Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Starvation Day

"Had today's political class been in power in 1623, tomorrow's holiday would have been called "Starvation Day" instead of Thanksgiving. Of course, most of us wouldn't be alive to celebrate it."

John Stossel explains in his column today about the "lost lesson of Thanksgiving." 

21 Comments:

At 11/24/2010 10:44 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

"If individuals can take from a common pot regardless of how much they put in it..."

The key words being, "if" and "regardless".

There is no doubt that a corporation of farmers, properly organized, and capitalized, and using the correct divison of labour could not produce yet more corn than the same group organized as individuals.

What you had here was a failure of organization and management as much as a failure of government.

Stossel is oversimplifying, as usual.

 
At 11/24/2010 3:22 PM, Blogger juandos said...

hydra is wrong as usual...

"There is no doubt that a corporation of farmers, properly organized..."...

Organized by who and what makes said organization even remotely useful?

People aren't bricks that have interchangeable positions on the socialist farm...

 
At 11/24/2010 3:22 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

For a moment I thought you were addressing Hollywood actresses and trophy wives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

 
At 11/25/2010 11:27 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Juandos:

You don't think there is any kind of organization that can perform better as a group than as individuals?

Let me know the next time you complete something complex, all by yourself.

 
At 11/25/2010 3:35 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

The type of ORGANIZATION is secondary to the type of INCENTIVE. Individuals can and do often voluntarily come together to form different organizations -- partnerships, co-ops, associations, corporations, etc.

But if there is little economic incentive to improve one's lot coupled with adverse consequences for slacking off, any such organization of human beings will likely fail -- or at least be far less productive than an could be.

As the Soviet saying went -- "We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us."

 
At 11/25/2010 4:58 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"You don't think there is any kind of organization that can perform better as a group than as individuals?"...

Yeah, I watch organizations of liberal Democrats run down cities and whole states on both east and west coasts...

Yeah, gotta love those organizations...

 
At 11/25/2010 7:05 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Of course organizations can fail or succeed, but organizations can still organize in a way that Makes the individual members better off. We may not even agree with what an organization is doing, but it is a mistake to confuse that with it being a bad organization.

The moral of stossels story seems to be about the supremacy of individual effort, but we know from simple observation that isn't the case. No one ever launched a satellite by themselves.

Rider is correct, incentive is important. But how many here are employed in successful organizations, are not paid overtime for extra output, and are rewarded once a year according to a scheme that has very little connection to performance, either ours or the company? When you get wheeled in for emergency heart surgery, how much will you know about your surgeons skill, let alone his incentive? And what is the incentive for those Democrats who have so skillfully dismantled a few states?

 
At 11/25/2010 8:00 PM, Blogger mike250 said...

You don't think there is any kind of organization that can perform better as a group than as individuals?

Let me know the next time you complete something complex, all by yourself.


All organizational effort consists of individual effort, and sometimes it is necessary to use organizational effort because there is a limited amount of time you have to spend as an individual.

but organizations can still organize in a way that Makes the individual members better off.

there being an organization has nothing *necessarily* to do with how well off an individual is.

but it is a mistake to confuse that with it being a bad organization.

When an organization is run on egalitarian principles, that's when an organization is harmful.

The moral of stossels story seems to be about the supremacy of individual effort, but we know from simple observation that isn't the case. No one ever launched a satellite by themselves.

Supreme is vague; better than what and for what?

 
At 11/26/2010 4:28 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"We may not even agree with what an organization is doing, but it is a mistake to confuse that with it being a bad organization"...

I'm not making a 'values judgement' here about that organization but noting their sheer incompetence at governance...

"The moral of stossels story seems to be about the supremacy of individual effort, but we know from simple observation that isn't the case"...

We know nothing of a sort...

American history is replete with the actions of individuals that have accomplished amazing things...

"When you get wheeled in for emergency heart surgery, how much will you know about your surgeons skill, let alone his incentive?"...

That's condition dependent...

If its an emergency then one has no knowledge probably but if one is pre-planning the surgery then one should've done some homework first...

"And what is the incentive for those Democrats who have so skillfully dismantled a few states?"...

The continued support of the abysmally ignorant...

 
At 11/26/2010 12:03 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/26/2010 12:05 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The moral of stossels story seems to be about the supremacy of individual effort, but we know from simple observation that isn't the case. No one ever launched a satellite by themselves."

No, Hydra, the moral of Stossel's story seems to be about the "tragedy of the commons", and the superiority of individual property rights - a concept you don't understand, and continually display your ignorance of.

