Sunday, January 2, 2011

Capitalism in Crises

I've always believed in capitalism, free markets, and the benefits of free market forces to drive our economy and I see no harm in mixing with socialism to improve our “civilization”. I'm not worried about comparisons with socialism in Europe, we've always done everything better than they can.

What I am worried about is the metamorphosis of our capitalistic practices from making a fair profit to outright greed.

Take for example corporate executive pay. Most DOW company CEOs were making a little over a million dollars, ten of twelve years ago. Now they're making 16-18 million, plus undisclosed amount set aside for golden parachutes, bringing the increase to nearly 10 times their previous compensations. Meanwhile, their employees are making about the same or a little less than they did before. Now, if these executives had been stellar performers, these increases might be justified, but the stock prices are about the same as they were 10 years ago and the dividends haven't increased significantly. The extra millions they received could/should have been plowed back into the business or distributed as dividends.

The greed to sacrifice a company for short term profits and bonuses, has drastic long term effects. Unions can be partially blamed for some of the outsourcing, but most are not. Even our non-union workers cannot compete with $3/day wages in third world countries. Its just a way to increase short term profits, but cumulatively when so many companies are doing it for the same reason it leads to disaster. The displaced workers can no longer afford to buy the products of these companies, and the companies will ultimately collapse as will our economy.

You can already see the results of this greed. If you have an investment plan of some sort like a 401k that includes stocks—how's if working for you now (not several years ago)? You were probable talked into investing in stocks (managed funds)because they have the highest rate of return. The figure 10% over the long run was probably quoted to you. Let's see—the Dow is about 11-12,000 right now- it was about the same 10-12 years ago (that's kind of a long run). So, if you believed in the 10% rule of thumb the market sould be well above 24,000 right now—and when do you expect to see the DOW in that range?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not blasting entrepreneurs. People who started up Microsoft, Apple, and Face Book, are entitled to the billions they received, but the run of the mill CEO who takes over an existing company, and sucks all the profits out of it are just crooks, and there is nothing the stockholders can do about it. The Wall Street bankers are doing the same thing, and our Congress could care less, as long as they continue to receive compensation in the top 2 per cent of the population plus lavish “campaign” contributions. It's pretty hard for them to represent the people from their lofty thrones. Now I may be wrong, but I don't think the new Congress will be any different.

Despierta was kind enough to call my attention to this video-

If you haven't see it you ought to. You may not agree with it, but it's very entertaining as well as educational.

No comments:

Post a Comment