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Author: EddieLuck Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 10561  
Subject: Re: I don't know what this means Date: 5/11/2003 2:13 PM
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<<Recently, as Black and Decker announced the closing of their Easton MD plant (moving to Mexico) they said despite the closing of the plant they are still "committed to the American economy."
the 8200 employees of the plant were tickled to hear that news.>>

I used to run work for a construction company that did a series of jobs in a manufacturing plant for a major American corporation. At the end of that period we built them a truly beautiful canteen and lunch room with a really nice garden outside for conversation and a smoke. I heard that this canteen was a reward for this being the most efficient plant they had in the whole country. Working there was a pleasure because middle management at that plant was focused and intelligent.

Around 1992 I went down there with the boss to help with the last estimate we ever gave them. It was for disconnecting and removing all the key equipment for shipment to four foreign countries, three of them Asian if I remember correctly. It was a sad and bitter experience. This was around the time that Perot was being ridiculed by the establishment for his take on NAFTA.

We didn't get the job, I'm glad to say. It might have been me that had to run it.

To me, it all goes along with what I perceive as the stupid Harvard Business School mentality that has taken over American business, the belief that the near-term bottom line is the only thing that counts in running a business, and the practice of allowing MBA's and financial types to take control of everything. I believe that the greed of these people and their political hacks has gone a long way towards destroying much that was great about American management. In my own experience, it seemed that every time I got a promotion, there was no longer anyone left doing what I used to do and now I spend most of my time putting out fires because there is no one doing the majority of what used to be considered essential management functions. In short, I am presiding over a stampede, doing whatever seems to be most important that day, but never being in control. I hate it. Money is constantly wasted, time lost, and clients aggravated, but everybody is used to it now, and memories of more professional times are fading.

At the same time, I am swimming through a molasses pond of unnecessary regulation and legal strangulation. You would not believe what you have to do to get a building permit, to process monthly progress payments, or hire someone. Everyone is terrified of liability - witness recent discussion on this board about corporate limited liability. People under 50 will not do business on a handshake: it has to be in writing. Contracts have so many pages the people who sign them often don't have time to read them. The govt. is making rules faster than a fast reader working 24/7/365 can read them. Smokers have to go outside every hour and have spots dancing in front of their eyes half the time they're working. I bet they don't have to contend with all this madness in China. After a lifetime of successful field experience I find that there is very little opportunity to do anything at all without breaking some rule or regulation. People who have never done it control those who do it for a living. The spider's web of regulation and corporate organisation is throttling initiative at the same time as management streamlining is discouraging initiative by sheer overwork and exhaustion. (the famous corporate burnout)

Thank god for the rank and file American workers who are keeping things going despite all the craziness. They have a lot more sense, ability and honest belief in a good day's work in my experience than the majority of those telling them what to do. They are the ones keeping America afloat, while top management spends most of their time negotiating executive compensation and outsourcing. I am impartial in this because I come from the academic and professional side myself.

In case any reader thinks I am being too negative, perhaps a list of things that I enthusiastically support would add some balance to today's rant:

1) Abolition of unneccessary and/or unconstitutional Govt. Depts. like Education, Arts and Crafts, Insurance, etc., etc.
2) A return to gold currency. Abolition of the Federal Reserve.
3) A law requiring cancelling two words of old regulations for each word of new ones.
4) Real aid to the people of poor countries, not their govts. Better to just drop greenbacks out of airplanes than what we do now. The people always use money better than the govt.
5) A vigorous education program directed at Muslim countries via radio and bootleg TV to counteract their evil clerics' grab for power and spread the word of freedom.
6) Massive simplification of the legal system.
7) Massive simplification of the tax law.
8) Massive reduction in the obstacles to be overcome in starting businesses and ventures of all kinds.
9) Abolition of zoning laws and planning departments. The very best real estate in the world is downtown NYC, London, Paris and Rome. All except NYC built without planning departments.

I believe in freedom, and its power to emancipate. I do not believe in governments' right to do any more than is set out in the constitution. We have the constitution so we can control the govt. without having to resort to force of arms, and the more we allow them to stray beyond their bounds, the closer we get to having to have another revolution. Give them an inch, and they'll take a mile.

I once lived in a country with no income tax, no welfare of any kind, virtually no public education, no sales tax, etc. etc. Everyone was adequately fed, housed, and clothed. There was good and cheap education if you wanted it. I liked it there.

Ed.


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