Friday, June 01, 2007

Capitalism, It's Personal, Socialism, It's the DMV

The day before yesterday, the dance school my kids belong to asked me to get the printing done for their end-of-year performance. So, I did what all capitalist consumers do: called nearly a dozen print shops to see if I could get the product I wanted in the time I needed for the price I could pay. A couple shops were backed up and had no way of helping. A couple had equipment that didn't quite meet the needs of the project which drove up the cost. One of these places had a woman answer, "Ms. Clouthier?"


"Your husband is my doctor! He is soooooo awesome. My husband and I love, LOVE him!" She then proceeded to tell me her current health concerns and chided herself for not going to see The Doctor. Anyway, she couldn't help me, but she referred me to her friend who tried, but quoted me about five times the most competitive price.

All in all, seven different companies gave me bids. Most of the time I was talking to the business owner. Each person carefully assessed the projects needs. I received a couple immediate bids. A couple other businesses emailed me quotes within minutes. Finally, there were two business choices and one was Office Depot. Yes, that big, bad business offered personalized, eager service, gave me one of the best prices, but most of all, could turn around the job the fastest (probably because they were the least busy.) And, without asking, they threw in an extra service for free.

The kindness, efficiency, and knowledge of the printers made me think about.......Venezuela. How long will it take for all the incentives to serve, learn, and achieve be driven out of the people there? My guess? Not long.

We already know what the service will be like in a socialist system. Just visit the DMV and be snarled at by the workers there. Or, like happened to me twice, with a line out of the place about 25 people deep, one of the workers said, "Okay, I'm leaving on my break!" Can you imagine a business doing this? Of course not! When business is hot, they hire workers and serve the customers. They ramp up output. They certainly don't go on break--not if they want to be in business long.

The people of Venezuela are in for a lot of long lines, indifferent service and expense. Their choices will diminish. The skills and expertise that people work hard to obtain won't be rewarded. People will see that their ambition won't be rewarded--unless they are a Chavez sycophant. And Chavez only needs a few thousand of those. The rest of the people will "phone it in". The economy will crumble piece by piece. The spirit and will of the people will be broken by government thugs and the military (who get paid most and fed best). The intelligentsia will leave the country. Anyone who values their investments will leave.

Venezuela will be propped up by foreign governments intent on installing sympathetic tyrants on every corner of the earth in hopes of dragging down the legit members of the world society. The money won't trickle down. A mafia of overlords and oligarchs will prop up Hugo Chavez. Free thought, competition, science and the arts will be squelched. In their places, big pictures of Chavez's enormous noggin will replace it. In desperation, as the government crumbles, Chavez will strengthen the military.

It's all predictable. And still, people like Hillary Clinton use collectivist rhetoric. It's soothing. It's enticing. The lazy, the short-sighted, the weak, the unsophisticated are lulled by sweet words. The Anchoress notes:

There is an enormous difference between a few dozen people voluntarily giving up their worldly goods for communal living, and forcing people to participate in such a society against their will. The first brings freedom for those who choose it. The second, historically, has brought tyranny, poverty, slaughter and the gulag. When Hillary said, a few years ago,
“Many of you are well enough off that [President Bush’s] tax cuts may have helped you. We’re saying that for America to get back on track, we’re probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.
I and many others (and I am not a particularly materialistic person, mind you) felt that old chill wind Tim Robbins keeps warning us about blow and blow.
Taking things away from those richer sounds so good to those who have less. Socialism is like a drug. Why, it's like an opiate for the masses. Here's what Marx said:
Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
But I think it should be substituted thusly:
Socialist suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Socialism is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
Those who suffer look for an easy way out. They look for earthly solutions and find them in very human people willing to exploit their desires to their own dictatorial ends.

Venezuelans will find that their hope would have been better put in God and their own work ethic. Chavez is a poor replacement for either. Hillary Clinton is no better than any other human saying sweet words hoping to entice enough people to empower her.


David said...

"one of the workers said, "Okay, I'm leaving on my break!" Can you imagine a business doing this?"...uh, yeah. I had an experience very much like this at a Wal-Mart a couple of weeks ago.

In general, of course, you're right: the market will take care of obnoxious behavior in business. But sometimes it takes a while.

Christy're said...

The hubs and I went to the Social Security office this week to straighten out some name information. Not only did we see ridiculous business practices, but we also saw a whole other side of the US population in attendance.

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bought myself a brand new tractor sounds just like a nuclear reactor :P:P

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