Dear Regal theaters: It’s the customers, stupid

Regal Entertainment Group — the corporation that runs the Regal theater chain — employs corporate accountants. It needs to hire some economists.

Company accountants can keep track of the company’s books. That’s useful and important, but if it becomes the only thing the company looks at, then it becomes profoundly misleading. Not only will the company fail to see the bigger picture and the bigger context, but they’ll have a distorted picture of even the company balance sheet over which they’re obsessing.

This is why Regal Entertainment Group is mistakenly freaking out about health care reform:

Several major companies in the fast food and service industries have dug in their heels against Obamacare, deciding that they would rather protect their bottom lines than provide their employees basic health benefits. On Monday, Regal Entertainment Group — which operates Regal Cinemas, Edwards Theaters, and United Artists screens in 38 states — joined the war on health reform, announcing it will cut back non-salaried workers’ shifts to 30 hours per week in order to avoid giving them basic coverage.

The theater chain claims that it is simply trying to “manage [its] budget … in accordance with business needs.”

That’s the kind of dumb move that comes, in part, from listening to accountants without also listening to economists. The myopic bean-counters in Regal’s corporate accounting department saw the basic health benefits in health care reform as a new expense for the company and only as a new expense for the company. Thus, for Regal, the Affordable Care Act came to be viewed as a law that has one and only one effect on Regal’s theater chains: A slightly higher cost per-employee for the thousands of non-management workers for whom the company had previously refused to provide those basic benefits.

The workers who made these Model T Fords were paid enough that they could afford to buy Model T Fords. The people who work for Regal Entertainment can’t afford to go out to the movies.

Yes, yes of course, there’s also an obvious moral element here that Regal Entertainment Group is refusing to acknowledge. Only a company run by odious jackwagons would think that denying employees basic health care is an acceptable way to keep down costs — particularly when that company’s executives are also paying themselves lavish salaries and bonuses. But there seems to be little point in trying to reach the executives who run Regal Entertainment — or Hobby Lobby, or Darden restaurants, or any of the other chains opposing the “cost” of Obamacare — with an argument based on morality. These are morally stunted people for whom such arguments are meaningless. They attend morally stunted churches where they listen to sermons preached by morally stunted pastors and sing morally stunted praise songs to a morally stunted god.

I suppose we could try to convince them that treating their employees fairly is also in those executives’ own best interest — to recast the moral argument as a complement to their selfish pursuit of self-interest. That’s a slightly more promising approach. If convincing these folks not to be odious jackwagons is a futile endeavor, perhaps we could at least convince them that it’s in their best interest not to appear to be odious jackwagons. This is the RDL Factor.* Karoli of Crooks & Liars highlights the disastrous backlash against the theater chain from potential and/or former patrons who would prefer not to spend their entertainment dollars at Regal so long as the chain thinks denying health benefits is an acceptable way of doing business.

The anti-Regal Facebook postings Karoli samples, as well as those in this Huffington Post piece, are an expression of solidarity. That’s a Christian virtue and a Christian duty, by the way. Solidarity is not optional. Anything less is an attempt to dodge the great commandment by pretending that our neighbor is not our neighbor and that we are not our brother’s keeper.

We’ve yet to see how formal this nascent Boycott Regal movement will become. It’s possible it will grow into something that might get the attention of the chain’s executives and maybe even force them to change course. It certainly should grow into that. We’ll see.

In this post, though, I’m not mainly concerned with the futile attempt at moral persuasion or with the obligation of moral coercion. Here I just want to suggest that Obamacare might just be the best thing that’s ever happened to the Regal Entertainment Group.

Right now, all that the Regal executives can see is what their accountants see: the slight additional cost per employee that Obamacare will mean for the company. Fine. Write that down in the company ledger. Health care reform will increase the company’s costs per employee.

But if Regal execs could look beyond what their accountants see, they might notice that this is not the only thing that health care reform will do. It will also result in tens of millions of otherwise uninsured Americans getting affordable health insurance. And tens of millions more will save lots of money every year in household health-care expenses.

That’s tens of millions of potentially movie-going Americans who will now be able to afford movie tickets they would not otherwise be able to afford.

It’s the customers, stupid. Obamacare is good for Regal’s customers. And therefore Obamacare is good for Regal.

Just consider one small piece of the health reform law that has already taken effect. Millions of young adults in America have taken advantage of the law’s provision that says they can keep their health coverage under their parents plans until the age of 26. That’s millions of 18-to-26-year-old Americans with more money in their pockets.

I’m not an expert on the movie business, but my impression is that young people aged 18-26 are kind of an important demographic when it comes to ticket sales.

How big a boost to Regal’s bottom line will health care reform provide? I’m guessing it will be large. Much larger, I think, than whatever new costs-per-employee the law entails for the company. That calculation is a job for the company’s economists.

Unfortunately, the company doesn’t have any economists, only accountants. That’s short-sighted, misleading and counter-productive. They need to hire some economists.

Regal Entertainment Group isn’t alone in this blindered approach of allowing accountants to pretend they provide the whole picture. Peter Bensen, the top accountant for McDonald’s, said that Obamacare will cost the company $120-$420 million a year to provide benefits previously denied to its workers. And since that is the only thing Bensen is looking at, that is the only thing Bensen sees. He hasn’t looked at — or even imagined the possibility of — the ways in which Obamacare will benefit McDonald’s customers. He is an accountant, not an economist, so he has forgotten that what’s good for McDonald’s customers is good for McDonald’s.

It’s the customers, stupid.

David Overton, the CEO of The Cheesecake Factory, is worried that health care reform will involve new costs for new benefits for his factory workers. But Overton — who is allegedly a business-man — hasn’t even glanced in the direction of considering what health reform will mean for the customers and potential customers of his business. Obamacare is good for the restaurant’s customers, and therefore it is good for the restaurant.

It’s the customers, stupid.

(My guess is that the hostile reaction of both McDonald’s and The Cheesecake Factory is also partly due to health reform’s provisions involving the disclosure of nutritional information. “Would you like me to Super-size that for you?” may be an exception to the principle that what’s good for the customers is good for the company.)

In 1914, Henry Ford made a bold move to reduce turnover and attrition in his workforce, announcing a new wage of $5 for an 8-hour day. This “more than doubled the average autoworker’s wage.”

Henry Ford had reasoned that since it was now possible to build inexpensive cars in volume, more of them could be sold if employees could afford to buy them.** The $5 day helped better the lot of all American workers and contributed to the emergence of the American middle class.

Regal theater workers should be able to afford to go out to the movies once in a while. People who work for The Cheesecake Factory should be able to afford to go out to dinner once in a while at places like The Cheesecake Factory. It might seem cheaper, from an accountants-only perspective, if every company kept its costs down by not providing workers middle-class wages and benefits. But the more companies take this accountants-only view, the fewer customers there will be for every company.

It’s the customers, stupid.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* Earlier this year, the City of Seattle passed a law requiring paid sick leave. One local coffee chain proclaimed its opposition to the new law by putting signs on all its cash registers announcing a new “Sick Leave Surcharge of 1.5 percent on every order.”

The people of Seattle thus learned that this chain had not previously provided paid sick leave — meaning it was likely they were serving up steaming cups of contagion from sniffling workers who couldn’t otherwise afford to stay home for the sake of their own health and the health of their customers. Yuck.

That led to this memorable comment from one never-shopping-there-again former patron:

“There were many ways [Cherry Street Coffee owner Ali Ghambari] could have dealt with this. He could have upped prices slightly to compensate, for example.” But instead, says Whitney, “he chose to call himself out as a royal dickhead for life, because now we all know he wasn’t paying for sick leave before forced to by law.”

Companies should keep the RDL Factor in mind when they publicly try to keep their costs down by harming the well-being of their workers and customers. Rebranding your brand “as a royal dickhead for life” is a self-inflicted marketing wound that well-run companies avoid.

** Googling for that story, I came across this 2012 column by Tim Worstall of Forbes, which is so perniciously obtuse it requires a response. Worstall and the barons of Forbes are so eager to dismiss any argument for middle-class wages that they were willing to write the following nonsense, in public:

There’s an argument you see around sometimes about Henry Ford’s decision to pay his workers those famed $5 a day wages. It was that he realised that he should pay his workers sufficiently large sums to that they could afford the products they were making. In this manner he could expand the market for his products.

It should be obvious that this story doesn’t work: Boeing would most certainly be in trouble if they had to pay their workers sufficient to afford a new jetliner.

The Model T Ford was a mass-produced automobile intended to be sold to consumers. A Boeing jetliner is not. Boeing doesn’t need to pay its workers enough that they can all buy huge passenger airplanes. But Boeing does need to pay its workers enough that they can all afford to buy an airplane ticket once in a while. With no middle class, no one can afford plane tickets. If no one can afford plane tickets, no airline can afford to buy planes.

But Worstall, at least, acknowledges that Ford’s higher wages did in fact have the desired effect of reducing turnover in his Model T factory. That was a benefit for the company.

