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Old 07-10-2012, 12:06 PM   #1
mathewjgano
 
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Big business and the arrogance of their culture

I am mildly outraged any time people talk about the "evils" of regulation efforts and dumbfounded when people talk about how individuals cannot be trusted to self-monitor while arguing other times for the need to let corporations self-monitor, as if poorer people cannot be trusted while wealthy folks can. The market is too slow a mechanism, and too rigged a playing field to serve as a check on corporations. These people love to spend millions on advertizing describing how people-oriented they are, but actions speak louder than words.
These executives and their cronies make multiple millions of dollars, can afford the best health care, and generally live long lives off the fat of the land while their employees make a fraction, can afford significantly less healthcare, and live 10-20 years less. People like to talk about non-quantifiable concepts like creativity for justifying the supposed greater value of people like these executives compared to the workers who break their backs and get sick for them. BS. This is BS, and these people should face criminal charges for their gross ignorance and inhuman neglect. I think of this and the recent data showing that water from the Marcellus zone can in fact reach the surface and I cannot help but form a large dose of cynicism.
These corporations clearly "deserve" the status of being called people and having the power to affect my government with large untraceable sums of money...because they can be trusted. History shows us this repeatedly over the course of hundreds of years.
...I'm a little bitter, sorry.
Take care, folks.

http://www.npr.org/2012/07/09/155978...ng-cases-surge

http://www.npr.org/2012/07/10/155981...paign=20120710

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Old 07-10-2012, 12:21 PM   #2
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

http://www.latimes.com/business/mone...,3548235.story
Does this fall under the rule of thumb wherein people adjust their response to seem more correct (i.e. it's greater than a quarter of those polled)?

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Old 07-10-2012, 12:44 PM   #3
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

Mild outrage is best served chilled by waitstaff imbrued with indifferent dedication.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

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Old 07-10-2012, 04:07 PM   #4
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

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Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
Mild outrage is best served chilled by waitstaff imbrued with indifferent dedication.

Maybe in California, but here in the Northwest we like it served extremely warm by waitstaff saturated in apathetic zeal...with geoduck.

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Old 07-10-2012, 05:50 PM   #5
Anthony Loeppert
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I am mildly outraged...
These corporations clearly "deserve" the status of being called people and having the power to affect my government with large untraceable sums of money...because they can be trusted. History shows us this repeatedly over the course of hundreds of years.
...I'm a little bitter, sorry.
I think bitterness and outrage are natural and sane reactions.
No apologies necessary.
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Anthony
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Old 07-11-2012, 01:14 PM   #6
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

Black lung kills. I'd agree with that. That's also probably the first of about 3,000 reasons why I would never choose something like COAL MINING as a profession. Regardless of if I was following in my father's footsteps as a third generation miner, or whatever the cliche raison d'Ítre those people use to justify that career choice..
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:15 PM   #7
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

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Black lung kills. I'd agree with that. That's also probably the first of about 3,000 reasons why I would never choose something like COAL MINING as a profession. Regardless of if I was following in my father's footsteps as a third generation miner, or whatever the cliche raison d'Ítre those people use to justify that career choice..
I think a lot of the reason has to do with finding a ready-made source of income to put food on the table without having to move too far away. I think it also includes trust that a company will generally look out for its employees, naive though that might be. I believe most of the people involved in these situations simply don't think it's as serious as it is until it's too late and/or don't think about it too deeply. We can argue that it's the employees' own fault for being too ignorant or too trusting, but that's beside the point in my view and rather like blaming the victim. I'm not saying there is never any blame to be put on victims, but the onus is on those who perperate the damage: the higher end of the hierarchy who are in a greater position to assert pressure "below."
My dad was a plumber and used to describe which way the proverbial flow goes, but that should serve as a practical reminder to those down-hill, not an excuse for those doing the flushing. I can't pretend to know who exactly is to blame and to what extent, but the fact is likely that no executive sitting in a 500.00 chair ever died of black lung, but they somehow manage to get considerably larger compensation. It's disproportionate at best; criminal any other way...so far as I can tell; ignoant though I know I ultimately am.

