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Do you like a "winner takes all" economy?

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by Slim, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. Slim

    Slim Formula 3

    Oct 11, 2001
    1,735
    Pacifica, CA, USA
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    richard
    The income gap between the haves and havenots in industrialized countries have continually increased since the 1980s. I'm not going to rant against the Republicans and the favors they give the "haves". Sure, those policies have contributed, but the forces of globalization in general are mostly responsible and both parties have supported these things. Trade barriers and terrifs have been eliminated, markets have been deregulated, and communication is more freely and cheeply disseminated, allowing one player to get to the top and stay there.

    Yes, this rewards those who are the smartest, work the hardest, have the best connections, best access to capital, and get the luckiest. But it provides nowhere for others to participate. An obvious example is the retail sector where national or multi-national chains dominate the landscape, and a single company, Walmart, gets something like 10% of all retail sales. When a Walmart comes to town, it causes the shut down of dozens of other businesses and those employees must be absorbed by Walmart, who pays $2-3/hour less than others. Some will say that these superstores are a benefit to consumers since they are able to have lower prices. Well, they'd better have lower prices because with fewer businesses competing for employees, wages sink, and people can only afford to shop at Walmart!

    But it's not limited to the retail sector. Most other industries have also gone through massive consolidation as well, with only a few able to survive at the top. Or if others survive, their share of the pie is miniscule. The companies at the top are like (to use Thomas Friedman's somewhat dated sports metaphor from <i>the lexus and the olive tree</i>) Michael Jordan pulling down $80mil a year and the rest are like the 12th man on the Bulls making the $225k league minimum.

    So, do you like this situation? My distaste for it isn't that I don't think hard work should be rewarded. I just feel like it is damaging to our way of life. One must now make a choice between spending every waking moment trying to maximize his business and become the winner of his sector, or he will perish. It's all or nothing. We no longer have the option of just having a comfortable life where part is focused on business and the rest of family or community. Companies no longer have the option of saying, "well, we're making money so let's use some of it to benefit the community or cut back on our waste or clean up our emissions." They've got to put 100% towards becomming the top in their field or they will be eliminated. Individuals don't have the option of having one shop or a small service firm: they have to become the biggest game in town or they'll be eliminated by someone else on their way to becomming the biggest, and the 'town' is increasingly larger day by day, until soon each sector will be dominated by a single global player.

    Bummer.

    -Slim
     
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  3. Nibblesworth

    Nibblesworth Formula 3
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    Nov 29, 2002
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    That's silly.

    To say that our economy, or the world's, for that matter, is occupied only by massive leviathon corporations is just plain wrong.

    What's getting crushed in this economy is the "Ma and Pa" stores, and BIG DEAL. Most Ma and Pa stored paid about $30k to the owners each year - about as much as they can make as a manager at a WalMart. In addition, Ma and Pa stores not only had to charge more for thier products, but they also had to pay their employees less. Finally, Ma and Pa stores did not have the distribution networks that bigger retailer have, so they often did not have a good selection of goods.

    IMHO, a "Ma and Pa" society is as oudated as the 8-track. There is absolutely no way for them to survive in today's economy, and it's not because of huge retailers, but because of changes in the structure of our economy. 50 years ago, the corner drug store was your only choice, unless you wanted to drive 100 miles to the nearest discount store. Distribution chains were much slower and much less efficient.

    Nowadays, you can still go to your corner drug store, but be prepared to pay 20 - 30% more than what you'd pay at Walgreens.

    I don't see any problem with this - it's simply part of the evolution of business.
     
