Monday, December 3, 2012

Capitalist Confusion

All things being equal taking from people that work hard and produce and giving to those that refuse to work is unjust.  I think everyone recognizes that when one man goes into the field and works 12 hours per day cultivating a garden he is entitled to the fruits of his labor.  Supposing his neighbor just doesn't want to do this kind of work and goofs off all summer.  Winter comes and he has nothing.  There's a basic sense of justness and fairness that says you made your bed, so lie in it.  Assume the slacker slacked with his eyes open.  He knew that if he didn't work he would be hungry come winter.  Everybody understands this dynamic.

And we can take it a step further.  Let's suppose the hard working man is elderly and has children.  Let's suppose in the fall he dies before eating his food.  Who gets this food?  His children.  Not the neighbor's children.  We may take pity on them and give them food in the form of charity, but they are not entitled to the food.  There's nothing wrong with the hard working man passing on this inheritance.

Now, if you are reading this as a conservative and you are thinking to yourself "Yeah, that's right, and this is why liberals are wrong" then there's something very important you need to recognize.  You do not understand the disagreement between liberals and conservatives.  You are not addressing the fundamental question.

It's just a basic fact that the ones that do the work on capitalism are not the ones that are paid the most.  Perhaps you've heard of the 112 Bangladeshi garment workers burned up while sewing clothes together for Wal-Mart.  They were making 18 cents/hour.  They work extremely hard and produce a valuable product.  They don't get a very large portion of the value they create.  Who does?  The Walton family heirs.  People that not only aren't working in dangerous conditions, they aren't working at all.

Remember, the Walton family is not simply drawing from the monies left to them by their father.  If that were true then eventually their money would run out and they would have to work like most people.  They are being paid the largest share of the revenue that is today being created.  Who is creating that value?  Cashiers at the stores.  Managers.  Stock boys.  Garment workers.  The Walton family heirs probably do the least amount of work.  Basically none.  They get most of the money.  Now, you can think that condition is for the best.  You can make arguments for why it is just.  I'm not addressing those arguments here.  I'm simply saying that one argument for capitalism starts with the assumption that the hard working should be permitted to retain the value they create.  Not only is this not denied on the left, it's quite the opposite of what capitalism produces.

The left doesn't have a problem with people being rich.  So professional baseball players, movie stars, entrepreneurs.  Sometimes CEO's and other managers.  The problem is that capitalism clearly produces conditions where some of the people that get the most do the least amount of work.  That is what the left is criticizing.  Again, if you are OK with people like the Walton's who do the least amount of work getting most of the money that's fine.  Just don't defend it saying that people that work hard should get to keep their money.  That's exactly what is not happening in their case.


Jonathan said...


I like this line of reasoning because it attempts to start from a common line of thought and goes from there. I hope to see more posts like this.

Anyway, I think the conservatives (like myself) reading your post might assume that the worker owned the field, i.e. was a small business owner. At least I did at first. Then when I reread, I saw you said
"when one man goes into the field and works 12 hours per day cultivating a garden he is entitled to the fruits of his labor"


"when one man goes into the field and works 12 hours per day cultivating HIS garden he is entitled to the fruits of his labor"

I think capitalists like myself would draw a big distinction between the person owning the garden, and the person working in the garden. Not saying this would make a difference to you, but if you want to get the starting point right, you can't just gloss over this distinction.

So a good question might be "ok, you say you believe in justice, and fruits of your labor etc, so does it really matter if you are the owner or not". It might be interesting to look at the parables of Jesus for instance to see what they say. Admittedly, I don't know how many talk about the owner vs the worker, maybe they all talk about the worker and I've been thinking about the owner in justifying my thinking, not sure.

Anyway, I'd be interested in knowing if you think someone who owns and works in his own business is entitled to a bigger cut than a worker who just works and does not own the business.

I think the assumption of the conservative is that part of the burden of working hard in your own business is you are also assuming the risk during the startup phase, and hence you are entitled to more of the reward when things get rolling. This is why I think you'll find people such as myself who don't have a problem with giving workers a smaller cut of the business than you might feel comfortable with because in the back of our mind we're thinking "I busted it for years and put it all on the line while my worker just shows up and work. He didn't have as much skin in the game, so isn't entitled to as much revenue."

Or another way to put it is "my labor is my business. The fruit is the profit both from what I directly put into it, and from what is derived in the future once it is flourishing. I don't care if I'm sitting on a beach in 10 years not working, I'm entitled to a big chunk of change because while you were just doing the 9-5 job, I was risking it all, putting in 80 hour weeks."

