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Old 12-04-2018, 06:27 PM
brujaja brujaja is offline
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Corporate pursuit of profit and its increasing social costs

I would really like to engage in discourse about putting some restraints on the pursuit of profits; particularly, where it intersects with the public good, other peoples' livelihoods, their ability to pay, and their survival itsel

It all started last night when I was making chili mac for my family for dinner. I noticed that the two boxes of mac & cheese and two cans of chili was no longer enough to go around, because there was less macaroni in the boxes.

I am told that corporations are legally obligated to maximize profits for their shareholders. They must take any actions that will increase profits because otherwise they can be sued for mismanagement. I am wondering, what is the end game here? They can reduce the amount of macaroni in a box more and more until people simply refuse to buy it. Will we eventually be paying full price for a box with only two or three noodles? At what point does the legal obligation to pursue maximum profit become an intolerable transgression against the well-being of the general public?

What about short-term versus long-term profits? What if an increase in pay to their workers will result in greater productivity? Would increasing wages still be considered a betrayal of their shareholders? What about harm to the community or the environment? Are corporations legally obligated to continue policies & practices that pollute or that put a strain on public funds, because otherwise the shareholders will be mad? Personally, I think that a giant corporation like Wal-Mart, that insists on paying workers so little that they must also apply for food stamps merely to survive (and are instructed how to do so by Wal-Mart itself) ought to have mandatorily unionized workers.

What if the founder of a company made his or her fortune on a good product with quality ingredients. They could make a lot more money switching to cheaper ingredients and selling that shitty product at the same price. Once that company has their IPO, are they legally obligated to make the shitty product instead? What if the founder doesn't want to? Could he or she then be sued?

It seems to me that there ought to be some restraints on this kind of thinking. Obviously, we need laws to prevent corporate mismanagement of other peoples' money; but I don't think it should be an unbridled imperative.
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Last edited by brujaja; 12-04-2018 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:53 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
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I'm obviously not an economist, but capitalism (when managed properly) can be a great thing that increases people's standards of living and quality of life. Life now is far far better than it was 300 years ago, in part due to capitalism. And once communist nations like China abandoned communist economics, their GDP growth rates skyrocketed. South Korea's economy grew far more than North Koreas. Taiwans grew far more than Chinas. West Germany's grew far more than east Germanys.

However there is no long range planning or concern for societal effects in true capitalism. Also true capitalism doesn't care about the wants/needs of those without money. There are major failings of the system, which is why you need the public sector to guide and regulate the market to deal with these inefficiencies.

Long range planning is usually done by the public sector because the private sector isn't good at it. Investments in infrastructure, education, health care, basic science, security, etc. all increase productivity and are good for long term profits, but they aren't really incentivized by the private market.

Basically, every capitalist country has a large amount of public sector intervention to take the harsh edges off capitalism and to correct for its failings. The only real debate is how much of a role should the public sector have, and in what areas.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-04-2018 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by brujaja View Post
... I am told that corporations are legally obligated to maximize profits for their shareholders. ...
This isn't true. First, it's not enforceable, and second, it's not clear what this would mean. Third, SCOTUS has explicitly stated what has been clearly true for some time:

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Originally Posted by SCOTUS
While it is certainly true that a central objective of for-profit corporations is to make money, modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not do so.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:06 PM
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Your example lacks an understanding of how a capitalist economy works. A company that reduces value in a product and attempts to sell it at the same price will find itself competing with companies who will sell it for less.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:37 PM
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The key concept here is fiduciary

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involving trust, especially with regard to the relationship between a trustee and a beneficiary.
But a company owes a fiduciary responsibility to more than just it's shareholders. It is also responsible to it's employees, it's customers, and the community it operates in.

There is an adage in business that a properly run business (ie: one that most efficiently manages it's responsibilities to all of it's beneficiaries) will be a successful business and that will lead to increased profits. Many in charge of businesses have perverted that adage (flipped it on its head) to say that whatever increases profits is necessarily making that business better. I believe this perversion is actually taught in business school.

But, the blame for this cannot just be laid at the feet of businesses. Society is to blame as well. There is no downside to a company ignoring it's fiduciary responsibilities to anyone other than it's shareholders. When was the last time you heard of an individual, or a city or state or federal govt suing a company for breach of fiduciary?

Wesley Clark is correct; free market capitalism is only half the story. There has to be an accompanying demand from the public that companies fulfill all of their fiduciary obligations. And this starts at home. Know who you do business with, don't compromise, don't be a shareholder that demands profits over responsibility. Engage on more than just a business level; demand that your friends and neighbors also act responsibly. Demand it of your teachers and of your children's teachers. And teach your children that there is more to success than profits.

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Last edited by mikecurtis; 12-04-2018 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:11 PM
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This isn't true. First, it's not enforceable, and second, it's not clear what this would mean. Third, SCOTUS has explicitly stated what has been clearly true for some time:
And, as an example, Amazon has clearly not attempted to maximize profits, but might be said to have increased shareholder value by its investments.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:15 PM
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Your example lacks an understanding of how a capitalist economy works. A company that reduces value in a product and attempts to sell it at the same price will find itself competing with companies who will sell it for less.
You believe in homo economicus. How quaint.
What might happen is that the company will reduce the price of the product, but not to the extent of the cost reduction, and thus increase the profitability of the product. In a world where every consumer carefully examined the price per ounce this might not work, but in our world the consumer will often buy the cheapest product, even if it is not the best value. Or competitors could jump on the bandwagon and reduce their product size also to match profitability.
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:35 PM
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You believe in homo economicus. How quaint.
What might happen is that the company will reduce the price of the product, but not to the extent of the cost reduction, and thus increase the profitability of the product. In a world where every consumer carefully examined the price per ounce this might not work, but in our world the consumer will often buy the cheapest product, even if it is not the best value. Or competitors could jump on the bandwagon and reduce their product size also to match profitability.
and yet there are quality products on the market.
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:45 PM
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I have to say that's a pretty bad place to make a stand against capitalism. Just read the box and it'll tell you what's inside (including the amount of the product which the box contains). Make your purchasing choices appropriately.

Now if there were no laws requiring companies to put accurate information on the labels of their products, that would be different. Companies could put anything inside and customers would just have to guess what's being sold.

I fully support laws which require companies to provide accurate information to customers. I generally don't support laws where the government is making decisions for the companies and the customers.
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:55 PM
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On a separate note, what the OP seems to be asking for is a guild economic system. This was an old economic system that predated capitalism.