  4. tifosi69

    tifosi69 Formula 3

    Dec 23, 2003
    1,671
    Atlanta, Ga.
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    Al-Al Cool J
    Right on, not to mention the fact that the massive corporations of today did not start that way. Sam Walton did not just wiggle his nose like Bewitched and all of a sudden, there lay WALMART !! That is ignorant !! He started with a little store and a $1000 for inventory. Only serves to make my point in many other threads that you can do whatever you want in this country. The American business place is filled with Walmart like stories, FORD Motor Co is one of them, as is McDonalds et al. The class-envy thing really needs to end. It is nothing but destructive to the nation as a whole and what kind of message does it send to kids: well Johnny, if you did not work hard in school and study to get an A then you should get mad at Bobby who did study his ass off to get his A, he's a scumbag, imagine the NERVE of that kid !! Actually WORKING for something he wants. And then when Bobby grows up to become CEO of XYZ Corp and makes $2 mill a year and Johnny is flipping burgers at BK, Johnny can legitamately HATE Bobby and all others like him. They are the "winners of life's lottery" Give me a break.
     
  5. Slim

    Slim Formula 3

    Oct 11, 2001
    1,735
    Pacifica, CA, USA
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    richard
    Goods at Ma and Pa stores may have cost more, but were of higher quality. Combined, they provided a much greater choice to the consumer than Walmart does, both in service and in product. Ma and Pa stores provided an outlet for a larger variety of manufacturers, and those manufacturers were in many cases able to make their goods right here in the usa. The way Walmart attacks its suppliers has driven many of them overseas or out of business. What Walmart has done to Levis is a good example.
     
  6. Slim

    Slim Formula 3

    Oct 11, 2001
    1,735
    Pacifica, CA, USA
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    richard
    So you think it is healthy to teach our kids that their main goal in life should be to work 100% for money, to harbor the kill or be killed attitude necessary in today's global marketplace? What if Johnny has other motivations? Shouldn't we structure the economy to accomodate that instead of only rewarding the most single-minded and successful few percent of people? Have you not noticed the negative effects on our children caused by both parents spending no time with their kids because they are out there working their ass off?
     
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  8. Dopplemax

    Dopplemax Formula 3

    I disagree that every sector will eventually be dominated by a single monolith. There will, and should, always be competition in a free market society. I think that the myth of there being no middle class is primarily an issue of perception. As a whole, the "middle class" of our society is made up of people who could live easily within their means, but choose not to. Easy access to credit and a dominant theme of "I deserve this, whether or not I'm willing to work for it" has resulted in a glut of people overwhelmed with the mess they've created for themselves.

    That being said, I do agree that manufacturing is in serious trouble in the US. The globalization of economics I would agree makes it too tempting and in a lot of cases necessary for companies to under cut the local work force in favor of less expensive exported labor.

    As a business owner (a service based business), I do in fact mandate that our employees and the company as a whole spend both time and money assisting charities or working in the community. I thrive on the fact that a business I created provides for the livelyhood of our employees families, and at the same time serves a legitimate need for our clients while encouraging an in-house culture of good citizenship, personal, corporate and fiscal responsibility.
     
  9. tifosi69

    tifosi69 Formula 3

    Dec 23, 2003
    1,671
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    Al-Al Cool J
    WTF are you talking about? You mean to tell me you have greater variety in Billy-Bib's Sundries store in East Bumble, OK than you do in Walmart? Wake up !!! Why is the internet so popular? I have read COUNTLESS threads on this board about Ferrari service. Let's use an anectdote we can all understand. Why should I go to Ferrari of Atlanta and pay $250 for an oil change when I can do to Autozone, buy the oil, go on Ebay and buy the filter and do it myself for about $70? How many people on this board piss and moan about dealer charges for 30k services when now, thanks to the input of forum members and internet searches, you can get 30k services done for up to 70% cheaper. The dealer made his money off me when I bought the car (incidentally, that won't happen again either thanks to message boards, posts, PM, ebay, etc.) How can you say the American economy has been hurt by constantly thriving to be bigger, better, more efficient and offer the consumer MORE choice? And don't sing me the blues about the jobs going to other countries, I have heard that before and it is patently BS. I am in the real estate and construction business. Do you want to know WHY there are so many Mexican immigrants coming to this country, and why the Bush admin is trying to facilitate that? It's because thanks to the governmental largesse that I so eloquently enumerated in the "chance of a dem" thread, Americans are LAZY !!! Go to work in an AFLCIO auto job and you too can sit at home, watch Oprah and STILL get full medical benifits and make 90% of your wages. HOORAY for unions !! And who pays for that? First the manufacturers, and then that trickles down to you and me, the consumers in the form of over-priced, under built/engineered American ****boxes. That is why the Japanese have constantly since the 1970's decimated the American auto market.

