Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • The Makers vs the Talkers

    Posted by Shannon Love on February 18th, 2010 (All posts by )

    [Note :I wrote this as a comment to this Victor Davids Hanson post but it ran long enough that I think I will make it an actual post.]

    Way back in the ’80s the columnist William Raspberry wrote about a conversation he had at a Washington party.

    Looking around at the collection of lawyers, bureaucrats, journalists, academics, etc., he turned to a friend and asked:

    “Do you know anybody who makes anything?”

    It had suddenly occurred to Raspberry that his entire professional and social circle was comprised of people who more or less did nothing but talk for a living. He had no personal contact with anyone who participated in the creation of any material good. After asking around, he found that he didn’t know anyone who even made things as a hobby. He said, “I couldn’t even find anyone who had made so much as a bookcase.”

    That little newspaper column opened my eyes up to the most profound division in modern society. It is not rich vs. poor or ethnic-group/race A vs. ethnic-group/race B or male vs. female etc. It is the division between those who create the real physical wealth of our civilization and those who merely manipulate others by persuasive communication.

    The trouble is that the manipulators are always inherently more politically powerful because politics is about persuasion not creation. Worse, the manipulators are completely oblivious to their own ignorance about the materially creative and the process of material creation. Even when they approach a problem with a sincere, unselfish intent to do good, their lifelong restriction inside an insular subculture prevents them from understanding the practicalities of material production.

    So we end up with an elite political/culturally-creative class that functions as did the mandarins of traditional China, who were so prideful of their distance from material production that they grew their fingernails to ridiculous lengths to intentionally cripple their hands. They did so to demonstrate that they worked only with their minds. They could not even feed themselves and were proud of it. When the subculture of the mandarins reached that state, their administration of the empire became actively delusional and the collapse of the dynasty soon followed. Then a new crop of mandarins who did value the materially productive would rise from the ashes, but within a generation or two they also would grow just as distant and insular as their predecessors and the cycle would repeat itself.

    Now, we too are governed by a class of people who see no value in material production. Oh, they value nebulous “jobs”, but they think any job is as valuable as any other, and so see no problem with driving the materially productive out of their communities (and eventually the country as a whole) and replacing their jobs with jobs in which people just talk to each other. They are actively proud that they shut down factories, farms and prevent the construction of infrastructure. They sneer at the materially productive for being greedy, even while their own lives are fully devoted to obtaining more coercive power over their fellow human beings.

    Perhaps, as in many things, the Chinese are the template for all human civilizations. Perhaps the talkers are in the long run always destined to dominate and then destroy every polity. Perhaps we too must suffer through collapse, destruction and rebirth.

    As the old Chinese curse says, we may be living in interesting times.

     

    35 Responses to “The Makers vs the Talkers”

    1. david foster Says:

      Several years ago, I visited the National Museum of the American Indian. There was a temporary exhibit featuring the jewelry made by U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell…really fine work, not that I’m any judge.

      It struck me then that Nighthorse Campbell’s jewelry work was quite exceptional: not only that this level of skill is rare, but that a serious hobby involving the creation of *anything* is probably very, very rare among CongressCreatures.

    2. Le Mur Says:

      “It’s a safe bet that people who use the words ’empowered,” ‘community” and ‘meaningful” in close proximity do not produce anything you can hold in your hands” – James Lileks

    3. Michael Kennedy Says:

      The Central Valley of California is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world. It requires irrigation water and that has now been shut off by a federal judge in response to an environmentalist suit that alleges the Delta smelt, a two inch fish, is endangered by the pumps that drive the water. The unemployment rate is now about 40% in that area and growing. I don’t know if it is a coincidence (It probably is) that the Central Valley is almost the only “red” area of California.

      Two years ago, I had friends from England visiting. He is a retired Royal Army Medical Corps colonel and they have been all over the world but not previously to California. I took them through the valley on the way to Yosemite so they could see the real wealth of the state. I could not do that now.

      The Hanson essay today is his best in a long time.

    4. Graham Says:

      I’m sure you’re starting to wonder why I keep reading and commenting here when I so often disagree (answer: for Lexington Green and various articles here on war). But some of these arguments strike me as unbelievably hypocritical. For instance, “they are actively proud that they shut down factories, farms and prevent the construction of infrastructure.”

