Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Harvard School of Economic Theory

Fire the Janitor!

This must be where well heeled conmen and thieves go to get their Masters degrees. Paulson, Bernanke, and Cox all carry this stamp on their resumes.

In a year of economic disaster the three most immediately (short term) responsible people all hail from the same ivy league den of thieves. Vox assserted that the executive class consisted of a bunch of pirates out to bilk the stockholders of the companies whose fate they are hired to shepherd, but I tend to look at them as no different from welfare queens who view the world as a system set up specifically to entitle them. The silver spoon Harvard MBA has a sense of entitlement in that he views solid functioning companies (the result of the sweat and risk of the entrepreneur, the innovation of the engineer, the effort of the laborer) as a construct set up solely for his economic benefit whether it be through the dissolution of a company or the burdening of one with crushing amounts of debt to service.

This reminds me of an instance where the founder of a medium sized manufacturing business, who was still active in its operations, called a meeting with his staff and some representatives of the largely cooperative union there (from whom this story comes). On the table were some day to day product flow and sales issues which were reported on and quickly dispatched. The Boss opened the floor for discussion of any cost cutting ideas those present could bring to the table in response to overseas competition and a shrinking market.

The new ivy league Finance Manager's hand shot up, "Sir, I have looked at ways for us to tighten our belts and from my time out on the production floor the one thing that stands out as not contributing to productivity is the Janitor. I know it's a lot to ask of our hourly workers, but in the interest of preserving their jobs I think they can clean up after themselves in the restrooms. Perhaps we can ask for volunteers to do housekeeping off the clock? Or organize a rotating committee?"

The union man relating this tale told me he was aghast at this, suspecting the whole tableau of being some bizarre rehearsed scenario designed start a process to encourage general wage concessions. "I just sat there with my mouth hanging open." A pregnant silence persisted. Finally...

The Boss, "I just asked for suggestions on how we can cut a a half million dollars in cost and your idea is to fire somebody making $25,000 a year?! That's a helluva place to start. Maybe you don't understand; when the day comes we can't even afford to keep the restrooms clean I'll close the damned doors and we can all go home."

The new Finance Manager didn't stick around much longer.

What idiot would hire someone with a "Harvard MBA" now? In a sane world the buildings of Harvard Business School would be razed to the ground while it's spawn burn in effigy on the lawns.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Know, I Know

But I've been busier than a one-legged cat trying to bury a turd on a frozen pond.