    The Bush admin wants to allow more immigrants to come because without them, the construction industry, along with several others, will collapse. Joe six pack American is too GOOD to dig a ditch or frame a house or drive a taxi. Why do American manufacturing jobs move to China? Because the cost of union shakedowns have made the cost of an American produced pair of Levis MORE than the market will bear, PERIOD !!! Simple economics 101. It's funny, when a guy like me with an Italian surname wants to shakedown someone the Feds launch a RICO investigation against me, but when Congress does it in the form of CAFE regs, environmental regs, minimum wage regs, it's OK!!
     
  10. bluekawala

    bluekawala Formula Junior

    Jan 22, 2004
    430
    Ormond Beach, FL
    I agree with those who say there isn't anything wrong with our economy. The only thing we have to worry about is what Dopplemax said with manufacturing and jobs going overseas.
    There is a massive middle-class in America, and I have friends who aren't but they spend all their money eating out and buying... junk. If you waste all your money then, hey, what do you know you have no money to invest, buy that bigger house, or that new car. It depends on what you blow your money on.
    I want to own a buisness one day, a Ferrari dealership to be precise, and as several have said with no competition all the European sports cars wouldn't be coming to America! As far as kids are concerned, IMO, the parents should give it a little thought before they have kids. Either have money saved, wait until your more finacially secure, or simply understand the trade off if you have if want that upper-middle class status that you'll seldom see you children. I might get rude comments about my opinion on the kids front we'll see... but there are several ways of preventing kids, with todays technology I don't understand the concept of an 'un-expected child' we all know they don't just pop out. Coming back to the economy, I think its fine and the bigotry should stop because as several have stated 'large companyies, with wealthy CEO's, don't just pop up in 2 months and no work or capital.'
     
  11. Nationaltec

    Nationaltec Karting

    Dec 22, 2003
    157
    North County
    Full Name:
    Patrick
    Nibbles hit it on the head! It's bound to evolve.....

    Plain and simple, it's the American way....

    It's hard to imagine that a small country of 260M with barely 200 years of history rules the world.

    The Microsoft & Intel behemoths might seem aloof from afar... but they've contributed more to the worlds economy then most people give them credit for. (thus we wouldn't be having this discussion on the internet) {gee thanks Al Gore)

    Japanese- Keep Making Cars, Beta format & pet rocks are over!
    Chinese- Man orbits Earth , 30 years late with borrowed Russian technology
    French- Dont get me started! Cant support the war but allows 10,000 of it's own people to die of heat stroke.
    Italians- Damm those Ferrari's are still awesome..!

    Everything else ----- " American Ingenuity "

    Enough Said... So... "Where do you want to live today?"
    PW


    *No disrespect intended.... just emphasizing the point..
     
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  13. tifosi69

    tifosi69 Formula 3

    Dec 23, 2003
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    Al-Al Cool J
    I really do not understand your point up until the both parents working part. In an economy, as in nature, it is kill or be killed, sorry to tell you that but that is how it is and I would not have it any other way. Darwin's law applies in economies also, and without it we would still be WRITING eachother these posts on parchment paper by friggin' candlelight and sending them to eachother by hand delivered couriers. If Johnny has other motivations, FINE, go become a fund raiser, a teacher, an environmentalist, whatever makes him happy. I don't begrudge anyone that right. The economy is STRUCTURED that way as you say. Johnny can go join the friggin Peace Corps if he wants, whose stopping him? And besides, we should NOT structure, as you say, the economy, natural selection works just fine, just as it does in nature. If an animal does not WANT to go out and hunt then it starves, PERIOD !! In our country, if someone does not want to go out and work, then the dems are right there to tell them how it's really the EVIL Republicans (the man in the 70's) that doesn't want them to have a job or suceed and as such, Uncle Sam is supposed to take care of them. Well hell, I would continue to vote for someone who gave me a free lunch too !!! Hence, the power of the Dems.