The idea was that guilds controlled production. In order to produce a product, you had to belong to the appropriate guild. Let's say the candlemakers. Only members of the candlemakers guild had the legal right to manufacture and sell candles.

And the guild didn't just monopolize production it also defined it. The guild would set a standard for how a candle should be made, what the final product would be like, and what the price would be. And each member of the candlemakers guild was required to comply with the guild regulations. You weren't supposed to skimp on the quality of the candles you made. But you also weren't supposed to invent a new way to make candles cheaper or better. You weren't supposed to raise or lower your prices. You weren't supposed to claim that your candles were better than the candles made by other guild members. The idea was that a guild would deliver a consistent amount of a consistent product to a consistent market.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:22 PM
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Little Nemo, you were here long before I was; and I value & respect your input. So let me try and explain this in a way you can relate to.

I doubt you're much younger than I am, so surely you remember boxes of {name brand} mac & cheese that had full-size elbow macaroni and contained enough to truly be a side-dish for 4 people at dinner. Its cost was an amount that was a certain proportion of your average person's hourly wage.

Now, that same box of mac & cheese contains far less of a quantity of much smaller, lame-sized noodles, and it costs a significantly higher proportion of your average person's hourly wage. Inflation alone is nowhere near enough to explain the massive discrepancy. The fact is that the makers of {name brand} macaroni & cheese feel far more entitled to a far greater percentage of our wage for an inferior product.

This is what has changed; and this is what I struggle against.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by brujaja View Post
It all started last night when I was making chili mac for my family for dinner. I noticed that the two boxes of mac & cheese and two cans of chili was no longer enough to go around, because there was less macaroni in the boxes.
Sounds like you need to buy different macaroni.

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I am told that corporations are legally obligated to maximize profits for their shareholders. They must take any actions that will increase profits because otherwise they can be sued for mismanagement.
Other have mentioned that this is not entirely true. And anyway, taking “any actions that will increase profits” and “helping customers with quality products” are not mutually exclusive. If so, we would never see a product recall.

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I am wondering, what is the end game here?
Capitalism has no end game. It is not a sentient being and does not make plans.

Quote:
They can reduce the amount of macaroni in a box more and more until people simply refuse to buy it. Will we eventually be paying full price for a box with only two or three noodles?
Yes. Precisely. They will reduce the portions (or make things of cheaper quality) until they hit that breaking point where people stop buying it. If another company can make a better offer, go buy their stuff instead. This is why businesses tend to offer a range of products from the smallest, most minimal items up to large, luxury items.


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At what point does the legal obligation to pursue maximum profit become an intolerable transgression against the well-being of the general public?
Laissez-faire capitalism is not a good thing. Capitalism does need controls to make sure it is fair and works properly. Check out the history of America before consumer protection laws. They adulterated foods, sold poisonous wallpaper, and had factory workers ingest radium until their bones disintegrated. Journalists (aka enemies of the people) did a lot to inform people about unethical businesses and spurred laws to reform them. America’s products are mostly pretty safe, but places like China still have huge problems with counterfeited products and adulterated foods.

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What about short-term versus long-term profits?
Ask Blockbuster how that worked out.

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What if an increase in pay to their workers will result in greater productivity? Would increasing wages still be considered a betrayal of their shareholders?
There isn’t a direct correlation between cutting costs and making money. A businessman should pursue profit as the goal of the business. They should not - for example - run their business as a nonprofit charity without the consent of the shareholders. That said, only a total imbecile would ignore the importance of compensation. Labor is a “market” like anything else. Employers naturally seek to purchase labor at the lowest possible price, while employees seek to maximize their compensation. If the compensation offered isn’t commensurate to the skills the job requires, the employees will move on to greener pastures. The stingy employer, meanwhile, will be left without employees or will be forced to accept lower-quality candidates.

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What about harm to the community or the environment? Are corporations legally obligated to continue policies & practices that pollute or that put a strain on public funds, because otherwise the shareholders will be mad? Personally, I think that a giant corporation like Wal-Mart, that insists on paying workers so little that they must also apply for food stamps merely to survive (and are instructed how to do so by Wal-Mart itself) ought to have mandatorily unionized workers.
Yep. This is a huge problem. Places like Wal-Mart and McDonald’s are low-skill jobs, so the labor pool has next to no negotiating power. These companies actively exploit the poorest, least skilled workers who lack the skills to move on to better jobs. Meanwhile, Uncle Sam pays welfare for them to make up for the shortfall in wages. It’s a government subsidy with extra steps. We try to combat this with things like healthcare laws and minimum wages, but that’s only a band-aid fix. If we increased the minimum wage, do you think Wal-Mart’s CEO would take a pay cut? Fuck no. They’d just increase prices.

Things like this are responsible for what some people characterize as the “destruction of the middle class.” The idea is that Americans are increasingly becoming divided into two categories: At one end are Skilled workers who can command decent salaries, buy higher-quality goods, and send their kids to good schools (thereby breeding more skilled workers). At the other end are unskilled workers who take any low-wage job they can get, require government assistance, and have to send their kids to shitty schools. Some experts are worried that there is increasingly little between these two extremes.


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What if the founder of a company made his or her fortune on a good product with quality ingredients. They could make a lot more money switching to cheaper ingredients and selling that shitty product at the same price. Once that company has their IPO, are they legally obligated to make the shitty product instead? What if the founder doesn't want to? Could he or she then be sued?
No. The law doesn’t dictate what a business owner “must” do. Businesses recognize that customers have different incomes and different needs. They have an interest in reducing costs while maintaining quality. This is where you see stores that sell luxury goods. People with moderate or upper-level incomes will avoid buying things they think are “cheap” or of poor quality. For example, one of the factors that contributed to K-Mart’s death spiral was the public perception that K-Mart was a place for cheap and shoddy goods. The poorer members of society may be forced to buy the cheapest, lowest-quality things. But if everyone did that, higher-quality goods wouldn’t exist.

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It seems to me that there ought to be some restraints on this kind of thinking. Obviously, we need laws to prevent corporate mismanagement of other peoples' money; but I don't think it should be an unbridled imperative.
The last century saw a steady stream of labor and business reforms from start to finish. These included things like labor laws, compensation for injuries, pure food and drug regulations, banking regulations, standards for construction and consumer safety, antitrust laws etc etc. If capitalism was allowed to operate with no restraint whatsoever, it would end in disaster. Heck, it DID end in disaster in the 30’s and required a combination of increased government intervention and total global warfare to get things back on track.

