Saturday, September 15, 2012

On who makes our lives better

This morning I went to Jack-In-The-Box and got a sausage biscuit and some hash browns.  This particular location never closes.  They're open for me, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

I'm not particularly fond of their coffee, though, so I hit my Starbucks at Western Center Boulevard and I-35.  Had a double-espresso(Hit that link.  It's a good one.)  The Starbucks doesn't open until 5:30, but the workers had probably been there since 4:00 a.m. 

When I got to work, I looked at all the stuff we're doing for Kroger.  They love it.

I looked at what we're doing for Wal-Mart.  They love us, too.  We're busting our asses for those folks. 

Then I reviewed some stuff we're doing for another company, a company that will remain nameless.  (Don't want to call 'em out by name.  It's not going too well right now.)  If we don't get our shit together soon, they're going to replace us with someone that can keep them happy.  It's all up to us.

I walked through the big project we're doing for Radio Shack.  So far, they love us.

Then I broke open a China shipping container and pulled out a random box.  It's from my buddy Mr. Chen in Xiamen, China.  He provides us with all sorts of metal hardware and display fixtures.  The display dump bin that I pulled out of the container once took 30 minutes to assemble with a drill, a tap and die set, a pop-rivet gun, a rubber mallet and a screwdriver.  After a year's worth of emails, drawing revisions, hardware changes and, well, cussing, Mr. Chen has sent us a display bin that can be assembled in five minutes with nothing but a screwdriver.  I love Mr. Chen like a brother.   

Work, work, work, work. 

Here's something I found at the Cafe Hayek blog today, something on the same subject.  Every day of his life, Don Boudreaux of George Mason University fires off a letter to the editor of some Statist Rag, trying to correct misinformation about how the world really works.  This one was a beauty:

Edward Sage ridicules Charles Koch’s claim – from Mr. Koch’s essay ”Corporate Cronyism Harms America” (Sept. 10) - that “the role of business is to provide products and services that make people’s lives better.” Mr. Sage asks in response: “Since when? This sounds much more like a liberal take on the role of government. As a liberal I’d be over the moon if companies cared primarily about making lives better. Instead, this only happens if it’s the best way to make money” (Letters, Sept. 13).
Mr. Sage uses the word “only” to imply that it’s a mere occasional happenstance that the best way for businesses to make money is to supply goods and services that improve people’s lives. But because no private business (without special privileges granted by government) can force any consumer to buy its products – and because no private business (without special privileges granted by government) can prevent other businesses from competing for consumers’ dollars – no private business (without special privileges granted by government) can survive unless it supplies “products and services that make people’s lives better” (as judged by consumers themselves, of course, rather than by Mr. Sage and his fellow “liberals”).
Businesses do sometimes err. Consumers do sometimes err. But for Mr. Sage not to see that in private markets the profit motive generally drives businesses to seek ceaselessly and frantically for ways to supply outputs that improve people’s lives is for him to be blind to one of the most remarkable and transformative facts of the past two centuries.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
Well said, sir.  Well said. 
If I ever make a ton of money, and the only honest way I can do this is by keeping a lot of people happy in exchange for their money, I'm going to go to Virginia and take classes from Don Boudreaux. 
It will happen. 

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