them, only them and clearly in favour of the business (the winners). If the unemployment law modification applied to everyone, youth, seniors, retirees, administration and private sectors, it would have been such “not easy answer but a simple answer”.
It’s not the case here.

Our government think is has the balls (will see) to “institutionilize” (that’s was already a reality, but a one fought at least) unstability on youth mostly but clearly has NOT ones to do it on every french, his potential elector next year. Plus, within government itself many don’t agree with this law, which show how much it’s a law that our Prime Minister is pushing for personal presidential agenda… Never was a valid reason for an *unvoted* law.

Oh, yes: this law was debated but NEVER voted by parlement, what was voted is the shortcut called “49-3” allowing governemt to enforce this law without a vote. As the youth is never well represented by older and older deputies, it pass and the governent was allowed to persue without resigning. The streets today show how misrepresentative the parlement is.
Hell, we even have no more a Youth Minister or like since 1995, what old-minded country France became!!!

PS: riots re-appeared, indeed, but rioters are not the strikers, they just try to profit from strikes. Unfortunatly, the governement is more interested by his political agenda than by stopping a rampant national generation crisis…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at March 27, 2006 4:51 AM
Comment #136055

David,

My comment about peacable coexesistance was

There have been no shortage of deep thinkers that have made the point that Democracy and Capitalism are strange if not incompatable bed fellows. Weber springs to mind first. But that doesn’t seem to erase the fact that they have coexisted quite peacably for the past 200 + years in the U.S.”

It was an attempt to answer this quote from you,

Jack also says in his reply to me, that democracy and rule of law are essential to free markets. By saying that he is redefining ⦲ee⠭arkets as not free, but, regulated markets. And China has regulate markets. The Catch-22 conservatives have themselves anchored to on this issue stems from their use of the words free markets, which as I pointed out, are anathema to well regulated markets by rule of law.

My point was not that there has been wars that have had economic genesis. Rather, I was trying to point out that despite intellectual predictions to the contrary Democracy and Capitalism can coexist.

In answer to this you said,

Sorry, but, the tech bubble of 1999, the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the gas lines of the 1970’s, and more, all stand in contradiction to your statement above, unless, by your statement you mean, that such upheavals and social costs born by Americans during such times, we resolved in a relatively short amount of time. War was the answer to the Great Depression, I would hardly call that peaceful coexistence. War appears also to have been the answer the 2000 recession. Again, not a peaceful coexistence. WWII was not elective however, and that makes it unique in that it was not a choice to economic demise.

I disagree with your assessment. Are there are economic motivators in each of these incidents, yes. Do they have anything to do with coexsitance of Democracy and Capitalism? I doubt it. The Gas Lines could have happened under a Totalitarian Regime. The Wars in Europe were sparked by the unpeacful coexistance of Facisism and Capitalism (a pair that Weber would have found more likely to succeed). If you will accept that the basic premise that the War in Afghanistan was born out of 9/11, then I’m not sure how Capitalism plays much of a role in that one. Iraq? Capitalism plays a role and Democracy plays a role, but is the tension between these two the cause of the spark? I don’t think so, maybe others do. I can imagine some Marxists looking for the way to the next stop on the road to pure Communism can find something there. I’m less deterministic in my out look.

Posted by: Rob at March 27, 2006 9:45 AM
Comment #136062

Rob, I concede readily your point that Businesses have not sought to overthrow the government, and the government has not sought to confiscate and dismantle capitalist businesses. But, that fact is so obvious on its face, that I assumed agreement on that issue.

But, that is like saying the sky is blue. Of course its blue. That is the sky. In a democracy, goods and services are needed by all in the society, and obviously they coexist, in America. Our colonialist beginnings insured that from the gitgo!

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 27, 2006 11:06 AM
Comment #136068

>>The Business of America is Business

Except that the real business of America is the FREEDOM to do business, as well as the FREEDOM to do other things…like be an artist, an artisan, a preacher (oops! that is about business) an explorer, a gambler, etc., etc. Business only takes the place of past endeavors and will in turn be replaced at some point in time with something else.