An individual working for their own benefit, and responsible for their own well being, will outperform an individual working for the common good, whose well being is provided by the group. Period. This is human nature, and no matter how badly you wish it were different, it just ain't so.

You seem to think that human nature can be corrected or restrained by more government regulation, but there's no evidence for this, and much evidence that just the opposite is true. Pull your head out and look around you. Try hard to understand what you are seeing and reading. Think, man!

11/26/2010 12:03 PM

 
At 11/27/2010 8:59 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

hydra,

What Stossel is writing about is the continued and consistent failure of collectivism, and the continued and consistent success of entrepreneurism and indiviudal incentives.

It is not clear from your comment if you understand that collectivism doesn't work. You seem to be brushing off the consistent failure of collectivism as a simple "failure of organization and management". Is that what you are meaning?

 
At 11/28/2010 2:08 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Ron is right. I missed or ignored the larger moral, and confused issues with the previous post.

Instead, I focused on the apparent claim of the supremacy of individual effort over collectivism.

I submit we recognize the superiority of corporate efforts and performance over individual efforts.


We have many successful corporations with reaally lousy incentive plans.

Someone care to explain?

 
At 11/28/2010 2:16 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Juandos. Try to answer without an off topic tirade.

An organization may be a successful organization promoting a result you do not like. Despite all America could do, Castro is still there. Including proxy invasion.

Castro's people may have been better off under a different organization, but the organization was a success.

 
At 11/28/2010 2:27 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

If one is pre-planning the surgery.....

+++++++++-----

Circular logic by changing the conversation.

Your argument is that the consumer should have perfect knowledge.

You concede in an emergency that wont happen.

How about if it is not an emergency but you have six weeks and you are puking the entire time?

Absent a true open door policy, no trade secrets, the vendor always has an advantage.

Is a free market a fair market, or not?

 
At 11/28/2010 2:34 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

I concede juandos point that some individuals have made amazing contributions.

Most of them did not do it without an organization behind them. Edison, al capon.

Beyond that superlative percormance by all individuals is routinely outpaced by their collective performance as corporations.

 
At 11/28/2010 2:45 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/28/2010 2:52 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Beyond that superlative percormance by all individuals is routinely outpaced by their collective performance as corporations."

Hydra, this is more of your nonsense. What does this even mean? Are you using inexpensive language translation software to produce this babble?

You haven't answered Jet Beagle's question. Did you not understand it, or are you just ignoring it?

You continue to confuse the concept of a collective social or economic system with the concept of a corporation. They are not the same, and it's hard to believe you don't understand that. I can only conclude that you are being willfully obtuse.

Your continued assertion that a collective is superior to entrepreneurship and individual incentives is pathetic. You have presented no rational argument and no empirical support for the idea, when in fact, there is evidence all around that exactly the opposite is true.

You consider the tyrannical system in Cuba to be a success? The mind boggles. What could your measure of success possibly be, the mere fact that it still exists? Some people might base the success of a particular regime on the well being of its citizens. In that light, Cuba is a dismal failure. If you don't think so, ask yourself why those happy Cubans would so often risk being eaten alive by sharks to leave those blissful shores to get to Florida.

 
At 11/29/2010 12:05 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"An organization may be a successful organization promoting a result you do not like. Despite all America could do, Castro is still there. Including proxy invasion"...

Just what has the US done besides the embargo to derail the Cuban communists?

Bay of Pigs?

That was offset by the Cuban missle crisis, right?

Since the sixties just what has the US done?

"Castro's people may have been better off under a different organization, but the organization was a success"...

LOL! Show me the success...

 
At 11/29/2010 10:21 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

"We have many successful corporations with reaally lousy incentive plans.

Someone care to explain?"

I think you are mistaken. I'm pretty sure that the most successful corporations have outstanding incentive plans:

1. top leaders have incredible incentives in the form of stock options;

2. most managers at all levels have to meet objectives which determine their compensation, including bonuses and stock options;

3. advancement for all except organized labor are generally tied to performance levels;

4. profit-sharing is generally tied to achievement of predetermined financial goals;

5. in the best corporations, leadership goes to great pains to make even lowest level employees aware that raises are dependent on company success.

These may not seem to you to be good incentives. But these are incentives which work.

 
At 11/30/2010 1:10 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

One major incentive not much mentioned here is the incentive to stay employed!

Government seldom fires anyone for cause after a couple years on the job. In the private sector, that is always a possibility -- in some cases more than others.

As a career self employed person (now retired), I would wake up each morning unemployed. If I didn't produce that day, no one paid me. Now THAT'S incentive.

 

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