Monday, December 15, 2014

Free Enterprise Encourages The Proliferation Of The Extraordinary

"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men.  No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man."

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)

While describing himself politically as an "anarchist and socialist," Hubbard apparently understood that free enterprise is the way to go in business!

Going into business with John D. Larkin, he helped to found The Larkin Soap Company in 1875.  The company was innovative in many way, including being one of the pioneers in the mail-order business.  This method of sales soon became known as "the Larkin method."

The Larkin method involved two things - door-to-door sales and mail-order sales, both of which had "premiums" attached.

A premium consisted of soap which came in its own box.  They produced three soaps - a so-called "Sweet Home" yellow laundry soap and a bathroom soap, called Oatmeal Creme.  A color picture of the company's logo came in every box, and a certificate for a free gift.

The premiums soon became an important part of the business.  Hubbard proposed making the mail orders smaller, offering only three cakes of soap.  The premium that came with the next  order of bath soap was a handkerchief, towels with the laundry soap or one-cent coins.  The soap packages were sold for 10 cents, so this amounted to a 10% premium.  The idea took off.

Soon the Larkin Company became one of the first large-scale manufacturers to eliminate their wholesalers, retailers, salesmen, and brokers.  This was quite innovative!

Hubbard then introduced a "combination pack" and a $10 box of soaps.  It contained enough laundry and bath soap to last a family about a year.  The $10 was roughly the equivalent of one week's pay.  So the  premium included with the purchase amounted to $10, and could be redeemed for any of the then hundreds of products in the Larkin catalog.  The Larkin idea crystallized into a company motto:   "From Factory-to-Family: Save All Cost Which Adds No Value."  Selling the products directly to the consumer like this the savings could be passed on to the consumer, so purchasers felt like the products were "free."

Further, the Larkin Company introduced cooperative buying clubs, and consumers felt a part of the family.  Called "The Larkin Club," soon it allowed consumers to purchase products on an installment plan, with interest attached, and you can see the development of what is so common in today's business environment.  Small Larkin Clubs developed in towns and neighborhoods where 10 families could each contribute a dollar to join their own little club and enjoy club savings and their own special club product savings and premiums.

Catalog offerings expanded to include "pure" foods, glassware, leather goods, pottery and furniture.  This became a huge part of the marketing plan and helped the company survive the economic downturn of 1893.

The company peaked in sales in 1920, to an eventual low in 1939, and done in by the depression it ceased operations in the 1940s.  Among the corporate changes it introduced to its employees, and American business, included paid vacations, a thrift plan, life insurance, medical benefits for illnesses, tuition for attending night school, free coffee, lunch, and an annual summer picnic.  It even created its own chapter of the YWCA in 1905.  Quite innovative!

No anarchy or socialism here!  The success of mail order as a marketing idea was soon picked up by many other companies.  Its other ideas are rife in our modern marketing and sales companies.  Elbert Hubbards' ideas and innovations extraordinarily changed the business climate nationwide.  His statement above rings true today, for people and machinery.


Free enterprise encourages the proliferation
 of the extraordinary.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Free Enterprise Creates More Efficiently, And More Cheaply, And More Abundantly

“Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself. The labor of his body and the work of his hands are properly his.”

John Locke (1632 - 1704)

Protecting the individual from tyranny and individual rights is the very basis behind the idea which established the United States of America.

Private property, including the property of the person, is integral to that idea.

What is the point of coming up with an idea, developing it, creating a new product or service, and risking one's fortune to implement it into the market place, only to have it acquired and stolen by a tyrant?

And what if that tyrant is indeed the gubment, or gubment-sanctioned business?

This is the very basis of natural rights, God-given, Constitution-protecting, natural rights.  Life, liberty, pursuing happiness, self preservation and protection - natural rights.

Natural rights are natural!  They simply are.  They are not created by the human mind, or laws, or regulations, or somebody's idea of how others should behave.  They simply are.

Natural rights are also the very basis behind the idea of free enterprise and free-market economics.

