Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Carnival of the Capitalists

Welcome to the Carnival of the Capitalists for this week. With the Americans on holiday for Thanksgiving we expected a smaller carnival than usual but together with some overflow from last week, the carnival is as strong as ever.

I underestimated the amount of work involved in bringing this all together. Luckily the earth's rotation and Australia's close proximity to the international dateline is working in my favour so it won't be as late as it could have been.

Answering the call

Last week, while preparing my readers for the link fest that was about to occur (I don't do a lot of linking here at Software Startup), I posed the following challenge.

I doubt I'll be as provocative as Pete was but it would be nice if there were a few submissions that showed some examples of capitalism benefiting people other than just those at the top of the pyramid

Brian Gongol accepted the challenge to alleviate my uncertainty about capitalism and has a great post that lists 5 examples of capitalism improving society.

Similarly Tim Worstall has also given me plenty to think about with his commentary on the recent statements of a Bishop and what Tim believes is his misunderstanding of economics.

Both Brian and Tim make convincing cases for capitalism though I think as a society we can always do better. The challenge is there for everyone to keep looking for new ways to spread those benefits as widely as possible. After all we live in a society not an economy.

Lefty leanings from a reluctant capitalist aside let's get back to the business at hand with a topic close to my heart...

Entrepreneurship and Small Business.

Jeff Cornwall at The Entrepreneurial Mind illustrates the importance of planning in family businesses.

Ankesh Kothari presents a discussion from Dien Rice Ph.D on reducing risks when start a new venture. He cites the example of Richard Branson and suggests studying the risk reduction strategies of serial entrepreneurs.

Anita Campbell at Small Business Trends has an interview with a noted small business expert who in blunt and colorful fashion states why the U.S. Presidential election doesn’t matter for small business. Quoting Paul Simon songs, he says it’s because small businesses are on their own. Each one is so different that there is nothing any of them can band together and do as a group. They should get their lovin’ at home.

Harish Keshwani at BusinessWorks Inc has started an experimental blog about a "virtual" Dotcom company doing business in RFID based solutions. He takes readers through the steps involved creating a business plan for his "virtual" company.

Beth Mauldin is in the early stages of planning a restaurant web site business and asks for advice from readers on her ideas.

The Labor Market

Dean Esmay discusses impending unionization in an unlikely place, and the relative merits of unions and, especially, corporations as a valid business structure for true capitalism. Comments from readers and Dean expand on the topic spiritedly and at length.

Joshua Sharf discusses a Washington Post article about labor unrest in China. The fact that the Party has been playing for both sides, labor and management, combined with its need for increased growth, may hurt its ability to deal with this. It also shows that there are at least soft limits to China's ability to absorb jobs.

Jeff Cornwall investigates the current debate about outsourcing. The debate seems to only focus on free markets or government regulation. This fails to consider the ethical and moral dimension, which can move us beyond relying on government imposed controls.

Tim Worstall discusses job creation and how it relates to Bill Gates' inbox and the Lump of Labor Fallacy.

Leadership and Management

Steve Rucinski at Small Business CEO discusses leadership and asks what are the key tasks?

Wayne Allen asks why do managers and executives wait so long to make decisions about painfully obvious problems?

Jim Stroup at Managing Leadership commences a series on why the woman Peter Drucker called the "Prophet of Management," Mary Parker Follett, is more urgently relevant to practicing managers and executives today than virtually the entire crop of contemporary writers - even though she wrote in the 1920s!


Rawdon Adams at Capital Chronicle is interested in exploiting the dollar's drop. He theorises that the brutal drop in the greenback is a chance for holders of foreign cash to take advantage of the new investment opportunities being presented. But is the time ripe?

Dave Foster of Photon Courier fame introduces the Harvard indicator, a stock market indicator based on the career choices of Harvard MBA graduates.

Arnold Kling debates the The Flynn Effect which is the increase in IQ test scores each decade. Arnold wonders if it is a result of economic growth.

Captain Arbyte (AKA Kyle Markley) discusses the economics of insurance in particular health insurance. The Captain discusses how tax incentives have contributed to the structure of the health care system in the United States, and some of the bad results. He also explains why insurance is the wrong vehicle for paying for chronic medical conditions.

The Free Market

John Beck at Incite debates a bill currently in congress would require DVD player manufacturers to make it impossible for viewers to fast-forward through commercials. John thinks the very essence of this bill is an affront to property rights and the notion that free market transactions are voluntary. It sounds like a good way to get people to go back to reading books to me.