      It’s only been political barriers that have prevented more stimulus funding for big infrastructure projects, and those barriers have not been erected on the left side of the aisle. A stimulus that, might I add, was the only thing preventing the economy from an even more disastrous collapse. It’s amazing to see Republican Congressmen (of whom only 5 voted FOR the ARRA) returning home to their districts and trumpeting how many jobs the stimulus created in them.

      To an extent, at least right now, one job IS as good as another. I agree, absolutely not true in the long term. But right now the key to everything is bringing down unemployment. When my generation can finally move out of our parents’ houses and start our own lives, it will drive a boom in construction and everything else that accompanies increasing home ownership.

      The other thing to consider is the future of manufacturing and ‘making’. If you haven’t already seen it, Chris Anderson’s article in Wired – “Atoms Are the New Bits” – points to an increasingly decentralized, home-based form of production. And hopefully, this new industrial revolution can offset the impact of growing information-based industries.

      That aside, I agree with the idea of an elite political class uninterested in any actual governing. But I think it covers pretty much the entirety of Congress, not just one party. Democrats are spineless and unprincipled, and Republicans are insane (I mean the parties – not voters).

    5. J. Scott Says:

      Agree on the Hanson essay. Great post (even if it is depressing).

      My wife and I had furniture reupholstered recently and used a local family business recommended by our family. They had an large showroom of samples. The owner asked if we wanted “American made” upholstery; we did—he led us to a small table in the center of the shop which held American made sample. He indicated that he could count on one hand the number of domestically spun furniture fabric; everything else was from off-shore. We found a great design and the work was well-done.

      We’re building a business plan to start a apparel business…won’t be easy, but we’re going to attempt to use domestic material and labor…

    6. Marcel Says:

      Didn’t the Ottomans Sultans require all their children to all learn a trade? Suleiman the Magnificent was a master goldsmith, iirc.

    7. Homer Jones Says:

      Graham – When your generation CAN move out of your parents’ houses? You seem to have missed Hanson’s point completely.

    8. Graham Says:

      All I mean by that is “once we get careers” (as opposed to just ‘jobs’). I see what you’re saying though, that in all likelihood the jobs we’re actually prepared for are a) the least productive to society and b) the least likely to be available.

    9. Robert Schwartz Says:

      This is the direct link to the VDH article:

      http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/where-did-our-real-wealth-go/

    10. Shannon Love Says:

      Graham,

      For instance, “they are actively proud that they shut down factories, farms and prevent the construction of infrastructure.” It’s only been political barriers that have prevented more stimulus funding for big infrastructure projects, and those barriers have not been erected on the left side of the aisle.

      It’s only hypocritical if believe in the concept of a Keynesian stimulus but then oppose it anyway. If you believe it is counter productive and will actually destroy wealth then it isn’t. Guess which group most non-leftist belong to.

      Keynes was wrong. Keynes believed that you created a vibrant economy merely making money change hands. He didn’t believe that work needed to be purposeful. He famously said that the government should just bury money in mines and that the activity of people trying to dig the money up would stimulate the economy.

      In reality, to produce and not destroy real materialistic wealth, work has to purposefully fulfill some need. Random work destroys wealth. If you build huge houses out in the middle of nowhere so that no body never lives there, you have destroyed all the resources that went into the houses. You have wasted the time and skill of the people who built the houses and you have denied people who need houses in other places the resources to obtain housing.

      The stimulus package works the same way. It takes money away from people investing in businesses, building factories and spends it on random politics chosen purely on the basis or political pull. There is no correlation between what is needed and what will be built.

      There is also no correlation between where people are unemployed and where the money gets spent. How does building something in Texas, which has a robust economy, help an unemployed construction worker in California/Michagan/Arizona etc?

      To an extent, at least right now, one job IS as good as another.

      Yeah, here’s the problem: Most people today worked skilled jobs. They have specific skills and they can’t just walk into another job. Obama et al are still stuck in the 1930’s when half the population worked unskilled manual labor. Back then, people could move easily from one job to the next. That’s why the Democrats are so proud of their “shovel ready” projects. They still think the job situation is like in the 30s when someone who lost their job doing unskilled labor in a factory could walk out the door, grab a shovel and get a job digging ditches.

