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capitalism Tag

Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe, November 27, 2003, Giving thanks for the 'invisible hand':
Isn’t there something wondrous — something almost inexplicable — in the way your Thanksgiving weekend is made possible by the skill and labor of vast numbers of total strangers? To bring that turkey to the dining room table required the efforts of thousands of people — the poultry farmers who raised the birds, of course, but also the feed distributors who supplied their nourishment and the truckers who brought it to the farm, not to mention the architect who designed the hatchery, the workmen who built it, and the technicians who keep it running. The bird had to be slaughtered and defeathered and inspected and transported and unloaded and wrapped and priced and displayed. The people who accomplished those tasks were supported in turn by armies of other people accomplishing other tasks — from refining the gasoline that fueled the trucks to manufacturing the plastic in which the meat was packaged.

The newest video from Prager University is hosted by Dennis Prager himself and is as entertaining as it is enlightening. For the subject, Prager examines the differences between socialism and capitalism with an eye to the stereotype propagated by many on the left that capitalism makes people selfish.

Coca-Cola has become the latest victim of socialism as the company announced it will no longer develop its product in Venezuela. Without sugar, they can only produce sugar free Coca-Cola. From CBS News:
The Atlanta-based company said in an emailed statement Friday said that its production of sugar-sweetened beverages will be suspended in the coming days after local suppliers reported they had run out of the raw material. Sugar-free beverages are not affected and the company said its offices and distribution centers remain open in Venezuela.

According to a new poll conducted by Harvard, a majority of Millennials reject the idea of capitalism. It's no surprise that a generation of people who grew up in the era of "everyone gets a trophy" reject the idea of unequal rewards based on hard work. Millennials were educated largely by public schools obsessed with the idea of fairness and afraid in some cases to let children play the game of tag. One has to wonder if the participants responded on their iPhones. The Washington Post published the details of the poll:
A majority of millennials now reject capitalism, poll shows In an apparent rejection of the basic principles of the U.S. economy, a new poll shows that most young people do not support capitalism.

President Obama continued his "Spring Break" from America by undermining the foundations of the country's successful economic system. After dancing the night away, Obama was addressed the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Town Hall at Usina Del Arte in Buenos Aires, Argentina:
I guess to make a broader point, so often in the past there's been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist. And especially in the Americas, that's been a big debate, right? Oh, you know, you're a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you're some crazy communist that's going to take away everybody's property. And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don't have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory -- you should just decide what works.

Liberal and conservative mean different things in countries outside the U.S. but in Jamaica, the only party that resembles what we would call conservative is the Jamaica Labour Party. The website Discover Jamaica describes the JLP this way:
The JLP is considered the more conservative and consistent party and has always espoused the free market system. During the 1970s and 80s it was vehemently anti-communist and pro-U.S.A.
The JLP just won control of the nation's government by running on job creation and tax cuts.

Vermont's "independent" "Socialist" Senator Bernie Sanders may have a lock on the left-wing vote but Hillary Clinton is doing everything she can to stop his rise. In so doing, the ultimate crony capitalist is demonstrating, once again, that she has no core set of beliefs other than in obtaining power. Hillary is adopting Sanders' platform attacking capitalism not because she believes it, but because she hears Bernie's footsteps gaining on her in the polls. In a recent speech at NYU, Hillary Clinton claimed that capitalism needs a reset and proposed changes to capital gains taxes. Tory Newmyer of Fortune reports:
Hillary Clinton: Capitalism is out of balance, needs a reset Hillary Clinton wants to hike capital gains taxes as part of her plan to discourage short-term thinking among corporate executives and investors. The Democratic presidential front-runner laid out her plan to retool the tax treatment of investment earnings on Friday as part of an ongoing series of speeches fleshing out her economic program. She proposed extending from one to two years the period that top earners would need to hang on to an investment before seeing the 39.6% tax rate applied to it start to fall. And she would lower the rate slowly, over a six year period, down to the 24% rate for longer-term investments — a tweak that she said would help refigure a system that’s bent itself out of shape over the last few decades. Capitalism itself, she said, “needs to be reinvented, it needs to be put back into balance.”

Despite the fact that poll numbers are tanking so badly for Hillary Clinton that there is a new movement to draft Joe Biden, it turns out she has some competition for biggest drop in favorability! New numbers from Gallop for Pope Francis show a significant drop in support for the pontiff. The favorability rating is now at 59%, down from 76% in early 2014.
...The drop in the pope's favorable rating is driven by a decline among Catholics and political conservatives, two groups that have been ardent supporters of the modern papacy. Seventy-one percent of Catholics say they have a favorable image of Francis, down from 89% last year. Pope Francis' drop in favorability is even starker among Americans who identify as conservative -- 45% of whom view him favorably, down sharply from 72% last year. This decline may be attributable to the pope's denouncing of "the idolatry of money" and linking climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality -- all issues that are at odds with many conservatives' beliefs.
Why the plunge? As an independent conservative who is also Catholic, I must admit I am none too thrilled at the attacks on capitalism as a "structurally perverse" global economic system. I assert that these remarks that are too political and secular for a man who should be focused on more spiritual matters.

