[FoRK] Obama: communitarian, redistributionist, confused? (from NYT)

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Aug 25 19:38:53 PDT 2008

J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> On Aug 25, 2008, at 3:24 PM, geege schuman wrote:
>> <Tenth, one of the most interesting questions over the next 
>> generation is
>> whether the Anglo-American form of capitalism, which gives primary 
>> direction
>> of companies to capital markets, will flourish and expand, or not. 
>> Some of
>> the evidence on the (in)effectiveness of takeovers and the recent sad
>> experiences in financial markets rather suggests not.>
> To be replaced by what? I do not think the world can afford the 
> opportunity cost.  Call me crazy, but I like the technology and 
> innovation of "Anglo-American capitalism".  Not that we are not slowly 
> smothering capitalism in Anglo-America these days -- I do not know why 
> people are surprised when an economy rooted in innovation goes with 
> it.  People love the sausage, but hate the sausage-making.
>> It's a tenuous connection, but read
>> http://creativecapitalism.typepad.com/creative_capitalism/2008/08/profit-maximiza.html 
>> Jeff and JAR, check out the fifth point.
> "Fifth, in this perspective, shareholders are not genuine owners. They 
> contribute nothing of value to the competitive strengths of the firm..."
> This is a stupid perspective, because the assertion is demonstrably 
> false. Sure, grandma and her ten shares of General Motors may not add 
> any value, but then that is why she only has ten shares.  Especially 
> for smaller companies, and companies are getting smaller, who your 
> shareholders are can have a significant impact on the value of your 
> business. Pablum for the proletariat, as good today as it was a 
> century ago.
> The entire article was about how workers are owed a job. That is 
> lovely and all, but I would rather the money was spent on creating new 
> and useful jobs rather than subsidizing a job that long since passed 
> its Sell By date. Labor has no intrinsic positive value.
I read each of those points thinking, yea, I agree, our system is a lot 
better.  Kind of surprising to see at the end that he was admiring the 
alternatives!  His point that the leadership / ownership of a company is 
competitive is true and enlightening.
> Ironically, this perspective is the very thing that killed companies 
> like General Motors.  People are promoting this perspective, but 
> apparently unwilling to take responsibility for its past "successes". 
> But this time it will be different! D'oh.
No kidding...
If Detroit had been run like Silicon Valley, we'd have flying cars by 
now.  Say, that's not a bad idea...
> Cheers,
> J. Andrew Rogers

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