The Waste and Inefficiency of Free Enterprise Systems

  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Mar 14, 2010 6:02 PM GMT
    Due to all the jibberish spouted by Republicans, in general, that offer free enterprise solutions as the only way to get things done in America and use these solutions to denounce government as "wasteful and inefficient", I offer you this link that expresses a snippet of how free enterprise has its own shortcomings that make it no better than government.

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/the-10-worst-corporate-mistakes.aspx?ocid=xnetr4-1

    In the end, it's always about human error.
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    Mar 14, 2010 7:08 PM GMT
    But, but... the free market stops these inefficiencies. This isn't possible. How could companies make these mistakes???

    Maybe the Supreme Court ruling that companies are human beings has led the way to their being just as reckless and stupid. Or, maybe it's just greed. I'm going with greed.
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    Mar 14, 2010 8:13 PM GMT
    I'm siding with Christian. Greed. There is no dollar amount that will ever satisfy, no matter whose back is broken to get it.
  • Nodak

    Posts: 72

    Mar 14, 2010 8:40 PM GMT
    I will continue to favor the free enterprise solution. Corporations do not have guns and armies to force one to patronize them.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Mar 15, 2010 8:02 AM GMT
    Nodak saidI will continue to favor the free enterprise solution. Corporations do not have guns and armies to force one to patronize them.



    Why would they need to. They use their money to payoff politicians to enter into false wars for a commodity.
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    Mar 15, 2010 8:11 AM GMT
    Government and enterprises simply have different roles, is not one or the other. That human error is present on both sides is... well, unsurprising.

    The freer the market, the freer the people icon_cool.gif
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    Mar 15, 2010 8:30 AM GMT
    coolarmydude saidDue to all the jibberish spouted by Republicans, in general, that offer free enterprise solutions as the only way to get things done in America and use these solutions to denounce government as "wasteful and inefficient", I offer you this link that expresses a snippet of how free enterprise has its own shortcomings that make it no better than government.

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/the-10-worst-corporate-mistakes.aspx?ocid=xnetr4-1

    In the end, it's always about human error.


    I find it sort of funny that you didn't find the very first and supposedly biggest example ironic. No matter your views on the subject, you can't objectively argue that the mistakes made by Toyota on the recall will add up to anything close to the losses borne by governments from bailing out GM and Chrysler. What makes it even more amusing is that even consumers don't seem to be that concerned still buying more Toyota's than GM's and Chryslers.

    Besides, the claims of spontaneous acceleration are already being thrown into question by both the reporting, original allegations and obvious conflicts of interest.

    You also make the mistake of equating specific corporate actions with that of the market which is, in the very least a fairly silly mistake though clearly an ideologically driven one.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Mar 15, 2010 8:48 AM GMT
    No that is exactly my point. Government has its role and the markets have their own role. Government's interest is the people. The market's interest is profit. When the two collude, we have what's going on right now. My whole point of this thread is an attempt to illustrate that corporations have their own errors, and sometimes at the expense of people's lives, and that they aren't the end-all solution that some people believe.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Mar 15, 2010 8:50 AM GMT
    Engineer saidGovernment and enterprises simply have different roles, is not one or the other. That human error is present on both sides is... well, unsurprising.

    The freer the market, the freer the people icon_cool.gif




    Sure. How free are we without consumer protections? If you can't mitigate your injuries as a result of a defective product because there is no legislation in place to support you, how do you achieve equity (fair share) in the matter?
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    Mar 15, 2010 9:04 AM GMT
    coolarmydude said
    Engineer saidGovernment and enterprises simply have different roles, is not one or the other. That human error is present on both sides is... well, unsurprising.

    The freer the market, the freer the people icon_cool.gif


    Sure. How free are we without consumer protections? If you can't mitigate your injuries due to a defective product because there is no legislation in place to support you, how do you achieve equity (fair share) in the matter?


    Wait, wait, wait. Consumer protection IS a proper role of government and the way you put it a matter of plain justice.

