Titans of Industry category archive
At the Boston Review, K. Sabeel Rahman discusses the return of “Vulture Capitalism.” Here’s how he starts his essay:
In 1913 the great American lawyer Louis Brandeis railed against “The Curse of Bigness” in Harper’s Weekly, documenting the troubling concentration of economic power among the new tycoons and trusts of the industrial age, from railroads to steel to oil. By establishing monopolies, he argued, these private actors could dictate prices and shape the terms of access to essential goods, thus allowing them to exploit, extract, and otherwise dominate society.
But behind the monopolies lay an even more dangerous force: the financiers who jointly invested in these companies through a variety of legal and corporate vehicles. For Brandeis, this “money trust” of “banker-barons” was the ultimate villain in the industrial economy since it existed beyond the ordinary scope of traditional checks and balances. In his famous pamphlet, Other People’s Money, he warned that financiers had “acquired control so extensive as to menace the public welfare.”
Follow the link for the rest. The time it takes to read it will be well spent, because all that was old is new again.
Thom points out that the “rule” United Airlines cited to justify beating the bejesus out of one of their customers does not exist. “Deny boarding” is not the same thing as “removal from the plane.”
Meanwhile, Michael Hiltzik dissects United’s excuses. Here’s a bit from his piece:
United CEO Oscar Munoz then made things worse with a statement of Orwellian doublespeak. “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United,” he said. “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers,” whatever that means.
But Munoz, whose version of the episode appears to come from the playbook of how to dig oneself into an ever deeper hole, also undermined the argument that the flight was overbooked. He related that “after the flight was fully boarded,” gate agents “were approached by crewmembers that were told they needed to board the flight.” The implication is that the crew members heading to Louisville were late in arriving, that every passenger held a paid ticket and had been properly boarded, and that only belatedly did United decide to pull passengers off the plane to make room for the crew.
Video via SeattlePI.
Many years ago, my ex had a great flight on United Airlines.
They couldn’t get a plane off the ground and reaccommodated her to other airlines in both directions.
I understand that United is working on a new slogan:
You can’t beat United Airlines, because United Airlines beats you first.
Also, too (H/T my brother for the link).
Lee Camp tees off on that recent Pepsi ad. (Warning: Language, and lots of it.)
At Psychology Today Blogs, Pamela D. Rutledge has a less profane take. A snippet:
For Pepsi, however, this has been a significant fail. Rather than pushing the edge of pop culture to show themselves youthful and “with it,” they have potentially alienated a younger generation known for having high levels of social concern.
Thom reads from the platform for which David Koch ran for president in 1980 on the Libertarian ticket. It’s more out there than you can imagine.
Pretty soon, you won’t be able to own anything. Everything will be licensed. From the EFF:
John Deere is at it again, trying to strip customers of the right to open up and repair their own property. In the new License Agreement for John Deere Embedded Software [PDF], customers are forbidden to exercise their repair rights or to even look at the software running the tractor or the signals it generates.
The document purports to govern “any Software, data files, documentation, engine calibration tables, proprietary data messages, and controller area network (CAN) data messages that are in or communicated to or from any” covered product. Many of these items are numerical values that do not contain any copyrightable expression. The document forbids you to, among other things, “modify,” “reverse engineer,” or “reproduce” the covered information. These are necessary steps to understanding, repairing, and improving upon your equipment.