#8- Progressive Government vs Capitalism
On my list of top ten worries, the movement of parts of our society to the left is my eight worst worry. I refuse to believe that most of the country will embrace the government gutting capitalism because overthrowing the capitalists has worked so well in the past (i.e., Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, etc.). China is a Communist country, but they let their capitalists run free rein until recently. Now that they are cracking down on capitalism themselves, they just became a test case for what our progressives hope to accomplish.
Don’t get me wrong, the capitalists in the U.S. have plenty to answer for. My number one worry, income inequality is largely the fault of our current capitalist philosophy and its emphasis on return on investment and shareholder value. I worked at the Boeing Company from 1966 until 2000 and I watched as Boeing switched from management raises determined by employee satisfaction (as determined by a twice a year survey form covering quality of product, individual job satisfaction, and company esprit), to shareholder value. The switch was driven by upper management schooled by the Wharton Business School in the 1980s and the results were deliberate. Prior to the switch raises were frequent and strikes were short and friendly. After the switch raises were small, infrequent, and strikes were long and acrimonious. Prior to the switch Boeing held a Christmas Party every year in the Kingdome free to all employees and their families. The party provided free entertainment that was child-friendly, free refreshments, free parking, and was enjoyed by all. After management raises were determined by shareholder value, each manager’s raise was determined by what the return on investment was for his or her operation. Needless to say, there were no Christmas parties, fewer raises and less paid overtime.
The point I’m trying to make was that the company made a conscious decision at the highest level in the early 1980s to screw its employees and its customers in order to benefit upper management and the shareholders. They learned this from the top business schools, and these business schools are ultimately the ones to blame. How do we fix it? I would start at the business schools and make them examine the results of their teachings. The income inequality problem we have now is largely their fault and I would love to hear their solution to this problem.
The Progressive’s solution is tax the profits of the capitalist companies and distribute those monies to the workers who used to make a living wage from those same companies. That works but is certainly not as efficient as shaming those same companies into sharing their profits directly in the form of wages. If the business schools and the companies are determined to stick with Shareholder Value as their business principle, then let the Progressives rule.
#7 – Impact of COVID on Institutions
As far as I can tell, the biggest impact from COVID is on our educational system, and the younger the student, the more severe the impact. Some of our students, especially some in kindergarten through 5th grade, are over a year behind where they should be (I have 7 grandchildren in K-12 grades, and they are observant). Remote schooling only works for some children and others are missing out entirely, especially if their parents are absent or not technically savvy.
How do we fix this? We fix it by having in-person lessons at least four days a week. We accomplish this by having every teacher and child tested at home before school starts every morning and they don’t depart for school unless the results are negative (no COVID present).
This is not going to be cheap, but Biden promised us test kits for every household, and I will gladly contribute mine (I’m a stay-at-home) to a family with children in school.
I would treat the colleges and many businesses the same way. Take a test every morning and don’t go to class or work unless the results are negative. These tests should be on the honor system, but if that doesn’t work tie the tests to a central data base so the schools and businesses can track who tested negative and who tested positive. Problem solved.
Here are my top ten worries in order. I will cover 7 and 8 in my next blog.
1. Income Inequality
2. Public Insurrection (Facts Disbelief)
3. Failures of current education systems
4. Racism (all types)
5. Institutional response to Homelessness
6. Current Crime Wave
7. Impacts of COVID on Institutions
8. Progressive Government vs Capitalism
9. U.S. Debt Levels
10. Global Warming
Stay tuned. I think you will find this series interesting.
Thanks for Reading and Stay Safe,