One of the problems we are having is in our ability to fine-tune this system. Some countries place greater emphasis on their worker and consumer protections. For example, some countries limit CEO pay. If the CEO wants to increase his own salary, they must also increase the poorest worker’s salary.

America is kind of weird in this regard because our last 30-ish years have seen a concerted effort against workers and against regulations. Politicians have basically killed unions and convinced Americans that regulations are evil. To an extent, they have a point. Some things are literally impossible to manufacture in the US because they use toxic components that are banned, and so we buy these things from China because they are (a) cheaper and (b) someone else’s employees have to deal with the toxic chemicals. An unions got a bad reputation in America because they were sometimes corrupt or incompetent. There are case studies of unions who drove their businesses into near-bankruptcy because their insistence on labor protections outweighed their actual profitability. (Eg A business becomes uncompetitive because its union prevents the adoption of labor-saving technology)

America is admittedly struggling with this right now. We’ve been raised on a diet of trickle down economics, a hatred of government regulation, and a pseudo-religious belief that the rich deserve to be rich. We allow CEOs to bankrupt their companies and simultaneously collect multimillion dollar bonuses, which I find utterly baffling. There are actual dumbfucks Americans who think businesses won’t pollute environment because it’s not in their own best interest to do so. There are people who will eat from contaminated rivers because they don’t want “the government” to tell them which poisonous fish they aren’t supposed to eat. And then they keep going to work for the employers who kill them thanks to a combination of misplaced loyalty, desperation, cognitive dissonance, and plain old stupidity. It’s utterly baffling.

And, to be fair, if these businesses were held to a higher standard it would increase operating costs, and Americans would just bitch about higher prices until the business inevitably moves to Mexico or China, and then
we have no jobs all. I don’t pretend to know what the right answer is. All we can say is that American capitalism seems to work great for some people while actively fucking others, but so far it seems to work “good enough” for most people.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mikecurtis View Post
The key concept here is fiduciary



But a company owes a fiduciary responsibility to more than just it's shareholders. It is also responsible to it's employees, it's customers, and the community it operates in.

There is an adage in business that a properly run business (ie: one that most efficiently manages it's responsibilities to all of it's beneficiaries) will be a successful business and that will lead to increased profits. Many in charge of businesses have perverted that adage (flipped it on its head) to say that whatever increases profits is necessarily making that business better. I believe this perversion is actually taught in business school.

But, the blame for this cannot just be laid at the feet of businesses. Society is to blame as well. There is no downside to a company ignoring it's fiduciary responsibilities to anyone other than it's shareholders. When was the last time you heard of an individual, or a city or state or federal govt suing a company for breach of fiduciary?
With rare exceptions (lawyers, accountants, financial advisors) companies do not owe a fiduciary duty to their customers. Even insurance companies have only a “quasi-fiduciary “ relationship with their customers.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:12 AM
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Little Nemo, you were here long before I was; and I value & respect your input. So let me try and explain this in a way you can relate to.

I doubt you're much younger than I am, so surely you remember boxes of {name brand} mac & cheese that had full-size elbow macaroni and contained enough to truly be a side-dish for 4 people at dinner. Its cost was an amount that was a certain proportion of your average person's hourly wage.

Now, that same box of mac & cheese contains far less of a quantity of much smaller, lame-sized noodles, and it costs a significantly higher proportion of your average person's hourly wage. Inflation alone is nowhere near enough to explain the massive discrepancy. The fact is that the makers of {name brand} macaroni & cheese feel far more entitled to a far greater percentage of our wage for an inferior product.

This is what has changed; and this is what I struggle against.
I understand all this. I'll admit I got annoyed at the way ice cream containers got getting thinner while the height and width stayed the same. And I remember when yogurt used to be sold in eight ounce containers.

But this isn't deception. I can still look at containers of ice cream or yogurt or macaroni and cheese and see how much they contain. If I don't think the containers has enough, I can buy a different one. Stores even post little signs so you can compare the prices per ounce.

The overall trend is that the cost of food has been steady for the last twenty years (figured as a percentage of income). It hasn't become more expensive to feed a family.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:43 AM
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Things like this are responsible for what some people characterize as the “destruction of the middle class.” The idea is that Americans are increasingly becoming divided into two categories: At one end are Skilled workers who can command decent salaries, buy higher-quality goods, and send their kids to good schools (thereby breeding more skilled workers). At the other end are unskilled workers who take any low-wage job they can get, require government assistance, and have to send their kids to shitty schools. Some experts are worried that there is increasingly little between these two extremes.
This is not a problem of the capitalism per se.

It is a problem by all the data signs available of the technology shift that is destructive to the middle skilled work but yielding so far ever more returns to the high skilled labor and the capital. As it seems to be occuring across various models, but mitigated sometimes by different structures, it is not something of a problem of Capitalism or State Socialism, but the economic structuring of computer enhanced production models.

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Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
With rare exceptions (lawyers, accountants, financial advisors) companies do not owe a fiduciary duty to their customers. Even insurance companies have only a “quasi-fiduciary “ relationship with their customers.
It is worth for such conversations to point out that the confusion of Business with Corporation and particularly the Shareholding Corporation causes substantial lack of understanding.

Most companies are not the shareholder corporations, and this is extremely the case in the USA by the data, most companies are the partnership style companies, LLCs or similar.
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It’s interesting to note, though, that despite earning $8 trillion less in total gross receipts, pass-throughs earned more net income (over $1.3 trillion) than corporations (over $800 billion) in 2011.
When posters start their complaints about the Corporations and shareholders, it is mistaking the mediatized portion of the economy and the business sector for the reality of the business sector. It is a distortion that probably leads to the substantial miscomprehensions.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:46 AM
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First of all, JB99, that was a beautiful, reasoned, expansive answer for which I am grateful. Thank you for taking the time for this great response.