I realize a big difference in the viewpoint between the liberal and conservative has to do with perspectives on worker mobility, living wages, etc. but one useful starting point might be a discussion on the amount a business owner who put skin in the game is entitled to vs an employee.

Questions such as "this guy just inherited a bunch of money and it's not fair that 10,000 workers get 5% of the pie collectively while he gets 40% is injust" can't be effectively tackled unless we explore the other issues first I think to demonstrate (both to the liberal and conservative) why their core believes might or might not apply to this situation....

Jon said...

See that's just it, Jonathan. When people defend capitalism they do what you just did. They conflate the person that makes money as a capitalist and the person that makes money through work as if they are one and the same. They point to the work and say "See, they should be entitled to the largest share because they do all this work." Right there you are defending what is not in dispute. You're defending the notion that people should be paid to work. Everyone agrees on that. An entrepreneur works really hard.

If you want to defend capitalism I say you have to defend the notion that people get paid not for working, but for owning. Don't look to a gardener (and if gardening is a problem because of ownership of the field, just use a different type of work, like fishing, where maybe the fishermen owns a net and a pole as does the lazy man, and both have equal access to the lake). Don't talk about the entrepreneur. Talk about Alice Walton.

So if you want to defend it by saying whatever future benefits are derived from Wal-Mart should go to his children because this is his just reward for the hard work he did years back, the risks he took, etc, that's fine. But DON'T say that capitalism is right because people that work hard should be entitled to the fruits of their labor. Capitalism leads directly to the condition we see in Bangladesh. The working conditions are atrocious, they pay is nothing, they do all the work, but the money goes to Alice Walton who sits comfortably at her pool doing nothing. On capitalism the non working get the largest share and the hard working get the smallest share. If you think it's right that's fine, but you can't defend it by saying it's right because Alice Walton and Mitt Romney are creators and the rest are takers. No. Alice Walton and Mitt Romney are the takers. They do nothing today. The workers in the sweatshops are the makers. They were making the clothes when they died. Alice Walton is the taker.

Chad said...

I am confused yes, in a country where Engineers make $6,000 per year US, your saying that a job to make $2,000 a year is out of scope?

If that is what they are required to do to make a living (non skilled) then so be it. Your acting (as normal) that the $.18/hr is so far out of scope, but it is not - not at all.

A tragedy that they died, yes of course, but so is every single job site accident out there in the world.

How aout the other effects - say you get your way and laws are put in place requiring a minimum wage standard equal to the US. Congrats you just increased overnight the cost of nearly every good to a point of destruction and you just hurt the very people you try to protect - the poor. The rich can afford to pay $25 for a T'Shirt, the poor can't.

The Walton's ARE enjoying the fruits of their labor. They put it on the line some time ago and now God Bless them they are reaping the harvest. In fact, they have done so well planting their field of fruit that they can employ many to harvest the fruit, to sell the fruit and to re-seed the field. All of those folks working in the field - all of them have the ability to buy their own plot of land and to plant, work and harvest the same type of field - but many are lemmings who can and will only look to those land owners to give them a life.

Thank you for proving our point - how one (a person) decides to use their harvest belongs to that land owner. The big difference being the goods are not perishable, they will be able to take care of their extended family for decades and possible for a hundred years - kudos to them. All the while they will have employed millons of people worldwide raising their lifestyle ever so slightly, giving skills to non skilled employees and offering low cost goods to the masses. That doesn't even mention the charitable acts they are a part of. If you ask me a huge statue should be resurrected in their honor and whatever money is made through the generations has already been earned.

Chad said...

Jon - your very wrong. Without the Walton's and Romney's those folks would have no jobs at all - figure that one out. Without the "takers" the so called low skilled labor force your speaking of would not have a job. If not the Waltons or the Romney's there would be the Brown's or Smith's.

Besides you can go to investors, you can go buy a plot of land, you can find suppliers at the Jon approved price per hour and you can open your business to compete. If the Walton's get all this money for not working, it should be fairly easy to compete and win right?

I think it is pure jeolousy - it's not constructive at all, it's not your place to say that X is allowed to earn only Y, but it is your right to go out there and do it better than the next guy.

Examinator said...