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Old 07-12-2012, 06:36 AM   #8
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

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I think a lot of the reason has to do with finding a ready-made source of income to put food on the table without having to move too far away. I think it also includes trust that a company will generally look out for its employees, naive though that might be. I believe most of the people involved in these situations simply don't think it's as serious as it is until it's too late and/or don't think about it too deeply. We can argue that it's the employees' own fault for being too ignorant or too trusting, but that's beside the point in my view and rather like blaming the victim. I'm not saying there is never any blame to be put on victims, but the onus is on those who perperate the damage: the higher end of the hierarchy who are in a greater position to assert pressure "below."
My dad was a plumber and used to describe which way the proverbial flow goes, but that should serve as a practical reminder to those down-hill, not an excuse for those doing the flushing. I can't pretend to know who exactly is to blame and to what extent, but the fact is likely that no executive sitting in a 500.00 chair ever died of black lung, but they somehow manage to get considerably larger compensation. It's disproportionate at best; criminal any other way...so far as I can tell; ignoant though I know I ultimately am.
I pretty much agree. There was another post recently about the toxic components required in computer circuitry and how people in third world countries are left with little choice but to expose themselves to that in order to make a living. It points to a flaw in the economic system where people are forced to choose between the evil of two lessers, and either starve to death or compromise their health in exchange for a daily pittance.

My personal belief is that the solution goes far beyond asking corproate executives to be nicer and more accommodating to their underlings, although that would certainly be a good start. You'd really have to overhaul the entire system and completely change they way the economy works, placing an emphasis first on people, not profits.
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:02 PM   #9
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

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I pretty much agree. There was another post recently about the toxic components required in computer circuitry and how people in third world countries are left with little choice but to expose themselves to that in order to make a living. It points to a flaw in the economic system where people are forced to choose between the evil of two lessers, and either starve to death or compromise their health in exchange for a daily pittance.

My personal belief is that the solution goes far beyond asking corproate executives to be nicer and more accommodating to their underlings, although that would certainly be a good start. You'd really have to overhaul the entire system and completely change they way the economy works, placing an emphasis first on people, not profits.
That's exactly my thinking too. Over the weekend I had a great chat with my father-in-law while we tore out some shrubs. He described one of his first jobs working for a Standard gas station where they not only trained him to learn how to perform basic maintenance (as opposed to looking for pre-existing experience), but they also always had 3 or so people working on holidays, even though there was never any business. He said that they did it to help the employees since those days were always losses for the station. We talked about other similar stuff, but the basic theme was how much more people-oriented these companies were. Nowadays it seems like people serve the profit instead of the other way around. From a sociological standpoint I think that's a recipe for disaster. It promotes entrenched behavior where we only venture out to help people if we can profit off it.
My mom works for a major cell phone company. If she signs up for overtime, but something comes up and she needs to cancel, it's an "incident" that goes on her record and affects her ability for promotion. Somehow it's perfectly acceptible for the company to do same-day mandatory undertime. "Sorry, we don't want to pay you your normal shift wages today so go home." Meanwhile when some executive shows how money was saved it justifies a bonus. Does this promote employee loyalty? Hell no. It promotes a "get what I can, when I can" attitude along with a hearty FU from the employees. How does that translate into customer service and other job productivity?
The disingenuousness of the top-down flow of command/pressure inspires only contempt when it's revealed for the self-serving thing that it often is. The income tax debate operates very similarly. "Don't tax the richest because the diminished profits will cause them to stop hiring people." From what I can tell this is BS. If anything it will cause people to reinvest in their company more since those investments are tax write-offs. What they do now instead is take a lot of that money away from the company/products/employees, and pool it in their own private resevoirs off-shore. The luxury markets almost always seem to do well, even when the rest of the economy is suffering, so what we have is a constant stream of money to the uppermost tiers where it then moves in circles. This is an oversimplification to some degree I'm sure, and there are (I hope) plenty of exception, but from my vantage it rings true.
And this isn't just some "class warfare" on my part. I definately sympathize and identify with the poorer side of society, having been raised in a trailer park in Boeing Country (there's a statue of a picketing family rallying around a burn barrel just outside that largest volume building in the world, for crying out loud), but these opinions were partly formed through my discussions with my family members who owned their own companies, some multi-million dollar ones. I want to believe these wealthiest people deserve every penny; that those I am critical of will prove my criticisms flawed because I do not like feeling negative about people. It wears on me. But the more I see of the world around me, the more pissed off I get when I see these self-important "job creators" claim one thing and then evidence seems to show something else.
Anyhoo...time to balance this growing cynicism with some playtime with the lad.
Take care, Roger, and thanks for the reply!
Matt

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Old 07-13-2012, 06:27 AM   #10
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

There is some truth to the argument that poor people can't manage money. Redistribution of wealth is not as easy in reality as it should be.