Barry Ritholtz of the Big Picture takes great pleasure in debunking the kinda-eventually-sorta-mostly-almost Efficient Market Theory.

Arnold Kling discusses the affect of regulation without thinking through the consequences in the area of affordable housing.

Russell Buckley of the Mobile Technology Weblog talks of Amazon's plans to allow customers of traditional retailers to to scan bar codes with their cell phone whilst instore to see if Amazon can offer it cheaper.

The Interested Participant, Mike Pechar, details multi-million dollar agreements recently signed by Beijing and Tianjin allowing licensed use of Microsoft software products as well as 16,000 Dell personal computers for primary and secondary schools. These sales are good news for U.S. suppliers but they have produced a loud protest from the nascent Chinese information technology industry.

Warren Meyer at Coyote Blog discusses why many reverse auction sites failed (even some of those you may have thought succeeded) and why Priceline, the most famous success story, succeeded for a very unique reason.


Wayne Hurlbert of Blog Business World tells the tale of a blogger who received some shabby treatment from a mainstream newspaper.

Brendon Connelly of Slacker Management is thinking about blogging as "professional lubricant." He examines the pros and cons of citing your blog in a resume, and how hiring managers might view it.

James at Collaborate Marketing has written an article to try and make it easier to explain blogging to business people. He offers it here for your use next time you have to explain the importance of blogging to someone.


Phillip Wilson has some thoughts on the Appreciative Mindset in business. The basic point is to explore what gives the organization life - instead of looking for "problems" to solve, a negative way to look at life. According to Phillip it always transforms the conversations that occur in an organization - the first step to any lasting change.

David Masten at Catallarchy has an amusing piece on what life would be like if pharmaceuticals were produced and sold like computers, and vice versa.

Frank Scavo at the Enterprise System Spectator thinks that most Sarbanes-Oxley compliance efforts will not do much to mitigate business risk. In this post, he describes how companies should focus their efforts to make Sarbanes Oxley compliance a meaningful exercise.

Director Mitch from the Window Manager takes an ironic look at how to tell customers the truth when they ask for things that are impossible to deliver.

Todd Sattersten of A Penny For... talks of Gamesmanship in the Air and the strategies employed in the competition between Boeing and Airbus.

And finally on the lighter side

A satirical riff from Kevin McGehee on a recent vote by the city council of North Pole, Alaska to raise the sales tax by one cent (from 3¢ to 4¢) for two years, with some consideration of the challenges of a certain unique, seasonal manufacturing operation staffed by extremely long-lived elves.

Well that's it I guess. The earth's rotation may have saved my bacon but only just so I'm off to bed. My advice to future carnival hosts, start early.


At 8:46 AM, Blogger Coyote said...

Thanks - great job! Well organized and nice descriptions.

I particularly enjoyed the Harvard MBA indicator for the stock market. As a Harvard MBA, I had some thoughts on MBA career selections.

At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it would be nice if there were a few submissions that showed some examples of capitalism benefiting people other than just those at the top of the pyramid"

Start with David Brooks here:

Then look at Prof. Sala-i-Martin's work, such as:

The reality is that nothing benefits poor people as much as capitalism.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Barbara Payne said...

While it is true that every small business is different, there are ways that entrepreneurs can band together to leverage their collective power for good things. Some of those ways are challenging because they require something many of us have a hard time doing--trusting. But that's really a problem best addressed by each of us as individuals.

I've recently met a guy who's used to dealing with millionaires--but who, now on his own, is finding a creative way to put capitalism at the service of people with much smaller resources.

And though everything in the human adventure is cyclical, it doesn't mean we shouldn't jump on the pendulum as it swishes right by us on that elegant upswing...

At 1:56 AM, Blogger Alex said...

What is it with latter-entrepreneurs and disliking capitalism? Is it that you're trying to escape it (at least symbolically) by not working for an established business, or perhaps a worry about the lack of a guaranteed outcome in a capitalist economy? If the latter, you can take solace in the fact that history shows that capitalism alternatives don't offer a lot of safe bets either... ;-)

Snark aside, I'm genuinely curious. It seems like, if anybody, entrepreneurs - strongly self-motivated people with a vision of independent success - should be bigger fans of a system that lets them proceed however they want and keep their winnings than anybody...


Post a Comment

<< Home