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    #51
    Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
    WOM, where do the unicorns that have never turned a profit but are "worth" billions fit in your model?
    Oh, please. Those aren't companies. They're capital-consuming machines. But a handful of non-earning startups doesn't disprove the rest of the system.

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      #52
      I don't think money is on its own enough to engage/motivate. Indeed all the research suggests it very much isn't for many jobs. (Though it does seem to be for very boring "algorithmic" jobs, such as working in a fast food restaurant). But anyway, that;s a digression anyway. Companies should treat their employees as an integral part of the business (because they very much are) and to a large extent focus their attention on making them feel like they are. However in the current way we have of thinking (or of how people like you think, and you;re probably part of the majority here) the key players in any business are the shareholders. Facilitating their extraction of money from the business is why the business exists in this model. We've forgotten what is important (the organisation itself and its customers) and started devising ever more ways of "maximising shareholder value" (or put another way, using the business as a way to transfer money from the labour of its employees into the bank accounts of these shadowy people and hedge funds)

      The conclusion of this logic is where we are now in places like the US and UK. The country and society as a whole is seen by the government as a way of taking money from its citizens and giving it to these people we laughably call "wealth creators" (wealth accumulators more accurately). This is why the two countries mentioned have fucked up the Covid19 response so badly because those in power see their role as facilitating this exchange and not doing what is best for the people of the country (which is to say what we used to understand the role of government to be). Now, I know you will agree that this is wrong and that those two governments have been shockingly derelict in their duty, but i would argue that it comes from the same place and the same logic as this understanding of business as having a "fiduciary duty" to enrich their shareholders.

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        #53
        Fuck companies, obvs, and double-fuck Facebook, double obvs.

        "London Weighting" survives in England in some national occupations - in the countrywide wellbeing system for example through "high cost area" additions. Though the max that can be worth to anyone is about six and a half grand, which doesn't touch the sides when it comes to the higher costs of the central London area. But then it's believed that there is a London "grade inflation" thing that happens, where the same job in the system in London is often graded more highly. I'm not sure there's a lot of robust evidence for this generally, though I reckon it's a thing for bean-counters.

        ​​​​​​
        Last edited by TonTon; 23-05-2020, 07:03.

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          #54
          Originally posted by TonTon View Post
          Fuck companies, obvs, and double-fuck Facebook, double obvs.

          "London Weighting" survives in England in some national occupations - in the countrywide wellbeing system for example through "high cost area" additions. Though the max that can be worth to anyone is about six and a half grand, which doesn't touch the sides when it comes to the higher costs of the central London area. But then it's believed that there is a London "grade inflation" thing that happens, where the same job in the system in London is often graded more highly. I'm not sure there's a lot of robust evidence for this generally, though I reckon it's a thing for bean-counters.

          ​​​​​​
          By a quirk in the rules I retained my London weighting (which was about ?4k back then, which after tax just about covered the cost of my commute in from Hitchin) when I took up a role based in Hitchin itself (which I could walk to). It was like being given a ?50 a week bonus, not to mention not having three hours commuting a day. I learnt from colleagues in the local office I joined that many of them had got a job in London then moved out at the first opportunity, precisely to pull off the same trick.

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            #55
            Good for them.

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              #56
              Companies should treat their employees as an integral part of the business (because they very much are) and to a large extent focus their attention on making them feel like they are.
              Well, yes. But that's typical of well-run, long-lasting businesses. Almost price-of-admission, I'd think. I mean, I can't speak for your experiences - nor anyone's else's really - but most places I've worked have done a reasonably good job trying to make me happy while I do a reasonably good job making them money. No, I don't think anyone wakes up and says "I'd better check in with WOM again today to ensure he's still happy", but I mean, that's not what I expect of them. They exist to extract my efforts on their behalf and I exist to provide those efforts in exchange for money.

              However in the current way we have of thinking (or of how people like you think, and you;re probably part of the majority here) the key players in any business are the shareholders. Facilitating their extraction of money from the business is why the business exists in this model.
              In the current way? When was it ever not thus? Businesses have always had owners. Shareholders are just ownership spread farther and wider. And those owners have always had a flinty eye on the bottom line.