      Nobody works that way anymore. Now days, construction is a highly skilled job espeically on big infrastructure projects. The only people who will get jobs from “stimulus” infrastructure projects are people who already have the skills and training to do the job. Even then they have to be were the stimulus funds are being spent.

      When my generation can finally move out of our parents’ houses and start our own lives, it will drive a boom in construction and everything else that accompanies increasing home ownership.

      Okay, here again we see the flaw in your reasoning. You want be able to move out of your parents unless we do useful purposeful work. Just having people trade dollars like poker chips without actually doing physical work will not let you make enough money to build your own house.

      The other thing to consider is the future of manufacturing and ‘making

      That’s nice. Are you going to base our entire economy and your future on the theoretical effects of hypothetical technology? Where is that technology going to come from if the economically creative can actually work?

      That aside, I agree with the idea of an elite political class uninterested in any actual governing. But I think it covers pretty much the entirety of Congress, not just one party.

      No, in the contemporary political landscape, the Democrats are the sneering elitist. Every Democrat idea, except those pertaining to sex, is premised on the unstated assumption that individuals are too stupid and incompetent to manage their own lives. Every idea, except those pertaining to sex, removes the freedom of choice from individuals and instead invest that choice in a government mandarin.

      Every thing about the Democrat’s policy is designed to make talkers more powerful at the expense of the makers. That is the invariant pattern and we will suffer for it.

    11. Robert Schwartz Says:

      The peddler now speaks to the countess who’s pretending to care for him
      Saying, “Name me someone that’s not a parasite and I’ll go out and say a prayer for him
      But like Louise always says
      “You can’t look at much, can you man?”
      As she, herself, prepares for him
      And Madonna, she still has not showed
      We see this empty cage now corrode
      Where her cape of the stage once had flowed
      The fiddler, he now steps to the road
      He writes everything’s been returned which was owed
      On the back of the fish truck that loads
      While my conscience explodes
      The harmonicas play the skeleton keys and the rain
      And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain

      http://www.bobdylan.com/#/songs/visions-johanna

    12. Dan Says:

      This post is simply brilliant. Nice work!

    13. Robert Schwartz Says:

      “Didn’t the Ottomans Sultans require all their children to all learn a trade? Suleiman the Magnificent was a master goldsmith, iirc.”

      So it is claimed, but I have not read it in serious histories of the Ottoman Empire. What the Sultans did do, at least in the first couple of centuries, was kill all of their brothers upon their accession. Later, the brothers were simply immured in the Topkapi.

    14. Marcel Says:

      Robert Schwartz, it might be in the Nov 87 National Geographic, “The World of Süleyman the Magnificent.” Of course the Ottomans, even if less intolerant than some modern Arab nations, aren’t a moral example. The point is, at their best the Turks respected men who made stuff. It might be argued that as they ceased to respect industry, relying instead more and more on trade, they declined. Bernard Lewis in ‘What Went Wrong’ talks about this.

    15. Shannon Love Says:

      Historically, the Islamic world has always accorded craftsman and merchants a higher status than did say, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or Confucian cultures. This is especially true if you take into account the cultures at different stages of development.

      This is partially attributable to Mohammad being himself a merchant. However, I think the real determinate is that a far larger proportion of the Islamic world depended on trade than did other cultures. For several centuries the Islamic world was were all the action was at.

      Unfortunately, for them, they could keep it up. With the establishment of the Caliphate, they got their own class of mandarins and lost steam. Now they are the most impoverished and backwards major culture group on the planet.

      Another lesson to sit next to the one from the Chinese I think.

    16. Phil Says:

      You mean could not keep it up, I hope?

    17. Michael Kennedy Says:

      The Ottomans depended, at least during the later period, on Greeks to do most of the work. That is why the Greek population that was displaced in 1920 was so large.

      The problem stated here is another version of the “broken window fallacy.” I wonder if Obama has ever heard of it ?