    Now, on the other side, I do agree that corporate support by government is WRONG also and whomever, right or left, that supports it is wrong. When Jimmy Carter bailed out Chrysler, I thought that was BS, he should have let them fold. If you start a little Mom and PA store and Walmart moves in, does the Fed subsidize your mortgage? I don't think so. Again, Chrysler was not in trouble BECAUSE of the JAP manufacturers, they were in trouble because they made an inferior product that was overpriced, ugly, did not address the needs of the times in regards to fuel economy and the Japanese did. Period. Let em sink I say. And the same goes for the airlines after 9/11. I have news for you folks, the CEOs of the airline industry KNEW they were sucking wind and losing market share WAY BEFORE 9/11, they used that to jump on Uncle Sam's pursestrings because they KNEW Jo six pack could commiserate with that and just assume the RAGHEADS brought about all the problems in the airline industry. Southtrust, Valuejet and some of the discounters GAINED market share because they provided THE SAME SERVICE OR PRODUCT at a price that the market would bear. PERIOD. Delta (my brother-in-law works for), United, Northwest, et al. provided **** service at bloated prices because they had to support, via union-imposed welfare programs, people making $30 and hour doing jobs that are really only worth $12 an hour. That is not my Republican, uppity, snobby opinion, ITS FACT. Southwest got people to do those jobs, why couldn't Delta?

    Again, in steps the outstretched hand of union imposed welfare and racketeering.
     
  14. reinerkaiser

    reinerkaiser Karting

    Nov 25, 2003
    149
    Redondo Beach
    Full Name:
    Reiner Kaiser
    Consolidation of industries has always been a consequence of
    the forces in capitalism and as such is unavoidable.
    The real problem in the evolution of modern market economy is
    the dramatic improvement of productivity due to automatization
    (i.e. machines, software, robots, streamlining of communication channels etc).

    This has led to the seemingly paradoxical situation where the economy
    appears to be running full steam ahead, yet most people (especially workers)
    have no money in their pockets, and many are still unemployed.

    It's because the profits are made by the corporations, but an increasing
    number of workers has to compete for a decreasing number of jobs,
    which in turn leads to (principle of supply and demand) lower and
    lower relative wages, coupled with poorer working conditions.
    And let's not forget about the erosion of domestic medium and hi-tech
    jobs due to their movement to third world countries (India etc.)

    This is the grim face of unregulated all-out capitalism.
    Better get used to it. It'll only get worse.
     
  15. tifosi69

    tifosi69 Formula 3

    Dec 23, 2003
    1,671
    Atlanta, Ga.
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    Al-Al Cool J
    Companies no longer have the option of saying, "well, we're making money so let's use some of it to benefit the community or cut back on our waste or clean up our emissions." They've got to put 100% towards becomming the top in their field or they will be eliminated. Individuals don't have the option of having one shop or a small service firm: they have to become the biggest game in town or they'll be eliminated by someone else on their way to becomming the biggest, and the 'town' is increasingly larger day by day, until soon each sector will be dominated by a single global player.

    Bummer.

