Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Capitalism's Aims

Here's what I thought Capitalism was about:

To Give You an Incentive To Succeed at Something

That sounds good on the surface. If making money was an incentive for us to become an astronaut, or a biologist, or a great cartoonist or any kind of productive person who brings new and better things into the world that would be great.

Instead the incentives are to become CEOS or managers at companies that are already big because of some long dead entrepreneurs who did believe in something and our goals are just to find a level of management in which to hide and take advantage of the system - and keep it going even to the point of where it actually loses money.

To Compete - but What kind of competition?Competition 50 years ago compared to competition today.

If financial rewards encouraged us to make better products than our competitors, then products would get better and better all the time, wouldn't they? Is it happening?

I don't think so. All our products are being made in other countries and the only work left here is for managers - people who don't know anything about how the products are made, have no inherent love for the product and would take a job in management at any kind of company at all. How can you manage the making of a product you know nothing about? It happens all the time and is considered today, an all-American wonderful goal.

Managers aren't there to make money for the company, have no natural loyalty to anything except their own personal success-their credits, their bonuses. They jump from company to company like aphids, gobble up as many leaves as they can and then when they kill the veins, hop off to another company at a higher level and destroy even more.

There is no competition anymore.

It used to be that people did compete. Hearst competed with Pulitzer to sell more newspapers by making the best comics and content - by pleasing people. The idea was if your product was better, more fun, easier to use or was cheaper and just as good, then you would be rewarded and live in a mansion and be served by beautiful slave girls. That sounds completely logical to me. That's a system designed around natural human instincts and fosters something that was once known as progress. It gave us telephones, medicine, cars, movies, cartoons, Jazz music, Rock 'N' Roll, comfortable lives for millions (for the first time in history). This system encourages the individual to do great things - which is a democratic ideal.

Musicians competed by making more and more appealing music. Scientists competed by making newer and more astonishing discoveries.

Now the way companies compete is not through free enterprise as the system still pretends, -not by making better and better products, but by squashing any competition from people who actually can make things. Don't let them into the system. Then our products can be crap and the public will have to buy them anyway - because there IS no competition. Replace quality with marketing. Very few people are talented enough to make quality and progress, but anyone can be a marketing executive.

Should Capitalists Have To Obey Laws?

We ordinary people have all kinds of laws we have to obey. We can't just go out and kill someone who likes the girl we want. We can't steal someone else's food or bigger TV. We can't cross the street on a red light or make up our own rules. Otherwise there would be chaos and a fast decline in our safety and quality of life.

So shouldn't capitalists also have laws? They shouldn't be able to cheat the competition and the public should they? But they do. Should people who had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of something be allowed to extend its copyright for decades and profit from it - while destroying it?A completely free market means there are no rules. The people who believe in this assume that it breeds competition, but instead it breeds individual advancement at the expense of the company, the product and the talented and skilled artisans who want to actually make good things.

It leads to decay of the products, the companies, the public and the country - as we have finally witnessed. I have seen this coming for 30 years and was amazed it took so long for things to fall. What held up these huge monster inefficient companies for so long?

One simple regulation that could help (and did once) - Distributors Can't Own Products Or Manufacturing Plants

I'm no expert on rules in general or politics and legislation but some things just seem totally obvious - espcially when they affect the business I'm in.

For example, if I owned Ren and Stimpy, cartoons would be way in advance today than they are.
Why? Because unlike networks who can't tell good from bad, who spend tons of money on waste instead of on the product, I like cartoons and always want to try new things and make each one a little better when I can. Look at the difference between the first few Ren and Stimpy cartoons, and then how they looked just a year later.
They improved just because a bunch of cartoonists finally got a chance to practice and experiment - which hadn't been done in mainstream animation in 30 years. I compete with myself out of sheer boredom and to try to beat out other cartoonists and get the biggest audience. I like people to laugh at what I do. I hire artists who are better than me and lean on them to be more creative all the time. I would constantly feed part of my reward back into the company and make better and better products - until I got too old and boring and some young genius (who probably would have learned at my studio) would come along and make something fresh and better quality. These are all natural good tendencies for my profession (and the country) that our system is designed to squash.

It used to be that a distributor couldn't own a product. For the reason that it could then make its own products and squeeze out other smaller competitors who might be able to make a better product, faster and cheaper.

If we had that regulation, then the networks and movie distributors would be encouraged to hire the most talented creators so that what they distribute would make more money than the other distributors.
the wackiest place on earth - gosh we have so much zany fun here

When a network can own its own studio - like when Nickelodeon built one out of mine and used all the foundation (and money) that I generated and built up through my own natural impulses and urge to compete in a free market, they were then able to make their own cartoons in house and kill off any individuals who could make something better, faster and cheaper. They spent the money on hiring tons of executives, getting a big fancy place and painting it all up in primary colors to make it look like a wacky cartoon studio - and then didn't make a hit for 10 years. Not till Sponge Bob - which snuck by under their noses, and is a primitive imitation of the show that started the whole thing in the first place - and it's stagnant. It barely changes over the years.

Now you could take Genndy or Craig or any number of successful creators and say the same thing. What if they owned their own characters? Where would we be now? A lot further along, I'd say.

In this kind of system, the company has no incentive to hire the best people. Because the best people will believe in something and there are very few of them. But there are tons of people who are happy to take money under any kind of impractical system and these people will do anything to get ahead within a company - even at the expense of the success of the company's product and financial success.

How many huge multi-corporate giants are in debt? Check it out. What happened when AOL bought Warner Bros?

I have lots more theories on this subject, but this is too much to digest without getting an ill stomach, so I'll get on it again later...

Capitalism's great advancements and progress in 50 years.

Collect your own anti-capitalism hero doodles!
caricature 1caricature 2