Colonialists were replaced by Revolutionaries, which were replaced by Expansionists, which were replaced by Agrarians, which were replaced by Industrialists…blather, blather. Business, as it is practiced today is not business, and cannot last any longer than the Buffalo Hunter…

Posted by: Marysdude at March 27, 2006 11:24 AM
Comment #136087

Marysdude

Please read the articles and tell me what kind of business we are doing that will go the way of the buffalo hunters.

In our lifetimes, business has adapted to several big shifts. In the 1980s we adapted to the quality revolution and products were better for it. In the 1970s we adapted to the energy shocks. In the 1990s globalization became a bigger force and we flattened hierarchies and became more nimble. Now we are in web 2.0 and the beginnings of biotech and nanotech revolutions.

The challenges never stop and we never stop meeting them as long as we remain flexible. The freedom you mention and the choice it provides IS the key to success. That is true. Freedom will produce a free market and a free market will enhance freedom.

Business adapts and changes. And all the people you mention, including the preacher, were in business. It is a broad and adaptive group. That is why Calvin Coolidge’s statement is a tautology, but nevertheless true.

Posted by: Jack at March 27, 2006 12:46 PM
Comment #136097

Jack asked: “tell me what kind of business we are doing that will go the way of the buffalo hunters.”

8 Track tapes, Jack! :-) And the GOP, now that’s a business, and one that needs to go away along with the DNC. :-)

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 27, 2006 1:14 PM
Comment #136101

Stephen,

You said,

Does free mean the government isn’t playing games with businesses, favoring some over others with subsidies? In that case, then you must consider what a tax break constitutes. It’s a left handed way of doing the same thing. Because of that tax break, other taxpayers are either billed later by way of the national debt, or find their share rise on account of what the businesses who get these tax breaks get to keep for being on their good behavior.

The same goes for regulations as well doesn’t it?

You also said, “Given the the continuous calls for deregulation, and the continual focus of anti-big government rhetoric on these matters, it seems you have something of a difference of opinion with your party.”

Is all deregulation bad? You seem to be pounding this drum, but deregulation in the airline industry meant more competition didn’t. Same for the phone and telecom industry, right? I’m not sure why you seem to believe that all regulations are good. No one here is disputing that some regulations are needed to ensure that business is being played on a level field and that externalities like pollution can be governed. However, your unmitigated support for regulations does not seem to jib with your continued calls for increased competition.

You also said, “Or maybe we’re talking free trade? Free trade is wonderful, as long as its mutually practiced. It’s not, though. Other countries subsidize their factories and their profits by keeping labor artificially low-priced. Many of those same nations also subsidize their industries, so they accrue economic advantages on that account.”

America has to be the leader in the concept of free trade. Without our leadership their is absolutely no way the rest of the world ever gets there. The protecitionist mantra does nothing more than ensure that we live with a status quo and we never approach anything like what you seem to want when you say, “Free trade is wonderful.”

This is my favorite of your slogans, “Consolidation of businesses reduces choices.” How so? Did the combination of America West and U.S. Air really reduce choice in the airline industry or increase it? If you look at the short-term, sure there is one less airline. But if you prevent them from consolidating, there are probably two less since alone they had no chance of making it. Let’s take another example, you and I are both in the construction industry as small players, you have a masonry company, and I have a concrete finishing company. We decide that we can cut our overhead and make a bigger profit if we consolidate. We also grow to twice the size. So now we can get larger bid bonds and go after bigger projects. All of a sudden there is more choice for larger projects in our area, not less.

Finally, this statement, “only a willful negligence on the part of this government to hold corporations accountable to the public.”

This is the governemnt that signed Sarbanes-Oxley into law which requires for more reporting and transparency than ever before. Like I said before, you can continue to repeat your statement like it’s fact, but that doesn’t make it so.