    -Slim[/QUOTE]

    That's patently false SLIM, corporations still contribute HUGE amounts of money in the form of charities, especially to programs like internet access and computers in schools, if for no other than selfish reasons that the future workforce needs to be better educated. Kids coming out of schools today are ****ING MORONS !!! Why has Japan eclipsed nearly everyone, because after their complete annihilation and rebuilding (on our dime by the way, the Marshall Plan et al. another great Dem give-away, let's rebuild France, England, Japan and Germany on our gparents and parents dimes so at every turn they can forget who their friends are) they made their children actually LEARN things in school, important things like MATHEMATICS, SCIENCE, etc. Today, in America, Johnny's HS diploma, or college degree for that matter isn't worth the paper it's printed on, with few rare exceptions. Today, Johnny's FEELINGS are of paramount importance, if we give out A's then the dumb **** who get F's will FEEL bad. Boo hoo. And we need to impart that invaluable, important knowledge to our kids like learning about Kwanza, why Hiltler would not have been so bad if he had access to today's psycho-pharmacology to prevent his manic-depressive tendencies, and why Osama is really not that bad and Isalm is not really predicated on violence, it's only a few bad apples.
     
  16. Dopplemax

    Dopplemax Formula 3


    Thats the problem, people in the "middle Class" WILL get used to it, roll over, charge dinner at Outback go home and watch their 60 inch TV. They should be looking at their skills, honing their desire to succeed, and MAKING IT HAPPEN.

    SLOTH = Middle Class
     
  17. Nibblesworth

    Nibblesworth Formula 3
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    Nov 29, 2002
    1,756
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    BillyBoy

    Again, you are completely silly.

    When was the last time you comapred Ma and Pa goods with Walmart goods? Here's a news flash and a bit of history: M&P stores DID NOT MAKE THEIR OWN GOODS. They sold the same stuff, from the same manufacturers, that Walmart sells. Walmart just does it for less.

    I guess you haven't shopped lately, because Walmart is NOT OUR ONLY CHOICE! Yes, beleive it or not, there IS competition! Kmart, Target, Sears, Circuit City, Best Buy, etc etc etc are all competitors of Walmart, and many of them sell higher quality products than Walmart.

    Finally, I guess you are under the assumption that Ma & Pa would have turned down the opportunity to turn their business into a Global Giant. I mean, jeeze! Those were the good ol' days, when people started business' in order to serve the community, not to get rich! The "Get Rich" mentality is simply a by-product of massive corporate giants taking over the world, right?

    Again, I'm rolling my eyes.
     
  18. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    There is nothing wrong with capitalism in whatever form you have it.....there is everything wrong with the alternative.
     
  19. tifosi69

    tifosi69 Formula 3

    Dec 23, 2003
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    Al-Al Cool J
    Hey Nibble, I said the same thing.
     
  20. tifosi69

    tifosi69 Formula 3

    Dec 23, 2003
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    Imagine that, and from Canada even, the land of Hillaries wet dream, socialized medicine !!! Way to go kid, you are already thinking correctly. BTW, I am a HUGE L'es Habitants fan !!
     
  21. mfennell70

    mfennell70 Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    564
    Middletown, NJ
    Is there some other Japan I'm not aware of? Seems their economy has been hurting for a long time.
     
  22. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    tifosi69.....

    Imagine......a country were about half......well in my case 48% of my earnings go to the government. It is absolutely disgusting beyond comprehension and I will not state here in words on this fine forum what I think of the majority of those who receive this money or those who take it.

    In about another 3 months I will hopefully be self employed and my tax rate will drop to 23% not factoring in deductions and benefits.

    I can't wait to leave "Kanaduh"........I have a 10 year plan to rid myself of socialism.
     
  23. MarkG

    MarkG Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    369
    Colorado Springs
    Full Name:
    Mark
    I'd walk 10 miles to buy from Ma and Pa before I'd drive across the street to Wal-Mart (destroying small town America one mall at a time).

    What makes the American dream of capitalism work is the fact that Ma and Pa can in fact open their own dream, even if it does only net them $30k a year; not everone wants to be just another brick in a corporate wall; some folks actually want to use their Yankee ingenuity to their bennefit - and not to increase some CEO's anual bonus while having their saleries frozen or their jobs sent to India.