    A purist would say that the market would weed out the companies that offer defective products, because consumers will stop buying that companies' products and to an extent that's correct. But in the here and now, where many times human error gets compounded by ethical misjudgments we do need an extra incentive and way for enterprises to stay honest.

    How to get it done without getting an easily abused system while keeping the enforcer honest and ideologically neutral is the real question. Otherwise you get draconian laws that stiff expansion or laws full of holes that might be worse than the status quo.

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    Mar 15, 2010 9:26 AM GMT
    Sorry just had to say I find it really fucked up that everyone ties in our freedom to their economy. Fantastic you can put a yoke of a mortgage around your neck or shackle yourself to a soul numbing "career" but is that really freedom? With millions of inner city kids doomed to a life of poverty, millions of gay people denied basic rights, soldiers sacrificed everyday for the mere pride of their masters, television reports which have time and time again proven to be false, what freedom do any of us really have? Just a thought...icon_smile.gif
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    Mar 15, 2010 9:33 AM GMT
    arabesque21 saidSorry just had to say I find it really fucked up that everyone ties in our freedom to their economy. Fantastic you can put a yoke of a mortgage around your neck or shackle yourself to a soul numbing "career" but is that really freedom? With millions of inner city kids doomed to a life of poverty, millions of gay people denied basic rights, soldiers sacrificed everyday for the mere pride of their masters, television reports which have time and time again proven to be false, what freedom do any of us really have? Just a thought...icon_smile.gif


    Well, there is interior freedom and economic freedom, and I daresay the first has barely something to do with money and yet, in my experience, people who have interior freedom (and who I admire) are free in money issues and their jobs aren't exactly soul numbing.
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    Mar 15, 2010 9:58 AM GMT
    Nodak saidI will continue to favor the free enterprise solution. Corporations do not have guns and armies to force one to patronize them.


    I wouldn't be so sure.
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    Mar 15, 2010 10:05 AM GMT
    reppaT said
    Nodak saidI will continue to favor the free enterprise solution. Corporations do not have guns and armies to force one to patronize them.


    I wouldn't be so sure.


    Exactly. Especially since precedent disproves you.

    Ever heard of mercenary armies? They are a huge facet of our global military industrial complex.

    In many countries, big corporations will pay the local or national government to repress with military force, or hire their own private armies. In Nigeria, Shell had its own police force, nicknamed by the locals in Ogoniland, the "Shell Police."

    When the Ogoni people began protesting Shell's destruction of their environment, and not sharing the revenues, as they were desperately poor, Shell hired it's small army and destroyed dozens of villages and killed thousands of people. They even influenced the government to arrest the leaders of the peaceful opposition movement who were then hung under false pretenses.

    So... might want to rethink your statement.
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    Mar 15, 2010 10:52 AM GMT
    Today, in the cola wars, it was discovered that Pepsi has nuclear warheads aimed at Coca Cola, insisting on equal market share.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Mar 15, 2010 3:58 PM GMT
    McGay saidToday, in the cola wars, it was discovered that Pepsi has nuclear warheads aimed at Coca Cola, insisting on equal market share.



    Laugh of the day!! icon_lol.gif I guess you can say that Michael Jackson's hair combustion in the '80s was corporate sabotage. OMG! Would somebody dub the video of that incident with the Beastie Boys' song, "SABOTAGE". PLEASE!!
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Mar 15, 2010 4:24 PM GMT
    reppaT said
    Nodak saidI will continue to favor the free enterprise solution. Corporations do not have guns and armies to force one to patronize them.


    I wouldn't be so sure.



    Like Microsoft, corporations can "kill" other corporations or threaten to "kill" other companies, so that the consumer has no choice in products. Of course it's all illegal but they seem to get away with it throughout the decades.
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    Mar 15, 2010 4:53 PM GMT
    The latest catch phrase is "free market" implying that it's wrong to have regulation and that corporations should be "free" to run a muck. That's bullshit.