To me the issue isn't about conservative =capitalism V liberalism= anti capitalism (socialism/ communism) et al. That assumption is based on misappropriated language by power seeking individuals

Three points are glaringly obvious to me.
1. THERE ARE VERY VARY FEW SO CALLED 'LIBERALS' (SIC) THAT ARE ANTI THE PREMISES UNDER LYING CAPITALISM, being rich or capitalism per se ...They are more likely and accurately known as Marxist, Lenninist, Trotskyite, Maoist Communists.
NB Starlinism was closer to fascism than communism. USSR wasn't really socialism either any more that the Nazis (national socialists) were.
2. The real difference is in the degree and the details (the how)....The DEGREE of exploitism.
3. Most important Jon's example doesn't exist except in abstract. There are simply more facts and circumstances that the political spin cycle want people to ignore.
With years on the front line I've yet to find more than an EXCEEDING small minority that could be described as Jon out lined.

Simply put so called conservatives (sic) want simple explanations and will go to extraordinary levels to ignore/discount the actual facts.
e.g. More of the social welfare budget is spent on the elderly who worked in a time where Superannuation schemes simply didn't exist . Likewise if a person who worked hard all their life at the only jobs reasonably available and they were relatively low paid K schemes would NOT have given them enough to survive their increasing longevity. Average life expectancy has increased by upward of 18 years since WW2 . Simply put more oldies are surviving longer and need more help.

Our resident tea party (sic) ill informed commenter has pointed to Single mums (while much talked about) they are statistically insignificant part of the Social Welfare Budget. The facts don't match the rhetoric.
So to the argument about Blacks and Hispanics out breeding the whites. In truth the correlation is closer to poverty and religion that color/race et al.... pure prejudice
The last abomination of thought was the notion that the right to breed should be based on wealth... the opposite is statistically true. Oh yes nature has created a breeding window favouring the young.... a time when say good little engineers et al are still establishing their wealth.
The older the parents the greater the risk for the mother. There are stats to suggest that older parents are breaking down the sociological cohesion between the generations, elder authority.
In short many of the 'Liberals ' (sic) are simply dismayed by the probable consequences of the overly simplistic tendency towards Black or White mind set.
In Jon's piece he refers to what most Liberals are appalled by the extreme of the case about the sweat shop exploitation, or more stark Bhopal, If you like the Pontious Pilate nature of business' . And as it says in the bible “we are our brother's keepers”.
While I don't accept that every 'conservative' (sic) is necessarily a Christian or religious I find it stunningly hypocritical how many are so selective about which family values they actually apply and to whom.

Examinator said...

Give it up you are circular arguing you gave us your version of Romney before and it was clearly shown then that Romney and the financial vampires are US job destroyers.
As for the notion that if Walmart disappeared the world would end give over! either you believe in the 'market Capitalism' or you don't.
Simply put if there is a marketable need Capitalism will fill it.
If you were actually informed with facts you'd discover that if you want more wealth you have to share it so the 'non plutocrats' can spend.
Likewise it is actual fact that the non plutocrats spend more of their wealth than the Plutocrats.

Jon said...

Chad, I think you're talking in a kind of misleading way. The Walton family is enjoying the fruits of their father's labor in a sense. Under the institution of private property, where the government steps in and violently requires workers to hand over profits to the rich people that have an ownership claim, the Walton's today enjoy the fruits of their father's labor. He labored to acquire property rights, which are enforced by the state, and they reap the rewards. It would kind of be like saying a prince benefits because his father conquered a foreign land, and the newly acquired serfs pay tribute. The prince is enjoying the fruits of his father's labor in a sense.

But the shirts made in the sweatshops have to be made today, and no Walton labor creates it. Peasant labor produces it and workers at the Wal-Mart store (who are taught carefully by management how to get food stamps and other government assistance, so they can survive on extremely low wages, a sort of de-facto government subsidy for Wal-Mart) distribute it. They do not work at any point in this process, so in this sense it is not a product of their labor. This is the sense of "fruits of our labor" that I'm talking about. Doing the actual sweating and working. If you could die and work would go on just the same without you and you were never replaced this means that you are not laboring in the sense I'm talking about.

It is obvious that the workers in Bangladesh are the ones that actually do the sweating, and as the case may be they do the dying when the building catches fire and the doors are locked.

That's just the way it works. No owner is going to hire someone unless that person creates more value than he costs. If I'm the owner and all of your benefits and wages are $2K/yr then you need to generate more than $2K/yr in value. If you generate less than that I won't keep you for long. And if you end up creating $100K in value who gets that $98K that is above and beyond my expenses to hire you? I do.

Jon said...

You can like that arrangement. You can defend it on various grounds. That Bangledeshi person wouldn't have had a better alternative. This arrangement produces a better life for him. That arrangement is just because of the up front work Sam Walton did. OK, you can make those arguments if you like.