    18. david foster Says:

      Just to throw a bit of complexity on the fire…the *making* of just about anything on a large scale also requires quite a bit of *talking*. For example, I doubt that one could be a successful factory manager without having pretty good verbal skills. (Bill Waddell: any thoughts on this?) Indeed, even people who are pretty close to 100% “talkers” are often essential to the making process. When putting out a new product, for instance, one tends to really appreciate having a few talented salespeople around.

    19. TMLutas Says:

      Graham – The new backyard industrialists have a ceiling imposed on them. Once their profits exceed a certain amount, they too will become the targets of the talkers who will attempt to extract as much of that wealth as possible from them.

    20. Bill Waddell Says:

      David,

      I suppose you are right – that someone has to do some taking in order to sell that which is being made. That said, without the makers there is not much of any real importance to talk about. I’m sure the good folks in the economic waste zones of central Africa can talk up a storm, but without anything tangible being produced – therefore no meaningful economy – the world doesn’t too much care what they are talking about.

      Our eloquent talkers are coming out of the elite B-schools in droves and talking our political ruling class out of manufacturing completely. Their absurd rationalization of the theory of Comparative Advantage is driving us out of making at breakneck speed. Soon enough, we will all be as relevant to the world as the blabbingest blabbermouth in Cameroon.

    21. Richard Cook Says:

      I don’t think we want to make things anymore. It’s dirty, smelly, damn hard work. I live in an area with makers – Indiana. Everyone needs to go to college now, even if they don’t want to. Many want to work in a clean, air conditioned office. And there seems to be a very wide social gulf between makers and talkers. Makers are smart in so many ways. Just not the talkers way.

    22. tyouth Says:

      In response to Robert Schwartz’s comment I couldn’t help but think of another great Dylan tune, great, and much to the point, I think, about the way things should be:

      Gotta Serve Somebody

      You may be an ambassador to England or France,
      You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
      You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
      You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
      You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
      Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

      You might be a rock ‘n’ roll addict prancing on the stage,
      You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage,
      You may be a business man or some high degree thief,
      They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
      You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
      Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

      You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk,
      You may be the head of some big TV network,
      You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame,
      You may be living in another country under another name

      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
      You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
      Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

      You may be a construction worker working on a home,
      You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome,
      You might own guns and you might even own tanks,
      You might be somebody’s landlord, you might even own banks

      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
      You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
      Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

      You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride,
      You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side,
      You may be workin’ in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair,
      You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir

      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
      You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
      Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

      Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk,
      Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk,
      You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread,
      You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
      You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
      Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

      You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy,
      You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy,
      You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray,
      You may call me anything but no matter what you say

      You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
      You’re gonna have to serve somebody.
      Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

    23. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Tyouth: Good. Not all talkers are totally worthless.

      “Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”

      “A Defence of Poetry” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

    24. tehag Says:

      Find me the poets who legislated this current world. Let us burn their books and their bones as a warning to next 10 generations of poets that we won’t allow their legislation without representation any more! As for current poets, let each stand and be judged.

    25. Isegoria Says:

      While I share the disdain for manipulators, whose rent-seeking behavior — as economists obliquely call it — destroys wealth, it’s a bit too easy to side with those who create concrete things over those who “just” buy and sell or “push paper” — when allocating resources is immensely important for creating wealth.

    26. Jim Ellison Says:

      I quoted the “ancient Chinese curse” to a Chinese co-worker. She had never heard of it. It turns out that the curse originated in an American movie from the mid 40’s.

    27. T. Greer Says:

      Wiki says the phrase is from diplomats who went to China in the 1930s. But as it says:

      No known user of the English phrase has supplied the purported Chinese language original, and the Chinese language origin of the phrase, if it exists, has not been found, making its authenticity, at least in its present form, very doubtful.

    28. Shannon Love Says:

      Jim Ellison,

      Thats good to know. I’ve heard of other similar sayings with supposed non-western origins that turned out to be western. We have a tendency to attribute aphorism to other cultures possible because we suspect our aphorism are too folksy and unlikely to be taken seriously.

      I think it persist because it contains a truth: Interesting times tend to be dangerous times.

    29. bill Says:

      I’m confused by this post. Are you trying to imply that liberal elite intellectual snobs are responsible for the shortage of manufacturing jobs?