Second, Little Nemo, alas! -- no one seems to be competing with Kraft with a better mac & cheese. EXCEPT Cracker Barrel! The amount isn't much better, but the cheese goo is phenomenal.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:01 AM
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and yet there are quality products on the market.
Right. There are quality products, and also products with low quality marketed as quality products.
I personally heard the quality director of a division of a major company say that he could get away with charging more for bad product due to our reputation for quality.
Haven't you ever seen larger packages cost more per unit than smaller ones? I have. Odd, but perhaps they overproduced the smaller ones, or perhaps they figured that since people just assume larger packages are cheaper by unit they could get away with it.
Are you aware that restaurants put a high price item on the menu, not to sell it, but because people tend to pick the second highest price item, and so if they make that more profitable they can move a lot of them.
There are lots of examples.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:05 AM
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I have to say that's a pretty bad place to make a stand against capitalism. Just read the box and it'll tell you what's inside (including the amount of the product which the box contains). Make your purchasing choices appropriately.

Now if there were no laws requiring companies to put accurate information on the labels of their products, that would be different. Companies could put anything inside and customers would just have to guess what's being sold.

I fully support laws which require companies to provide accurate information to customers. I generally don't support laws where the government is making decisions for the companies and the customers.
If you are addressing me, I'm not taking a stand against capitalism. What I describe is definitely legal. It's probably even ethical. But there are tons of ways of directing consumer behavior that wouldn't work if consumers were as rational as traditional economic theory says they are. Thus the Nobel prizes for Kahnemann and Thaler.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:15 AM
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If you are addressing me, I'm not taking a stand against capitalism. What I describe is definitely legal. It's probably even ethical. But there are tons of ways of directing consumer behavior that wouldn't work if consumers were as rational as traditional economic theory says they are. Thus the Nobel prizes for Kahnemann and Thaler.
No, I was responding to the OP. I feel there are some legitimate problems with capitalism but I didn't see this issue as one of them.

In my opinion, setting a standard for what the size of a product "should" be rather than letting the free market decide would create more problems than it would solve. Maybe most people prefer five ounce containers of yogurt.

I'm pretty much in agreement with what you wrote.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:15 AM
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First of all, JB99, that was a beautiful, reasoned, expansive answer for which I am grateful. Thank you for taking the time for this great response.

Second, Little Nemo, alas! -- no one seems to be competing with Kraft with a better mac & cheese. EXCEPT Cracker Barrel! The amount isn't much better, but the cheese goo is phenomenal.
Just curious - were you aware of the reduction of size of the container in the store, or only when you got the mac and cheese home?
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:20 AM
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This is not a problem of the capitalism per se.

It is a problem by all the data signs available of the technology shift that is destructive to the middle skilled work but yielding so far ever more returns to the high skilled labor and the capital. As it seems to be occuring across various models, but mitigated sometimes by different structures, it is not something of a problem of Capitalism or State Socialism, but the economic structuring of computer enhanced production models.
It is common now for services such as cleaning of offices to be contracted out, so that the company does not have to pay benefits to the cleaners. That isn't the result of automation. The gig economy may be enabled by computers, but it is not caused by computers.
In the short term these strategies make sense, but if they result in an economy where the lower 50% or 60% can't afford the products of the companies cutting costs, it might not be a good idea in the long run. But few managers have the clout to think long term.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:22 AM
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No, I was responding to the OP. I feel there are some legitimate problems with capitalism but I didn't see this issue as one of them.

In my opinion, setting a standard for what the size of a product "should" be rather than letting the free market decide would create more problems than it would solve. Maybe most people prefer five ounce containers of yogurt.

I'm pretty much in agreement with what you wrote.
Given the obesity crisis, making packages smaller might be a good thing.
But if stores really cared, they'd make the unit price much bigger and more prominent on shelf labels - and make the shelf labels be closer to the product. I check this stuff, and sometimes it is real tough to figure out which label goes with which box.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:24 AM
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With rare exceptions (lawyers, accountants, financial advisors) companies do not owe a fiduciary duty to their customers. Even insurance companies have only a “quasi-fiduciary “ relationship with their customers.
I disagree.
If a company knowingly puts out a product that fails to live up to its implied guarantee (if they sell a garden hose that does not transmit water, for instance) or if a company lies about what its product does (that the garden hose cures cancer); that's fraud. A company has a fiduciary obligation to it's customers not to commit fraud.
If a company charges a captive consumer group an exorbitant price, for no other reason than that they can; that's profiteering. A company has a fiduciary responsibility to its customers not to be profiteers.

Fiduciary is about more than money, it's about trust.
I would argue that a company's primary fiduciary obligation is to the community in which it operates and that includes it's customers.

And maybe there is no law specifically barring a company from selling 10 oz of macaroni in the same box they used to sell 12 oz in, but that's a clear violation of that trust.

mc
  #24  
Old 12-05-2018, 02:24 AM
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With rare exceptions (lawyers, accountants, financial advisors) companies do not owe a fiduciary duty to their customers. Even insurance companies have only a “quasi-fiduciary “ relationship with their customers.
IIRC, the Trump Administration is trying to turn back the new rule that financial advisors must act for the benefit of their clients. Or should try to. So you can scratch that one from your list.
  #25  
Old 12-05-2018, 02:25 AM
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Wasn't it Ms. Samantha Tisdale of North Wales who said "Capitalism is the worst system of economics ... except for all the others which have been tried from time to time."?

Key is to find compromise between free enterprise and having jackbooted statist police control macaroni factories at gunpoint.

Anti-trust legislation; the rise of labor associations unfettered by "right-to-scab" laws; government-controlled central banks; Keynesian fiscal policies; regulations for employee safety, truth in advertising and packaging, and clean environment; high standards of public education; prosecutions for fraud and other malfeasance; and a corporate income tax so that the most successful entrepreneurs would share their success with society's less fortunate — these are things which made America very prosperous and a beacon to the rest of the world for most of the 20th century. If you want this back, start enforcing laws already on the books. Reject the political party which opposes all regulations and taxes; and passes "right-to-scab" laws, etc.

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With rare exceptions (lawyers, accountants, financial advisors) companies do not owe a fiduciary duty to their customers. Even insurance companies have only a “quasi-fiduciary “ relationship with their customers.
As recently as the 21st century, Wall Street firms were giving deliberately bad advice to their clients and one top executive (Jamie Dimon?) admitted as much in testimony before Congress. A law was passed only very recently affirming that investment advisers had a duty to offer sound advice.
  #26  
Old 12-05-2018, 02:43 AM
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I worked for a small food manufacturer. When the cost of ingredients went up, we had few choices: lose money on the product, raise the price of the product, reduce the size of the product, or use cheaper (worse) ingredients/packaging. Customers hate getting less product for the money, but they also hate paying more for the same size product (and will buy another company's product if it's cheaper). We occasionally would have to discontinue favored products when sales would drop off after raising the price. But we also had to pay rent increases, and give rare raises to the production staff. There was no price-gouging taking place. Customers would call us, yelling about how the jars were now plastic instead of glass, or how the price was higher, and what greedy bastards we were.