But here's an argument you can't make to support it. You can't say he's the taker and I'm the maker. He is doing everything. I'm at home sleeping. Maybe my father deeded the ownership claim to me. However I aquired that deed today I get most of the money, he does all of the work. That's the arrangement on capitalism. You have to defend the idea that the non-working should get most of the money. You might be able to make the case. You just can't say that capitalism is right because we think the people that do the work should be able to keep what they create. Because you don't think that. You think the opposite. You think the fact that the Bangledeshi gets 18 cents an hour and Alice Walton gets billions is just and right, so you don't think the people that do the work should get to keep the fruits of their labor.

Much of Wal-Mart's success, probably most of it, has nothing to do with Sam Walton. It has to do with creative and sometimes ruthless management. It has to do with inventive people. And it has a lot to do with sweatshop labor. If you want to say that this is just, that's fine. You can argue that none of this would have happened without Sam Walton's initial work. Fine. What you can't say is that Sam Walton actually did the labor. You can't say he made the shirt. He's dead. He doesn't do anything. The ones that do the actual work don't keep the entirety of the value they create (that's true of every laborer in a capitalist society).

Defend capitalism if you like but do it based on what it really is. A system that leads to a condition where the people that work the hardest get the least.

And if you think a Bangladeshi can just save his money, but a plot of land, and off he goes to be the next Sam Walton, well if you can convince yourself of that I suppose there's not much I could say to convince you differently so I'll just leave that one alone.

Chad said...

Work the hardest? Are you claiming that there are Brain Surgeons and Engineers masked as Wal Mart employees? Are you arguing with me that the Bangledeshi sewing person is really an enterpernue who is miss understood?

Bulletin for you Jon - THEIR LABOR is ALL that they have to sell sir. That is it, they have nothing more to offer the situation, their sweat and their time is all that they have to sell. They can however go to University to get their degree to make $6,000 dollars or they can go to University and then come to America to start as a stock person, to Shift Manager to Assistant Manager to Manager to whatever they choose if their work does bring value. Their are endless stories of people doing just that - they are driven, hard working people that use their labor as a resource to reach a goal.

When the only skill you have to sell is your sweat and time, you are in a whole lot of trouble to start. If you spend the appropriate amount of time honning another valuable skill then you can sell that skill and so on - I know that is hard to understand it but some folks - some people will never leave their position from the very bottom. They are not interested in investing in themselves to improve skills valuable to employers, but they certainly will expect a pay raise. Many Wal Mart employees are those very people. At my local Wal Mart there is not a single employee including the Ast. manager and the Manager that are worth whatever they are paid.

As far as the Walton's portion of the pie - who gets to say what they deserve? You continue to avoid my comment that the beauty of the system is that you can go raise capital, you can create the relationships to make the garments, you can buy a plot of land and you have the ability to compete and since you'll do it better you can end the gravy train. Unfortunately your solution to the problem is very unclear - I suspect you would like to involve government to dictate or make a law either capping or seizing dollars through government based on what a person does or does not do? Actually it just dawned on me your solution would be to tax them to oblivion.

For me personally I say the Walton's and the Romney's huge success is more a reflection to government policy failures than anything. You want to use government to strip certain people of their wealth because they have reached that level of wealth in a way you personally disaprove of. I say why aren't there 50, 60 or 80 different versions of Wal Marts? Look at the policies stopping new businesses from competing with Wal Mart - eliminate the stupidity and let new versions compete to reduce the opportunity to create a monopoly - support the smaller businesses capable of growing to mid size businesses that can compete with Wally World.

Stop trying to take something from somebody else and lets figure out how you can open the Liberal version of Wal Mart tomorrow - go out and take those billions so ou can give your fortune to the greater good!

Jon said...

Chad, you are just WAY missing the point here. I could agree with everything you said and this does not change the point I'm making.

I'm not saying the Walton's don't deserve it. I'm not saying sweat shop workers have great skills. I'm not actually saying they should be paid more or have better working conditions. Yeah, I believe all those things, but for the purposes of this discussion I'm not claiming that. I'm saying one simple thing. On capitalism hard work does not necessarily pay more than little work or no work. Capitalism cannot be justified on the basis of the claim that the people that do the work should get to keep what they create. It is in the very nature of capitalism that people that do the work do not get to keep the entirety of the value they create (a person always creates more value than what he costs, otherwise he is not hired.) As far as I'm concerned in this post THIS IS NOT A BAD THING. It's just the way it is.

You're off in this other world arguing for why this is fair and just and how Bangledeshi peasants should just go out and buy land, start a business, get a degree, etc. Even if I granted all of that, which I don't, this WOULD NOT CHANGE THE POINT I'M MAKING HERE.