    Our telecommunications system is heavily regulated and serves as a good example of how both capitol interests and the public good can be served jointly. Nearly everyone can have a phone, whether that phone is 70 miles from the nearest switching office, or if it's in the heart of a densely populated urban area, thanks to the federal Universal Service Fund. It's the same thing with electric power and how power districts work (The Rural Electric Administration / REA). Yet, we won't allow those same devices with health insurance, which, arguably, and in the interest of the "general welfare" of the citizens (in the constitution), is probably every bit as important as the aforementioned. The insurance companies don't insure folks that are sick or injured (those are considered "losses"), and have drive our health care costs to from twice to 16 times as much as in regular countries, with less favorable outcomes, and nearly 80% of all bankruptcies involving medical costs. (The U.S. is the ONLY country where you can go bankrupt with a simple hosptial visit.)

    In capitalism, the end goal is beginning the monopoly that puts the squeeze on the peasants. Clearly, that's NOT in the public interest.

    Capitalism / free market FAILS miserably if unregulated. You don't have to think that long nor that hard to see how it shakes out. A free market works only when the consumer has choices to walk away from a bad deal. That's not the way it works here with just a few insurance companies and oil companies and so on. There's isn't any real choice, so, the capitalism HAS to be regulated.

    Small business here is throttled because of unregulated insurance and oil prices. Folks are "job locked" because health care is tied to employers. A tax "break" does no good if you don't have money to begin with.

    About 17% of our GNP goes to the military industrial complex, which is nearly unregulated as well. China, e.g., spends about 3% on the military industrial complex. The federal treasury is regarded as a feeding trough for military contractors.

    Duplicate medical tests are a huge waste. It's pathetic that nearly 17% of our economy is running on fax machines still.

    In our medical system, greed runs a muck, where we give up 18% to 30%, to maximize profits to the share holders. In regular countries, it's not considered proper to maximize profits from the country's sick and injured. It's very telling about us as a people that we're the only folks with such greed.
  • Leawoody

    Posts: 48

    Mar 15, 2010 5:13 PM GMT
    I am always challenged by Americans who eschew free enterprise. If you don't like capitalism, then get the hell out and move to Venzuela, North Korea or Cuba. OK, that's a bit strong, but there it is. I said it.

    Who funds the government? GDP is the river from which all revenue and wealth originates. Government doesn't have the ability to fund itself except through fees and taxes, unless it takes over GDP-based industries originally established by free enterprise. Examples of that include the countries stated above along with the inclusion of the former USSR. I, for one, have no desire to live in the oppression of those governments.

    Personal responsibility, ingenuity, hard work and innovation, are intertwined with the free enterprise and research/education systems.

    I support the pursuit of well managed, precision government, free enterprise within ethical and moral boundaries (reasonable and moderate regulation), and large private philanthropy. We don't do any of those perfectly, but we do them all better than anyone else.

    Large nanny governments, whether "liberal" or "conservative" always end up as Totalitarian regimes. Look again to the example countries along with the inclusion of the former Third Reich, Islamist-law and despot led countries.

    As others have stated, the problems that frustrate us with both government and business are not with the systems themselves, but with A FEW people within both that have behaved unethically, immorally, criminally and/or with greed. However, for every one of those type of people or companies or government entities, you can find 100 or 1000 or more that HAVE behaved ethically, morally and with fairness and concern for their fellow man.

    But that raises another question. What are ethical and moral standards? We now live in a world of relativism and without absolutes about what is ethical and moral, right and wrong. For a time our American ancestors were guided by a common pursuit of law based on Judeo-Christian values, to which a simple majority of Americans adhered. I'm not casting support or condemnation for that standard, merely stating a historical fact. But, in a post Judeo-Christian law culture, is it up to each person to decide these standards for themselves? Is it the government's responsibility? Without a common, individually accepted standard, we walk a fine line between order and anarchy. Expand that globally to countries such as China and the Middle East that have little to no regard for ethics and humanity and it becomes an even more challenging question.
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    Mar 15, 2010 5:18 PM GMT
    Folks from the EU live longer, and have better medical outcomes. They take a different less self-centered, greedy, money at all costs, approach. 6 weeks paid vacation, universal health care. Arguably, everyone is the better off, less stressed, and healthier. Even though they see more taxes on their checks, they enjoy more services, at less costs (8% of the GNP versus 16% of the GNP here), at a higher level, and live a higher quality of life, which is longer. Just the facts.

