June 24, 2016
The massacre in Orlando was a tragic reminder that we’re at war—against hate, against extremism, and against intolerance. Although there are many contributing factors to today’s war on terror, history can show us how political and religious disagreements are far more likely to lead to violence than the ostensibly rapacious arena of business competition. Specifically, if you look at the hundreds of years of religious conflict that Europe once endured, there are some interesting lessons that can be learned about how nations can foster tolerance.
Now-liberal Europe once endured centuries of religious conflict. Voltaire, an early champion of the market economy as well as religious toleration, argued that passions of any sort can lead to violent outcomes. Mankind, he argued, is made for action. The challenge is to transform that...
June 17, 2016
June 9, 2016
April 15, 2016
This has been a good week for capitalist backbone. As Kim Strassel discusses in the Wall Street Journal today, we’ve seen two high profile cases of the CEOs of large, prominent company give spirited defenses to the role of their firms in society. General Electric’s Jeff Immelt and Verizon’s Lowell McAdam both hit back against the charge that their firms were “...
April 14, 2016
Another CEO of a big American company has spoken up about the charge that he and his employees are “destroying the moral fabric” of America. Lowell McAdam of Verizon, in a post at LinkedIn, answered the charges (also addressed recently by General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt) that his company doesn’t pay the appropriate amount of tax, doesn’t invest in the U.S., and, specifically in Verizon’s case, is trying to force inappropriate concessions on the unionized portion of its workforce.
Today – as we have over our...
April 11, 2016
Today is a sad day for fans of capitalism and Philadelphia sports alike. Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and sports industry legend Ed Snider passed away over the weekend following a two year battle with cancer. Snider was the co-founder and owner of the Philadelphia Flyers and the lead developer of their stadiums—the Spectrum, in the 1960s, and the Wells Fargo Center in the 1990s.
Starting with a degree in accounting from the University of Maryland, Snider went on to build a business empire of sports-related enterprises: professional hockey, facilities management, food services, marketing and sponsorship, and ticket-selling. Snider was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and over the years ...
April 7, 2016
General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt has an interesting op-ed today in the Washington Post, hitting back against charges that his company is “destroying the moral fabric” of the country with a culture of corporate greed. The thrust of Immelt’s response is that, unlike politicians, companies like GE “create wealth and jobs, instead of just calling for them in speeches.”
April 6, 2016
Last night, the Smithsonian American Art Museum here in Washington hosted a fascinating book event featuring a presentation by Alan Rothschild, co-author of Inventing a Better Mousetrap: 200 Years of American History in the Amazing World of Patent Models. Rothschild is the collector who, along with his wife Ann, assembled an impressive and valuable collection of thousands of the working models that used to be a required component of any successful patent application. The U.S. Patent Office stopped requiring them in 1870 and started actively discouraging their submission after 1880, but for almost a century, they...
March 30, 2016
Serena Ng of The Wall Street Journal reports today on the murky world of marketing for “green” and “natural” household products. Ads for these flower-scented and creatively-named brands often claim—or, at least, strongly imply—that they are safer and healthier that mainstream cleaning and deodorizing agents. Such claims are often made even when both products are chemically similar or borderline identical.
Ng points out that Nature’s Power laundry detergent, sold proudly by Whole Foods, contains sodium laureth sulfate, which they produce from vegetable oil. Arm & Hammer (owned by the same company, Church & Dwight), makes detergent that also contains sodium laureth sulfate, except in Arm & Hammer’s case, it is made from petroleum. It’s the same chemical compound, but...
March 29, 2016
The rise of the sharing economy and related trends, by which individuals are exercising more control over their work schedules and income flow, garners a lot of praise from free market advocates and the usual panicky horror from anti-capitalists. But in both cases it’s being seen as something new; a revolution by which everyone with a Task Rabbit account now has become a profit-maximizing firm of one for the first time. Today’s busy, app-driven professionals would seem to have little to do with, for example, tenant farmers at the dawn of the 16th Century.
Yet the forces that have liberated human beings (most of us, at least) from the...