I find lottery tickets interesting. You give welfare to people and then they also buy lottery tickets. Why is that? So we distribution wealth to them and then they give it back. I don't get the logic. Apparently President Obama agrees.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics...ry-skepticism/

Not saying that all poor people are irresponsible. However, as a class across the world if you dumped money on the poor with out leadership, then they would most likely not do well with it.

We are doing this in Afghanistan a lot and it does not work. It is better to teach a man to fish than to fish for him.

That said, yeah the rich make the rules for taxation mainly so yeah, of course the rules favor them....duh.

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Old 07-13-2012, 11:07 AM   #11
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

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Not saying that all poor people are irresponsible. However, as a class across the world if you dumped money on the poor with out leadership, then they would most likely not do well with it.

We are doing this in Afghanistan a lot and it does not work. It is better to teach a man to fish than to fish for him.

That said, yeah the rich make the rules for taxation mainly so yeah, of course the rules favor them....duh.
Hi Kevin,
Thanks for the reply! Yeah it's pretty common for folks who have relatively little sense of long-term goal setting to seek short-term gains instead. The delay of gratification is an underappreciate talent...and is something rich and poor alike need to work on within different contexts.
With this in mind, sure, poor folks have often gambled away their resources since prehistorical times...duh. Likewise, rich folks rig the various playing fields to meet their own sense of relatively quicker gratification rather than mitigate that with investment back into the system for a greater overall benefit.
The question I have has to do with how we as a society come together to place checks on those who seem to display destructive behavior while still respecting their personal autonomy as much as possible. To my mind this is the central issue to the basic concept of liberty and I believe in the concept of checks on power as a way of ensuring the greatest overall liberty. I'm not worried about those with huge resources; they're "just fine." The best answer I have so far is for government to impose regulation, to establish a common baseline for standards; and to shore up those "weakest" links.
I see economic growth a little like this: There's a marathon wherein the basic goal isn't necessarily to be fastest, but to finish; it's the government's job to see that everyone crosses the finish line. The problem is that the people who somehow got ahead at the start seem to get lighter and faster while the people who somehow fell behind seem to often get heavier and slower (and not always relative to the increases made by those ahead of them).
You're right that it's better to teach a person to fish than to give that person a fish. It teaches self-reliance instead of dependance. This is part of why I view the education system with so much importance. The problem is that it's hard to teach people who feel disenfranchised by those powerful folks who also set up the playing field. They don't trust that, A) it will do them much good anyway (e.g. "it's not what you know but who you know"), and, B) it's not the kind of information that will do much good anyway (e.g. "math past elementary school is completely useless"). I think it's more A than B, but both play a part. .
So, sure, "duh" the wealthy have rigged the system by virtue of their significantly greater degrees of power, but shouldn't that piss us off a little? And given that, should we do something about it like engage a conversation or other action which (hopefully) shifts things more toward the middle ground?
Thanks again for the reply!
Take care,
Matt

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Old 07-13-2012, 05:34 PM   #12
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

I think the rich should recognize that they keep their wealth by the graces if the middle class. Andrew Carnegie got it and wrote about the responsibility of the wealthy.

In theory I am a Marxist, but I also believe that there is no such thing as altruism. So that kinda puts a damper on Marxism or communism as an economic model. For all the wrong it causes, I think capitalism works, it is the lesser of evils.

Outside of that you can argue how many rules do we need in place to keep the delicate balance goinf and create rules that redistribute enough wealth to keep the middle class happy and enough welfare to keep the poor happy, or at least not willing to up rise or revolt.

It sicks, but not sure what else you can do.

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Old 07-14-2012, 03:41 PM   #13
Anthony Loeppert
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
There is some truth to the argument that poor people can't manage money.
That is a bit of a tautology. Poor people have no (excess) money to manage so how would a "poor" person get the experience of managing money? The bills manage the money for them.

I have found in my own learning cash rich people don't know how to manage their money in a responsible way either. They use their excess capital to subjugate those that believe monetary value is the only metric of value in this world.