Posted by: Rob at March 27, 2006 1:22 PM
Comment #136115

>>This is the governemnt that signed Sarbanes-Oxley into law which requires for more reporting and transparency than ever before. Like I said before, you can continue to repeat your statement like it’s fact, but that doesn’t make it so.

Posted by: Rob at March 27, 2006 01:22 PM

Rob,

Do you mean transparency like that that allows no-bid contracting by Halliburton and its subsideraries or Kuwaiti corporations? Hell, our government doesn’t currently enforce laws and regulations now in place for itself, what chance has Sarbanes-Oxley in a Republican administration?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 27, 2006 2:44 PM
Comment #136133

Marysdude

You may distrust business and government in general, but you must recall that most of the dot.com and Enron dishonesty happened under a Democratic administration, so you need not blame Republicans or hold out much hope for Dems.

Posted by: Jack at March 27, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #136144

ROCKYS quote (throw it against the wall and see if it sticks) about the auto makers is close and david r’s quote about henry ford was spot on. old henry had vision at first he tried the old way building very expensive and heavy luxruy cars for the rich from 1903 till 1907 and lost his shirt. his vision a car for the masses. the model t. while creating the car he noticed french steel was very lite and he found that french steel had a very high vanadium alloy and was 40% lighter and three times stronger than american steel. as a result for the next seven years the only cars to use french vanadium steel was the model t and french luxury cars as a result a model t would break down but not break. the finished prouduct in 1908 was a car that was very lite at 1200 lbs and strong and simple. his masterpiece the model t in 1908 cost was $775 dollars and the price would go down as low as $300 dollars in the early 1920s along the way henry doubeled his workers pay in 1914.now they could buy his product and save money also ! a very smart business move by henry ! from oct 1908 till may, 1927 he made 15 million model t,s a run of allmost twenty years.and almost thirty years ahead of hitlers car for his masses.henry had a few quirks the say the least, goon squads and his last breath in a jar? and his resistance to the unions till 1942. in nov 1927 his next masterpiece was the model a and b and the model 18 with the famous flathead v8. with prices starting at $380 dollars to $ 570 dollars another success story even in the depression days! it had a run of ten years and 7 million cars.then another run from 1942 to 1974.1974 the epa and 10 sorry years of junk cars.in 1974 the japanese had the henry ford vision and produced lite simple and strong and fuel efficient cars they did not steal it they just were smarter !then fast foward to the 1990s the big bubble a clear chance for the big three to get a vision gas was about a dollar a gallon. they spent billions on retooling for big heavy expensive gas guzzling trucks and suv’s the public ate it up and bought millions somewhere along the way the bigger the better mind set came in again it’s possible the economy of the 1990s gave the masses a sense of security. the japanese and europe continued there vision in the 1990s and still made lite, strong and simple efficient cars and trucks. foward to early 2000 the bubble broke another chance for the big three to get a vision the results heavier! trucks and suvs and cars with slightly more efficient motors. the heavier weights negated the efficiency of the vehicles!btw the japanese and europe never lost there vision. they still produce better and more efficient cars. they keeped there vision, we lost our vision of henry ford. and louis chevrolet. and the dodge brothers and walter p chrysler .

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at March 27, 2006 4:14 PM
Comment #136215

>>You may distrust business and government in general, but you must recall that most of the dot.com and Enron dishonesty happened under a Democratic administration, so you need not blame Republicans or hold out much hope for Dems.

Posted by: Jack at March 27, 2006 03:59 PM

Your point? What was the subject of this post? “The Business of America is Horrible Business”?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 27, 2006 9:37 PM
Comment #136274

The only thing which keeps foreign investors investing in America in the face of these astronmical debt figures, is the fact that the U.S. has the most stringent, transparent, and accountable standards for business practice in the world. Were it not for these very high standards thanks to government oversight and regulation, our nation’s fiscal mess would be scaring investors off today, and increasingly as we move forward. But, because our standards are so high, foreign investors rest easy in the knowledge that they will have ample warning before economic collapse or deep recession arrived.