              We've forgotten what is important (the organisation itself and its customers) and started devising ever more ways of "maximising shareholder value" (or put another way, using the business as a way to transfer money from the labour of its employees into the bank accounts of these shadowy people and hedge funds)
              'These shadowy people and hedge funds? Are you kidding right now? Shareholders can be individuals, pension funds, mutual funds, yes...hedge funds and I'm sure a lot of shadowy people own shares. And yes, the structure of business is to convert the labour of employees to the profits of owners. But why are you phrasing it like this was something that was just uncovered?

              The conclusion of this logic is where we are now in places like the US and UK. The country and society as a whole is seen by the government as a way of taking money from its citizens and giving it to these people we laughably call "wealth creators" (wealth accumulators more accurately). This is why the two countries mentioned have fucked up the Covid19 response so badly because those in power see their role as facilitating this exchange and not doing what is best for the people of the country (which is to say what we used to understand the role of government to be). Now, I know you will agree that this is wrong and that those two governments have been shockingly derelict in their duty, but i would argue that it comes from the same place and the same logic as this understanding of business as having a "fiduciary duty" to enrich their shareholders.
              Well, perhaps. The fucked up response to COVID has a lot to do with the selfishness and incompetence of our elected officials. Trump and Johnson are clearly men who learned at the knee of capitalism and see every relationship as a business or transactional one. The see running the country not as a service but as a business. But this mindset isn't new either; we've just 'hired' dumber people who have no shame because they appeal to parts of our brain we can't fully understand. So maybe your conclusion is correct...I don't know. We've always had business....and it's always had owners...and we've seen incompetence in our political leaders before. I just don't know if the line between them is as straight as you make it out to be.

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                #57
                Yeah I really think we're on different planets here and destined to talk past each other for eternity. I might have another go at this tomorrow morning, but I'm somewhat of the belief that there is very little point

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                  #58
                  I'm really not sure if you and I are disagreeing over facts or disagreeing over beliefs. Or if we're disagreeing at all, frankly.

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                    #59
                    As WOM is wont to say, you could fill a warehouse with what I don't know. But "the key players in any business are the shareholders" just isn't right. I run a business; there aren't any shareholders, because there aren't any shares.

                    Or maybe I don't run a "business", but a "company". If that's the case, then I should be "fucked" (or what does "fuck all companies" mean?).

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                      #60
                      Originally posted by WOM View Post
                      They exist to extract my efforts on their behalf and I exist to provide those efforts in exchange for money.
                      This is point one where we fundamentally (and I suggest irreconcilably) differ. That (to me) is not why they exist nor why I (or any other employee) exists.



                      'These shadowy people and hedge funds? Are you kidding right now? Shareholders can be individuals, pension funds, mutual funds, yes...hedge funds and I'm sure a lot of shadowy people own shares.
                      I meant shadowy as in unseen, uninvolved in the business, not part of the operation in anything other than a distant intangible sense. Ghosts if you like. Yet incredibly powerful ghosts who have no sense of the day to day yet expect to be given money for their presence in the world, and indeed demand that.

                      And yes, the structure of business is to convert the labour of employees to the profits of owners. But why are you phrasing it like this was something that was just uncovered?
                      I didn't phrase it like that, I'm saying that in the current version of capitalism, "ownership" for want of a better word is this distant and uninterested-in-the-human way. Clearly owners in many businesses have found ways to extract money from the labour of their employees, but many owners were present and active and had compassion to an extent (not all obviously), but the modern model takes away any need for owners to be humans. Treibeis is an employer but treats Daniel Dan as a human being. If Treibeis managed the company but it was owned by a pension fund in Texas, they'd demand that he pay DD less and work longer hours for more profits, and if he refused they'd fire him.




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                        #61
                        This is point one where we fundamentally (and I suggest irreconcilably) differ. That (to me) is not why they exist nor why I (or any other employee) exists.
                        Yes, you keep implying that it's some other, perhaps nobler, purpose. But you seem oddly reluctant to state what it is.

                        I meant shadowy as in unseen, uninvolved in the business, not part of the operation in anything other than a distant intangible sense. Ghosts if you like. Yet incredibly powerful ghosts who have no sense of the day to day yet expect to be given money for their presence in the world, and indeed demand that.
                        Right...but not all owners - for that's what shareholders are - are involved in the day to day operation of the business. That's the understood exchange when a company goes public. You publicize your ownership in exchange for a massive injection of capital. And it's not 'given' money. It's a return on their investment. It's not a handout or ransom.

