Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Capitalism, in a nutshell

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Dr Pepper Snapple Group posted record profits from its Motts processing plant in Rochester, NY. At the same time it’s seeking to cut wages and benefits from its employees, citing, among other things, that the job market is depressed, that other blue-collar employees are paid less, and because,

“as a public company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group has a fiduciary responsibility to operate in the best interests of all its constituents, recognizing that a profitable business attracts investment, generates jobs and builds communities.”

ie: We are bound by our investors to maximize profits, no matter what.

None of this is exactly new – treating employees like a commodity, paying scabs to undermine strikes, using any excuse to cut labor, basically doing whatever the company thinks it can get away with – but the openness by which Dr Pepper Snapple Group is going about it brings pause.

Perhaps they forgot that the only public good private business offers is in tax money and wages. Without which it’s just a drain on society: A leech not unlike any other feudal aristocrat. Profit for its own sake – especially the faceless legal necessity for greed; the convenient inhuman source for corporate inhumanity – is a destructive, disastrous affair, and even the most cynical economist would first frame his argument by how private greed can benefit society overall.

Either way I hope Andrew Cuomo throws his support behind the union strikers and– I’d use the word “shame” but you cannot shame a corporation (look at BP), rather, uses his candidacy to remind the public just what it means when you let corporations run free.

That Entrepreneurial Spirit

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I bristle at the debate on patents and copyrights. On the one hand, I understand and agree with the fundamental idea: A man should be compensated for his ideas. But then when we bring on concepts like Patent Transfers and Intellectual Property as a commodity, I jump right off that bandwagon.

With those comes a different message, one that I’m not entirely down with, for what they imply switches the subject: Instead of when a man creates he should be compensated, it becomes in order to drive a man to create there must be a system of compensation, and that boggles the mind. Namely, should the primary motive for creation and innovation be a future monetary cash-in?

In what field other than finance is that not utterly destructive? Art? Art becomes diluted to entertainment, where the end goal isn’t self-expression but selling the largest number of units at the highest price. Where the lowest common denominator becomes the pinnacle of the craft. Where people listen to pop because it’s what’s always playing and counter-culturalists listen to the obscure because it isn’t pop (until it is pop, at which point they stop listening) and beyond that nobody cares what they’re listening to.

Medicine? Medicine gets diluted to pharmaceuticals, where the end goal isn’t to provide the most benefit to the patient but, again, to create a monopoly on commercially viable finds: Eradicate malaria? Pff, poor countries can’t afford that. Let’s invent another injection that makes movie stars’ faces look more photogenic and less real.

Industry? Three words: The Electric Car.

Perhaps I don’t have my finger on society, but it bothers me deeply when the basis of such property laws are perverted to the point where the very desire to create can only be explained in one manner.

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