Friday, May 01, 2020

4583 Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack traded a cow for magic beans. They grew into a monstrous beanstalk. When he climbed it, he found a hostile giant. Thus was born the notion of Grow or Die.

It was baloney from the start.  There’s nothing in biology, chemistry, physics, arithmetic, topology or moms throwing magic beans out the window that makes this true.  But it’s a policy many have clung to because they (1) are ignorant, (2) their stockholders demand it, (3) have been force fed the idea since childhood, (4) wish it were true (5) they need an excuse to do stupid things.

A big part of this mess is generated by corporations who are more loyal to the stockholders and executives than they are to the customers and workers.  This is especially true in our most important industries.

--Automotives and its dependents
--Transportation and its dependents
--Distribution of physical goods
--Defense and its dependents 
By dependents, we mean the deli outside the aircraft plant or Amazon and the Postal Service.

Some of these industries are terribly run or overly complicated.  Beef goes from farm to slaughter to cutting to packaging to wholesaler to distributor to supermarket to your refrigerator.  Few of these steps take place under one roof.

That pair of jeans?  Someone has to make the cloth, dye the cloth, cut the cloth, sew the cloth, pack the jeans, ship the jeans.  These steps also often are carried out by different companies.

Too many steps and the wrong loyalties combine to make the virus shutdowns more complicated to deal with.  And it will get worse before it gets better.

Macy’s, Kohl’s, and the various chains owned by TJMaxx are closed. Stuff is piled up on their shelves and stockrooms and warehouses. Much of it will have to be sold as losses.  That’s because it will either have deteriorated or the fast moving and sleight of hand fashion industry will have created new items, outdating some of the older ones.

There is no room to store oil.  So although it’s at the lowest price in years, there’s little use for it.

And yet practically every business named here still is planning growth.

How big does Wal-mart have to be? Or General Motors or Mattel?  This feverish race to the top has to stop.  If you think about it, the monopolies and oligopolies of yore managed to reward its investors and remain stable with no forced growth.  Do we want the monopolies back? The phone company, Microsoft/Apple, RCA?  No. Of course not. But looking back, we can learn from them.

Jack overcame the giant by cutting down the beanstalk.  We can do it too. 


(ATHENS, GREECE) -- How did this economically crippled nation keep its virus cases and deaths so low?

(BOALSBURG, PA) -- A woman addicted to pain killers after an accident switched to a “natural” remedy called Kraton made from the leaves of a Southeast Asian tree.  She died of an overdose.  Now her family is suing the people who tricked her into the pharmaceutical switcharoo.

(NEW YORK) -- Governor Cuomo has long said that the subways have remained open to help workers who have to work.  They’ve run 24/7 for more than 100 years. Now, the agency that runs the subways says it’ll eliminate overnight service. It’s like living in Boston.

- “Mayday!”: -- The biggest ship that ever was in danger of sinking.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions?
© WJR 2020


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