OT: Shop Walmart (or HF) - Save the Planet

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Well, you know what they say when you assume something you don't know. I was a business owner for over 25 years. I am "one of them". I'm just not one of the greedy ones that think that no amount of money is ever enough.
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wrote:

In other words, you failed, as I predicted one would without a sense of greed.
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Anyone who survives for over 25 years in any business isn't a failure. I also disagree that the successful business is one built on greed.
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Correct. I let my business fail because I paid more attention to taking care of my wife after her head injury eight years ago than taking care of business. But it still took eight years and a world financial crisis to put me out of business. I know it was bad business to do that but I sleep well at night knowing I have my priorities strait.
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I have made my living for most of the last 40 years by providing services to small, medium sized businesses and a couple of very large corporations. It has been my experience that the vast majority of those businesses were run by caring people who were anything but GREEDY. They all understood that the continuance of their business depended on their taking care of that business and making a profit. No business does their employees any service by losing money and going out of business. The problem is that it only takes one glaring bad apple to spoil the image of all business. I knew a lot of people who worked for ENRON and all of them were honest hard working and caring individuals who gave their best to that company. All of them were the victims of a very few self-serving and yes greedy (although not necessairly for money but gready for power as well) individuals who destroyed that company. I worked with Shell Oil for many years and watched as many people there were hurt by a very few people who had their own agenda and the power to shove it down everyones throat. That doesn't make the corporations greedy or evil, it is effect of a very few people who are only there for themselves.
By the way, the same things can be said about every level and branch of government and the many government entities.
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Well, isn't that what we are talking about? The few greedy self serving pricks that ruin things for a lot of people?
I agree with what you said there and I was never meaning to include all the small business and even a few of the big businesses. But the ones that are the greediest are huge and do a lot of damage.
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hibb wrote:

Redirection of your disgust may be called for.
In my view, it's not GREED that's the culprit, per se, it's the motivation and methods used to foster it.
Greed is a normal human emotion, but like some others (hate, anger*, etc.), it needs to be engaged with care. It's the difference between an eighteen pound bowling ball and a similar amount of dynamite.
Consider Jonas Salk as he peered through his microscope during long nights of investigation. He was, no doubt, motivated by many altruistic urgings, such as uncontrollable empathy for children condemned to iron lungs. But amongst all the forces driving his effort, I'll bet there was some "greed." Greed in the sense that if he could whip this problem, then he could get enough funding to do the kind of research he wanted without having to suck up to an imbecilic bureacracy and cretin grant administrators.
So, what's the result? To some degree, a little or a lot, "greed" helped eradicate Polio in my lifetime and yours.
To suppress a normal human emotion or motivation is often impossible and always a problem. The trick is to direct the urge in productive ways.
--
* Examples of meritorious emotions: "Kill Japs, Kill Japs, Kill more Japs!"
or "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"
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Neither was I but sometimes I think I should have been. Then again, I have always slept well at night knowing that I did what was right.
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On 9/16/2010 3:42 PM, Gordon Shumway wrote:

Greed has little to do with being successful in business. I have worked for some extremely successful individuals and they made their fortunes by being able to see stuff that others didn't or can't such as future trends etc. The money making part is essentially a side issue because they do what they do so well and that is what they focus on and the money "happens".
And then there is greed as exemplified by Enron, big brokerages, big banks etc.
For some reason everyone likes to think republicans are responsible but politicians from both parties are owned. Just think back to a few years back when the Democrat Congress (the democrats held the majority during the last two years of the Bush administration. Congress is the only one who can spend money so they could have simply said no) bailed out all of the greedy bankers and brokerages by creating the "too big to fail" buzz. Instead of letting the crooked gamblers fail and letting responsible institutions take over they rescued the greedy crooked gamblers to insure their crooked institutions could stay in business and pay huge bonuses.
That is one of the reasons you now see such an effort from folks who never cared about elections to participate and fire folks on both sides.
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Interesting stat in this issue revolving around the GOP takeover of Congress. In the five fiscal years prior to 1994, the year-to-year increase in spending was fairly steady. Newt and the gang came in and for the next five years the average y/t/y increase was about .75% less (but omniously started trending up again in years 4 & 5). By the end of the next 5 years, it was back to where it started. So basically, the GOP after being a minority for 40 plus years soon found out how much fun it was to spend taxpayers money!! Along came GW and the Iraq war. Don't know if it was ever actually agreed to, but it was a certainly a nod-nod, wink-wink agreement that if Congress gave him the money to fight in Iraq, he'd not protest too much about their spending. How else do you explain the fact that most "War funding bills" included around 25% of the money being spent on domestic earmarks? History tells us that there is not now, nor probably ever be, no too big to fail policy. We promised ourselves after the S&L crisis that we wouldn't do that again. Yet we always do. We seem to be unable to divorce ourselves of the policy that we privatize the profit, but socialize the losses.