      From the post:

      “Now, we too are governed by a class of people who see no value in material production…”

      “They are actively proud that they shut down factories, farms and prevent the construction of infrastructure. They sneer at the materially productive …”

      The flow of manufacturing jobs overseas has nothing whatsoever to do with liberal elite intellectuals. They’re the classic right-wing straw man.

      It has everything to do with greedy CEOs and investors who realized that you could ship the work overseas, where labor is cheap, and then pocket the difference. They see the “value in material production”, all right; short-term profits in getting the work done overseas.

      My parents grew up in Greenville, Michigan during the Depression. The company that makes Electrolux vacuum cleaners started there, and grew from nothing to a strong company on the backs of the workers in that town. About six years ago, the owners of the company took a look at their bottom line. Although the factory made a profit, they realized that if they moved the factory to Mexico, they could increase their profit.

      So, they made their decision: they closed the Greenville plant, putting 2,700 people out of work. Their motive? Intellectual snobbery? Nope. Money, pure and simple.

      See ‘Electrolux Nukes Greenville’ for details (http://www.murdoconline.net/archives/1038.html).

      It’s articles like this one that distract working class people from holding the real culprits responsible for America’s terrible unemployment rate; namely, corporations which have all the _rights_ of “artificial persons” with none of the _responsibilities_ that real persons have towards their conscience and their community.

    30. Shannon Love Says:

      Bill,

      It has everything to do with greedy CEOs and investors who realized that you could ship the work overseas, where labor is cheap, and then pocket the difference

      Yes, a nice operatic explaination with a simple villian. It’s mean people.

      The company that makes Electrolux vacuum cleaners started there, and grew from nothing to a strong company on the backs of the workers in that town

      Translation: The economic-creatives behind Electrolux invented a product, built a factory to build it, distributed and sold the product. In doing so, they made the labor 2,700 low skill people valuable enough to support a middle-class life style. All from “nothing”.

      Now, did people like you give them any credit? No. You just said they built the company “on the backs of the workers in that town” Gosh, they were evil creating jobs for people and supporting the community for, wait, how many decades?

      Well, apparently long enough that people like you grew to assume the plant was a natural phenomena and that their jobs were a god given right.

      This is the attitude I am talking about. Business people are evil, corrupt and morally inferior. You take all the good they do (which is often literally all the good that gets done) and toss it away and only sneer at them when they hand you world on a silver platter.

      Did you ever ask yourself why Greenville Michigan was the best place to build vacuum cleaners in the 1930’s but wasn’t 50 years later?

      Hmmm, what changed?

      Could it be that the political culture back in the 20s and 30s saw business people as positive productive members of society. Could it be that back then, Michigan in general had good roads, good harbors, good rail lines. Could it be it had low crime, safe streets and good schools? Could it be that taxes were reasonable. Could it be that government was effective? Could it be that the unions of the day actually cared about workers and had enough sense not to kill the goose that laid the egg? Could it be that unions struck and struck repeatedly to block the implementation of new technology so that the plants could remain competitive. Did you ever think that high power cost, environmental overkill, pointless regulation, constant strikes and random lawsuits might have had something to do with it. Did you ever think that in aftermath of WWII, the governments, unions and workers got fat lazy and greedy because they no competition?

      Can you explain to me why an American with an American education and upbringing with all the advantages that brings can’t outcompete an illiterate mexican who grew up in an adobe hut with a dirt floor? Can you explain to me why no new industries have sprung up to take Electrolux’s place? Why isn’t Greenville a generally good place to do business?

      Can you explain to me why I should come to your little community and create jobs? What should I? By your own admission I will be required to lose a lot of money purely for your benefit and in compensation I will get nothing but sneering abuse and grief.

      You’re exactly part of the problem because you don’t respect the people who make things and create jobs. In 20 short years Michigan went from economic powerhouse of the entire planet to a basket case. The only thing that changed was the states political culture.

      When the state valued economic creatives and the industries they created, it was prosperous and everyone from the most poor to the most rich benefited. When it became a place where politics ruled and economic creatives were persecuted, everyone lost.

      It’s just that simple. It’s your fault.