You can't have it both ways. When costs go up, the price has to come up, or the size has to come down.
  #27  
Old 12-05-2018, 03:26 AM
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It is common now for services such as cleaning of offices to be contracted out,
this has indeed been the case for many years with large corporations.
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so that the company does not have to pay benefits to the cleaners.
There are many reasons to contract out cleaning services for large company or even a medium sized on. Since the cleaning services companies market depends on the national regulation(which for many countries requires the benefits payable in such contracting companies, but it is a trend that is wide, it is unlikely "not paying benefits is the key explanation."


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That isn't the result of automation.
Indeed no, it is decades old. But since I said nothing of the subject, it is a strawman

Quote:
The gig economy may be enabled by computers,
the gig economy is not automation, and aside from the easy journalist articles, in the economic data it is not even clear it is anything but a mirage that techno journalists repeat from the PR of tech companies.

But again irrelevant to the observation.

Quote:
In the short term these strategies make sense, but if they result in an economy where the lower 50% or 60% can't afford the products of the companies cutting costs, it might not be a good idea in the long run. But few managers have the clout to think long term.
Perhaps.

It is an assertion, I might not even disagree with it, but it is not relevant to the observation that the computer enabled automation is driving the large changes in the economic production, and which is structurally giving the better economic rewards to the higher skilled labor.
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Old 12-05-2018, 03:29 AM
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I disagree.
If a company knowingly puts out a product that fails to live up to its implied guarantee (if they sell a garden hose that does not transmit water, for instance) or if a company lies about what its product does (that the garden hose cures cancer); that's fraud. A company has a fiduciary obligation to it's customers not to commit fraud.
What you have described is not a fiduciary relationship.

Unfortunately this discussion is likely to continue in this direction of assertions from sentiments not the real laws or economic relationships.

this is unlikely to lead to any useful insights, but may be emotionally satisfying.

Last edited by Ramira; 12-05-2018 at 03:30 AM.
  #29  
Old 12-05-2018, 08:52 AM
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I doubt you're much younger than I am, so surely you remember boxes of {name brand} mac & cheese that had full-size elbow macaroni and contained enough to truly be a side-dish for 4 people at dinner. Its cost was an amount that was a certain proportion of your average person's hourly wage.

Now, that same box of mac & cheese contains far less of a quantity of much smaller, lame-sized noodles, and it costs a significantly higher proportion of your average person's hourly wage. Inflation alone is nowhere near enough to explain the massive discrepancy. The fact is that the makers of {name brand} macaroni & cheese feel far more entitled to a far greater percentage of our wage for an inferior product.
I don't necessarily know that this is true, that we are paying a larger percentage of our wages on less product.

I don't know of any figures on macaroni, but other staples, like flour, has gone up by 1488% since 1913. Which sounds outrageous, until you consider that average annual income since 1913 has increased by 4010%. (Cite.)
Quote:
They can reduce the amount of macaroni in a box more and more until people simply refuse to buy it. Will we eventually be paying full price for a box with only two or three noodles?
The question is, would you buy a box of macaroni with two noodles in it? If so, then that's what they will sell. If not, then they either increase the number of noodles, or lose market share to a competitor who does.

Regards,
Shodan
  #30  
Old 12-05-2018, 09:14 AM
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Your example lacks an understanding of how a capitalist economy works. A company that reduces value in a product and attempts to sell it at the same price will find itself competing with companies who will sell it for less.
Unless they're protected by IP law. Or barriers to entry. Or regulatory capture. Or legal shenanigans. Or any other abuse of corporate power.

Theory is cute, but reality is harsh. Capitalism is no less vulnerable to human nature than Communism is, and the idea that somehow is is a pervasive myth that opens the doors to even further abuse by shutting down conversation.
  #31  
Old 12-05-2018, 09:33 AM
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Now, that same box of mac & cheese contains far less of a quantity of much smaller, lame-sized noodles, and it costs a significantly higher proportion of your average person's hourly wage. Inflation alone is nowhere near enough to explain the massive discrepancy. The fact is that the makers of {name brand} macaroni & cheese feel far more entitled to a far greater percentage of our wage for an inferior product.

I often wonder if a lot of things we thought were much bigger when we were kids were actually the same size and just seemed larger because we were a lot smaller as an 8 year old.

But generally speaking, for most consumer products, I think that other than regulations for ensuring safety and accurate reporting of the ingredients, the market is sufficient for determining what and companies sell. Companies are certainly able determine the optimal price and portion size to maximize profitability. Just as you are free to explore alternative brands or foods.
  #32  
Old 12-05-2018, 12:10 PM
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What you have described is not a fiduciary relationship.

Unfortunately this discussion is likely to continue in this direction of assertions from sentiments not the real laws or economic relationships.

this is unlikely to lead to any useful insights, but may be emotionally satisfying.
Isn't that the whole point of a great debate? To discover the distance between what is and what should be?

Words and concepts are more than their legal definition. If we want to know what the law says we can just open a book and read. How prosaic. But, if we want to know what the law should say, we talk to each other. We engage. We debate.
Brujaja has asked a philosophical question: What responsibility (if any) does a company owe society? How do we, as society, ensure that this responsibility is met?

Fiduciary is more than just a legal term; it is a concept. And as a society we have to get past the idea that the law is the beginning and end. Just because the law says what a fiduciary relationship in business must include, at a minimum, doesn't mean that there isn't a higher responsibility that implies what it should include as well.

Just as there is a social contract between men, there is an economic contract between business and society the goal of which is the betterment of all. Why do we have companies in the first place? It's for the betterment of us all, not for the betterment of the companies. All too often people follow the literal word of the law and completely ignore the spirit. If we all agree that a company owes fiduciary only to itself then we've already lost.

It starts with recognizing that we're all in this together.

mc
  #33  
Old 12-05-2018, 01:03 PM
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Here's a picture I found of a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese from the 1970's. The net weight is 7 1/4 oz.

Here's a contemporary box. The net weight is 7.25 oz.

So it looks like they have not, in fact, reduced the amount of macaroni in the box.

Perhaps brujaja didn't notice that she bought a different size or variety of box than she had in the past?
  #34  
Old 12-05-2018, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Ramira View Post
this has indeed been the case for many years with large corporations.