Will you actually interact with the point next time? I can't make you. All I can do is repeat what I've already said a few times. For the purpose of this discussion let me grant that the Walton's deserve their money, so does Romney, the Bangledeshi have themselves to blame, they are lucky to get 18 cents, etc. Let's say they'd be worse off without Wal-Mart. They should get a degree and stop complaining. We're all on the same page. But they do the work, Alice Walton gets the money. That being the case you can't say that capitalism is better because it apportions people compensation based on the work THEY DO. Alice Walton could NEVER WORK and she still gets the largest share of the money. Is this hard to understand? Just tell me you at least grasp the point.

Jonathan said...


I think the hardest working person in this thread is current you. That's my 18 cents. :-)

Ken said...

Wal-Mart stores frequently acquire their land by eminent domain; in other words, they get to acquire land at lower prices than those at which the owners would be willing to sell voluntarily.

Once in business, such stores further benefit from various sorts of corporate welfare, both the direct kind and such indirect forms as the mass of regulations that have the indirect effect of making it harder for small companies to compete with big ones. As companies grow, diseconomies of scale eventually surpass economies of scale, placing a natural curb on their growth; but government regulation, by stalling competition, allows companies to continue growing past this point by externalising their costs.

Moreover, Wal-Mart’s entire business model depends heavily on federal transportation subsidies; so its competition with local businesses doesn’t exactly occur on a level playing field.

Both Wal-Mart’s critics and its defenders usually see it as an embodiment of the free market. But to me Wal-Mart looks like just one more special interest feeding at the taxpayers’ trough. This is not free market capitalism. This is corporatism.

Chad said...

JC - I actually get your arguement, but what I am not getting here is why it is a point of discussion? If you want me to agree that Mitt Romney probably doesn't work 70 hours/week any longer on a take over/liquidation project that might yield him $5 million dollars - I agree with that fully.

My arguement is that no one person can determine what a specific individual who laid that ground work of success is actually worth. Does Michael Jordan physically make shoes or Haynes underwear? Absolutely not, yet his name/his hard work on the hard wood attracts the types of sales only the most open minded company could dream of. I would gather that MJ dwarfs Romney's earning from just merchandising and he really doesn't lift a finger.

Romney is slightly different than MJ in that he actually could get off the sidelines and back into the board room because he has done it before. MJ - he couldn't make a pair of shoes or underwear to save his hide. He might be a much better example versus Romney who actually built a company. Similar to MJ, now Romney is a business brand name and that has afforded him the opportunity to work less while earning just as much or more - congrats.

Ken - I did not know most of that and would like to study that more - any links? It is absurd that Wal-Mart would get any type of gov't help at this point, but unfortunately I am not shocked it is happening.

Jon said...

My arguement is that no one person can determine what a specific individual who laid that ground work of success is actually worth.

And I'm not saying they I can determine it either.

I'm saying the work on capitalism today the work is done in Bangledesh and Alice Walton gets the money for it. Right or wrong that's what happens. Agreed?

Examinator said...

I think you've nailed the point well.
Some "conservatives" have difficulty seeing the distinction between facts, their logical consequences and 'value judgements'.

I think it's patently clear that your point about Alice's wealth source is Fact in and of its self.
Chad pre loads that fact with a value judgement i.e. that is appropriate (IHO).
In effect he is placing preconditions on any discussion.

To me there in lies the difficulties with conversations generally with 'so called conservatives'.
Even Jonathan (possibly one of the more lucid 'conservative' (?) commenters here) introduced the 'the predetermined value judgement' (i.e. the “importance” of differentiation between the ownership of the land and being a "worker") rather than went with the evidence. Physically and objectively who is to say that both individuals don't work equally as hard or even that the employee works harder?
Personally, I make no pejorative judgement that Chad does. Simply put I know that things don't happen in a bubble devoid of circumstances. The fact of inherited or unworked for wealth is as you say.

My disquiet with the open shut reasoning of Chad is typified by the consequences of this front loading i.e. his factually unprovable (at best, at worse fancifully, ill informed) assertions about the options available to the seamstress. Then making equally dubious 'leap of faith' conclusion that her position is her fault .The reality is the afore mentioned options (opportunities) simply don't exist for her and precious little others, even basic primary schooling is not widely available for the poor (the most likely demographic for the killed machinists).

The question I would raise to Jonathan is “ Can you explain to me *Objectively* (that means without self referencing ) how/why Alice Walton is entitled the DEGREE of profit at the expense of the poor seamstress?”

Examinator said...

You might like to read this and follow the links to see the effects of the spin cycle on the truth.

Examinator said...

me again
read this article about Walmart.
Anyone want to dispute the facts?