Quote:
I find lottery tickets interesting. You give welfare to people and then they also buy lottery tickets. Why is that? So we distribution wealth to them and then they give it back. I don't get the logic. Apparently President Obama agrees.
Money is a (man-made) cycle similar to a natural cycle like the water cycle. People receive, people buy. Interruptions in the cycle cause issues. If there were restrictions, like say food stamps, that is different. But yes, poor or rich, gambling casinos and lottery game are not statistically winning strategies. (401k's anyone - wait that is a different topic)

Quote:
That said, yeah the rich make the rules for taxation mainly so yeah, of course the rules favor them....duh.
Yes, but why is it that they make the (tax) rules governing everyone? They are certainly outnumbered.
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:05 AM   #14
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

Industries need to self-regulate. We can't do it, we don't have those sorts of resources and the sort of specific subject knowledge required. We do, however, need to regulate their attempts at regulating, to various degrees. Regulation, you see, is not a binary thing - on/off - but a spectrum between total freedom and total control. Some industries, some people for that matter, need to be regulated more than others.

Certainly, with smaller businesses, there's not much difference between you regulating their own efforts at regulation and your regulating them directly. By the time you've done one you may as well have done the other. Even if you assume perfect honesty on everyone's part, the advantage in terms of diligence and rational behaviour is still going to tend* to go to the larger entity. Larger businesses can afford to hire in specialists who are incredibly good at their jobs and can - if included in a properly structured company - raise the level of the company's performance in that regard more or less across the board. Whereas smaller businesses and individuals tend to be off, effectively, on their own.

It's worth remembering that skill in capitalism is very rare. Most people are not good capitalists. They're not explicitly trained to be and, culturally, they're not taught to be. Most of our relationships with other people, at least during our formative years, are given on the grounds of sharing in fairly unrewarding ways. When Jane gets to school with her set of new colouring pencils, she's expected to share them out among the class, and she might get a few of them back if she's very lucky. She's most certainly not taught to leverage the use of her pencils for a share of Jennifer's sweets (candy for the Americans,) or for something else she might want or need, and to impose penalties on people for failing to return her pencils in good condition.

About the only people given explicit training in capitalism (and even then many of them are ill suited to that training) are business students. Considering that sort of transaction is such a large part of our lives, however, business should be a required course in high-school. Which it ain't.

A reasonably sized company can hire those people and leverage the expertise of the few. Whereas a small company can't really be trusted to - not necessarily because of any problem with their honesty - but simply because they won't have the resources to effectively compete for such a scarce commodity.

#

*There is obviously a maximally efficient group size in this regard with respect to any given task.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:53 PM   #15
Anthony Loeppert
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

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Industries need to self-regulate.
This is an oxymoron.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:05 AM   #16
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

Industries need to self-regulate.

Xs need to self-regulate.

Humans need to self-regulate.

I guess we're all screwed until the aliens turn up then.

But even then I could just switch the X out for living creatures, or thinking things or something like that. That's the flip side of the power of a language that lets you compress the search space. If you want to use a high level of abstraction in your language you're going to have to accept some contradictions are bound up when you generalise over a lower level of abstraction in the interests of semantic convenience.

In practice, I don't think any of us really consider industries to be singular entities. And I take it as essentially a given that, when you talk about self-regulation, you're talking about getting one part of them to regulate another part in some way.
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:55 AM   #17
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

I just want to self actualize. I don't care if it involves delusion or not...as long as I am happy.

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Old 07-16-2012, 11:27 AM   #18
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

Quote:
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I think the rich should recognize that they keep their wealth by the graces if the middle class. Andrew Carnegie got it and wrote about the responsibility of the wealthy.
Interesting! I'll have to read up on him! One of the people who I look to, and who I think really gets it, is Warren Buffett (A name which strikes fear in the hearts of rabbits everywhere ). Too many people like to think they're almost entirely self-made, but they're also successful (if not almost entirely so) because of the circumstances they find themselves in. People aren't successful in a vacuum, and particularly when they live in one of the most prosperous nations in the world.

Quote:
In theory I am a Marxist, but I also believe that there is no such thing as altruism. So that kinda puts a damper on Marxism or communism as an economic model. For all the wrong it causes, I think capitalism works, it is the lesser of evils.
I can't claim a detailed understanding of Marxism or Capitalism...and I believe we can get "close enough" to altruism for it to serve as a functioning concept. I tend to view things in terms of a balance between the assertion of individual values and group values. Then, in terms of economics, I see things as a pie chart. It's effectively a closed system; not an infinite one. The problem with Capitalism, as I've come to understand/interpret it, is that too many people behave like it's an endless supply of material wealth that only requires a broad enough imagination to bring into light (i.e. just make more pie; "let them eat cake"). The services and luxury industries are great examples of this. They're good things with real value, don't get me wrong, but they're entirely dependant upon what I think of as "real" or fundemental value, like health-related industries such as farming, housing, and most medical fields.