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I want to find a voracious, small-minded predator
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On 9/17/2010 7:22 AM, George wrote:

So the financial system should have just been allowed to melt down? GE, with a AAA rating couldn't find money, that is how bad is was.
The rules were written at the time so that there was no penalty for failure. Much of that is changing, so if an institution fails, those responsible for the short sighted decisions, don't come out smelling of roses.
This has all been about making vast amounts of short term profits, with little concern about the long term.
Jeff
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The only thing I would disagree with you on is that you apply the same logic as the Democrats, media, and our current president in regards to assigning the labels to the corporations such as Enron, big brokerage houses, and big banks. The blame must be properly assigned to the few, very few, individuals within these entities who are actually to blame, not to the entire organization. It only took a dozen or so people within an organization of thousands to bring down Enron. It took even less than that to bring down an even bigger but for some reason totally ignored and forgotten WorldCom.
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On 9/17/2010 10:40 AM, BobR wrote:

I think it depends. Sometimes the culture extends far deeper. Some good friends worked for different brokerages in NYC. My one buddy was VP of IT for one brokerage. Prior to 9/11 I used to be able to get into his office when I was in the city if we were meeting for lunch. He told me plenty of stories about about greedy mid level folks who simply dehumanized the transaction when they were screwing someone so it didn't even bother them. I will never forget one day when we were leaving his office someone collapsed down the hall near the elevator and people were quickly sidestepping the person laying on the floor so they didn't have to "waste" a few minutes helping someone and could get back to screwing clients to make more money.
The main drivers at Enron were clearly Lay and Skilling but how innocent should we assume the other folks were who were making fabulous bonuses year after year working in a "business" no one could explain?
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There are always those scattered throughout any organization that are only looking out for number one and to hell with everyone else. And it doesn't end with big corporations either, it extends into ever facit of our lives and every organization of more than one person. They are a minority within most organizations with notable exceptions of those organizations formed for the sole purpose of screwing the world and everyone it it. Even those organizations are often filled with a lot of good intentioned people but they will always be overshadowed by the others. As for Enron, those fabulous bonuses were pretty limited in who received them and they didn't extend to the majority of employees.
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wrote:

You're right when you mention "culture." There's no real widespread "team spirit" in America anymore. Mostly dog eat dog, accumulate money or debt and buy toys. I retired from a large corporation and saw a pretty quick cultural transition after they went public in 1993. One time I thought a guy on my team should get a raise so he didn't fly, despite his "performance" review. He was being paid under "market rate" and I was way over. He was good for my team. Good guy, and decent performance. Budget was tight, so I told the boss I didn't need a raise, give it to the other guy. He looked at me like I was a Martian. No, I got the raise and other guy shortly flew the coop. Everybody thinks money is all that matters.
Bonus level employees did whatever it took to, guess what? Increase their bonus. I saw many abandon their "principles" to go for the money. They followed whatever lead their bonus level superiors wanted. What guided the leaders? Money. Just money. Not long term vision, just short term money. What does "shareholder value" mean? Current stock price. Money. That's it. Money. They were guided only by "shareholder value." And that money buys the pols.
The clearest and neatest example of this in a nutshell I ran across when SBC took over Ameritech. I had an Ameritech guy over to my house to fix a problem with my company-paid twisted wire phone line just after SBC took over. Hot day and we had some iced tea on the front porch and chatted after he fixed my problem. Turned out the AT&T guys who put in my personal lines had screwed up the Ameritech connection a couple weeks ago. Time-delay screwup too, as I made sure the company line was working before they left. They were the first Bulgarians I ever dealt with. Nice enough guys if I understood them right. Don't know if they were legal. Anyway I asked the Ameritech guy what he thought about the SBC takeover. He said, "A few days after the takeover there was a big poster in our ready room with the SBC charter, listing priorities." He paused and drank some more tea. "Vic, what do you think was at the top of the list?" I instantly said "Customer service." I mean, that's a no-brainer. He shook his head, "Nope. Shareholder value."
For kicks I looked up Bill Daley, brother of Dick Daley, mayor of Chicago. Staunch Dems. Bill Daley was running SBC for a while.
Here's his recent record. Compensation is peanuts, about $200,000. http://people.forbes.com/profile/william-m-daley/485
But he doesn't need money now. He pulled $millions out of SBC. http://www.chicagobusiness.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID 99200011570
SBC merged with AT&T. The veteran Ameritech lineman I talked to probably lost his job and maybe got screwed in other ways. But ole Bill Daley is doing just fine.
Anyway, make of that what you will. I say whether the pol is red or blue, follow the money. And "small business" is usually an entire different animal than "big business." No Wall Street "analysts" guiding them and no "shareholder value." More "people oriented" you might say. It is really shocking how many pols are millionaires. "I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"
--Vic
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George wrote:

But most of the people screwed at Enron were the employees who kept buying the company stock and reinvesting their company dividends in more stock. And, of course, everybody in California.
Neither group consisted of people one could actually CARE about.
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The Kalifornican politicians *made* Enron. Many employees (the ones you saw crying on the MSM) invested their entire 401Ks in Enron stock and then rode it down through the basement.

Nope.
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bad from the beginning. The idea of unregulating the costs of electricity (generating) while closely regulating the prices consumers paid was a piece of idiocy that could only be concocted in California. There was a bit of punishing the electric companies involved, too which is seldom a good idea.
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I want to find a voracious, small-minded predator
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Money grab. Company A generates the power but does not sell it to the consumer directly. They wholesale it to Lehman Brothers (or equal) who add on a tiny amount and sells it to Broker C that sells it to Broker D with another tiny amount added to it, and then to someone that actually bills the user. All those tiny add ons amount to millions of dollars for doing nothing but handling paperwork.
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At least in CA there is fairly ample evidence in the debate that many in the Legislature thought that the power companies were getting too big and it was a way to break them up and help the consumer. Ooops.
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and name it after the IRS.
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