Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Tuesday, January 14, 2003day link 

 Is Money Free?
picture Britt Blaser says some very interesting things about money and capitalism, which I'm trying to wrap my mind around. He says we're watching the death throes of what he calls "Managerial Capitalism", which I agree with. And he also seems to feel that a more grassroots kind of self-organizing, reputation based kind of economy ought to replace it, which I also agree with. And then he says:
"Money is Free. Get Used To It."
You know, Managerial Capitalism is based on a shortage of capital. I.e. capital is necessary, but there's never quite enough of it, so those who control it have the upper hand. But nowadays, at least in a place like the U.S., excess credit seems to be thrown at you. You can buy cars with 0% financing, and furniture or washing machines you don't have to start paying before a year or more later. So, capital is going towards being free. And governments that try to stimulate the economy will often, like Bush, do it by giving tax breaks to the rich, in the hope that they'll put the money into enterprises that do stuff. Except for that those enterprises don't really do the right stuff. And, ironically, if capital moves towards being free (freely available), then capitalism is on its way out, because there is no longer a scarcity to control. Hm, I sort of like that, but I'm not sure that's happening. I'd like it to happen. I don't exactly experience an abundance of capital personally, but I can see that it sort of works like that for a fairly large segment of the population. And it certainly seems to be working in the big corporate world. It matters very little what things cost, or how much effort is wasted needlessly, because there is plenty of capital. But what is the bigger reason for the demise of traditional capitalism would be as he says:
"Equity markets systematically move money from the less informed to the better informed.

The problem with Managerial Capitalism is not that it's too pervasive and powerful (though it is), but that it is so poor at doing what it claims to do best — allocate people and resources skillfully and compellingly."
Capitalistically funded and traditionally managed big companies are terribly inefficient and deliver things many people don't really want, and they're bad at leading people to fulfill their potentials and use their skills really well. So, why are they still the main thing? I'd say, because of the first point, that the people who create them are more well-informed about some important things than you and I. Not well-informed about what we really want, or the best ways of producing that, but well-informed about capital - how to get it, keep it and increase it. And how to keep the general public in the dark concerning your game. They make it look like we all can be co-owners of the capital, owning stocks, investing, having good credit, having a nice credit line, etc. But that is just a distraction, I think. The real thing that would make a difference would be the information about how to organize people and resources efficiently and effectively, without needing investment capital and without needing managers. I.e. the knowledge of how to bring the elements into synergy, without requiring the one guy with all the money to be in charge.
[ | 2003-01-14 17:24 | 13 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 South of France
picture I'm still planning on moving to France. My kids aren't exactly thrilled, except for the smallest one, who's easily excited about the prospect of going just about anywhere. And, based in part on good feedback, I think I'll change my mind and focus mainly on Southern France, as in the South West, Midi-Pyrenees Region. The Cote d'Azur (French Riviera) to the South East also sounds warm and glamorous at first, but crowded and touristy. I don't want to make the same mistake as when moving to California first, we moved to Hollywood, because it sounded like a glamorous thing to write home about. But for people in L.A. Hollywood is mostly just a bad neighborhood, albeit colorful. So, as to South West France, the most vibrant area on various counts would be around Toulouse. It is a big city with lots of high tech computer and aerospace companies. But the bigger area is not very crowded, so you're quickly out in the country. And the whole area has lots of culture and history. Now, it is of course hard to figure it all out in advance, but I think that'll be my starting point when we go and explore a bit.
[ | 2003-01-14 18:09 | 22 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

Main Page: ming.tv