Quote:
Outside of that you can argue how many rules do we need in place to keep the delicate balance goinf and create rules that redistribute enough wealth to keep the middle class happy and enough welfare to keep the poor happy, or at least not willing to up rise or revolt.

It sicks, but not sure what else you can do.
I agree, but it seems like many people equate rules of this nature as antithetical to Capitalism. I think they're crucial checks on what would otherwise become de facto feudalism: "we own this and you work for us; the difference from feudalism being that you can buy this, but not unless you have enough money for me to make even more money off it and I'll never pay you enough because it's not valuable enough to me to do so"...an imperfect analogy perhaps, but the one which seems to fit. Instead of divine right based on hereditary title it's become (to various degrees) "innate right" based partly on hereditary titles of ownership...a more convoluted version of the same thing. People like Mitt Romney who enjoy their status largely because of the work of their fathers. To be clear, I'm not saying people like him didn't work for their money or that his father didn't have the right to pass things on to his kids, but Mitt's social networking wouldn't have been nearly as easy if he had grown up in a trailer park on the Tulalip Reservation. Odds would have been decidedly more difficult, and I believe the government needs to off-set this kind of natural (and reasonable) lop-sidedness. Like you I claim no ready-made answers. I only have imperfect observations and somewhat emotionally-attached questions. What I have going for me is an intense desire to understand truth, even if it doesn't make my life easier, because I think it allows me to be a better person (non-altruistic) and to help the world around me (semi-altruistic).
...Anyhoo, for whatever it's worth.
Thanks for the chance to think about this more deeply!
Take care,
Matt

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Old 07-16-2012, 11:41 AM   #19
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

Quote:
Benjamin Green wrote: View Post
Industries need to self-regulate.

Xs need to self-regulate.

Humans need to self-regulate.

I guess we're all screwed until the aliens turn up then.

But even then I could just switch the X out for living creatures, or thinking things or something like that. That's the flip side of the power of a language that lets you compress the search space. If you want to use a high level of abstraction in your language you're going to have to accept some contradictions are bound up when you generalise over a lower level of abstraction in the interests of semantic convenience.

In practice, I don't think any of us really consider industries to be singular entities. And I take it as essentially a given that, when you talk about self-regulation, you're talking about getting one part of them to regulate another part in some way.
I think I see where you're coming from and agree. While oversight is crucial to make sure people aren't working on de facto monopolies or otherwise "excessive" exercises of power, the best monitoring systems are often self-monitoring systems: they have fewer required mechanisms and thus fewer "places" for things to break down.
I don't fit your examples of sharing and ownership so cleanly though. I was raised that if someone doesn't want to share with you, you have to accept that fact, and that there isn't always enough for everyone to have a bit, even if we might try. "Be happy with what you have," is a message I often got. That said, yes I was also taught to share. My kids are taught to share, but they're also taught about ownership. "That's your toy, and while you should share with your friends, it's yours to manage; they don't get to take it home with them."
Take care,
Matt

Last edited by mathewjgano : 07-16-2012 at 11:48 AM.

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Old 07-16-2012, 11:48 AM   #20
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Re: Big business and the arrogance of their culture

Quote:
Anthony Loeppert wrote: View Post
Poor people have no (excess) money to manage so how would a "poor" person get the experience of managing money? The bills manage the money for them.

I have found in my own learning cash rich people don't know how to manage their money in a responsible way either. They use their excess capital to subjugate those that believe monetary value is the only metric of value in this world.
This fits very much with my observations. Then, when poorer folks get a little cash they celebrate their "luft" (space) based on the massive advertising campaigns aimed at them. "You need a nice ride or phone. Getting married? You need to consecrate that with bling mined by even poorer folks under the yolk of militants we fund while turning a blind eye (our good eye is looking at the new yacht we want)."

How's this box of soap keep getting under me? I swear I keep stepping off it.
Take care,
Matt

Last edited by mathewjgano : 07-16-2012 at 11:50 AM.

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