This is something that the accountants, as accountants, have failed to account for at Regal Entertainment, McDonald’s, et. al. Providing better health care benefits for their workers costs more, but it also saves money by reducing turnover. That’s something the accountants are supposed to be including in their accounting, but they’re not. So not only does Regal Entertainment need to hire some economists, they also need to fire their accountants and replace them with some competent ones.

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  • Carstonio

    Only one omission from Fred’s excellent entry – Regal will benefit economically when its workforce has more reliable access to health care.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    It might.

  • stardreamer42

    Why would it not? Better health care implies more employees working at full efficiency, not dragging along because they were too sick to come in but had to do so anyhow.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It’s probably cheaper for Regal to have sick employees shot and just hire new ones.

    It is not actually more efficient to treat your employees as disposable, but it externalizes the cost: all of society pays the cost of doing it, rather than you the employer paying the cost of maintaining your employees. Basically the same principle as pollution: yes, destroying the planet ultimately is not sound business, but it’s not you who pays the cost.

  • m11_9

    because we wont get better healthcare. this program is just funding the same healthcare industry leeches as always. hopefully it can evolve to Canada style quickly, before too much damage to small business.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    If we were just debating a fully-covered population moving from one system to another, your rebuttal to might make sense. But we’re not. “Obamacare” means that a hell of a lot of people who previously could not afford any health care at all now can.

    Going from “no health care” to “some health care” is almost always an improvement.

    The other way your argument is wrong is, it’s phrased in the future tense. Kind of like people arguing that marriage equality will destroy the country, as though several U.S. states and several countries are not already testing that hypothesis out (and falsifying it). “We won’t get better healthcare” is as demonstrably wrong because some parts of the Affordable Health Care Act are already in effect, and its beneficiaries are already getting better healthcare.

  • hidden_urchin

    If you want to reduce turnover then you also need good managers. Anyway, I go to the movies only about once a year but I’ll go somewhere other than Regal.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    My one and only accountant/economist joke:

    So a firm back in the 50’s decided to send it’s top three accountants and top three economists to a conference in the nearby major city. They gave the accountants and the economists cash to pay for their train tickets there and back. The accountants went to the ticket window, and bought three one-way tickets. The economists went to the ticket window, but bought only one ticket, (one-way) which puzzled the accountants.

    Everyone climbed on board, and as soon as the ticket-taker started checking tickets, the accountants each pulled out a ticket to be punched. The economists went scrambling down the train, and all three crammed into a single bathroom. When the ticket-taker went by the bathroom, he knocked on the door, a single ticket was thrust out, the ticket-taker punched it, and went on down the train. A few minutes later, the economists piled out of the crowded bathroom, and bought some very nice sandwiches with their extra money.

    On the way back from the conference, the three accountants walked up to the ticket counter and purchased one ticket, smirking at the economists… who strangely were boarding the train without buying any tickets at all! The accountants piled onto the train, and as soon as the ticket-taker climbed on, they rushed to the nearest bathroom and all three piled in. There was a knock at the door, and one accountant thrust his hand out the door with the ticket, but instead of the ticket being punched, someone took the ticket away. The three accountants, panicking, all looked out the door to see the three economists running towards the next bathroom with their one ticket in hand.

  • LL

    Ecch, these assholes aren’t worth a long, outraged comment. They’re just stupid. Where do they think people go when they can’t afford to go to a doctor in a regular doctor’s office?

  • Nirrti

    Oh, not stupid. They know damn well what they’re doing. They just don’t care..period.

  • LL

    Yes, they know what they’re doing, but they think it’s not costing them because they’re not paying for it directly (the healthcare). But I bet they (and people like them) bitch about the taxes (all the taxes, federal, state and local) they pay, that seem to increase constantly. To pay for things like hospitals that don’t get to charge all the indigent patients they treat in the ER. I guess they think America would be a glorious paradise if hospitals could turn away sick people because they don’t have insurance or money to pay for their asthma attacks and broken bones.

    They are definitely stupid. Because only stupid people think that they’re not already paying for the working poor to have healthcare. They’re paying (like we all are) for the working poor to have the crappiest, most expensive healthcare on the planet.

    So yeah, they’re very, very stupid.

  • Nirrti

    This is almost movie villain level of evil. These corporations must be run by sociopaths. That has to be the explanation for such a lack of human decency or empathy.

  • Turcano

    It’s not that it’s necessarily run by sociopaths so much as the fact that a corporation is legally obligated to maximize its bottom line. If it doesn’t, it risks a lawsuit from its stockholders. In the end, it leads to the same behavior.

  • fraser

    But if a corporation really wants to, it can always find a rational reason why X is really good for the stockholders (“We have to pay our executives bonuses to retain valuable employees!”).

  • histrogeek

    I understand their legal responsibility to their shareholders, really. But many, many companies have demonstrated time and again that legal responsibilities don’t mean squat to them. And shareholder lawsuits on the grounds that you didn’t make enough because you gave your employees health care (especially when they are legally obligated to do so) would be laughed out of court. I dare anyone to bring that argument before a jury.

    No, they aren’t obligated to act like this because of any legal responsibility. The real fear is that Bain or some similar band of corporate pirates will come in and take the company from them.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Some sociopaths don’t approve of their behavior either.

  • DCFem

    Regal is owned by Phil Anschutz. He considers himself a christian but your assessment is more accurate.

  • Lee B.

    I worked as a projectionist for many years, and in my experience I have yet to see a movie theater chain that wasn’t run by odious jackwagons.

  • TheBrett

    But Worstall, at least, acknowledges that Ford’s higher wages did in
    fact have the desired effect of reducing turnover in his Model T
    factory. That was a benefit for the company.

    That was the point of Ford’s raise, although he cloaked it in a noble-sounding paternalism (one that was quite common in American history from factory owners). Ford’s plants were run under Taylorian-style management where workers are more or less treated as animate machinery, and were suffering from high turnover, strikes, and sabotage. Raising wages helped to ameliorate that.

    But Ford could only do that because of the higher profit margins on autos, and because he was having issues with retention. It’s not clear that Regal is having those same issues – and no, higher executive pay does not mean they have plenty of profit to spare (they have to compete with other firms for executives). I don’t see a lot of people refusing to work at Regal because they didn’t have health care benefits.

    It’s the customers, stupid.

    Only if they’re actual customers for the company itself. A big theater chain’s key customers are teenagers, who only represent part of the work force at these places.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    But Ford could only do that because of the higher profit margins on autos, and because hewas having issues with retention. It’s not clear that Regal is having those same issues – and no, higher executive pay does not mean they have plenty of profit to spare (they have to compete with other firms for executives).

    Employee pay is a factor in the profit margin of cars.
    BUT executive pay is not a factor in the profitability of movie theaters!

    Improving employee benefits might improve recruitment and retention of employees, but that isn’t necessarily an advantage for movie theaters.
    Keeping executive pay at astronomical levels will improve recruitment and retention of executives, which is absolutely a necessary advantage for movie theaters.

    High-paid executives rule, poor people drool. Got it.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Executives might invest in the company for which they work for.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Any employee might invest in the company for which they work for. There is nothing about the executive class other than disproportionate compensation which would suggest they are more likely to invest than any other category of employee.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Very well, then. I apologize for my misguided comment.

  • TheBrett

    Employee pay is a factor in the profit margin of cars.BUT executive pay is not a factor in the profitability of movie theaters!

    They can replace ground-level employees in mere days. Decent executives are harder to replace, so they get more pay – and a bad executive can do far more damage than a bad ticket counter person..

    Improving employee benefits might improve recruitment and retention of employees, but that isn’t necessarily an advantage for movie theaters.

    What, when they can replace those employees in days?

    There’s your problem. Ford had issues with retention and sabotage, so he raised wages. Regal did not have any serious issues that they recognized as being problematic in terms of employees, so they didn’t.

    Keeping executive pay at astronomical levels will improve recruitment and retention of executives, which is absolutely a necessary advantage for movie theaters.

    When everyone else is paying astronomical levels of pay for even half-decent executives, you’re stuck in deep shit on it. And a shitty executive can do more damage than a shitty ticket counter, as I said above.

    High-paid executives rule, poor people drool. Got it.

    Even more poor people are going to drool if Regal slashes their staffing to comply with the regulations.

    If you don’t like it, go ask your congressman to lobby for more fiscal and monetary stimulus.

  • P J Evans

    Yeah, that’s entirely why Regal cut the hours for their theater managers so they don’t get health insurance from the company either. /sarcasm
    High-paid executives aren’t any *better* executives than those paid a reasonable salary. They just like thinking that they are.

  • TheBrett

    Theater managers aren’t executives. And what’s a “reasonable” salary for an executive anyways? I doubt Regal’s paying anything seriously better than what the top people would get at other big companies.