We own our ideas, in the natural rights sense!
We own our liberty, in the natural rights sense! 
We own our persons, in the natural rights sense!
We own our happiness, in the natural rights sense!

They are private, they are protected, and they are God given.

Business works better when it is free to act.  Does that mean with impunity, stepping unfairly on any slower slug that gets in its way?  Of course not.

We are a society based on the rule of law.  Laws are to define limits, and provide guardrails preventing the over reaching of some who think it's their "right" to smash another.  We have no right to smash another.

There must be a careful balance, however, between those rights to act for oneself and those laws which limits such actions.  Some behavior is unnatural, and some laws which limit behavior are unnatural.  Laws should never be unnatural.  Laws can and should flow freely, naturally, and not be an unfair imposition of feelings.  If my competitor for a very similar product or service to mine is gathering more market share, I am in no position to demand a law to hold him back.  My competitor should be able to act freely in an environment so long as it is lawfully fair.

When gubments choose an industry for political gain (pick your industry) and support and sustain it, and at the same time prevent and hold down another industry of lesser political gain (pick your industry) it is not lawfully fair.  It is unnatural.  It leads to cronyism.  It is the beginning of tyranny, if not tyranny itself.

If one industry provides the same ends more efficiently, more cheaply, and to more people than another, the dictates of the natural course of property rights and God-endowed rights would say to go on!  What is gained by holding it back?

Free enterprise creates more efficiently and more cheaply, 
and more abundantly.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Free Enterprise Provides Stuff You Do Need, And Plenty Of It

“I wanta buy stuff.  Stuff I don't need.  Stuff settin' out there, you jus' feel like buyin' it whether you need it or not.  Uncle John.”

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) - from The Grapes of Wrath

Does that quote not just comment on the human condition?  Is that not a great free enterprise quote?

Uncle John is just like the rest of us.  How many of us have stuff in our homes that we bought but don't need?  Buying it was a whim. It was an impulse buy.  

Notice how some things in stores are put right where you walk in or on the way to the cash registers?  The stores are hoping for impulse buying!  And they're good at it.

We all have our definition of rich.  Be it income or what is put away "in the bank," we all seem to have our definition of rich.

Reading this you might have yours, and I bet it differs from mine.  And the other guy's.

As to this being a good free enterprise quote, why not?  What does free enterprise do?  It provides opportunity to offer "stuff" - goods and services - to a market hopefully full of buyers who will want that stuff.

And sometimes the stuff is really dumb, or offered at a prime moment in time during which it would be purchased.  We look back on some fad purchases now and really wonder why.

Remember the Pet Rock?  Mood rings?  Go Go Boots?  Flower stickers?  Did you ever buy Sea Monkeys?  I HAD to have an ID bracelet in junior high school.  I still have it!  I'm going to bet, but don't know, that the multi-colored, cover-the-entire-body-with-tattoos fad will upset a lot of people in a few years who have them now.  Or the huge-hole earrings.

Some fad purchases seem to hang on.  Who doesn't have the big nose with black mustache and glasses combo?  Go on, admit it.

That's what free enterprise is all about!  The freedom to offer a good or a service and a free market responds.  Socialist-depressed societies don't seem to come out with too much of those faddish things.  They have enough problems coming up with enough basic consumer goods and services, like toilet paper, or healthy meat, or medicine.  There is no socialist world-wide contribution of inventions and improvements because there is little basic. When you can't provide the basics, how can there be contribution to the world?

Free enterprise provides stuff you don't need, "stuff settin' out there, you jus' feel like buyin' it."  Not only that, but

Free enterprise provides stuff you do need, and plenty of it.




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Free Enterprise Is Founded Upon And Created By Freedom




Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.   

Albert Einstein  (1879-1955)

Einstein was visiting the United States in 1933 when Hitler came into power.  At that time many of the people of Germany thought their new Chancellor was a clown and a joke who would not get very far or be around for very long.  They were wrong.