Ken said...

Here is a interesting take on Walmart from Penn & Teller's Bullshit Show. Warning: F- Bombs. There are four parts. Penn and Teller Bullshit S05E02 Walmart PART 1 of 4 ...
Sep 19, 2009

Chad said...

Ex thanks for the article. It simply goes to prove that if you give the lowest level of unskilled workers an opportunity eventually they will over price their labor under the cloak of calling it 'fair' and through time will destroy a company. As previously stated, at my local Walmart I personally would not hire a single one of the current working staff all the way to the Manager. It's a hobby of mine to watch employees at places, to ask questions about their employment, wishes and thoughts - what better way to see just how screwed up people really are. Watching a stock person take an exorbanant amount of time to perform a single super simple task is always my favorite past time.

I always use my beautiful mother as an example. When she was hired by County Post (now Tractor Supply Company) she was 50 I believe. It had been a while since she was in the employment pool so she asked for some advise and what I offered was simple - make yourself the most valuable employee possible, do what others will not and always make yourself available as much as possible.

My mom is the one that shaped my working ethic, she is an incredibly hard worker - still is to this day. Anyhow she kicked but, hired in a minimum wage and as a Part Timer. When she out performed kids half her age, continued to offer value to the Manager she quickly became full time. She continued to work hard, pick up hours and expand her responsibilities and along with that came pay raises, more hours, pay raises, more hours and pay raises. I recall having coffee with her about 18 months after she started while I was in town one time - it was 5 am and she was getting up to drive into work. It struck me odd because she mentioned that she had the day off since we had planned something together later that day, she said she was off officially but she knew a truck was coming in to be unloaded and one of the employees always showed up late, real late on these early morning deliveries so there was a chance she could help the Manager and pickup a couple extra ours. Sure enough the young man who complained that he didn't make enough money of course was not on time, but the trucker was and my mom picked up his shift then picked up the cashiers shift when the girl didn't show on time and ended up with an extra 5 hours of pay. More than that the Manager recognized the good employees from the bad. By her 2 year anniversary my mom was making the most money of all the hourly workers. When times got tough in 2008/2009 guess who kept her hours - mom. When the goof ball other employees wanted to 'organize' they came to my mom and she just laughed at them. Telling the cold truth that she wouldn't want her labor to be grouped with their work ethic - proud son I was. When the small store was bought by Tractor Supply there was only 2 employees brought over - my mom and one other Manager. The rest hit pavement - ask them and it was 'unfair', but ask my mom and she'll tell you that they were worthless piles of steaming dog dung not capable of putting in a good days work.

Because you have a job does not mean that your bringing value to an employer - of course that is a Doyle edge sword to. When you attract the lowest of the low skill due to what you pay it sort of is a situation where you get what you pay for the of thing, but your hope is that the good amount the many will show their worth and a Good Manage will recognize those folks.

Jon said...

Chad, I love your story about your mom. Here you perfectly illustrate how unwilling defenders of capitalism are to defend capitalism.

Instead you want to defend the idea that people that work hard deserve their just rewards. A position all sides agree on. That's not in dispute, so you defend it.

See, you say, those lazy workers that wouldn't work as hard as your mom are out in the cold. They deserve it because they didn't work hard enough. Yeah, but there's another group of people getting paid that work even less. Stock holders. These are people actually functioning as capitalists, not your mom. Your mom, insofar as she is paid for work, is not a capitalist.

It's not that the stock holders show up late. They don't show up at all. They do nothing. They get most of the money. Again, you can say that's fine if you like. You can defend it on various grounds. But you CAN'T defend it by pointing to your mom because she worked hard and got compensation for it. That's exactly what Alice Walton doesn't do. The fact that you so often fall back into a defense of the gardener keeping the fruits of his labor (like your mom) really illustrates the capitalist confusion I'm talking about.

Jonathan said...


Props for comment my alleged occasional bout with lucidity. So what's your bone with my view in asserting a distinction should be drawn from an owner versus a worker in light of the evidence?

I admit, it is a value judgement that all things being equal, someone who founded a business should be rewarded more than someone who works for said business.

Would it not also be a value judgement to say that this should *not* be the case as well, or is this not the point you are making?

Jon said...

Ken, I'm watching your P&T thing and just watched the first part. The guy says that Wal-Mart is doing everything they can to keep compensation at a minimum. Penn says "But the federal minimum wage is $5.15 and Wal-Mart pays on average $10.50 for full time workers. Maybe this guy doesn't pay his staff enough to do fact checking."