    31. John Says:

      As a very, very, minor example of Shannon’s point(s) as I understand it:

      A few years ago I spotted a minor business opportunity in the area where I live. A product very much in demand within a very limited area, definitely a niche market. I looked into the technical and financial requirements and did a quick draft business plan. The tentative verdict was that the business was marginal in terms of profitability and involved significant risk to my very limited capital.

      BUT, if the big guys in nearby markets didn’t stomp my fledgling business out of existence within the first 3 years or so I might make a go of it, provide a moderately profitable sideline for myself, and a few part time jobs for people in an area with few jobs of any kind. Plus, it sounded like a heck of a lot of fun and would make me popular with the neighbors (money isn’t everything, even in business).

      So, with a little trepidation, and, I’ll admit, more enthusiasm than I know is wise, I hit the Indiana State web site and started filling in the paperwork to officially create a business entity in the state. Slowly it dawned on me that the common thread to everything I was reading was that the state would rather I didn’t do this, but, I was making good progress anyway, when I ran up against a warning. I didn’t keep a copy of the warning and the place it appeared is deep into the online filing process, but here is a watered down version from the state business owner’s guide…

      Indiana has over 400 different licenses, permits, certifications, and other permissions which could be required to engage in certain activities. In order to simplify this area, the most commonly requested approvals will be addressed here.
      This is not intended to be a complete listing, nor should the omission of any license imply that it is not required. However, there are some service-oriented businesses that do not require a license from the state to operate in Indiana. Any questions regarding which licenses or permits are necessary can be addressed to the State Information Center.

      I made a half hearted attempt to find out which of these 400+ permissions might apply by contacting the State Information Center who unhelpfully offered to send me a copy of the document in which I read the warning above. Beyond that they had nothing to offer. Good to hear that there are “some” businesses not requiring a license, too bad it was impossible to tell if mine was one of them.

      That was the end of one very small business in Indiana. The regulatory risk and the additional capital requirements of regulatory compliance pushed it from “maybe, but a little risky” all the way to “you’d be better off piling the money up and burning it.”

      Let me make it clear, I don’t think I’m special in any way, or the business idea was, on the contrary, I think this is pretty typical and happens all the time. Regulatory compliance is only a small piece of the whole, the more important aspect is the contempt with which the state gov treats the whole endeavor. Their indifference to the plight of business people trying to navigate their extensive and byzantine regulatory structure is evidence of the low regard in which they hold business and business people.

    32. Shannon Love Says:

      John,

      I wish someone would make a movie about what it takes to start a small business. I’d like to them follow them around as they visit web sites, collect forms, talk to their attorneys, accountants, fire inspectors etc. I like to film them learning about labor law.

      It would also be instructive to compare the experience in several different states.

    33. bill Says:

      Shannon –

      Well. I guess you answered my question. This is indeed a blog for right-wing apologists for the corporations that are trashing our entire planet.

      Let’s see…

      “The economic-creatives behind Electrolux invented a product, built a factory to build it, distributed and sold the product. In doing so, they made the labor 2,700 low skill people valuable enough to support a middle-class life style. All from “nothing”.

      Now, did people like you give them any credit? ”

      Well, sure I give them credit. But among the many things you don’t know is that when companies like Ranney Refrigerator and Gibson appliances (along with Electrolux) got started in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, local builders and labor built the factories from the ground up. The owners weren’t simply ordering parts from some Chinese manufacturing line; everything needed to be built and designed from the ground up, mostly by the skilled workers. You know, men who can get an order from a “creative” who says “I need an assembly line that builds vacuum cleaners” and then actually build one from scratch that works.

      “Could it be that the unions of the day actually cared about workers and had enough sense not to kill the goose that laid the egg? Could it be that unions struck and struck repeatedly to block the implementation of new technology so that the plants could remain competitive. Did you ever think that high power cost, environmental overkill, pointless regulation, constant strikes and random lawsuits might have had something to do with it. Did you ever think that in aftermath of WWII, the governments, unions and workers got fat lazy and greedy because they no competition?”