Einstein read a different writing on the wall and was smart enough not to return to Germany, settled in the United States, and became a naturalized citizen in 1940.  Many German scientists fled Germany as well.  They had lost their civil service jobs, including teaching in universities.  Despite the huge brain drain it would cause, the new anti-Semitic laws forced them out of their jobs.  It's said that Germany lost 25% of its theoretical physicists, either through the legally-imposed exodus or because they left voluntarily and out of fear.  Some had to flee with nothing but their minds.

They, too, saw the same writing on the wall as Einstein and left seeking freedom.  It is interesting that few in politics saw what these scientists did. 

Freedom?  They left to seek freedom?  These were creative people!  They were well aware that it is a free society that produces an atmosphere conducive to creativity, and the development of intellectual property safe from tyrannical hands.  

Hence the quote above.

A free market is just as important to intellectual property as it is to any form of property and private ownership.  Private property is as integrated with freedom and free markets as it is with anything.  It forms the very basis of freedom.  

And economic freedoms are aligned and integrated with private property in all its forms as they are with anything.  They cannot exist without private property.

Free enterprise spurs free thinking, and creativity, and societal advancement.  

Free enterprise is founded upon and created by freedom.




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Free Enterprise Is Not A Scam Or A Big Can Of Spam

Words mean things.
Concepts mean things.
Ideas mean things.

People try to spin word meanings, or make others think words mean things that they don't, but the words, concepts and ideas still mean what they mean.

And meanings change over time!  It isn't spin - that's what language does!  When I was a young Boy Scout I liked spam!  It was a great, campfire breakfast food.  Now that I am an old curmudgeon I don't like spam so much.  The meaning has changed.

Now an application, or "app," isn't what I do to apply for something necessarily.  It can also mean that I am searching for something that conveys another something to me electronically.  And now "swiping" something, like my credit card, is an action business demands we do.

But, some definitions that have always been still are.

In my college economics dictionary, which I still have, but don't always refer to, there are definitions that apply today.  For example,

FREE ENTERPRISE - an economic and political doctrine holding that a capitalist economy can regulate itself in a freely competitive market through the relationship of supply and demand with a minimum of governmental intervention and regulation.

SOCIALISM - a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.  (FYI - Marx said that socialism was simply a temporary middle step between the demise of capitalism and the implementation of communism.)

Even in the definitions spin is at play!  Notice free enterprise is "economic and political doctrine," and socialism is "social organization."  

Yes, free enterprise is something that is adhered to or believed, like a religious doctrine, and socialism is a benign attempt to organize a community!

And then come the organizers trying to wrest the free-market aspect from the system and impose what they "feel" should be regulated in a free-market aspect system.  And all the while still saying they advocate and promote the free market!  

So, to sum it up, AND ALL THIS DESPITE PROFOUND HISTORY TO THE OPPOSITE, the organizers want all to know that the free market cannot regulate itself, free enterprise practitioners certainly cannot regulate the "community" ownership "as a whole," and they, (the ubiquitous THEY) are in charge of bringing bigger and better and fairer and more wonderful to us all.  There is never any force here, or ever "the big lie."

Let me paraphrase, from the organizers we hear - if you like your free enterprise you can keep it, everything we have ever wanted will be brought to each one of us more abundantly and more cheaply, and we have to pass humongous laws implementing socialism  so we can find out what's in the laws because, after all, you didn't and can't build that.

Oh, and we must love the former FOUR LEGS  in the barnyard who have appointed themselves the new TWO LEGS  in the barnyard, so they (the ubiquitous THEY) can direct the rest of us incompetent FOUR LEGS  in the barnyard, who are expected to follow, obey, believe, and chant the mantras of the newly self-appointed TWO LEGS  in the barnyard.  THEY are the smartest, ever.

What a diaper load!  What a scam and a big can of spam!

Free enterprise is not a scam or a big can of spam.



Friday, October 17, 2014

Free Enterprise Is The Natural Course And Cannot Be Resisted

“We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones.”

Jules Verne (1828-1905)

If we humans are about nothing less we are about defining our behavior.