But what the guy said is not a factual error. It's correct that Wal-Mart does everything they can to keep compensation low. Is Penn denying that? They do all kinds of weird things to PREVENT people from slipping into the "full time" qualification status. They work people like 35 hours, blocking them from earning more. Firing them to avoid being compelled to allow them to work more then bring in a new guy that can be held down at 35 hours for a while. Penn needs to do some research and figure out what an actual error is.

Kind of a rabbit trail here because I don't want to distract from the main point, which is that on capitalism the ones that do none of the work get the largest share of the money. But I wanted to capture that thought. I'll watch the rest as well.

Chad said...

JC - you can try and twist it, but without the investors/stock holders and silent partners she wouldn't have a job at all.

Chad said...

Keep in mind JC, I would absolutely support and enjoy it fully if all the workers banded together to be the stock holders - I think that would be fantastic

Also - you discounting the fact that I am a shareholder when investing my personal money that I have already worked for. My ultimate hope is to double or triple that money without working - that would be awesome!!!!!!

Examinator said...

Just telling as it is I find your comments generally most cogent.
I have no beef with you or anyone making a value judgement per se, everyone does, as I did with my mischievous question at the end.

I guess the point I make to all is that it is one thing to make value judgements but it is another thing entirely to build an edifice on that (subjective) judgement and call it fact (house built on sand). The problem come when people then try to enforce their 'subjective' often flawed (selectively chosen facts and or fact lite) i.e. BELIEF on others.

I have a religiously mixed bag as a family which is fine. The only time the war drums come out is when one or the other tries to proselyte about which is personal and as such unarguable....Their BELIEFS.

Even the Christian God clearly states that he want people to come to him/his ways through THEIR free choice. He does say spread the word …..not go forth and connive, scheme or impose, that's human created function. (see the arguments for same sex marriage and abortions). Logic dictates that if YOU don't want an abortion ….don't have one!
It is an emotional argument a Hypocrisy to then say you follow 'Christ’s way' to then stop others from their free choice/will. For the 'left'(sic) to be guilty of the juxtaposed hypocrisy they would need to make abortions/homosexual marriages MANDATORY

The hypocrisy of USA 'fundamental' (sic) Christians and the complicity of the 'conservative right ' (sic and sic) in particular is glaringly obvious to everyone else in the world but them. Simply put they use their religion to bolster their emotional need to feel superior (the chosen ones, the one true(?) faith.... Right/correct ergo everyone else is ignorant or wrong). The unreserved BELIEF in Capitalism and the economics that supports it is again an emotional justification for the above superiority...In truth it's the humongous implicit(and not so implicit) threat of the military that is the driving appearance of dominance/superiority.

In context to my point The key issue here is 'are people writing to discuss how they feel (venting = an emotion ) or are they trying to solve a tangible set of facts (circumstance/context)?'

Think of it like this if my wife feels Unhappy it is counter productive to try and prove her wrong. It is beholden of me to deal with how she feels and maybe the 'factors' that in her mind triggered her feelings.

Sadly many people confuse the two. Tea Partiers appears to want to talk about how they feel ( their beliefs of the situation) simplistically seeking a culprit(s) rather than examine the facts/ circumstances they use to justify them.

They use many diversionary techniques to avoid making the initial distinction between the facts and seeing what they say AND THEN offering a tentative/ caveated conclusion. In essence you used techniques answering the question you wanted to answer not an objective argument.

All this leads to the logical/ pragmatic conclusion that Jon and I are more about the facts and with more facts then comes a more informed and consensus plan of action . Emoting AT each other achieves nothing.
You in particular seem more capable of such an undoubtable fascinating discussion.

Examinator said...

It does not prove that at all! You missed the point.
Turn your bias filter down a notch or three and read it again. Too much dogma not enough objectivity on your part.

Chad said...

Thanks professor Ex, but no thanks - your ideas/thoughts muddy what is a clear stream and they numb the mind of reality.

I am good, but thanks.

Examinator said...

Sigh! Perhaps it might be beneficial to *you * to consider why when challenged you respond with a 'nark'.
I make no claim to being a prof etc.

I was merely suggesting that you look at everything through e prism of dogma e.g. you were looking at the story for confirmation rather than reading what was there. Both Jon and I have commented that you tend to 'put words into people's mouths', answer question not asked .

The article actually cited that the low wage model was NOT the problem....and that the staff resisted unionism.