  • P J Evans

    You’re assuming that executives actually do a lot of work. Some don’t. Some believe that an MBA qualifies them to run any business, even if they don’t know anything about the field. And there are directors who will go along with that. Always, the justification for multi-million dollar contracts is that that kind of pay is necessary to get and keep good people. They’ve never explained why good people can’t work for less *or why they wouldn’t want to stay with a company that’s paying them much more than everyone working for them. (That includes even the one I was working at, although it’s not anywhere as high-paying as most, and its executives mostly came up through the company and know the business inside out.)

  • reynard61

    Remember: MBA = More Bad Advice

  • fraser

    The newspaper chain I used to work for invoked the “keep valued people” to explain why they had a $11 million in bonuses to hand out to management while filing bankruptcy and slashing pay 5 percent. I think that’s an excellent example of the bullshit involved: With the newspaper business in the doldrums I don’t buy that there’s that much threat of a bidding war for the publisher of, say The Northwest Florida Daily News or the Destin Log (in fact they subsequently dispensed with having a publisher for the latter paper so definitely not).

  • EllieMurasaki

    Not bullshit. The management’s more valued than the employees. Not bullshit. Flat-out truth.

  • AnonaMiss

    I assume you’re intending to point out the difference between “valued” and “valuable”? (Your post was easy to misread – I was shocked for a moment!)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Exactly. And don’t forget who’s making the decision’s about who’s valued enough to be paid well: the management!

  • Cathy W

    Ahh, yes, the same “valued people” who just managed the company into bankruptcy court…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marc-Mielke/100001114326969 Marc Mielke

    Is there actually any evidence executives are any better at making business decisions than using a dartboard?

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Even more poor people are going to drool if Regal slashes their staffing to comply with the regulations.

    This goes at the top, because it’s the most blatant, offensive lie.
    Regal is not slashing to comply with regulations. It is slashing their staffing to avoid the regulations. If you are unwilling or unable to recognize the difference, I’m afraid we cannot continue.

    They can replace ground-level employees in mere days.

    So could Ford. That was part of the appeal of the assembly line: it was cheap and easy to replace ground level employees.

    So either Ford’s was having a problem with retention because it’s expensive to replace even ground-level employees, even in an assembly-line, minimal-training environment, (not unlike Regal) or retention wasn’t the primary reason for the raise. Pick one.

    they get more pay… a bad executive can do far more damage than a bad ticket counter person

    A bad executive gets paid the same as a good executive, and arguably has less incentive to leave. The mechanism for preventing bad executives doing damage isn’t wages, it’s screening practices. “I demand to be paid a ton of money because I won’t screw up” isn’t a negotiation, it’s thinly veiled blackmail.

    Ford was willing to pay a premium on workers who wouldn’t do damage to his business. That’s on assembly line (ground-level) workers. But Regal shouldn’t have the same view, because issues like movie piracy aren’t a big deal when you’re cutting the hours of the projectionists? What’s the worry with credit card fraud or identity theft when your cashiers are having their hours slashed? Certainly employees with poor customer service have little to no impact in an age where alternatives to movie theaters are only increasing in quality and availability.

    Regal did not have any serious issues that they recognized as being problematic in terms of employees, so they didn’t.

    Just because Regal does not publicly recognize these issues does not mean they don’t exist.

    When everyone… is paying astronomical levels of pay for ,,,half-decent executives… [a]nd a shitty executive can do more damage than a shitty ticket counter…

    …then it looks like everyone is paying astronomical level for a 50/50 chance of a shitty executive doing a lot of damage, which doesn’t seem to be a very sound strategy.

  • TheBrett

    This goes at the top, because it’s the most blatant, offensive lie.
    Regal is not slashing to comply with regulations. It is slashing their staffing to avoid the regulations. If you are unwilling or unable to recognize the difference, I’m afraid we cannot continue.

    They just haven’t done it yet, hence why I used “if”. If they end up deciding that they can’t avoid providing health insurance to their employees, then they’ll slash staffing. Either way, staffing is getting slashed.

    So either Ford’s was having a problem with retention because it’s expensive to replace even ground-level employees, even in an assembly-line, minimal-training environment, (not unlike Regal) or retention wasn’t the primary reason for the raise. Pick one.

    Or the downsides to high turnover were higher in the case of Ford’s auto plants than they were in Regal’s movie theaters, which would not be surprising – hence why I pointed out the “sabotage” factor.

    A bad executive gets paid the same as a good executive, and arguably has less incentive to leave. The mechanism for preventing bad executives doing damage isn’t wages, it’s screening practices. “I demand to be paid a ton of money because I won’t screw up” isn’t a negotiation, it’s thinly veiled blackmail.

    The point was that Regal has to compete with other companies on pay for executives that even appear halfway competent, and executives that do turn out to be competent once they’re in the position.

    Just because Regal does not publicly recognize these issues does not mean they don’t exist

    Evidently they weren’t too high of a problem, otherwise Regal wouldn’t be complaining about something that might increase turnover.
    Amazing. You literally failed to understand every single one of my points.

  • fraser

    I’ve read several discussions of employee retention issues and there’s invariably a consensus that it’s a serious problem. But they never get around to “employees would be more loyal if you pay them more” because apparently that’s unthinkable. So Ford’s example is still a good lesson for business.

  • fraser

    Since executive pay has nothing to do with executive performance (as Business Week and others have documented) the argument businesses have to keep pay high to get good people fails.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    As saith Robert P. Murphy, economist,

    But American workers were paid more by their employees because they produced more. No matter how “enlightened” business leaders in Mexico were, they could not possibly have given their employees the same purchasing power as their counterparts to the north… If more stuff is produced the America than within Mexico, obviously Americans are going to have a higher standard of living, regardless of “wages policy… If the auto workers received total wages equal to the total prices of all the cars that passed through their hands, then the firm in question would have no money left over to pay its suppliers. But this in turn would mean no demand for the products of the tire producers, and hence no way for the tire manufacturer to pay his workers.

    -The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal, pages 35-6. Emphasis not added.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Psst!

    While they claim might once have been true (and keep the joke about economists in mind) American workers are no longer being paid more because they produce more.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Then why are they being paid more [than Mexican workers]?

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett
  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I do not understand why this comment has so many likes, as I made my edits to my previous comment before this reply was published. Also, what are “they’re”?

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    What were you told the last time about books with “politically incorrect” in their titles?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I do not care what I am told by those who do not give reasons to back up their statements.

  • Turcano

    Okay, how about the fact that the series contains this little gem?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    The PIG series contains a very wide variety of POVs. Bob Murphy (author of two PIGs) is a libertarian Christian anarchist, yet, there exists the PIG to the Vietnam War (arguing the Vietnam War was a success ruined by a Democrat-controlled Congress). The author of the first PIG (to American History) is also a libertarian Christian anarchist. The only consistent position in the PIG series is opposition to Godless Communism. PIGs vary in quality as much as they do in ideology.

  • Turcano

    So in addition to creationism, there’s libertarianism, anarchism, and the American version of the Dolchstosslegende. I’m not seeing the variation in quality of which you speak.

  • SisterCoyote

    Neil Gaiman, on “political correctness”:

    I was reading a book (about interjections, oddly enough) yesterday which included the phrase “In these days of political correctness…” talking about no longer making jokes that denigrated people for their culture or for the colour of their skin. And I thought, “That’s not actually anything to do with ‘political correctness’. That’s just treating other people with respect.”

    Which made me oddly happy. I started imagining a world in which we replaced the phrase “politically correct” wherever we could with “treating other people with respect”, and it made me smile.

    You should try it. It’s peculiarly enlightening.

    I know what you’re thinking now. You’re thinking “Oh my god, that’s treating other people with respect gone mad!”

    The term “politically incorrect” implies all sorts of things. It seems to say, “I don’t care about your lacy, waffly terms! I don’t care about your ‘speech rules,’ I’m too independent* to be bound by your faux ‘respectability’! I don’t care WHAT you think of me, because I, a Strong-minded Individual, am secure in my knowledge and understanding! You can ply your Harrison-Bergeron-esque silencing tactics on me if you wish, I will not bend!”

    And that infuriates me. You’re not COOL because you’re “politically incorrect.” You’re not the hard-bitten tough underdog, bucking the silencing tactics of the powerful elite. You’re being a dick and using language to disrespect and hurt people. You don’t GET to play the Independent Will Not Be Silenced card – you are the one silencing others. You don’t get to act like you’re bucking some code of oppressive rules by being “politically incorrect” when you are, in reality, just being disrespectful to someone who is actually oppressed.

    I should note that I am trying to use general ‘you.’ I know you didn’t write the book, EH. But the title still infuriates me. Political correctness as a term is just so much bullshit.

    *I realized halfway through this that I was basically typing Call-me-Buck. Which makes sense.

  • The_L1985

    This, so much. “Politically incorrect” is synonymous with “offensively rude.”

