EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of a recurring (and likely irregular) series of quick-hits. Because, not everything needs a thousand words. Thanks for reading!

Marked Forever

Hot on the heels of President Trump’s impeachment acquittal by the Senate (and, truth be told, well before that), some high profile Democrats have been crowing about how Trump is “forever tainted” by the fact of impeachment. In the immortal words of Dennis the Peasant, “what a giveaway.”

First – So what? Trump won’t care. His supporters won’t care. His detractors don’t need anything more to convince them. So, it’s nothing more than sour grapes and a tell-tale that their goal all along has been to taint his presidency and anything he does with an air of illegitimacy – as they’ve been trying to do since Day 1.

Like it or not, he won, and if you don’t like it, your recourse lies at the ballot box. Go vote him out, but stop with this business of de-Presidenting him. It’ll bite you in the ass when your guy’s in office, I guarantee.

Empress Elizabeth, the Vindictive

While Warren’s election hopes seem to be sputtering in harmony with her litany of gaffes, unforced errors, bad optics, and general unlikeability, it nevertheless remains that she’s still in the race at this juncture.

Some time back, it occurred to me that her political platform seemed much more focused on punishing the successful, particularly those on Wall Street, than in advancing matters of benefit to the nation as a whole. Her acolytes and apologists have made rather amusing efforts to portray her as a capitalist, but if there’s anything capitalistic about her ways, it’s a “capitalism” focused on punishment and on meting pain and suffering upon those who dare cross her. Accordingly, I will dub her economics as “vengeance capitalism” and, given her assertions of limitless power should she become President, reserve the title “Empress Elizabeth, the Vindictive” for her reign.

The Narcissist Vacuum Effect

A friend, who’s deep in the cogs of the Wall Street machine, recently mentioned something he called the “narcissist vacuum effect” with regard to corporate sclerosis that comes with increasing size. As he described it, when a boss needs lots of attention, his immediate underlings end up devoting all their time to satisfying that narcissism, meaning they don’t have the time to do their proper jobs. So, their underlings are insufficiently managed, and this leaves them susceptible to up-managing, and so on. Thus, one lousy manager can cause damage across three (or more) levels of corporate structure.

This, of course, translates very well to politics and politicians, many of whom have the added benefit of being essentially un-fire-able (see: Congress).

Monopolies and Corporate Calcification

Speaking of corporate sclerosis – to this day, and despite all the historical evidence to the contrary, people freak out over monopolies. History shows us, however, that a monopoly cannot exist for any substantial length of time unless it either continues to provide the best goods or services in its sector or is protected by the government. A monopoly that tries to cash in on its power may succeed in plundering consumers for a little while, and even eat up some competitive upstarts, but we have no historical evidence that such rapine will last long enough to counterweigh the benefits conferred during that rise to monopoly. The calcification that occurs as companies get bigger – the increased motivation to “play it safe” as managers’ motivations shift from corporate success to the building of personal fiefdoms and power bases as job security – tells us that the nimbleness and responsiveness suffer with increased size. If the counterweight, i.e. external pressure from competitors, goes away thanks to a company achieving monopoly power, then the company’s sclerosis will accelerate, making it easier for competitors to re-enter the market sector.

The lesson? If you’re worried about monopolies, worry about how government protects them, rather than looking to government to stop them.

Buying Time

A couple days ago, I realized I needed a new scrub brush for my work shop. I sat at my computer, opened a browser, typed “ama-enter” to open Amazon’s home page, typed a couple words into the search field, was offered dozens of options, and 30 seconds later, I was promised delivery of a two-pack of brushes in two days’ time. For about seven bucks.

In times of yore, I’d have had to remember to buy them my next visit to the supermarket (which might not be for another week or more), find the aisle where they were sold, and make do with a smaller selection.

And probably pay more. But, even if I did pay less via the supermarket route, I’d have traded those few shekels in savings for something that I can never recover: time.

Technology has given us an enormous gift – that of time. In countless ways, the advancement of living standards via technological advancement has liberated swathes of time, large and small, for each of us.

What we do with it is, of course, a different story, and all this free time might actually not be good for us. It certainly gives many people the opportunity to voice massive outrage over picayune affronts, and may be at the root of much of the political strife that has gripped the nation. But, I’d much rather have the free time than not.

It’s Never Enough

My Internet friends and I recently rolled our eyes at a new regulation in the EU that mandates a common charging interface for all smart phones. This reminded me of a story from last summer that told of the government’s Energy Star program and its recommendations as to what temperatures you should set your thermostat in the summer.

Ready for it?

When you’re home, 78 degrees. When away, 85 degrees. To sleep, 82 degrees.

Yeah, no. I don’t think so.

While these are only guidelines, don’t be surprised that, if one of our super-nanny-state aspirants gets into the White House and embarks on a Green New Deal, we see incremental changes that eventually lead to mandates for connected smart-thermostats and governemt interventions in where we set them.

Because, as sure as the tide, regulators will continue to write regulations. What we have is never enough, and those of that mindset never think to revoke regs that don’t work or serve no useful purpose.

As with tigers and scorpions, it’s in their nature.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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