one of the great…

20090205, 06

…mysteries of life in these United States is the domination of an industry by one or two giants that are providing each other “competition” without innovation for their customers. My general guideline is if the company is getting all of its customers to sign non-negotiable contracts one can be sure competition has more or less evaporated in that industry. We see this in rental properties, cell-phone contracts, power company services, national water companies, credit card offers–even your doctor is locked by global contracts that are non-negotiable. A post by Derek Powazek (details below) sums this up beautifully. I think of it as the short version of Atlas Shrugged. It is the third key to business relationships.

Derek Powazek – Don’t Work for Assholes
It can be very intimidating to turn down work, especially in these uncertain economic times. But the months I spent suffering that fool 12 years ago would have been better spent building my portfolio and hustling to find better clients. All the time you spend working for an asshole is time you’re not spending to find a gig that will, in the long run, pay you better, teach you more, and make you happier.

Nowadays, the only asshole I work for is me.

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…for change is ongoing. Though the slide into oppressive regulation and the crippling of freedom may seem rapid and permanent, we still have reason to support organizations that take the initiative to educate, serve and represent.

Creative Freedom Foundation: Home

…from the people at Motley Fool: Risk, Uncertainty & Reward by Frank H. Knight, Ph. D., then Associate Professor of Economics in the state university of Iowa. Copy right 1921.

notes on the forward by the author (1921):

  • This book was initially published to compete for a Class A (entries from any American without restriction) prize in a book publisher’s essay contest (in 1917) wherein it achieved for its author the second place prize of $500. It seems uncertain whether it achieved the publisher’s stated intention and drew “the attention of American youth to the study of economic and commercial subjects.” It would seem the publisher managed a little monetization from the contest. In the prior iteration, it sufficed as a doctoral thesis at Cornell in 1916, and was written during  1914-16.
  • Chapter 7 was recommended.
  • The effort”endeavors to isolate and define the essential characteristics of free enterprise as a system or method of securing and directing coöperative effort in a social group.”
  • A premise for endeavoring any projects of “social betterment” is action “in light of a clear understanding of the nature and tendencies of the system which it is proposed to modify or displace.” Simply—never loan your motorbike to a beginner.
  • To achieve the effort under the premise, one must “radically” separate “the description and explanation of phenomena from all questions of defense or criticism of the system under examination.” First describe clearly what occurs. Then solicit defense or criticism as appropriate. This would seem to apply to existing systems one wishes to change, rather than the more significant radical change required to remedy social structures that are broken. If one does not first know the system that exists, one is not qualified to re-engineer it? Simply—intimacy should precede re-engineering.
  • An engineer with cohesive knowledge of available systems of organization will make better re-engineering decisions than the technical expert on a single system. Simply—if all ya got is a hammer, everything you see will start to look like a nail.
  • “No one mode of organization is adequate or tolerable for all purposes in all fields.” Simply—get clear about your purpose if you expect to avoid pain, and secure pleasure.