      This is just boilerplate you copied from whatever right-wing Republican blogs you usually read. As I said, this plant was a highly profitable operation throughout its long life. The workers knew perfectly well that they were competing with cheaper labor, and I can tell you that none of these people were rich by UAW/Big Three standards.

      “Could it be that the political culture back in the 20s and 30s saw business people as positive productive members of society.”

      That’s because they were. The owners lived in the community, and actively contributed to it. Their share of the profits helped to build the community. Today, of course, the owners and investors in large companies like Walmart pull money out of communities and leave nothing behind.

      “Could it be it had low crime, safe streets and good schools? Could it be that taxes were reasonable. Could it be that government was effective? Could it be that the unions of the day actually cared about workers and had enough sense not to kill the goose that laid the egg?”

      All still true. This is small-town Michigan, not single-industry towns like Flint and Detroit.

      “Can you explain to me why no new industries have sprung up to take Electrolux’s place? ”

      Because people in Mexico will work for $7 per day plus bus fare.

      “This is the attitude I am talking about. Business people are evil, corrupt and morally inferior. You take all the good they do (which is often literally all the good that gets done) and toss it away and only sneer at them…”

      Absolutely untrue. My parents knew the Ranneys and the Gibsons, and they were highly regarded and well-liked citizens of the town, from everything my parents said. Everyone knew them, and knew the contribution they made to the town.

      “You’re exactly part of the problem because you don’t respect the people who make things and create jobs. In 20 short years Michigan went from economic powerhouse of the entire planet to a basket case. The only thing that changed was the states political culture.”

      What a load of crazy knee-jerk right-wing nonsense. I worked for two out the Big Three during the 1980’s and 1990’s (white collar, not blue) and I can tell you that the state’s political culture had nothing to do with the demise of the big automakers. I saw for myself that they ran those companies like feudal patronage systems, with $200K/year jobs plus perks for tens of thousands of managers and executives. It was part of my job to interview managers to help them use personal computers. You’d be surprised how many “departments” consisting of a $200k/year manager and 2 or 3 employees that I visited, with managers who refused to tell me what their “departments” did.

      These white collar people weren’t “makers” or “creatives” – they were freeloaders putting in their time till retirement, just as bad as the union guys who also soaked that system for everything they could.

      “When the state valued economic creatives and the industries they created, it was prosperous and everyone from the most poor to the most rich benefited. When it became a place where politics ruled and economic creatives were persecuted, everyone lost.

      It’s just that simple. It’s your fault.”

      The rest of your nonsense. I spoke with chief engineers (who ran entire divisions with thousands of engineers and other employees) who admitted that the Big Three automakers were prosperous because they worked with Big Oil to keep the country using the internal combustion engine vehicles just like the cars that Henry Ford designed one hundred years ago. “Economic creatives” – hah!

    34. bill Says:

      John – my sympathies on dealing with state government paperwork, speaking as a small business owner in Michigan.

      However, it’s worse practically everywhere else. I have entrepreneurial friends from India who practically kissed the ground when they got here, because starting a business in India actually _is_ impossible.

    35. tyouth Says:

      Bill Says said: “This is just boilerplate you copied from whatever right-wing Republican blogs you usually read. As I said, this plant was a highly profitable operation throughout its long life. The workers knew perfectly well that they were competing with cheaper labor, and I can tell you that none of these people were rich by UAW/Big Three standards”

      (This sentences are is so emblematic, of the weak thinking of liberals that I’ll find it difficult to continue reading this comment to the end. I fear I’ll get drivel-weary).

      Bill, you begin here by characterizing motivation, intelligence, originality of the writer (“boilerplate….usually read”) and not addressing the arguments that Shannon made. This habit is not limited to leftists but it always associated with propagandizing leftists and/or emotion-based leftists. It is not an indication of clear thinking or good communication. Perhaps you can be given some slack here since you may be personally involved.

      With respect to the rest, you seem to think that “UAW/Big Three standards” somehow reflect reality, you might consider country-wide or even world-wide “standards” (which, by the way, big union have encouraged in their support of laws regarding global trade). So, it was a profitable business and the employees knew that they were in competition….SO WHAT? This has NOTHING to do with Shannon’s paragraph that YOU COPIED above what you wrote.

      I’ll not continue with your comment…time is too short.