  • Carstonio

    “Political correctness” as a term originated as a in-joke among liberals, who were gently satirizing their colleagues who took sensitivity to extremes. It entered into general use when conservatives chose not to understand the joke. Today the term means not just offensively rude, as The L notes, but defiant of any criticism of social privilege, or of any criticism about treating difference as bad or wrong.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I agree with you that political incorrectness does not guarantee factual correctness or a sound moral compass. I do not see, however, how free speech is silencing (this is the only reason I downvoted your comment).

  • http://www.facebook.com/dpolicar David Policar

    > I do not see, however, how free speech is silencing

    On your account, if there are five of us in a room, and every time you open your mouth the four of us start shouting “La La La La La!!!”:
    1) Does free speech ensure that we are free to do that without interference?
    2) Does our choice to do that silence you?

    If your answer “yes” to both, this is a case where free speech enables us to silence you without interference.

    If you answer “no” to either, it’s perhaps worth clarifying what we mean by “free speech” and/or “silencing”.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I answer “no” to both. There is no such thing as a right to an audience or a right to be heard; there is, however, a right to speech.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dpolicar David Policar

    OK. Thanks for answering. Given that, my answer to your question is as follows:
    a) many of us live in societies where there’s a social convention whereby the ability to be heard by a general audience is understood to be protected, and phrases like “free speech” and “censorship” get used in this context. For example, if you were banned from this forum because we don’t want to listen to you anymore, many people would feel your “free speech” rights had been violated. You would, naturally, disagree (as would I), but it sometimes helps to understand what other people mean by the words they use.

    b) many of us use the word “silencing” to encompass being systematically and differentially deprived of the ability to communicate effectively to a general audience.

    c) the thought “free speech is sometimes silencing” is meant to express is sometimes one characterized by (a) and (b). As above, I understand that you would say that phrase is _incorrectly_ used to refer to that thought, but again, it sometimes helps to understand what other people mean by the words they use.

  • SisterCoyote

    By intimidation, I suppose. I really, really want to go on about this in detail – how an overwhelming slew of “politically incorrect” rape jokes, for example, result in rape survivors being ignored, dismissed, or silenced in court, or how racist jokes result in minorities continuing to be seen as The Other, and thus their speech minimalized, effectively silenced in places – but I really really really have to finish this paper, so that will have to do.

    (I don’t care about the voting system! No worries there.)

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Small problem here with positing “Political correctness” as the opposite of “Free speech.” No government is censoring the politically incorrect jackass; no police are jailing him. He may experience social disapprobation from some people*, but that’s just others in society exercising their free speech. Free speech does not guarantee the right to an appreciative audience.

    *though I rather doubt he experiences enough to silence him, given how
    many people seem to consider him a rallying hero for free speech

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    To whom did you intend to reply?

  • The_L1985

    You. Stop pretending to be a bigger ignoramus than you are.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    If this was a reply to me, it makes no sense whatsoever. I never posited “political correctness” as the opposite of “free speech”.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    To you, hence the “in reply to Enopoletus Harding” arrow.

    SisterCoyote: You’re not COOL because you’re ‘politically incorrect.’ … You don’t GET to play the Independent Will Not Be Silenced card – you are the one silencing others.”

    You, in response: “I do not see, however, how free speech is silencing”

    You are treating the terms “political incorrectness” and “free speech” as synonyms. Stop it.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Both support for political correctness and support for political incorrectness typically belongs to the category “free speech”.

  • The_L1985

    We’re not silencing him. We’re disagreeing with him. In order to silence him, we would have to, among other things, somehow enact a ban of his book. Frankly, I don’t think it’s worth our time to do so, and I’d be appalled if someone tried to ban it anyway, because banning books is a bad idea no matter how execrable they are.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Exactly my point. I said “I do not see, however, how free speech is silencing”. Learn to read, please (or explain how the quoted part of my comment can be misunderstood by you to such a great degree).

  • The_L1985

    Just re-read the comment again. OK, here’s what SisterCoyote means:

    You are being extremely rude to anyone who dares to disagree with you, in a way that implies that you want everyone else to either march lock-step with all of your opinions or STFU. When asked to clarify your statements, you either shift the goalposts halfway across the damn field, or you respond with vitriol (either your own, or that created by others, as in the case of the PIG series). Then, you act all innocent and defensive whenever people call you out on it.

    As for me, I believe in doing unto others as they do unto me. I can only handle that annoying smugness for so long before I start acting smug right back. See also: Threefold Return.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    You are being extremely rude to anyone who dares to disagree with you, in a way that implies that you want everyone else to either march lock-step with all of your opinions or STFU.

    -Whining (of which I have been guilty) is not a wish to shut other people the fuck up. My disagreement with other people is not a wish to shut other people the fuck up. Also, define “rude”. Show me some of my “rude” statements (I do not think I have made any here, though I have made misguided ones a month or three ago). I also do not think I have made any smug comments (though I could be wrong). How is any part of the Murphy quote I gave (which is what I presume you’re referring to) vitriolic? It merely states facts. How do I respond when people are calling me out on statements I never made?

  • Michael Pullmann

    Who says workers need to be paid wages equal to the price of all the cars they work on? Answer: No one. But it suits Murphy’s purpose to pretend someone did.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Where did Murphy say someone said that? He is using the tactic of reductio ad absurdum.

  • spinetingler

    No, he’s using the tactic of him not understandum.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Can you demonstrate this?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    This is what I mean when I refer to the strange up-and-down-voting practices of this commentariat. A simple request for evidence is met with five dislikes while a baseless assertion is met with fourteen likes. Thus is the nature of the world: the reasonable man is punished while the unreasonable one is cheered.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Yes, yes, this is the worst place EVAH. Do feel free to piss off somewhere else and take your pathetic attempts at martyrdom with you.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • John (not McCain)

    Fuck Robert P. Murphy and the drooling goons who pay attention to him.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Is this an argument?

  • John (not McCain)

    No – it’s an expression of what I hope happens to you. Preferably in a fire. Just think of it as me hoping the world becomes better than it is.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What have I done to deserve such a punishment?

  • Carstonio

    The world is not a just place, and this applies particularly to the market. It’s a mistake to assume that market success or wealth is a reward for industriousness or intelligence. Many people have made fortunes while lacking these. It’s the economic equivalent of the lament in the gospel song Farther Along about virtuous people often suffering and wicked people often prospering.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    This happens far more in politics, which relies on force, than in markets that do not rely on force. Cf., the FDIC and bailouts, which prevent the failure of institutions deserving failure.

  • Carstonio

    “Deserving failure” shows that you’re missing my point. No institution deserves success or failure. Those aren’t indicators of merit or virtue. An unfettered market is not a deity that dispenses to institutions what they deserve. It’s more like natural selection.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Elaborate, please. Profitability reflects the transformation of something less useful to consumers to something more useful to consumers (ignoring externalities and government interference).

  • Carstonio

    I mean that the number of consumers who choose to patronize the company is not an indicator of the company’s merit or virtue. A company can fail because of bad decisions or because of changing circumstances beyond its control.

  • Vermic

    Man, some serious accountant-bashing going on in this post! I agree with Fred’s points, but as a corporate bean-counter I feel rather wounded professionally. So, lest my peers and I be stigmatized as the devil on the shoulder of corporate America, whispering “cut … cut … cut …” into the ears of guileless CEOs, I want to remind everyone that we’re a good bunch, less nerdy than rumored, and the bulk of us are cubicle-dwelling drudges who have about as much say in company policy as the guy who comes and refills the water cooler.

    My job involves performing analyses, organizing data, and preparing and verifying reports so that the mucky-mucks can make informed decisions. The decision still rests with the mucky-mucks, though. When they make it, I sure hope they consider other factors besides the cold, impersonal numbers I provide, but that’s not up to me. My job is to provide accurate cold, impersonal numbers when the actual decision-makers ask for them. Policies like Regal’s come from the top (and that includes, of course, the executive-level accountants like Mickey D’s Peter Bensen).

    No doubt I’m being overly sensitive, but it’s been a rough day.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    My day job is as an accountant as well, so let me offer a few thoughts…

    The actual discipline of accounting is historical or “backward-looking”. I can tell you what has happened with a great deal of accuracy. In fact, large parts of accounting are dedicated to making sure that the financial records accurately reflect the business activity that has occurred.

    The part of the business world that deals with projections, with future plans and forecasting is not accounting, but Finance. Finance is a lot like accounting, but is ‘forward-facing’. An accountant wants to take historical data, and compile it into information about the present. Financial analysts need accurate information about the present based on past data to forecast to the future. The two disciplines are very complimentary, but still quite different.

    Here’s the rub: companies need accountants. Publicly traded companies, corporations, and pretty much any business larger than a one-person operation needs to have a bookkeeper, and an annual audit by an accountant. You can’t get away from writing checks and reconciling the bank statements, and that’s what accountants do.