We love to create rules and laws.  We love to create standards and practices.  We love to have blueprints, and designs, and boundaries, and on and on and on.

And why not?  Things often work much better when organized and when expectations are set.

But sometimes human laws overwhelm us.  They can impose difficulties and create minutia and complexities that are hard to understand and hard to keep up with.  And then we can be punished for not understanding or knowing the laws!

But we trudge on.  As Jules Verne says, we "brave human laws."  

Some of what the Founding Fathers suggested, and tried to define and defend with a document, was that there are certain natural laws that tyrants for thousands of years tried to ignore.  And they imposed themselves, or their system and methods, on their populace, creating subjects, slaves and set ups that were (or are) contrary to natural law.

The American Revolution was not a war.  It was the statement that we were setting up a society as far from that previous, expected tyranny as possible.  The American Revolution set up systems conforming to natural laws of freedom, where such laws provided guardrails and were yet freeing at the same time.  They set up expectations where the citizenry could act more freely, without being acted upon.  They set up a legal system where laws were not based on whims but ethics and are moral codes.  They set up an economic environment that promoted free enterprise and voluntary exchange.  And they set up a government that is representative, defined by the rule of law, and which decentralized power equally among different branches.  They set up a gubment that was LESS about force and coercion and MORE about an endowment of natural laws and rights.

Hence, the American Revolution was more about individual rights and limitations on gubment, a gubment that did not force but where individuals could grow and become and multiply their talents.  The American Revolution was an idea that was exceptionally different than anything that had previously been experienced by mankind.

AND IT HAS WORKED.

This has been referred to as American Exceptionalism.  And, according to Jules Verne's thinking, such laws cannot be ignored.  They cannot be trifled with.  They cannot be overcome without an eventual revolution.  We humans cannot resist them.  Therefore ...

Free enterprise is the natural course of the human experience 
and cannot be resisted.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Free Enterprise Extends The Sphere Of Individual Freedom

“Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Asked to come to America by the French Monarchy to study prisons and look at the change from an aristocratic order to a democratic one, he stayed less than two years.  He did actually visit a couple of prisons, but spent most of his time traveling around the country observing and visiting with the populace.

De Tocqueville was a strong supporter of liberty and freedom.  He published his thoughts on Democracy in America  in two books.  (They can be downloaded for free to your mobile library!)

He basically found American politics and American democracy to be a balance between the individual and the community.  Reading his books one sees his distaste for politicians.

De Tocqueville often compared society in America with socialism (flaring more popular in Europe in his day) and aristocratic rule. Hence the quote above.

He had a lot to say about the different types of "equality" sought in democratic and socialist societies.  Obviously de Tocqueville would have gotten along with Churchill who said that socialism seeks equality in misery.

And so, the taffy pull continues.  

So, to play with the de Tocqueville thoughts quoted herein, which do you want?

  • Freedom or restriction?
  • Individual value or being a number in a cog?
  • Equality in liberty or restraint and servitude?
  • Equality in light or darkness?
Those who pretend to want "equality" always have a personal agenda.  They aren't seeking equality as much as to recreate it.  To put forth their views they use (AND CHANGE THE MEANING OF) big-thinking words like discrimination, diversity, life, medicinal, and rights to make their narrow cases.  And while doing so pretend that everyone agrees with them!  And if you don't agree with them, well, you, YOU, are in a miniscule and detestable minority!  You, YOU, are on the "wrong side of history!"  You, YOU, should be shunned and silenced.

How many times lately have you heard that your traditional values are on the "wrong side of history?"

Explain what in the world "wrong side of history" means!  I know, it's big thinking, but vacuous.  They can't explain it either, but that doesn't matter.  They are always "assessing and reassessing."  Another big-thinking phrase, but vacuous.  And slogans!  Don't forget the slogans!  Oh, and rhyming chants.  We need more chants!  With all the braying and bleating, honking and oinking, it's a regular animal farmyard out there!

Free enterprise extends the sphere of individual freedom.