There’s only one man in the world who is in journalism to get rich. That man is Shane Smith, the CEO and co-founder of Vice Media, Inc. 20 years in the making, Smith's growing media empire has amassed him an estimated $400 million fortune, and according to widespread reports earlier this week, Vice is planning a “deal spree” in 2015 to be possibly followed by an IPO. With a $500 million “war chest,” Vice is looking to acquire “content, technology, and distribution deals” according to CNBC. The spending money comes from dual $250 million investments from A&E Networks,  in part owned by Disney, and Technology Cross Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture firm with notable stakes in Netflix and Facebook. These investments brought Vice’s valuation to $2.5 billion, doubling the company’s valuation previous valuation of $1.4 billion back in late 2013 when Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox bought a 5% stake for $70 million. This year, Vice is expected to report revenues of $500 million, and according to Smith that figure could reach $1 billion by 2016. Smith has also said that Vice’s profit margins are currently at 34%, though he wasn’t specific as to which measure this was (i.e. net income, pre-tax income, etc.). The New York Times, in comparison, has a net income margin of just 10%. So what exactly is Vice?

The opinion of capitalism as the greatest evil known to man is not only the dominant view at Cornell and other college campuses, it is the irrefutable dogma of the mindless droves of the overwhelming majority of faculty and students. They look at the injustices in the world, at the inequities, and to the ill-fated, and assume capitalism is to blame. It’s an assumption of guilt before innocence in order to make capitalism—a simple system of private property, free enterprise, and free exchange—into a scapegoat for them to explain away their own insecurities, self-loathing, and inability to accept the world as it is. Anti-capitalists on campus can roughly be divided into two groups: the activists and the academics. The screaming and hollering activists feel sorry for themselves because capitalism does not reward their invaluable skill-set of marching, poster-making, and spoken-word poetry. Instead of obtaining the education and skills that markets demand, they attempt to use force, intimidation, and sheer numbers to get what they want. They are motivated by a deep-seated, unrelenting sense of entitlement. The academics closet themselves from reality with a vain pursuit of theoretical perfection. To them, every little imperfection in a capitalist economy is a call to arms (and another paper on the road to tenure). They, along with the activists, forget that capitalism is exclusively to credit for bringing man out of mud and caves to interstellar capsules, from sticks and rocks to 3D-printing devices, and from scavenging for grass and weeds to a world of leisure and entertainment at one’s fingertips. It is the student activists, though, that are particularly egregious in their hypocrisy. (At least the academics try to justify their anathema towards capitalism with their research and writing.) Dressed in designer clothes and shoes and clutching their smart phones and espressos, they snarl at the detestable 1% and lament the pernicious flow and concentration of capital. As copies of Das Kapital jostles alongside iPads in their name-brand backpacks, their conversations alternate between what fraternities are throwing parties that night to the dastardly deeds of the bespectacled robber barons of Wall Street. In class, they ignore lecture and shop online, and intermittently make posts on Facebook and Twitter about how much they loathe mindless consumerism. Their online audience, however, is too engrossed in their own online shopping and gaming to take notice.

As a big fan of capitalism, I am fascinated by the concept of crowdfunding, whereby individuals network and pool their money via websites to support potentially profitable enterprises initiated by savvy entrepreneurs. It's small-scale venture capitalism! Perhaps the best known crowdfunding enterprise is Kickstarter, which offers a...

In the midst of a "government shutdown" diatribe and immigration reform fizzles,  a key bill quietly passed in the Senate by a huge margin that was actually quite important to many Americans:
Producers of high-tech products from MRI scanners to semiconductors are breathing a sigh of relief after U.S. lawmakers acted on Thursday to prevent the shutdown of a 90-year-old helium reservoir in Texas. The U.S. Senate vote was hardly a squeaker, at 97-2, to keep the Federal Helium Program running past its scheduled closure on October 7. The House of Representatives voted earlier in the year to keep the reserve running, but without action in the Senate panic set in, triggering some frantic lobbying. More than 100 organizations, universities and companies, including Siemens, Philips, Samsung, and General Electric, wrote to Congress last week urging it to keep the reservoir open or risk a disruption to the U.S. economy, putting millions of jobs at risk.
Helium is a key industrial gas, which has a lot of useful properties that also make it a very hard-to-obtain commodity. It is lighter than air, which is great for balloons...but also a property that allows and easy escape from Earth's atmosphere. It is an inert, non-reactive gas, which is useful in applications that must be kept dry and oxygen-free, but that also means helium can't be "trapped" by forming other compounds and then extracted chemically. Helium is a by-product of radioactive decay, which is "mined" from underground reserves. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Crude Helium Enrichment Facility in Texas supplies about 40% of the Helium produced in this country. It turns out this government intervention is part of the shortage problem.
Where Congress once mandated that the federal government keep a reserve of this crucial gas, it reversed course several decades later. In 1996, Congress moved to privatize the federal helium program, requiring all of the government’s helium supplies to be sold off by 2015. "The legislation in 1996 says we were supposed to get out of the helium business," says Joe Peterson, the Bureau of Land Management’s assistant field manager for helium in Amarillo. "The hope was by 2015, by the time the reserve was sold down, that new sources of helium would be online and take up the demand. However, it has not happened yet."

From Kevin Rennie's Daily Ructions: Greenwich, Connecticut resident Thomas Peterffy takes to the airwaves today to speak of the blessings of freedom. He’s an authority. Peterffy was born, according to Forbes, in Hungary in 1944 “during a Russian bombing raid.” He made it to America in...

Today would be Milton Friedman's 100th birthday. I've played this video before, but it's particularly timely in light of the "you didn't build that" narrative which has become the foundation of the Obama campaign taken from Elizabeth Warren who took it from George Lakoff. ...

From The NY Times: While his campaign advisers generally agree that Mr. Romney must explain his work at Bain, they are wary of engaging in an exhaustive public examination of the nearly 100 deals he was involved in, anxious that it could bog him down in...

I knew that my position on Bain Capital would fray some relationships in the conservative blogosphere, but this post by Don Surber took me by surprise, Why Republicans Oppose Capitalism: Newt and Rock Perry are trying to divide the party in a way I never imagined. I thought the...