    Financial analysts, on the other hand… well, there’s no corporate charter or law anywhere that forces a company to perform forecasting. Cost-benefit analysis is useful, and businesses need budgets, but when the economy is bad and money is tight, management gets those jobs, and if it isn’t as precise, well, as long as its not horribly wrong, that’s OK. When the economy went sideways in ’08, companies looked at what they could lay off, and the speculative, future-looking, optional analysts got the boot a lot more than the GAAP-required accountants.

    All of which is a long-winded way of saying that the executives have lots of people who can tell them about the past and the present, but not many who are looking to the future.

  • guest

    The three genuinely weirdest people I’ve ever met have been accountants.

  • Mike Helbert

    Don’t think Fred was bashing accountants so much as stating that the CEOs and upper management need to look to other sources as well. Accountants have an important place in business. However, when the ‘mucky-mucks’ only use the bottom line for decisions lots of people can suffer.

  • alfgifu

    I’m also an accountant (audit, assurance and extreme technical geekery), and felt rather mischaracterised by this post. At least, I hope I’m nothing like the ghoulishly myopic people Fred is imagining at Regal.

    Accountancy is about making it possible to hold people to account. When done properly, it’s a job that makes the world a better place – because the information is accurate, so it’s harder for those with power to hide what they’re doing.

    Accountants don’t tend to have much direct power themselves, unless they’ve become part of that power structure themselves – in which case what they’re doing is no longer accountancy.

    Didn’t know there were so many of us here!

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    But somebody has to take the data that you assemble into reports and disseminate that data to the decision makers, no? I wonder how many of those executives take a “tobacco industry scientist” approach to reading accounting reports. Which is to say, “Keep firing the messenger until we get a messenger who only supports the decisions we have already reached.”

    A kind of closed-circle of yes-men, who keep the corporate leaders too mired in a flood of feedback saying that their every decision is great to actually make good decisions.

  • alfgifu

    This certainly happens, and it’s one of the reasons that there are international accounting standards, requirements to disclose certain things, and a tradition of audit (which at its best is an independent scrutiny of the information already cleared by internal forces).

    These are not perfect by any means. One issue is that auditors are paid by the people they are auditing, which can seriously undermine their independence. Nobody has yet come up with a perfect solution to this – we tend to combine efforts to ensure that accountants are held to high ethical standards with efforts to break up the pattern (eg rotation of staff members dealing with the same client, or on rotation or tendering of firms on a regular basis).

    Another difficulty is that (partly because quite a lot of people dismiss accountants as bean counters) often the people who would benefit from accurate information don’t know what the potential problems might be, or what is being done to protect their interests. Accountancy is pretty dull in the details sometimes, but I’m convinced that it’s one of those little necessities that keeps a civil society civil. Also, if you don’t actually start picking through the details, the high level stuff usually is pretty interesting.
    If it wasn’t for the work of accountants at the UK’s National Audit Office, for example, the Guardian wouldn’t be able to produce its beautiful bubble charts of UK government expenditure.

  • Magic_Cracker

    I suppose we could try to convince them that treating their employees fairly is also in those executives’ own best interest…

    Not sure if this is currently possible. These people get paid no matter what, and even in cases where they are eventually fired or the company actually goes out of business, they’ve got plenty of money saved up, as well as handed over in severance, to soften the blow, unlike someone making $7.25, $14 or even $30 an hour.

    And it’s not like they’re not going to be able to find work again despite demonstrably poor performance. Corporate culture is such now that the C-suite executives are expected to maketake as much money as they can convince the Board to give them, so if you ruthlessly pillaged your former company and drove it into the ground, that’s the Board’s problem, not yours. You were just more savvy player at the table. In fact, we admire your chutzpah! Here’s 10 mil to maximize our synergistic efficiencies!

  • fraser

    Case in point: American Airlines wanted to pay its CEO $20 million despite the firm going into bankruptcy under his tenure. When the bankruptcy court turned that down, American, which is going through a merger, tried arguing that once the merger went through, it would be a new company so there’s no problem paying him the big bonus, right?

  • Magic_Cracker

    Say what you want about the Reign of Terror, at least it made some omelettes.

  • Magic_Cracker

    This article describes the sort of excuse-making that happens in the C-Suite. I particularly like how one executive claims that inexperienced salespeople were simply unable to seal their deals by end-of-quarter, but then turns around and says that doesn’t mean they’ll see a comparable sales bump the following quarter, which is what one would expect if the issue were simply a quirk of paperwork. The solution to this, of course, is to reduce payroll (because fewer salespeople will somehow result in more sales or something).

    Of course, none of it makes sense, but then again, the point isn’t to make sense, but to keep the plates spinning long enough to finish dinner.

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    Kind of an MMO prisoner’s dilemma.

  • Stone_Monkey

    I do find it interesting that these rabid capitalists appear to not be all that good at actual capitalism. It’s almost like they’re more eager to screw over their employees than they are to make their companies (and hence themselves) more money.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    It is more that they measure success in relative terms. They do not want to make more money as much as they just want to have more money than the other companies. The total amount of wealth circulating through the economy is incidental.

    They do not want a bigger pie from which to take a bigger piece. They just want to make sure that their share of it is bigger than the next company’s share.

  • Carstonio

    That’s what I read years ago about US auto makers compared to Japanese ones. Apparently the former were focused on increasing market share while the latter were focused on increasing profitability.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    The thing that is so great about ethics is that it IS the rational choice. I mean, personally I don’t care about morals either, though I guess I would argue that morals are a side effect of rational altruism.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    I guess I would argue that morals are a side effect of rational altruism.

    The problem is that people aren’t rational. Business aren’t rational, because they’re run by people. Markets aren’t rational because people are participating on all sides.

    Human beings are deeply, profoundly irrational. Entire disciplines (logic, ethics, game theory, etc.) have sprung up to try and counter the known cognitive flaws of the human mind. Not only are humans irrational, but we’re really really bad at long term projections, especially cost-to-benefit estimation.

    Contraceptive coverage as part of health care means fewer unplanned pregnancies, which means lower pregnancy-related health care costs. Insurance companies know this, and aren’t fighting it. Lower health care costs means lower premiums to purchasers of insurance, but Hobby Lobby isn’t a rational actor.

    Employee sick time means a healthier, more productive workforce with less employee turnover. Offering six days of sick leave a year amounts to a 2.5% increase in cost for hourly employees*; if an employee with sick leave takes one day off sick instead of working slower for two days because they’re sick, it’s a net gain. But the owner of Cherry Street Coffee, Ali Ghambari, isn’t a rational actor: “I don’t want my employees calling in sick when they’re not sick to get a day off”.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    The problem is that people aren’t rational. Business aren’t rational,
    because they’re run by people. Markets aren’t rational because people
    are participating on all sides.

    -Understood. But markets, thanks to the price system, have a self-correcting capability not found in government. The government has a different mechanism (most notably, votes) of correcting its policies. I say this method is usually (though not always) less perfect than the price system.

  • Lori

    I say this method is usually (though not always) less perfect than the price system.

    I think this represents confirmation bias more than reality.

  • Gotchaye

    I’m happy to grant that voting is “usually” (I’m not exactly sure what this word means here) less perfect than the price system, but this seems like a useless claim. Nothing interesting follows. This claim is almost entirely orthogonal to something practical, like “we should use a pure market mechanism for good X”.

    There are patterns, and we can look around and see them. Markets do a really good job at some things and a terrible job at others, and we can tell in advance which is which. Health care is not something markets do well. Even if markets are “usually” really awesome, they produce fucked up results for health care specifically. Meanwhile, governments seem to be able to do a good job, or at least a much better job, at this specific thing. So I say we should have lots of government involvement in health care, because evidently voting is a much better corrective mechanism than price in this particular case.

    There’s absolutely no reason to speak in generalities here.

  • smrnda

    Where markets fail is where there’s a real incentive on the part of powerful actors in the economy to do things that are bad for lots of other people who don’t have the same level of power to make decisions. Do CEOs care if workers lives suck and if they have poor health as long as they show up to work? Does it matter if they’re living in their cars in the parking lot? No, so unless some political force intervenes, workers will get screwed unless they somehow totally revolt, but why revolt when you can vote

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Three words: competition between employers.

  • The_L1985

    Yeah, but what if all the employers in the area suck, and you can’t afford to move to an area with decent jobs? Moving is expensive, and the working poor just don’t have that luxury.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Back in the early 19th century almost all jobs sucked. Yet, the wealth of the American nation grew.

  • The_L1985

    I didn’t say “the jobs suck.” I said, “the employers suck.” Surely you understand the difference between your boss and the work that you do.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    move to an area with decent jobs

    -So, yeah, you did imply “the jobs suck”.

  • The_L1985

    Forgive me for assuming you had better reading skills than a 3rd-grader.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • AnonaMiss

    CN: hypothetical discussion of the market effects of just letting the unemployed die.

    The problem with citing competition between employers as a mechanism to drive wages up is that there is also competition between potential employees. The difference is that when an employer fails to turn a profit, the company dissolves/goes bankrupt/what have you. When a potential employee fails to turn a profit, ze dies.