                        I didn't phrase it like that, I'm saying that in the current version of capitalism, "ownership" for want of a better word is this distant and uninterested-in-the-human way. Clearly owners in many businesses have found ways to extract money from the labour of their employees, but many owners were present and active and had compassion to an extent (not all obviously), but the modern model takes away any need for owners to be humans. Treibeis is an employer but treats Daniel Dan as a human being. If Treibeis managed the company but it was owned by a pension fund in Texas, they'd demand that he pay DD less and work longer hours for more profits, and if he refused they'd fire him.
                        Yes, you're right. The responsibility for the human side of things comes from management rather than ownership. If your company is managed well and humanely, it probably serves the owner well. But not always, of course.

                        Comment


                          #62
                          Originally posted by WOM View Post

                          Yes, you keep implying that it's some other, perhaps nobler, purpose. But you seem oddly reluctant to state what it is.
                          Or rather you seem oddly reluctant to pay attention on all the previous occasions I've stated it.

                          But here goes one more time.

                          The company I am the boss of (owner /manager) exists to provide management training to educators. Treibeis's company exists to provide mini golf and drinking opportunities to the people of Hamburg. Car manufacturers exist to make cars. WSC magazine exists to provide an alternative more in depth look at football to fans. Yes all of these companies make money (some more than others) and all of them need to in order to be able to provide the service that they are supplying. We all exist in a capitalist world which means that we have to do that, rightly or wrongly.

                          Shareholders increasingly see the role of the companies they "own" as being about making them money (sure, technically they are "investors" but the vast majority of them do nothing actively, the companies they buy into are just vehicles to make money and perceived in the same way they do interest). So there is a huge and growing disparity between how this should work and how it does. None of this means the past was dramatically better, any more than the shitness of capitalism makes Feudalism good in any way.

                          Comment


                            #63
                            The company I am the boss of (owner /manager) exists to provide management training to educators. Treibeis's company exists to provide mini golf and drinking opportunities to the people of Hamburg. Car manufacturers exist to make cars. WSC magazine exists to provide an alternative more in depth look at football to fans. Yes all of these companies make money (some more than others) and all of them need to in order to be able to provide the service that they are supplying. We all exist in a capitalist world which means that we have to do that, rightly or wrongly.
                            Yes, okay. You did state this. And I can now see why we were talking past each other. See, I look at treibeis's company and see a guy who said "I need to do something different to make a living. And there's a mini golf operation up for sale." You look at it like "I'm going to bring mini golf to Hamburg, and it'll probably provide me a living." That's oversimplifying, but I think that's the difference.

                            The longer I think about it, the more examples I can think of for it cutting both ways. Elon Musk probably could have made huge money anywhere. But he chose to start an electric car company and got rich in the process. He seems like a guy (like Gates or Jobs) who was motivated by the task rather than the reward. Other people choose their calling (or start a company) to make money and don't much care what it is they do. Not in the relative sense.

                            The two are probably hand in hand for most people. "I really like painting pictures AND I can probably make a decent living at it." Personally, I've always enjoyed writing, and it pays the bills.

                            Shareholders increasingly see the role of the companies they "own" as being about making them money (sure, technically they are "investors" but the vast majority of them do nothing actively, the companies they buy into are just vehicles to make money and perceived in the same way they do interest). So there is a huge and growing disparity between how this should work and how it does. None of this means the past was dramatically better, any more than the shitness of capitalism makes Feudalism good in any way.
                            Yes, I agree with this.

                            Comment


                              #64
                              Originally posted by WOM View Post
                              The longer I think about it, the more examples I can think of for it cutting both ways. Elon Musk probably could have made huge money anywhere. But he chose to start an electric car company and got rich in the process. He seems like a guy (like Gates or Jobs) who was motivated by the task rather than the reward.
                              Point of order. Musk made his money from Paypal. His move into electric cars / space / building an underground lair in an inactive volcano came after all that.

                              Comment


                                #65
                                Beat me to it

                                He also sold a software company to Compaq for a couple of hundred million before joining PayPal

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