There are many reasons to contract out cleaning services for large company or even a medium sized on. Since the cleaning services companies market depends on the national regulation(which for many countries requires the benefits payable in such contracting companies, but it is a trend that is wide, it is unlikely "not paying benefits is the key explanation."
What regulations require that a company pay for health insurance or a 401K plan? Companies find it is publicly embarrassing to shortchange a certain part of their workforce, for instance by giving these benefits to regular workers but not to cleaners. If the cleaners are employed by a third party, it is not their problem any more. So benefits are a major reason.
Contracting out does have benefits in many cases - for instance a small company will find it much cheaper to do payroll using a third party rather than do it in house. But cleaning doesn't have much of an economy of scale.
Quote:
Indeed no, it is decades old. But since I said nothing of the subject, it is a strawman
In fact this kind of thing exacerbates income inequality. And it has nothing to do with automation.
Quote:
the gig economy is not automation, and aside from the easy journalist articles, in the economic data it is not even clear it is anything but a mirage that techno journalists repeat from the PR of tech companies.

But again irrelevant to the observation.
The gig economy is enabled by computers. In the old days if you wanted a logo made, for instance, you'd find a local graphic artist. Now you can get on one of the many gig economy sites and get it done by someone in Russia for almost no money. My wife is a free lance writer, and while she has steady clients for medical encyclopedia articles she more or less grabs a bunch on-line. Then there are Uber and Lyft which increased the number of people doing gig jobs (and taxi driving is not really a gig thing) and was made possible by apps.


Quote:
It is an assertion, I might not even disagree with it, but it is not relevant to the observation that the computer enabled automation is driving the large changes in the economic production, and which is structurally giving the better economic rewards to the higher skilled labor.
Automation is a driving force, of course. But don't think that being highly skilled is going to save you. My old company opened a design center in India (like most Silicon Valley companies) to reduce the cost of skilled labor. Some people moved from California to India, took a 50% pay cut, and still wound up relatively better off. This would be impossible without the net, of course. And in my career many jobs which would have been called highly skilled have been automated out of existence.
  #35  
Old 12-05-2018, 02:09 PM
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What regulations require that a company pay for health insurance or a 401K plan?
The national regulations. Of course in your American environment you do not have good regulations. But that is not the case in the other countries. (and of course the 401k is a purely american thing). And yet it is widely seen, the outsourcing of these kinds of services even in the countries with such regulations.

So your assertion is at the best too simple.
Quote:
But cleaning doesn't have much of an economy of scale.
the specialized management of such a service seems to have scale advantages. This would not be surprising as the specialization in services has many examples of scale advantages otherwise the large service companies would never exist.

Quote:
In fact this kind of thing exacerbates income inequality. And it has nothing to do with automation.
certainly it may. And has for the many decades. It is irrelevant to my observation and an odd obsession - straw man you attack.

Quote:
The gig economy is enabled by computers.
It is certainly the dream of the Silicon Valley tech companies.

It is not clear this is in fact actually happening as an expansion of "gigs" contre simply the substitution to the Tech Company hyped platforms.

The actual datas available lead us to suspect the Silicon Valley styled and backed hype is very, very far ahead of the reality.

contrary to the automation investments, which we see in the datas.

Quote:
But don't think that being highly skilled is going to save you.
this is again editorializing against a straw man.

My post said nothing about saving you. Or any predictions of the future. Or anything of an advice.

It was the observation about the current reality in the recent historical changes in the economic structure and the returns to economic activity.

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Originally Posted by mikecurtis View Post
Isn't that the whole point of a great debate?
It is not the path to a successful debate to completely misuse words and to invent new meanings.

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To discover the distance between what is and what should be?
Maybe. But confusing yourself in misusing words is not usually successful.

Quote:
Words and concepts are more than their legal definition.
The Fiduciary duty is a legal concept.

The Legal concepts are the legal constructs.

You desire to create some new legal obligations around the stakeholders. This is a different concept than the fiduciary duty that has the specific meaning (indeed it really is never used outside of the corporate law and in the related finances.

The misuse of terms will not get you very much clarity in exploring that.

If you mean duty to society, that is a different idea.

Quote:
If we want to know what the law says we can just open a book and read.
usually in fact this is a bad way to learn what law says as the law texts use specific terminologies that the persons not educated in the law tend to misunderstand when reading naively.

Quote:
Brujaja has asked a philosophical question: What responsibility (if any) does a company owe society? How do we, as society, ensure that this responsibility is met?
Actually the OP seems to be making a badly based complaint about how consumer goods provision based a biaised memory of the good old days versus the modern, a common banal thing.

A discussion of the role of the company in society is probably best to start with the understanding of the forms of the company and the tools of society including the government via the laws and via the oversight and regulations, such as the Consumer Protection regulation that in the 20th century helped very greatly level the playing field for the better company actors againts the companies that cheated, in the markets where the regulations exist and are well enforced.

Last edited by Ramira; 12-05-2018 at 02:10 PM.
  #36  
Old 12-05-2018, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Ramira View Post
The national regulations. Of course in your American environment you do not have good regulations. But that is not the case in the other countries. (and of course the 401k is a purely american thing). And yet it is widely seen, the outsourcing of these kinds of services even in the countries with such regulations.
The lack of such regulations contributes to our especially bad income inequality. Propose them here and you'll be called a socialist or worse. And you'll be told that countries with these regulations are suffering.
Now, just like the payroll example I gave, a company with a small office is going to contract out cleaning, since there won't be enough to keep even one person busy. But that's not true for large companies with multiple floors or multiple buildings.
Quote:
It is certainly the dream of the Silicon Valley tech companies.

It is not clear this is in fact actually happening as an expansion of "gigs" contre simply the substitution to the Tech Company hyped platforms.

The actual datas available lead us to suspect the Silicon Valley styled and backed hype is very, very far ahead of the reality.
16.5 million workers in the US are employed in contingent jobs. Cite. 6 million of these, or 3.8% of workers, are directly in contingent jobs as opposed to working for contracting agencies. Call that small?
Maybe your government doesn't allow Uber in, but around here the significance of ride sharing services is no hype. When we wanted to get from Connecticut to New York we took Lyft - and got a car in five minutes. When we wanted to go back it took us 30 seconds to get a car.
The sites I mentioned are not hyped by Silicon Valley at all. They just exist. Care to give some specific examples of this hype?