    In the mid 1970's, on $12.00 an hour, I did the following: bought a house in a nice part of San Jose, Calif ($24,500); bought a 911 Porsche ($6500.00), a '72 240Z and more Snap-on tools that I could ever hope to use. My clothes were made in America by Americans, as were my TV and Radio. An American car was about $4500 out the door; my bank had real live American tellers; gas stations had American attendants (when we had gas...); grocery stores had people (also Americans) whoes sole job was to load your groceries into your car; motels were run by Americans, and were still clean and cheap. Health insurance was so affordable that even if your employer didn't cover you, you could get full medical for about $70 a month. Fathers worked, mothers stayed at home because they could.

    Today, $12.00 an hour is still considered a good wage for many Americans; but my house in San Jose sold for $450,000 not too long ago by the then current owner; a 911 will cost you $60k and the median price for a typical car now is $20k. Now both parents have to work just to make ends meet. Why this drastic change in the economy occued is beyond me, but it ain't the Unions to blame.

    Cheap Mexican labor in America is desired by the Admin because they can be exploited, payed sub-par wages and denied any bennefits at all (the same practices that caused the formation of labor unions), all of which means bigger bonuses for CEOs and stock-holders. (but it is true, they do jobs that most American's feel are below them, and they work darn hard also).
     
  24. tifosi69

    tifosi69 Formula 3

    Dec 23, 2003
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    Al-Al Cool J
    A little disingenuous there don't you think? You know what I was referring to, the fact that Japan has snatched market share in the auto, semiconductor and other industries. Their pathetic economy currently has to do with them not diversifying in the late 80's and 90's and putting all their money into American commercial real estate speculation.
     
  25. benedict

    benedict Formula Junior

    Nov 6, 2003
    731
    Full Name:
    Ben
    Go to work in an AFLCIO auto job and you too can sit at home, watch Oprah and STILL get full medical benifits and make 90% of your wages. HOORAY for unions !!

    Ain't that the truth! I'll never forget my first exposure to unions. My friend
    started a truck driving job and on his first day, eager to impress, made his delivery and came back for another load. When he returned from that one, a bunch of "seasoned" union guys were waiting for him to "teach the new guy the system". The system is you do ONE delivery and you make it last alllllll day long! Take lunch, take a nap if you have to but do NOT make everyone else look bad by doing too much work. Unreal!
     
  26. tifosi69

    tifosi69 Formula 3

    Dec 23, 2003
    1,671
    Atlanta, Ga.
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    Al-Al Cool J
    Thank you, am I the only one with exposure to this mentality? And it is not just the unions, but in point of fact, it is the underlying principles of the left. Like it or not.
     
  27. bluekawala

    bluekawala Formula Junior

    Jan 22, 2004
    430
    Ormond Beach, FL
    Exactly, I've heard similar union stories. Sad but true.

    I'm not trying to knock anyone, or p!$$ anyone off, but being the "few wealthy should take care of the massive do-nothings" liberal mentality... why are you on a site dedicated to excess and overkill as far as cars are concerned? You could spend your hundreds of thousands on keeping old people alive with drugs, or giving it to a kids charity. Just a question, no one flip out on me please.
     
  28. benedict

    benedict Formula Junior

    Nov 6, 2003
    731
    Full Name:
    Ben
    A teamsters rep stops by a brothel and confronts the madam, "what is the management to whore split here"? "80/20 sir, says the madam. "What a disgrace, aren't your employees unionized", "no sir" says the madam. Disgusted, the rep takes his business elsewhere. He runs into the same scenario over and again and storms out of each place. Finally, he finds a union brothel with scaled wages and satisfied says, "I'll take that beautiful 24 yr old blonde." "Uh, sorry sir," says the madam, "80 year-old Ethel has seniority!"
    LOL!
     

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