Ya know how people will post a meme that you are supposed to stare at for a minute before the secret image materializes? Isolation works the same way. After a while, our perspectives can become clearer…
The Limits of Capitalism
Capitalism is a great system, but it has its limits, and the current pandemic has exposed every one of them. Will we give this any thought or will we just continue the mindless “capitalism/socialism” mantras that make us sound much dumber than we realize?
I like capitalism. It’s been a very good system for me, both as a worker and as an investor. But I also recognize that capitalism is not patriotic and it certainly isn’t conservative, and free markets aren’t the answer to every conceivable question.
For instance, companies focused on profitability and repeat sales will emphasize disposable products, rather than reusable ones, with can make shortages of masks or gloves or respirators more challenging. The emphasis on efficiency and profitability leads to zero slack in the supply chain, which makes it harder to adjust to any disruptions anywhere. And, need I mention the profit-driven displacement of U.S. manufacturing to lower-cost centers like China?
Of course, every capitalist becomes a socialist when survival is at stake. We’re bailing out the nation’s airlines for a third time in two decades, after they spent almost all of their excess cash on dividends and share repurchases at the expense of debt reduction. Congress imposed stiffer terms this time than in 2010, which is progress of a sort. Still, the same people who are calling for help now will be insisting that government butt out of the free-market system two years hence. Unless there’s another meltdown, in which case they’ll be back for another handout and screaming that any limitations imposed by the government are “socialism.”
Maybe Universal Health Care isn’t such a bad idea
It might turn out that employment-based health insurance is a really stupid idea. First, it creates a major cost differential for U.S. companies that pay for employee health care versus firms in countries that have universal care. Second, it disappears when people lose their jobs, which multiplies their economic risks. I’ve never been a big proponent of universal health care, but I’m waffling on it a lot more than in the past.
Ditto for paid sick days, which used to be the norm for employees, before everyone became a contract worker. It seems our business masterminds have outsmarted themselves by giving employees an incentive to work while sick, spread disease, and force essential businesses to close. Clever.
Mainstream Media aren’t so lame after all
We need the traditional news media much more than we recognize. It’s almost de rigueur to talk about left-wing media conspiracies and unfair coverage, but the fact is that the mainstream press has been doing a solid job.
People accuse them of being unfair and biased when the media criticize their favorite politicians, but they do tend to be similarly “unfair and biased” about everyone. They’ve been the source of the most credible information about the virus and the most balanced insights about everything else. Compare that to the “news” sites where everything is the fault of X and THEY are all conspiring against Y. No contest.
While the cable outlets are all politics all the time, the mainstream media cover pretty much everything like they always did. You wouldn’t know it from watching most cable news, but there are actually some people in this country who are helping each other out, donating to charities and finding no need to protest, accuse, blame or destroy. There are stories that don’t involve politics, but you’ll only find them in your lamestream media.
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Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.