    Theoretically, the swings in the employer/potential employee market could be equalized by letting employers fail whenever the number of employers became too much for the market to bear, and letting labor fail when the number of people became too much for the market to bear. The quantities would swing back and forth and eventually reach an equilibrium. The problem is that people would die.

    So because we aren’t willing to watch the unemployed die, equilibrium is labor’s best case scenario. There will only ever be small swings into “a bunch of employers competing for labor”, because when employers are unable to meet their labor needs, they die off – they stop being employers, reducing competition among employers. But because we aren’t monsters, the economy can take massive swings into unemployment and underemployment, and market forces can’t correct this in the same way – because the market mechanism that would correct this would be people dying off.

    Though those of us who grew up during the 90s did get to see one of the rare periods of employers competing for employees (though only in a few sectors), it should be clear that this is extremely uncommon in a not-monstrous pure free market society. Which means that competition between employers will never be a significant driving force on real wages except in a few sectors at a time – and never ever on the wages of unskilled labor.

  • smrnda

    Markets only correct once a practice becomes unsustainable, like price gouging won’t work indefinitely. However, denying workers contraception might always reduce profits, but never enough that the business would be forced to change, and also possibly because workers for whom contraception use is an issue might leave and seek other employment.

    Plus, the costs of bad corporate policy aren’t paid by corporations. A company that pollutes and damages other people’s health to make more $$$ is behaving rationally, since the people who pay the price aren’t them. The problem is that actions have externalities, effects on other people. An action can be profitable for one actor but it can create negative consequences for others who have no power to force the first actor to change policy or pay for the damage.

    Companies can reduce the standard of living for workers a great deal and this is always going to be ‘rational’ for them since poor quality of life for workers isn’t a cost to them. “Markets work” mean “people with money make decisions to use their money in ways that are good to them” – not that they lead to outcomes that actually benefit anybody. It IS in the best interest of employers to turn their workers into serfs, or like workers in China who live at the company and have no freedom. But that’s a huge cost to a lot of people who are totally cut out of the decision making process.

  • reynard61

    “Markets only correct once a practice becomes unsustainable, like price gouging won’t work indefinitely.”

    Hell, sometimes not even then! What about the recent NECC meningitis outbreak? Theoretically “The Market” should have “corrected” itself as patients died and people would have (again, theoretically) figured out that medicine that was being injected into their (or their relatives) spines was making them (or their aforementioned relatives) sick and even killing them (or said relatives) — but that didn’t happen, and it took the CDC (a *government* body!) to figure out that a contaminated stock of medicine manufactured by an *unregulated* industry was killing the very people that it was supposed to help. Remember: “The Market” is about making money and making profits. It’s *NOT* about consumer advocacy or consumer protection. (And it, in fact, has a rather *abysmal* record in that particular regard!) Ascribing to it a miraculous, near-God-like power to “self-correct” has, thus far at least, proven problematic at best and catastrophic at worst.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    The price system is self-correcting only under some very specific, not-always realistic conditions. It assumes that all parties in the marketplace have the same access to information and education, and that all are acting rationally.

    There are numerous classic examples where the price system simply fails. (externalities & free riders, monopolies and collusion, and price-insensitive products) Look into efforts to privatize water utilities in central and south America; unless you’re willing to broaden your definition of self-correction through pricing to include death, disease, and insurrection, it doesn’t always happen.

    We can certainly disagree about the effectiveness of voting on government policies, but let’s try to keep context in mind. Market inefficiencies on light bulbs is one thing, people dying from impacted molars is something else entirely. For some scenarios, the risk of market inefficiencies from government intervention is preferable to the suffering and/or death of persons due to a failure of the price system to correct.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    You are right, which is why I am in favor of laws! Laws are a great opportunity to take those rational ethics & make ’em stick. I’m no anarchist. Humans are terrible at being people, but luckily…it is a group effort. At least, it should be.

  • Gotchaye

    There’s a lot I like here, but “businesses have a significant interest in their own employees being able to buy stuff from them” isn’t really plausible. If that was actually Ford’s motivation, then that was a fairly stupid decision, business-wise. My understanding is that it really wasn’t, but that it sounded good.

    So, yeah, obviously the Boeing analogy is silly. But Fred’s version of it is also pretty silly. Boeing doesn’t employ a significant fraction of the population; if Boeing pays its employees more, some of them will buy more plane tickets, but Boeing’s employees represent <.1% of its customer base. So if it raises wages by 10% and miraculously sees a 10% increase in ticket-purchasing from its employees (realistically, they would spend a lot of that raise on other things too), its labor costs will have just gone up by 10% while its revenues will have gone up by less than .01%.

    This sort of thinking only makes much sense if we're talking about a monopsonist employer (like a monopoly, but instead of being the only seller of some product, it's the only buyer of labor – it employs almost everyone). But no one's in this position except for the government, which actually does have the power to do things like raise the minimum wage. That's why we have to have the government doing it. It's not that it's irrational for business owners to pay as little as possible; it's that business owners should see it as suboptimal for all business owners to pay as little as possible (provided they're concerned about having stuff and not power). But they'd face a collective action problem in doing something about it.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    There’s a lot I like here, but “businesses have a significant interest in their own employees being able to buy stuff from them” isn’t really plausible

    To quote the old motto, “it’s more complicated than that”.

    Companies that do business with the general public (versus doing business with other companies) have a vested interest in the general public having discretionary income to spend. That’s true whether you’re Regal Cinemas or Costco or whomever.

    So, yeah, obviously the Boeing analogy is silly. But Fred’s version of it is also pretty silly… This sort of thinking only makes much sense if we’re talking about a monopsonist employer

    No, the straw-man version you’re presenting is pretty silly. Ford’s workers didn’t put all their extra money into buying more cars. Some of that money did go back to Ford that way, but a lot more of it went to local butchers and clothiers and other businesses, who in turn had more money that they could spend on clothes and meat and even brand new cars. The extra money didn’t return immediately and 100% to Ford. It returned gradually, through a growth in the consumer base, and it was well more than 100% returned.

    . But no one’s in this position except for the government, which actually does have the power to do things like raise the minimum wage. That’s why we have to have the government doing it.

    Oh how delightful. “I should not pick up litter on the street in front of my house, because there are other streets with litter that are not not in front of my house, so only the government cleaning all the streets at once should do it.”

    Yes, the government is the largest single agent in the economy, so when it decides to spend money or cut back on spending, the economy is more affected than if smaller actors do so. That doesn’t change the reality that businesses cutting employee hours, dropping employee benefits, and effectively reducing employee discretionary incomes doesn’t have a negative effect on the economy as a whole.

    But they’d face a collective action problem in doing something about it.

    Except that even when the government tries to mandate something for all business owners, specifically to eliminate the collective action problem, (Obamacare) companies like Regal still try to shit in the Commons.

  • Gotchaye

    I agree entirely with your first paragraph. I thought that was pretty clear.

    Huge, huge [citation needed] on “The extra money didn’t return immediately and 100% to Ford. It returned gradually, through a growth in the consumer base, and it was well more than 100% returned.” That strikes me as wildly implausible given that Ford was employing a tiny fraction of the population, while selling a tiny fraction of all products (not all cars, to be clear) to a nationwide market.

    Re: Litter
    Picking up litter in front of my house benefits me. It is worth the cost to me of picking up that litter. That’s almost certainly not the case for a single business raising wages in order to stimulate demand. I was obviously not saying that if a problem can’t be solved entirely by a person acting alone then it’s irrational for that person to contribute to a partial solution. It’s hardly controversial to say that there are such things as collective action problems.

    Again, I agree that when businesses squeeze employees this has a negative effect on the economy. I was explicit about this in the post you replied to, so I’m not sure what point you think you’re making. To quote myself: “business owners should see it as suboptimal for all business owners to pay as little as possible”. The question is whether one business can improve its own bottom line by unilaterally attempting to increase demand by raising the wages it pays its employees.

    Except that even when the government tries to mandate something for all business owners, specifically to eliminate the collective action problem, (Obamacare) companies like Regal still try to shit in the Commons.

    Hence my aside about the people who control businesses perhaps caring more about power than merely having stuff.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Huge, huge [citation needed] on “The extra money didn’t return immediately and 100% to Ford. It returned gradually, through a growth in the consumer base, and it was well more than 100% returned.” That strikes me as wildly implausible given that Ford was employing a tiny fraction of the population, while selling a tiny fraction of all products (not all cars, to be clear) to a nationwide market.

    It’s pretty self-evident. If the raises Ford gave to his workers didn’t wind up generating a net boost to the economy that led to more auto sales, Ford would not have grown. If the raises given to workers did not have a net increase, then Ford’s bottom line would have shrunk following the raises, not grown.

    “business owners should see it as suboptimal for all business owners to pay as little as possible”.

    Emphasis added; I think I read your use of that word differently than you intended.

