Economics

Zappos is Going to Have No Bosses, Say the Bosses

dr-evil-right

 

Let us assume they are serious, and this “holacracy” is their real intent as opposed to the kind of window dressing that small companies use to mask their transition to big companies. It’s still hogwash.

Labor is conditional upon employment: one works because one is paid. People whose work is unsatisfactory are thus a negative value for their employers. So any company must have the capacity to end employment for those who do not work to the company’s goals.

Ah, but who defines such things? Who decides what are the company’s goals and what is “satisfactory”? Not everyone, surely: such would mean an infinity of mission statements (the horror!), and eventually, collapse.

So only certain people are given the authority to a) decide the goals, and b) reward or punish those who meet, exceed, or fail these goals.

Whoever these people are, whatever their title, however carefully the iron fist is swaddled in dainty gloves of pre-war velvet, they are the bosses. Whoever isn’t a boss is a worker. Et voila! Hierarchy.

 

Who the &#^% Did You Think Was Going to Be Paying For It?

I’m hearing a lot of this from the sudden victims of Obamacare.

Most young, middle-class Americans I know are happy that millions of previously uninsured people will receive free or heavily subsidized insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

We just didn’t realize that, unless we had health insurance at work, we’d be the ones paying for it.

There’s an old axiom among con-men: you can’t cheat an honest man. An honest man knows he can’t get something for nothing, so when you offer him something for nothing, he’ll assume you’re full of it, and walk away. That’s why I ignore all those “This one weird trick will save you $58,746 dollars on your car insurance!” flash ads that appear on websites. It’s why most people never gave their bank info to that Nigerian prince.

Dishonest people, on the other hand, believe that they’re smarter than the sharpers, even though it’s the sharpers’ game, and that they’ll come away with something for nothing. They’re marks, every single one of them.

How the hell did any young, middle-class Americans expect that the Government would expand health insurance for the poor, without anyone in the middle class ponying up? Simple: they expected that someone else would pay the tab. Someone who deserves to be made to pay it. Like corporations, or the wrong kinds of white people. Mitt Romney or those Wall-Street, 1%-ers. Not the virtuous, bien-pensant progressives. Why, they’re the smart ones, who can see the need for others to have insurance. The poor bastards – someone should really pick up the check for them.

But not us.

The government should do it. Yeah. Government money comes from a magical land of of happy pink bunnies and angels with puppy dog faces and the printing machines are powered by chocolate rainbows and baby farts. It’s not something that primarily gets taken out of the paychecks of the middle class before they even get it.

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A Few More Contractions, and the Economy Will Really Be Rolling!

If you ever needed a definition for “spin”, this is it.

In response to the news today that the economy contracted -.1 percent in the final quarter of last year, Democrats are touting the claim that this is “the best-looking contraction in U.S. GDP you’ll ever see.” The claim was originally made by chief U.S. economist for Capital Economics Paul Ashworth.

Yup. We are double-dipping, ladies and germs, and the smart boys are loving it. Because apart from the contraction of the economy part, everything else was really “encouraging”. Yeah, that’s the word.

Encouraging.

"But look how well it's moving through the water!"

“But look how well it’s moving through the water!”

African Official: Please Stop With the Aid Already, You’re Killing Us…

In Der Spiegel, a Kenyan economist named James Shikwati attempts the Herculean task of explaining economics to a journalist.

Shikwati: … for God’s sake, please just stop.

SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.

SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox?

Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa’s problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn’t even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.

Via Protein Wisdom.

Also, see “Planning is the Kiss of Death to Entrepreneurship.”

Captain White Just Rearranged the Hell Out of Those Deck Chairs.

Which is to say, “There are too many metaphors here applicable to the Senate’s 89-8 passage of a “fiscal cliff” bill in the middle of the night (around 2 a.m. this morning).”

Read the Whole Thing, because it’s kind of bracing to realize just how well and truly screwed we are.

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“But hey, free birth control!”

Via Other McCain.

“Planning is the Kiss of Death to Entrepreneurship”

Via Protein Wisdom.

I seem to recall a saying that “the poor need nothing but the spur of their poverty.” That’s not precisely true, but the poor know what they need better than anyone else trying to help them. Collective responses to poverty create massive instituions but do not give the poor what they truly need, which is a chance to unleash what they can do.

Now, true, not all of the poor will be entrepreneurs. Some will be willing to serve entrepreneurs for a paycheck. All the same, empowering the entrepreneurs among the poor will create opportunities for the rest.

Taking Hope Behind the Barn and Killing it With an Axe.

You know it’s the silly season when campaign insiders and journalists (there’s a difference. I just know there is) start whispering about positive jobs reports. Even hardened old cynics like myself took pause. Why, maybe there’s a chance after all. Maybe the economy has finally found its headwind.

And true to form, the numbers weren’t bad. Actually up. Still north of 8%, but maybe enough, just enough, for Obama to make his essential case, his statesmanlike I-Didn’t-Burn-the-Whole-House-Down that emerged from the convention. Romney may have to worry.

Yeah, Mitt Romney is Fry.

Yeah, no. The unemployment rate is a blip above 8% instead of three blips because 368,000 people have left the work force since last we measured. That means more people than could fit into the DNC’s stadium in Charlotte (and way more than actually showed up) have been out of work so long that they have given up and started selling crack or collecting unemployment, sitting in a pit of despair trying to determine whether smoking crack or watching The View every day better expresses what is meant by “Rock Bottom.” If we had the same workforce participation rate as we did when this “recovery” began, the unemployment rate would be at 10%. Nothing’s changed. The economy is still in the ditch, and all the wheel-spinning in the world doesn’t make the damn thing move.

Stalag 17 FTW!

Sorry, proggies, but it’s starting to look like the eleventh-hour salvation isn’t coming. The Riders of Rohan are not en route. Obama’s got nothing to run on from now till November but paranoid fantasies about Mitt Romney raping Medicare after denying it birth control, and then dressing the unholy spawn in Magic Underwear spun from Lying Paul “The Liar” Ryan’s Lies.

Which might work. But if Obama clears this hurdle, his second term is going to make Bush’s look like George Washington’s. Everything will remain exactly where it is. No one will compromise, no budget will be passed, nothing will happen. 23% approval is going to look like the top floor of the Sears Tower from where Obama will be looking in January of  2017. And the rest of us will be boiling our socks for soup.

Hope is dead. Enjoy the autopsy.

Milton Friedman Remembered

Over at A Checquerboard of Nights and Days, one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard about the man Proggies love to pretend they can refute:

As I have written before, former Secretary of State George Shultz liked to say that “everyone likes to debate Milton . . . when he leaves the room.”

I always knew I liked George Schultz for a reason.

And in from the article linked, this excellent summation of the man’s work:

Milton Friedman combined soaring academic credentials with a remarkable virtuosity at explaining to the public why free markets are economically and ethically superior to even well-intentioned government plans and regulations. He was throughout his long life and career a special target of those who would preserve what he and his wife, Rose, called “the tyranny of the status quo.” This status quo consists of interest groups, bureaucrats and politicians who—with help from cheerleaders in the media and the academy—use government to enlarge their own pocketbooks and to stroke their own egos, all at the expense of the general public.

In. Deed.