Ethics almost irrelevant?

August 19, 2013

By James Pilant via Pliant’s Business Ethics Blog   Article

Why unethical conduct in business is so common at this time in our history? Why is business ethics almost irrelevant?

“How did doing financial speculation amounting to little more than gambling become respectable? How did the idea of a responsibility to the other citizens of a nation become amusing to the elites?

There are several factors. The first was the advent of the baby boomers to power and authority replacing the Depression and the World War Two Generations. …

The second factor … is the advent of the Chicago School of Economics and the doctrines of Milton Friedman. …

…the doctrine of “social responsibility” taken seriously would extend the scope of the political mechanism to every human activity. It does not differ in philosophy from the most explicitly collectivist doctrine. It differs only by professing to believe that collectivist ends can be attained without collectivist means. …

The third element is the gradually increasing wave of deregulation …

The fourth element … Hostile takeovers and corporate raiding become regular parts of the business news. The basic significance of this is that it is a war. A war fought between manufacturing and finance, with manufacturing losing at every turn. …

Now, let’s combine them. Those Americans familiar with the pain of the results pass on the reins of power to a new generation. The Chicago School of Economics will provide the philosophical basis for discarding societal responsibility. The government reacts with deregulation which makes it exceptionally difficult to re-regulate industries. The financial industry begins destroying manufacturing in its search for profits.”


It’s the big prod

July 22, 2013

By  via   Article

Washington ‘Spends’ More on Tax Breaks Than on Medicare, Defense, or Social Security

“Tax expenditures are funny, They’re not taxes, exactly, because they save us money. They’re not spending, exactly, because the dollars are never actually spent. They’re somewhere in between. So think of it as tax spending.

Or just think of it as the ultimate nudge. The carrot hiding behind the tax code’s big stick, tax spending guides us by making certain behaviors and actions cheaper. We encourage employers to provide health care by taxing wages and not taxing health benefits. We encourage investing by making a dollar earned from dividends cheaper than a dollar earned from a salary.

And as the CBO reports in a new study today, Washington’s tax spending budget — comprised of everything from mortgage deductions to the child tax credit to lower tax rates on capital gains — is so massive, it’s technically larger than Medicare, Defense, or Social Security. The tax spending budget is equal to 1/17th of the US economy.

Like the federal budget, the tax spending budget isn’t all bad or all good. It’s a collage of interests lurking in the shadow of the tax code that represents all factions, including large corporations, small corporations, institutional investors, low-income families, and every slice of America you can name. … It’s the big prod.”


How rich are you?

May 13, 2013

To find out, click on: My annual income

How rich

$1.00 = $1.48

May 6, 2013

By Barry Ritholtz via The Big Picture Blog   Article

Manufacturing Returns to USA (Jobs Not So Much)

“Some takeaways from the article:

• Post-recession, U.S. manufacturing growth is outpacing other advanced nations;

• 500,000 manufacturing jobs created in the USA over the past three years;

• U.S. factories access to cheap energy, (oil and gas from the shale boom) means cheaper costs versus expensive overseas Oil and costly shipping prices. …

• New made-in-America economics is centered largely on cutting-edge technologies (3D printing, specialized metals, robotics and bioengineering);

• New US factories are “superautomated” and heavily roboticized; …

looking only at factories misses some of the new jobs … Many of the jobs created are outside the factory floors — R&D, support services, software engineers, data scientists, user-experience designers, transportation & shipping, etc.

Perhaps this helps to explain why every $1 of manufacturing activity returns $1.48 to the economy.”

Competitive intelligence

April 29, 2013

By Parmelee Eastman via Article

“Most of the information you need about your competitors already exists within your organization. …

  • Your sales staff knows which competitors are the most aggressive, what solutions are being offered, what their marketing messages are, and whether they sell direct or through channels.
  • Your purchasing managers know what supplies have been easier or harder recently to obtain because of demand from competition or supply variations.
  • Your human resources people know which rivals are hiring and for which positions. They hear from candidates.

You’ll need to develop a “competitive information road map,” an outline of the information needed about your rivals and who might have the information. … Once you have interviewed each staff person, you will then know what information is lacking.  Ask your customers, your suppliers or other knowledgeable people in your network to help you fill those gaps. …

You or someone in your firm should be collecting, analyzing and disseminating competitive intelligence on a continuing basis. …

You’ll make better decisions on the four Ps of marketing (product, pricing, placement and promotion) on existing products with the insight gleamed from your customers and about your competitors. And, your path to attractive future products will be much clearer.”

Shareholders versus Stakeholders

January 21, 2013

By Bill Waddell via Evolving Excellence   Article

“The horrible shootings in Connecticut have set off another round of debates over the fundamental goals of a business – pitting financial gain against social responsibility.  The core principles of lean … are very much built around the idea that the two are not mutually exclusive:  The idea that the best way to make money for the stockholders is to take very good care of all of the stakeholders. …

The alternative is the traditional economic view – that labor (the employees) and capital (the stockholders) are engaged in a zero sum battle with each other – that one’s gain is the other’s loss; that relationships with both suppliers and customers should be adversarial – again a sort of zero sum approach that a nickel negotiated away from a supplier or a customer is a nickel gained for the stockholder …

The difference in views is very much a function of the time frame.  The holistic, lean approach is a proven winner, but is a long term winner.  Optimizing long term shareholder value often means sub-optimizing short term shareholder value.  In publicly traded companies the long term view just isn’t in the cards.  The costs of dumping an investment in  one company and putting the money into another are just too low and the whole thing is structured to enable the trillions of dollars in the markets to lurch from one company to another in a continual quest for the best short term returns.”

Scariest Jobs Chart Ever?

January 14, 2013


Calculated Risk runs a chart every month putting the current jobs recovery into perspective. “This shows the depth of the recent employment recession – worse than any other post-war recession – and the relatively slow recovery due to the lingering effects of the housing bust and financial crisis,” writes Bill McBride of Calculated Risk.”