    I think you mean to say “in an ideal situation, business owners would see it as suboptimal…” which I would agree with. And if frogs had wings, they wouldn’t bump their asses a-hoppin’.

    What I read was “it’s obvious that this is suboptimal practices, so naturally this is how business owners probably see things”. Obviously, business owners don’t see it that way, and honestly, it’s not obviously suboptimal. Adam Smith said pure competition was best for everyone. It wasn’t until the Nash Equilibrium won a Nobel prize that business schools started rethinking that approach.

  • Gotchaye

    It’s pretty self-evident. If the raises Ford gave to his workers didn’t wind up generating a net boost to the economy that led to more auto sales, Ford would not have grown. If the raises given to workers did not have a net increase, then Ford’s bottom line would have shrunk following the raises, not grown.

    Well, no. Not only are you ignoring the possibility that Ford became more successful for reasons having nothing to do with the wage increase, you’re also ignoring the reason Ford’s own website gives for the wage increase, among other possible benefits of wage increases that have nothing to do with demand stimulation.

    The easy story to tell here is that Ford was seeing very high turnover among fairly skilled workers – he couldn’t just take someone off the street and put them on the line since new workers had to be trained first. Higher wages reduced turnover, since workers’ other options weren’t nearly as good. At least a substantial part of the increased cost of the higher wages was made up in savings on training costs (some links are giving a turnover rate of 370%, down to under 20% after the wage increase, so Ford went from training almost 4 workers per year for every worker it was employing at a time to only training 1 worker per year for every 5 workers it was employing at a time). Productivity also went up as the higher wage attracted better workers, better-motivated all workers, and reduced absenteeism (one shouldn’t ignore the symbolic value of the higher wage, although the money was doing a lot to cheer up workers by itself).

  • banancat

    To me, it seems like that there is just too much short-term thinking in businesses in general. I don’t know if this is new or if it has always been this way, and I’m hesitant to reminisce about the “good old days”, especially since I wasn’t part of them.

    But here’s an example. I’m an engineer at Big Company. Big Company has a product going off patent this year, and also an impending strike of the people who work on the production floor. So I’m a contractor instead of a permanent employee. For everyone below management level, about 60% of us are contractors. Work that always needs to be done is mostly done by contractors. My job title even says “contingent worker”. But I do the exact same work as the permanent employees and I’m expected to do it at the same level and continue to do it indefinitely.

    On paper, this seems like a money-saving solution. Contractors cost a lot but the company doesn’t have to invest anything in us. But wait. Why the hell should we stick around forever? Because of this, there’s a very high turnover rate. I have no intention of committing to a company that won’t return the favor, and I’ll be out of there as soon as I can find something permanent at a competitor company. So congratulation, Big Company. You’ve just managed to waste tons of money on constantly recruiting and training new people. Someone decided that it’s better to just constantly pay for those things instead of maybe providing some incentive for people to stay around longer. Because in the short-term, it looks cheaper.

  • http://tobascodagama.com Tobasco da Gama

    CEOs, VPs, and the other executives live and die by the quarterly reports. 3 months is way too short a cycle for any kind of rational decision making to take place. It’s all completely mad.

  • P J Evans

    The one I was working at brought in contract workers for up to one year. If they were really good, the company would make them year-to-year employee-contractors, with better benefits, including a pension after some years. They do this on things that are supposed to be ‘projects’ and not permanent. (They’ll also make some of them regular employees.) There are also more responsibilities, of course…

  • Markus Viklund

    It might not be that simple. Where I work, we have roughly 50% contractors/consultants. Management wants to have 10% for flexibility. Why the difference? Because the contracts with the contractor’s companies (almost none of the contractor’s are self-employed) explicitly forbids asking a contractor to switch employer.
    It’s fine if the contractor asks first, though.

  • banancat

    I don’t know what the situation is at your company, but it’s very different than where I am. My contracting agency cares nothing about me except that they are getting a cut from Big Company. My agency would never bother to find a position for me elsewhere, let alone actually bring up the subject. They wouldn’t even bother to find me another position within my current company if I were to lose this job. They would still expect me to sift through all job posting, including theirs, and then apply if I think I’m qualified. They do nothing for me, and only take the place of recruiters for Big Company.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I did not know that about Cherry Street Coffee. I pass by their primary location every day as I walk to class, though I have never been in. I will probably avoid it from here on out.

    As for companies like Regal and employee retention, here is something I know from working at a minimum wage chain: the higher ups absolutely do not care about worker retention.

    From what I have been able to infer, as long as the job requires no particular education to do, they have absolutely no “bottom-line” reason to entice that employee to stay with the company, and only require only nominal incentive to get work from them. They figure that it is stupid scud work which can be done by anyone they pull off the street who could accept minimum wage, and they know that there are enough desperate people out there to fill it. For them, high unemployment is a good thing, because it means that employees can drop out of the company left and right and they will always have warm bodies willing to take their place. Heck, to a certain degree they have more incentive to gradually drive people out of the company by grinding down their enthusiasm and morale over a long period of time. An employee who sticks around and works their butt off will expect a raise after time and effort, while a new employee brought in to replace them will not.

    I agree with you that having a society where the average wage is higher and wealth disparity is lower will be better for business overall. However, somehow the business culture in this country has become fixated on the idea of externalizing costs. The idea that a company can reduce their expenses by making somebody else pay for them instead. The argument is sometimes made about society getting to dependent on other people paying for things for them, but we find that this happens to companies more than it does individuals. Productivity has costs, and the more a company tries to externalize those costs, the more they dig out their own foundation.

    Hell, look at the credit-default-swap fiasco that was part of the big banking crash. That was an example of the banks externalizing their costs, and they paid for it when the bottom fell out of the whole thing.

  • deltaexmachina

    The Culture Industry – The Ideology of Death

    ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-961596

    .././…

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Ignore Markuze.

  • de_la_Nae

    I always figured that the normal fast food employment model in the U.S. *required* high turnover. Especially since the market’s been pretty company-oriented these last handful of years (maybe more), with having far more applicants than positions, i.e. ‘why keep you and give you a raise when we can easily replace you’.

    Because even though it does take a competent, trained, experienced worker to do a great job at a fast food restaurant, an untrained/incompetent/inexperienced worker can do a so-so job, and can be burnt out and replaced within a year for another one, no problem.

  • P J Evans

    Not all fast-food places do it that way. In-n-Out pays well over minimum. (In my area, they start at about $10.50 an hour.) Maybe that’s why they always seem to enjoy the job. (They may also like working in a place that has windows and good lighting in the kitchens.)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Dick’s Drive In is like that in Seattle. Lots of people in Seattle love that place, but it has less to do with their quality (which is not bad but not exactly gourmet either) and more to do with it being a place that pays above minimum, gives benefits, and mostly hires college students, as well as being a city landmark institution.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It seems to me like it would be good and even helpful for an economy to have a certain percentage, maybe as high as 10% of its jobs be low-paying (perhaps even “sub-living-wage”, but hear me out), high-turnover, low-skill positions, specifically as a place for people who are newly entering the workforce to get that key first couple of resume lines and the various benefits of being introduced into the culture of being an employee beholden to an employer. And people would circulate into those jobs, and after a few months, maybe a year, they circulate out of them and into something with a bit of human dignity, thanks to a couple of lines on their resume and a form letter from the manager verifying that if nothing else, the employee has learned the arts of “showing up” and “Paying attention” and “Not sexually harassing customers and/or coworkers”. It’d be good for the teenagers, maybe even for people who are in the middle of working on a career change.

    What I don’t know is how you could make it legal to have jobs like that without capitalism causing them to become 90% of all jobs available in the economy because of their vast advantages in the “Extract wealth as quickly as possible” department.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    According to the “eliminate minimum wage” advocates, this is what Mom & Pop shops are supposed to to be, but can’t afford to be due to the cost of keeping an employee. <.<;

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think that most of those minimum-wage paying jobs are expected to be that in theory. Something a high school student does in their spare time, or a college student does on the side to get a little more cash flow without interrupting their schooling. However, in practice it has become far more common than that. Remember what I said about externalizing costs a few comments ago? Companies figure out that they could cut costs by going to that entry-level employee model. In turn, their operations become more formulaic and design-by-committee such that the competence of the low-level employees need only be nominal to provide a minimum acceptable level of service, “idiot-proofing” their business. But when so many companies start doing this, the overall level of pay and quality of service drops.

    It is like being rich. Everyone wants to be, but no matter how driven anyone is, only a few get to be. We are better off overall by making policies that account for that.

  • de_la_Nae

    Actually there is a bit of good news. The turnover at the fast food joint I work at on the side (full time student, can do the work in my sleep, and is flexible, so helps make up for the shittiness of it) has increased hilariously.

    I’m pretty sure it’s because the regional economy is recovering a bit. More people are willing to tell our McEmployer to shove it.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Speaking as someone whose held a few fast food jobs over the years, and was a manager at one…This is the attitude that the higher-ups have, yeah.