Our system, our government’s oversight of business is not perfect, but, it is the best to be found. As one would expect from a government lobbied and controlled by wealthy Americans whose money is invested. My apologies for sounding like Jack, but, Jack is right a lot of the time about a lot of things.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 28, 2006 1:42 AM
Comment #136296

>>My apologies for sounding like Jack, but, Jack is right a lot of the time about a lot of things.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 28, 2006 01:42 AM

David,

We are all right about a lot of things and wrong about a lot of things, but the title and premise of this piece is at best an exageration and at worst misleading. While more transparent than most countries, our business world is far from honest and has more corruption than moral people should accept.

Jack was right about business being as corrupt under liberal leadership as it is under conservative leadership, but to state that the Business of America is Business is gross. I don’t wish to be classified like that. As an American, freedom is my primary goal, not profit, and especially not profit at any cost. There was once a prince in Italy who defined business…why would an American wish to use that as a definition of America or Americans?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 28, 2006 7:45 AM
Comment #136333

Marysdude, I agree with you. As my writings imply, the Business of America is not Business, though most politicians seem to vote that way. The business of America is first security, second, freedom, and third prosperity. That puts business on the 3rd tier down, for business cannot prosper without a secure nation and without freedom to pursue dreams and aspirations. But, Jack is right, that security and freedom depend too on some measure of prosperity to pay for it. Freedom is not free, nor is security. Never has been. They have to be fought for and earned every day, for losing them is all too easy as the Japanese Concentration camps in America during WWII and 9/11 have taught us. Well, many of us, anyway!

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 28, 2006 11:08 AM
Comment #136339

David,

Freedom first, please. There is no security without freedom…Cheney/Bush uses it the other way around to justify warrantless wiretapping of American citizens.

Prosperity is a very important factor, and neither freedom nor security can be maintained without it, however the statement that ‘The Business of America is Business’, is not remotely correct. The business of the world is business (commerce), but the Business of America is Freedom. Business just pays the bills. And, if we’re lucky, one day business will no longer be any more necessary than those buffalo hunters.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 28, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #136340

David,

I’m not sure which lesson you think we learned from 9/11. Surely you have not fallen into the ‘fear’ trap wherein our Constitution must fall in order to be secure from terrorist attacks?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 28, 2006 11:36 AM
Comment #136449

Falling incomes?

Posted by: Mental Wimp at March 28, 2006 5:35 PM
Comment #136517

Marys

You need some measure of freedom, prosperity, justice, rule of law and free markets to make a decent society.

If you have freedom, you will develop free markets if you have rule of law. And if you have freedom, free markets and rule of law, you will get prosperity. But they all lean on each other, so it is hard to pull any of them out without knocking down the whole structure.

For example, it is very hard to maintain freedom without reasonable prosperity. It has been done, but only for short periods.

Posted by: Jack at March 28, 2006 10:48 PM
Comment #136575

Marysdude, 9/11 had only one lesson to teach. Life is dangerous. That’s it, nothing more. One can become Howard Hughes and use wealth to close oneself behind walls and barriers of security, but, in the end, that only leads to dangers from within.

Security is relative, and most Americans don’t understand it all. The danger of loss of life in America from terrorist attack is enormously less than dying in a car accident or of old age (which is inevitable if something else doesn’t get us).

The enormous expenditures in tax dollars and limbs and life to secure us against the next attack, did not actually make us more secure. And had those expenditures been invested remote vehicle speed controls for highways, many more lives would have been saved over decades to come than all possible terrorist attacks combined.

Life is dangerous, vigilance is important, but not more so than freedom, or prosperity over time and generations. The 3 together are the business of America, and in proper proportion, our future is optimized. Proportion, at this time, with debt and spending for programs that don’t work, and vigilance which undermines to much freedom, is all out of balance. And will continue to be as long as these insider stock trading career oriented incumbent politicians remain in office to conduct business as usual.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 29, 2006 8:22 AM
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