Friday, September 20, 2013
I just don't get Capitalism, I guess
I mean, I understand the basics- come up with an idea, then use the readily-available population of desperate, hungry people who just want to survive and exploit them for all they are worth to make your dream (of being disgustingly wealthy) a reality. I get that Capitalism has gone through an evolution over the past several thousand years, from Serfdom to outright slavery to promotion of unlimited immigration and finally, when workers in Western nations got too damned uppity with their unions and minimum wages and weekends and holidays and unemployment insurance and other such MarxistSocialistFascist Takers not Makers ideas, the outsourcing of the whole thing to nations with more pliable (desperate, hungry, unorganized) people. See? I get the concept.
The part I don't understand is the Providing a Service People Need bit. At some point, someone walked into a bank and asked for a business start-up loan based on the theory that people are in constant need of party supplies. And the bank said "sure, that sounds like a great idea." Maybe "I'll hire only uneducated but hard-working people eager to take whatever they are offered because they want to eat" was part of the pitch. Maybe "I'll buy my stock from Vietnam, China and Pakistan because almost all of it is disposable, Use Once And Throw Away crap anyway, so the markup will make my store successful if I can manage two customers a day" sealed the deal. Like I said, I don't get this part. I've worked in retail-- I managed a video rental store (remember those?) to pay my way through grad school--but that doesn't make me an MBA.
From now on, whenever I hear some whiny, greedy jerk call in to a radio show to complain that ObamaCare is denying him his God-given right to 100 percent of the take from his "small business," I'll think of PartyCity and wonder if he's blaming his lack of success on the wrong thing. Hey, buddy- maybe you are just trying to provide a service in a saturated market. Maybe you miscalculated the demand. Maybe you had unrealistic expectations of instant wealth through the hard work of your employees. Maybe you are just thrashing around for someone to point a finger at to explain why your Pudding Delivery Idea doesn't seem to be catching fire.
I'll also think of Spatula City. Because it makes me happy, and it seems to fit, somehow.