    The thing is, they aren’t the ones who have to deal with constantly retraining, customers always being angry because the newest new kid buggered their order, busy times being clusterFucks because the person at the cash register is holding every other link in the chain up…You get the idea.

    They just get to have a higher bottom line. And they get to yell at the managers for not running a tight ship.

  • de_la_Nae

    I was a manager for a while. Preach it!

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    It is a case of being penny wise and pound foolish. Turnover costs companies thousands of dollars per year. One figure I read said that replacing an $8 an hour employee costs somewhere on the order of $7,000. You could give that employee an annual raise of 5% per year for seven years and come out several hundred dollars ahead (assuming that the $8 an hour employee works full-time. If he or she works part-time, you could retain that employee even longer).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1072690047 Andrew Wyatt

    I already profane from patronizimg Regal because their projectionsts don’t know what the heck they’re doing. Watching LINCOLN at a local Regal chain, the picture was incorrectly framed, such that everything on the outer 20% of either side of the frame was cut off. Actors were speaking but invisible or only partly seen, intertextual titles were cut off and unreable. I complained twice to no avail. It was never corrected. The chain needs to spend a little money to actually train their protagonists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I know what you meant there, but “train[ing] their protagonists” made me laugh. :)

  • smrnda

    The real issue is that corporate executives view workers as less than human *things* who exist to no other purpose than to be exploited. They consider it an outrage to think of workers as actual human being with needs.

    And yet whenever someone talks about raising minimum wage, or else mandating heath care coverage, some jackass has to go on about the poor, suffering job creator who forces the underlings to work so hard to squeeze money out of workers now having to do without another massive compensation increase, and the poor shareholders who can’t afford another vacation home. Our media, and plenty of supposed ‘religious leaders’ do all they can to humanize the upper classes, and to make what are really minor inconveniences seem like huge affronts to human dignity, and to cast the worker, or the reformer, as some nasty person who is hurting some poor guy who works so hard. Worst are people who argue that it’s the poor people who are morally corrupt since they aren’t content with what they have. People saying this are usually well enough off that too.

    I say declare all out war. CEOs don’t think of workers as human, so workers should just flat out revolt. Until businesses are confronted with total mutiny they won’t do anything different. Consumers need to support this, loudly and vocally. Whenever I walk into a business establishment, I ask the person working there about benefits, compensation etc. If it sounds bad, I say something *really loud* in front of management personnel that “You sure work for some assholes.” Let management know that if there’s a strike, their customers won’t be whining that they can’t get a coffee, but will be on the side of the people who refuse to make coffee for minimum wage and no benefits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marc-Mielke/100001114326969 Marc Mielke

    That last bit sounds like a good way to get some poor worker into BIG trouble.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    I agree with every part but the last. First of all, as Mark says, it’s the worker who’d end up in trouble for “bad-mouthing the business”. And workers really can’t “mutiny”, because they need to put food on the table.

    The laws need to be changed so that companies have to treat their workers like human beings — it’s simply not going to happen otherwise.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Collective action is certainly a way of mitigating the burden placed upon workers. I also see the other points about this being dangerous. However, we do not necessarily need to put individual jobs on the line to see this happen.

    Remember what you said about the law, how it can compel employers to treat their employees better? We act through that. Elect politicians who would support such a law, and ignore the money being thrown at attempts to shoot such legislation down. Make sure those taking money to oppose it leave office.

    We have a weapon in the class war, and that weapon is the government. We just need to ensure that weapon stays out of the hands of the moneyed interests. After all, they have been working tirelessly to keep it out of the hands of our hands, we need to do the same.

    A motivated and informed electorate is their biggest danger.

  • Rae

    I worked at a Regal chain only a few years ago, and this excuse is actually a much, much more massive bullshit than this article makes it seem, because you know what I, a non-salaried employee, was offered an opportunity to do through that job?

    If you guessed “get health insurance”, then that’s right!

    Now, I’m not sure of the details of those health insurance plans, but there were still only a couple of employees who were working more than 30 hours a week who weren’t a) hourly or local management or b) students working during the summer and holiday seasons (who would almost all have insurance through their parents’ plans, thanks to the ACA).

    Granted, this is a decision by the top management (the people who actually managed the location where I worked was pretty awesome, FWIW) but this isn’t about their bottom line, it’s about an excuse to kick up a fuss against Obamacare and try to get more people opposed to it.

  • http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/ Ed Darrell

    Fred, I think we need to spend some more time on the actual history.

    From everything I’ve seen on the original story, Ford wasn’t trying to increase sales of his cars. In the famous quote, he was asked about cost-saving actions in his plant. He said the best cost-saving action he ever took was the first time he dramatically increased assembly-line workers’ pay from $2.50 to $5.00 a day. His costs went down, not up.

    At double the going rate, Ford had his pick of the best workers in Detroit. For any vacancy, he had experience people from other automakers and other manufacturing plants clamoring for the job. When he hired the best, absenteeism went down, productivity went up, quality went up. All of that boosted his bottom line.

    The second-best idea, Ford said, was the boost in pay to $6.00 a day.

    The increase in sales was not expected. It was unintentional. In one story I heard in an innovation course, Ford didn’t realize what had happened until the local officials complained that his employees were crowing the streets with their parked vehicles. Ford didn’t have a parking lot, because before the higher wage, they didn’t need it. Employees didn’t own cars, and didn’t drive to work. It took some accountant to point out that the big boost in sales in the Detroit area was employees buying the product they were proud to make.

    You’d think someone would pay a lot more attention to what our biggest companies (now) do for their employees — Apple, Microsoft, Exxon-Mobil, all the companies under Berkshire-Hathaway’s umbrella.

    Does the Regal chain show Pixar movies? They’re not smart enough to figure it out?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Unfortunately, that does not apply to a lot of companies these days.

    Sure, there are companies out there where good talent translates into good products, for which a good paying rate is an investment a company can justify as bringing back a good return. But that is not the case in a lot of other companies. A lot of them try to make their production process as formulaic as possible to remove the component of human skill. Doing so means that they do not have to even care about getting good talent, since talent is a non-factor once the job has been sufficiently scripted. They just need butts in seats which can follow directions, and they can get that from anyone. I suppose that the analysts really like that because it is so much more predictable than a more flexible system would be.

  • Jurgan

    I’m not convinced McDonald’s would benefit from the improved financial status of its customers. Places like McDonald’s, Walmart, Dollar Tree, are discount stores. As such, their profits may be counter-cyclical. A worker who isn’t making much money can’t afford to go to Outback Steakhouse or even Applebee’s for dinner, so he settles for McDonald’s because it’s cheaper. Hence, it is in McDonald’s interest to see poor economic circumstances.
    *Note: I could be completely wrong about this. I’m going on intuition, and a vaguely remembered NPR report from a few years back. It could be there’s a mitigating fact I’m overlooking.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Places like McDonald’s have other things going for them, such as speed. More people go to McDonald’s because of the ration of cost/time than they do because they lack money. Someone with too little money would avoid going to McDonald’s because even their cheap stuff is still more expensive (in the long run) than getting raw food and preparing it themselves. However, people who are pressed for time and/or energy are more likely to go to McDonald’s just because they are too tired or have too little free time to prepare food on a regular basis.

    Plus if you are someone who travels a lot, McDonald’s (as well as other chains) have the advantage of consistency of menu. No matter which McDonald’s you go to, no matter where in the country, you can be expected the same food at the same quality (generally so-so quality but still edible.) Go to something more local and you cannot guarantee what you are getting.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Someone with too little money would avoid going to McDonald’s because
    even their cheap stuff is still more expensive (in the long run) than
    getting raw food and preparing it themselves.

    That’s a hard argument to make. There was a study just out recently (no cite since I heard about it on the radio) that determined that the price of food has gotten so out-of-whack that in much of the US it is currently cheaper to go to a restaurant than to buy the same ingredients and cook for yourself — without even considering the labor cost involved.

    If you want to argue that it’s still cheaper in the long run because of the health costs associated with the Super Size Me Diet, you can do that, but I’d like to see some actual numbers rather than just assuming that cutting your food cost to $5 per person per day doesn’t end up yielding enough savings over the course of, say, 20 years, to cover a 1-in-50 chance of angioplasty in 2033.

    ETA: That’s “$5 per person, and no extra traveling cost for going to a supermarket, nor any time cost for shopping and preparation,” just to clarify

  • http://forholyterra.hobbycore.net Paul Bagosy

    I left United Artists after a three-year stint about six months before they were acquired by REG. At the time I left, I was a full-time employee working 36 hours/week, and the company helped subsidize my healthcare.

    United Artists was also one of the few theater chains operating in Pennsylvania that paid its workers overtime, because in PA,*they are not required to*. I’m sad to see that the takeover by REG turned into such a bad deal for employees.

  • http://www.corporateshootingstars.com.au/ gleedaniel

    An accountant is very important for the company. I should have been an accountant so that I can participate in corporate and company’s event.


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