Quote:
contrary to the automation investments, which we see in the datas.
Could you share this data?
Quote:
this is again editorializing against a straw man.

My post said nothing about saving you. Or any predictions of the future. Or anything of an advice.

It was the observation about the current reality in the recent historical changes in the economic structure and the returns to economic activity.
Those who claim income inequality and automation is not a big problem often claim that low pay is the result of insufficient skills. The "highly skilled" worker will prosper., But the highly skilled worker is not immune from automation. I've seen plenty of people who would be considered highly skilled being unemployed for long periods. I got to look at their resumes.
  #37  
Old 12-05-2018, 03:02 PM
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16.5 million workers in the US are employed in contingent jobs. Cite. 6 million of these, or 3.8% of workers, are directly in contingent jobs as opposed to working for contracting agencies.
And?

This is not responsive to what I wrote. I wrote
Quote:
It is not clear this is in fact actually happening as an expansion of "gigs" contre simply the substitution to the Tech Company hyped platforms.
Quote:
Call that small?
I call it not relevant. the question is the relative expansion and the difference in the trends.

Quote:
Maybe your government doesn't allow Uber in, but around here the significance of ride sharing services is no hype.
Unless the taxi services are a majority of this employment this is merely the anectdote as analysis and not a real insight into the question of it the "gig" employment is in fact expanding in a real way different than before.
Quote:
Care to give some specific examples of this hype?
Compare your ten and twenty year trend line datas on the short-term employment.


Quote:
Those who claim income inequality and automation is not a big problem often claim that low pay is the result of insufficient skills. The "highly skilled" worker will prosper., But the highly skilled worker is not immune from automation....
Since I have not made any claims of this nature, you are responding to either some strange straw man you have constructed in your head or have not been able to understand what I wrote.
  #38  
Old 12-05-2018, 03:43 PM
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16.5 million workers in the US are employed in contingent jobs. Cite. 6 million of these, or 3.8% of workers, are directly in contingent jobs as opposed to working for contracting agencies. Call that small?
I call it a smaller percentage than it used to be, which everyone who gets their BLS data from BLS instead of journalists already knows.
  #39  
Old 12-05-2018, 03:48 PM
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The idea that a company has an obligation to generate profit for its owners is more a function of what sort of company it is. For-profit companies have that as their goal. Nonprofits and not-for-profits do not.

But there's no legal or ironclad obligation that everything a company does has to be profitable. Plenty of companies donate money or sponsor things that have dubious returns in terms of PR and advertising relative to the amount of money spent. Or they may choose to source products from certain suppliers, or meeting certain specs because they value that more than sheer profits.

ISTR that the reason that package sizes decrease is less of a desire to hoodwink consumers as it is attempts to keep the price per package relatively constant in the face of increased costs. In other words, say... Folgers has kept the price per can/package relatively constant, while the size has decreased. Apparently people prefer this (as probably indicated by sales) versus keeping the package size constant and varying the price. The package size has definitely decreased- it was a 16 oz package (1 lb) back in the metal can days, but they're 11.5 oz now.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyl...nyJ/story.html

I do agree that there needs to be better regulation of the way companies treat low wage workers. Not a higher minimum, but at least remove the differences between "part time" and "full time" hourly workers as far as benefits are concerned, so that companies don't habitually work people 38 hours a week and then claim they're part time and therefore ineligible for benefits.
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Old 12-05-2018, 03:53 PM
Ruken Ruken is offline
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
So it looks like they have not, in fact, reduced the amount of macaroni in the box.

Perhaps brujaja didn't notice that she bought a different size or variety of box than she had in the past?
The OP, as written, is flat out ill-informed, based on feels rather than easily checked facts. As has already been mentioned, food is far cheaper than it used to be. Seems higher quality with more options available, but I'm not aware of anyone measuring that.

brujaja may still have a valid argument if revised using better researched examples.
  #41  
Old 12-05-2018, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mikecurtis View Post
Isn't that the whole point of a great debate? To discover the distance between what is and what should be?

Words and concepts are more than their legal definition. If we want to know what the law says we can just open a book and read. How prosaic. But, if we want to know what the law should say, we talk to each other. We engage. We debate.
Brujaja has asked a philosophical question: What responsibility (if any) does a company owe society? How do we, as society, ensure that this responsibility is met?

Fiduciary is more than just a legal term; it is a concept. And as a society we have to get past the idea that the law is the beginning and end. Just because the law says what a fiduciary relationship in business must include, at a minimum, doesn't mean that there isn't a higher responsibility that implies what it should include as well.

Just as there is a social contract between men, there is an economic contract between business and society the goal of which is the betterment of all. Why do we have companies in the first place? It's for the betterment of us all, not for the betterment of the companies. All too often people follow the literal word of the law and completely ignore the spirit. If we all agree that a company owes fiduciary only to itself then we've already lost.

It starts with recognizing that we're all in this together.

mc
The problem is that you didn’t suggest “corporations should be treated as fiduciaries”. You stated they were fiduciaries. That’s not debating what she happen, that’s making an inaccurate claim. And you blamed the public and the States for not suing to enforce that inaccurate characterization.

I am open to the idea of finding ways to improve corporate behavior. Misunderstanding the current landscape doesn’t advance the debate.
  #42  
Old 12-05-2018, 04:26 PM
mikecurtis mikecurtis is online now
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Originally Posted by Ramira View Post

Maybe. But confusing yourself in misusing words is not usually successful.


The Fiduciary duty is a legal concept.

. . .

You desire to create some new legal obligations around the stakeholders. This is a different concept than the fiduciary duty that has the specific meaning (indeed it really is never used outside of the corporate law and in the related finances.

The misuse of terms will not get you very much clarity in exploring that.

If you mean duty to society, that is a different idea.


. . .tend to misunderstand when reading naively.
I didn't insult you because of your narrow minded, pedantic, unimaginative, and boring use of language, please don't make the mistake of assuming I'm naive.