    The current generation in the U.S. is the first generation that will not live as long as prior ones.

    In 1967, roughly 90% of all the money in the system was controlled by the 10% most wealthy. In 1987, that went to 95% and 5%, and today, it's even more skewed. Trickle down, and working your way up, don't work, statisically.

    Even Alan Greenspan has admitted he did all the wrong things in the housing and credit markets.

    Here in the U.S., where we spend as much as 16 times more money on health care, by 2020 the USDA says that 1 in 3 will have type 2 diabetes (a fully preventable disease).

    We encourage consumption to fill the corporate coffers. Real earnings have declined for decades here while CEO pay is from 600% to 900% over what line employees make. Here, the rich rape the underlings. Most countries don't allow that sort of greed at the top.

    Having the lowest taxes rates in the Free World does not translate to a higher quality of life. In fact, statistics point out just the opposite.

    In a country that supposedly is on moral high ground, the fact that we let 45,000 folks die every year due to no health care goes beyond pathetic. In a country that supposedly has its crap together, we spend $595,000 a minute on a failed war on drugs where 70% of folks in jail are there for pot, and 85% are there for "drugs". That goes beyond stupid. We have 3 times as many folks in jail as China! Ironically, GAO says "Dare" is a miserable failure, yet, we continue to fund this military industrial complex while disenfranchising millions from American society and work force.

    At some point, we have to become a better people.

    It's interesting to note that in Europe, with all their high taxes, folks live longer, are less stressed, there are fewer drugs users, and fewer folks rotting in a jail. We would do well to learn from our neighbors that greed and being punitive are not always the best things for The Village.

    Scare tactics are just that.

    If you think about it, you'll realize that putting all of the money with a small group of folks would more likely lead to totalitarianism. Money is, after all, power, in so many ways. You just didn't think it out clearly.
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    Mar 15, 2010 5:46 PM GMT
    Is free enterprise perfect? No. Is anyone aruging that it is? No.

    Proponents of free enterprise are simply arguing that it is the best of the available solutions. Very few people argure for a system completely free of regulation. What they argue against is excessive regulation and wasting of taxpayer money (which is pretty much all poloticans on either side of the aisle are capable of). The fact that the vast majority of business regulation is developed and enacted by self-serving lawyers and career poloticians with ZERO experience in the private sector or even a business education is problematic to say the least.

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    Mar 15, 2010 5:51 PM GMT
    Leawoody said....Besides, we are uniquely American and we should never apologize for it. We don't need to copy what someone else does. We have always, and should always, be driven by personal responsibility, ingenuity, hard work and innovation, all of which are intertwined with the free enterprise system and research/education systems.

    This is what makes America strong along with well managed, precision government, free enterprise within ethical and moral boundaries, and large private philanthropy.


    Um, do we live in the same country? America is well managed, has precision government and ethical and moral boundaries?

    Geez, am I missing something?
  • Leawoody

    Posts: 48

    Mar 15, 2010 6:07 PM GMT
    Shortnsexystud said
    Leawoody said....Besides, we are uniquely American and we should never apologize for it. We don't need to copy what someone else does. We have always, and should always, be driven by personal responsibility, ingenuity, hard work and innovation, all of which are intertwined with the free enterprise system and research/education systems.

    This is what makes America strong along with well managed, precision government, free enterprise within ethical and moral boundaries, and large private philanthropy.


    Um, do we live in the same country? America is well managed, has precision government and ethical and moral boundaries?

    Geez, am I missing something?


    Okay, I concede. I was on my soapbox. I meant the pursuit of those items, not their perfect attainment.