The problem arose when the low wage regime was computerised and the hours of the workers were cut ( i.e. the NEEDS of the workers were ignored/ no longer satisfied) in the name of MORE profit.
The article at length explained the business model and how Walton used Christian ethics (i.e. didn't pejoratively judge single mum's) and structured the business model to meet the mum's needs. The staff resisted unionisation Because their primary NEED was NOT High pay but flexibility ( enough hours to meet their expenses) and a sense of 'family'. ( given the choice staff will choose a comfortable work place where their basic needs are met over the 19th century model that they are just units of profit. Business 101is the art of getting the balance correct.
I quit sales when the company I was later headhunted for lost this focus when the founder died and the more profit aggressive son took over and wanted me to teach manage predatory techniques. (shades of Walmart)
PS a bout a year after I left the business was caught, fined and eventually went bust after 50 yrs of successful trading. Interestingly he too changed the business model and lost long term (competent/experienced ) staff for cheaper ones....Oops baby and bath water comes to mine.

This is a concept a good sales related person should have immediately recognised. A product is appropriate if it MEETS a need of the Client (in this case the workers).

Hence any salesperson worth Jack Shit knows that to sell a product ethically *their job is to find the need of the Customer that the product satisfies*. (part of the sales qualification process) If the focus is just to get the sale without that foundation is a recipe for bad paper and unhappy clients. Bonuses should encourage sale staff to try harder to overcome objections (the difference between a condition and an objection).
Yes,I successfully taught salespeople how to sell ethically ( among other things credit reports, mainframe/mini computers and security) and yes handsomely paid too!

Aside Just for shits and giggles [[[We beat out 5 major competitors out of a sale by simply listening to the client's priorities/needs. His computer was installed in window front.....our ace in the hole ,unique selling proposition (USP) given all the machines were functionally the same.? Hint ...he had just repainted the entire building inside and corporate colors and the outside to emphasise them.

We powder coated colored the computer outer shell those colors with his logo on it and set it up in his window (the others were known to insist on their corp colors i.e. IBM known as 'big blue'. Digital 'rapacious Red' ). Grand cost of $300 for a $600000 up front sale sale eventually grossed $1.8 million. We also made front page at his instigation too. BTW our logo was on the computer too.]]]

Chad said...

Sorry you lost me, but that is not uncommon. I am sure you made a good point or two in there somewhere for someone so rock on.

Jon - wondering if you saw your MI rep (literally) make a fool out of herself with her bacon comment. That's what you voted for my man. Or should I say that only 22 counties out of 83 voted for yet the state went Democrat in Michigan.

Do you think the right to work will pass? Of course I do, but it is Michigan after all.

It's scary and a little funny - Obama took only 33 out of 171 counties between our 2 states and yet Obama took both states. I guess that is more scary than I thought.

Examinator said...

Here is the text of a letter to the editor of a local paper I wrote.
The intention of it here is to highlight the confusion in capitalism
Charity but for whom?

We are retired and the Children have moved out, Yay !?
As a consequence we are now on a limited income and the furniture well it's still good but not appropriate now.
So we donated it to charity ...perhaps to help some young or struggling couple.

One item was priced in the charity shop for $60 . A few days later we saw it being loaded into a van full of second hand furniture. No biggy, but we saw the van driver and one of the charity shop workers having lunch together in the shopping centre. This peaked my suspicious little mind so I followed the van to, an auction house. Two days later the item was sold for $520 to ...yes you guessed it, an up market Antique Shop. When I went in to enquire the price I was told that “this excellent piece of retro was for sale for a negotiable $1100 ... and it was from a deceased estate they knew” ! Imagine my shock at learning I was deceased not to mention acquaintances I'd clearly forgotten about!

Example 2
In my murky past I done many community a volunteering including telephone crisis counsellor.
Along the way I also gained tertiary education, which included more than a passing understanding of psychology, non directive counselling etc.

With time now on my hands I responded to a call from the local service for volunteer counsellors.
I was stunned to be told I needed to pay $500 to a third party for 40 hrs certificate training that had NO commercial value in and of it's self!
i.e. pay $500 to donate time! Is there any wonder volunteers are scarce?

Hence people, I wonder Charity but for whom? I think charities have simply become sources for and or middle men businesses with the intended beneficiaries getting the least.
P.S. Businesses serve their owners first …charities are supposed to service those in need first aren't they?
I'd add it strikes me as amusing how businesses donate to charity they claim tax breaks i.e. they expect the public You, me to subsidise their "generosity?".
I'd ask Chad isn't this forcing You (Jon) to pay albeit indirectly, for his companies wishes? and to think he doesn't want to pay for some unemployed person. Methinks it's a mite contradictory/hypocritical i.e. I/you may not want to fund his church etc.

Vice president of SALES in a $600 million steel business? Hmmm I'm stunned you don't follow 101 sales.