Quote:
. . .but the word fiduciary does not, in and of itself, suggest financial matters. Rather, fiduciary applies to any situation in which one person justifiably places confidence and trust in someone else and seeks that person's help or advice in some matter. The attorney-client relationship is a fiduciary one, for example, because the client trusts the attorney to act in the best interest of the client at all times. Fiduciary can also be used as a noun for the person who acts in a fiduciary capacity, and fiduciarily or fiducially can be called upon if you are in need of an adverb. The words are all faithful to their origin: Latin fidere, which means "to trust."
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fiduciary

we ALL (including businesses) have a responsibility to act in the best interests of society.
A business absolutely has a fiduciary responsibility to society (read customers, employees and community).
You don't like that word because it carries a certain amount of legal baggage, fine, use whatever term you want, The concept is sound.

mc
  #43  
Old 12-05-2018, 04:33 PM
mikecurtis mikecurtis is online now
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Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
The problem is that you didn’t suggest “corporations should be treated as fiduciaries”. You stated they were fiduciaries. That’s not debating what she happen, that’s making an inaccurate claim. And you blamed the public and the States for not suing to enforce that inaccurate characterization.

I am open to the idea of finding ways to improve corporate behavior. Misunderstanding the current landscape doesn’t advance the debate.
No. I'm saying that businesses ARE fiduciaries even tho the law does not treat them as such.

mc
  #44  
Old 12-05-2018, 04:45 PM
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I didn't insult you because of your narrow minded, pedantic, unimaginative, and boring use of language, please don't make the mistake of assuming I'm naive.
Passive aggressiveness is not very interesting.

The post seems to be misformatted but in any case to restate, the word fiduciary is one almost always and only seen in the legal framework. You misuse it and this renders

Quote:
we ALL (including businesses) have a responsibility to act in the best interests of society.
That is a nice sentiment.

It is like stating We all have a duty to be good people.

Very nice.

It is not useful for coherent for making the law or the policy.

Quote:
A business absolutely has a fiduciary responsibility to society (read customers, employees and community).
it is not a coherent claim. Fiduciary responsability has a particular specific legal meaning and it becomes incoherent and meaningless to use it here.

It would be better to make statements without trying to use a specific phrase like this that has a specific technical meaning. It destroys meaning not adds to it. It becomes contradictory and incoherent.

You want to argue businesses must show a responsability to the society beyond that of the ownership.

that is again nice. It is also a vague and a broad sentiment that is not coherent renderable into a real operational reality.
  #45  
Old 12-05-2018, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
The OP, as written, is flat out ill-informed, based on feels rather than easily checked facts. As has already been mentioned, food is far cheaper than it used to be. Seems higher quality with more options available, but I'm not aware of anyone measuring that.

brujaja may still have a valid argument if revised using better researched examples.
the problem is the OP in addition has the two very different subjects, which are confused together.

One is the subject of the consumer protection and the interaction of the consumer product (and I guess the consumer services) companies with the retail consumer.

The other is the subject of the duty of the care of the company to the wider society and the role of the relationship of the profit seeking and the social impact - but it confuses the shareholding (and it seems the listed) corporation with the general idea of the private for profit company.

they are not really the same problem or the same subject.

Last edited by Ramira; 12-05-2018 at 04:50 PM.
  #46  
Old 12-05-2018, 04:55 PM
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Voyager Voyager is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramira View Post
And?

This is not responsive to what I wrote. I wrote



I call it not relevant. the question is the relative expansion and the difference in the trends.
It would be nice if you gave some evidence there is no growth. Here is some that there is:
Quote:
Staffing agencies have been reporting record numbers of requests for workers, with demand at its highest level since 1992, according to the American Staffing Association. An increase of 1.2% in Q1 2018 showed revenues of $32 billion.

That growth will likely continue. More than half of employers recently surveyed by American Express and Institutional Investor Thought Leadership Studio plan to increase their use of temporary and contract workers to meet staffing demand. As more workers look for flexibility to manage work-life balance, some predict independent contract workers will comprise 60% of the workforce within the next 10 years.
This comes from HR Drive which I assume is for HR and and who thinks this is all a wonderful thing. While there are plenty of people who are truly happy to have temp work, there are also plenty who would like full time jobs with benefits.

Forbes notes
Quote:
Contractors And Temps Were 100% Of Job Growth In US: And That's A Good Thing
Whether it is a good or bad thing is debatable. That this segment is growing isn't.


Quote:
Unless the taxi services are a majority of this employment this is merely the anectdote as analysis and not a real insight into the question of it the "gig" employment is in fact expanding in a real way different than before.

Compare your ten and twenty year trend line datas on the short-term employment.
See above. I welcome evidence that this isn't happening.
  #47  
Old 12-05-2018, 05:10 PM
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Ramira Ramira is offline
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I am not very interested in finding a presentable form of your american BLS data on the ten year time series to respond to your strawman misinterpretation of my original comment.

Increases in staffing agencies and a nominal comparison on values does not give you any useful data. You need to compare the season adjusted percentages over time - if you wish to do more than repeat the journalistic assertions.
  #48  
Old 12-05-2018, 05:25 PM
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Ramira Ramira is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramira View Post
I am not very interested in finding a presentable form of your american BLS data on the ten year time series to respond to your strawman misinterpretation of my original comment. .
for those who wish for your american data, to read the profiling - it is only in the PDF - from the labor statistics, the May 2017 report is here.

I am more familiar with the european data, in any case the story is the same, as I wrote originally, it is not clear (at least yet) the Gig Economy idea as some kind of major expansion is anything more than a marketing mirage of the Silicon Valley in terms of change.
Quote:
Alternative Employment Arrangements

The May 2017 survey collected information on the number and characteristics of workers in four
alternative employment arrangements—independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary
help agency workers, and workers employed by contract companies.
-6-
Compared with February 2005 (the last time the survey was conducted), the proportion of the
employed who were independent contractors was lower in May 2017, while the proportions
employed in the other three alternative arrangements were little different. Workers in the four
groups continued to differ significantly from each other as well as from workers in traditional
arrangements.
so perhaps the strange hijack on a response to a Strawman self constructed can end.

Last edited by Ramira; 12-05-2018 at 05:26 PM.
  #49  
Old 12-05-2018, 10:09 PM
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The funny thing is that report is the source for the numbers Voyager posted here from the Guardian article, and the article even has a link to it. This is what happens when people learn from magazine and newspaper articles about reports instead of reading the actual reports themselves.
  #50  
Old 12-06-2018, 06:39 PM
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Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Here's a picture I found of a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese from the 1970's. The net weight is 7 1/4 oz.

Here's a contemporary box. The net weight is 7.25 oz.

So it looks like they have not, in fact, reduced the amount of macaroni in the box.

Perhaps brujaja didn't notice that she bought a different size or variety of box than she had in the past?
Or probably her kids are just getting older and naturally just eating more.
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