Archive for November, 2014

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Special mention

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marx note

According to Stephen Mihm, facial hair has a tangled history with capitalism.*

Historically, beards in the boardroom have been a barometer of the relative vitality of capitalism and its critics. When capitalism has assumed a more swashbuckling, individualistic persona, hair has sprouted on the chins of entrepreneurs and speculators. But when forces bent on destroying capitalism have been ascendant — or when well-regulated, faceless corporations have defined economic life — beards have waned.

Apparently, today, beards are back in business—in the boardroom and elsewhere. On Mihm’s view, that’s because “free market ideology [is] essentially unopposed by any major power and energized by the entrepreneurial swagger of the technology world.”

An alternative interpretation is that the growing ranks of the world’s business leaders who are sporting facial hair—such as Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, Goldman Sachs’s chief executive Lloyd C. Blankfein, and Marc Benioff, the billionaire founder and chief executive of Salesforce—are trying hard to fit in with the rest of us, precisely because their free-market ideology has failed so miserably. And they want to make it that much more difficult to be singled out when the time comes. . .

 

*Disclaimer: I’ve had my own beard for more than four decades, and therefore through various of capitalism’s regular stages of success and failure.

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Special mention

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Special mention

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feeding the pigs

Special mention

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stacked

According to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll [ht: sm], a majority of Americans answered yes to the following question: are the country’s economic and political systems stacked against people like you?

Among those saying the system is stacked against them are 58% of Democrats; 51% of Republicans; 55% of whites; 60% of blacks; 53% of Hispanics; as well as decent majorities of every age and professional cluster, including blue-collar workers, white-collar workers and retirees.

So who are the rare outliers who feel more in synch with the system? Not surprisingly, those who are well off and well educated. Among those with post-graduate degrees, just 38% say they feel the system is stacked against them. Among those who earn more than $75,000 a year, 44% feel that way.

Clearly, many Americans feel like turkeys these days, with the system stacked against them.

Travel days

Posted: 26 November 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

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Traveling for the next few days to share a meal with family and friends. So, no posts until I return. . .