Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why America is Worse Off: Part 1- The Stock Market

Sometimes when I feel like posting on my blog but I don't know what to talk about I just open up a new post and start typing about the first thing that pops into my mind. That is how my last post about 50 things that make America worse off came about. Now after letting the post stew for a couple of days I think that the items that I listed would make good set of topics to post about. So I present to you the first post in a 50 part series called Why America is Worse Off.

1. The Stock Market.
I don't think that the stock market itself is a bad concept. I think that companies that need to get capital are using a viable option when they offer public stocks. I also don't think that it is bad for people to buy stocks. Personally I have a couple of mutual funds. And I bet overall mutual funds make a major component of trading in the stock markets.

The problem I have with the stock market is what happens to a publicly traded company. For the most part people that own stock in a company really don't care personally about the company, besides the fact that it will make money. If it makes burritos or party hats or burrito party hats it doesn't matter. As long as the company continues to grow at a good pace it doesn't really matter what it does. However when there are troubled waters on the horizon the ugly face of the public stocks rears it's head. And a conflict grows.

On one hand the people that run the company want to stay true to their products and their customers, on the other are the shareholders that want to make money. And when push comes to "the stock price is falling" the shareholders win. This means that the company will be forced to cut its workforce, cut corners, and cut ties with their loyal base. The product suffers, the customers who had made the company seem so promising get fed up and the devil does a little jig. The only winners are the shareholders who made the changes that would level off the stock prices enough to be able to jump ship without risk... well I guess the devil wins too, if he like to do jigs.

So what is the solution? I don't think that there is a good and simple one. I guess companies should be very careful when they go public, and shareholders should care about more things than their own bottom line. But that being said I personally would like to see my mutual funds to continue to grow, and if that means that Huffy has to switch to a cheaper brand of bolts, well so be it. I don't really care about what Huffy makes anyway.


Think Frustrated said...

Is that one of the new big wheels? When I was a kid they were made out of plastic (including the wheels) and had He-Man on them. You had a wicked hand brake for doing spinouts.

The bad thing about private companies is the lack of the ability for them to be as transparrent as public companies. Because the FTC can investigate public companies, it makes it harder to commit fraud. Also, a private company is making money for the board and the higher-ups. They will act in their own interests, anyway, be it cutting jobs, making lead-based toys in China, etc.

That said, I think capitalism itself is pretty terrible. It encourages inequality, and the stock market is a big part of our capitalist system. So, by association, I dislike it, too.

Ookami Snow said...

The bike is a new for 2007 Huffy Green Machine. It looks pretty sweet. And I did my fair share of Big Wheeling in my time too, you are looking at the back to back champion of the big wheel race that my apartment complex held.

I have to disagree that capitalism is a bad thing. I think it rewards people for doing hard work and for being innovative. However I think that we can not let money be our end all goal. I think that making people happy should be a high priority too. And if a company can do both at the same time then they have all sorts of good Karma coming to them.

For example the first time that I went to Chipotle (pre-McDonald's ownership) there was a line out the door. The manager of the place when through the line and gave everyone a free drink (not just a coupon, but the actual cup to get a drink). That was awesome. They were making money left and right so they gave back some of it to everybody.

That is what Michael Scott would call a win-win-win.

Think Frustrated said...

Ha! Win-win-win.

I must agree that capitalism does have its merits. Without it, Apple, Inc. wouldn't be so awesome. I wish there was a happy medium where we could have the benefits of capitalism and the focus on the people of socialism. Dammit, I'm going to have to move to Canada. (However, you can see that socialism mixed with capitalism can have some affect. Canada has a very high unemployment ratio.)

"Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism - he should believe in himself." Ferris Bueller.

The Math Ninja said...

Were you by chance thinking of Games Workshop when you wrote this post?

Ookami Snow said...

TF: I think that China also has a mix of capitalisms and socialism, but it really works out poorly for the people.
I agree that isms are a bad idea. I best advice would be to just be nice to everyone, in your personal and professional life.

Math Ninja: I wasn't actually thinking about Games Workshop when I was writing this, but they are a very good example.

Think Frustrated said...

Did you see that, as of today, the US Dollar has dropped in value enough to now be worth the same as a Canadian dollar? Now they'll have to change all the books where the price indicates that they cost more in Canada.

Ookami Snow said...

Now all the hockey teams will move back up north so that they get paid more and get more love.

I think I will demand to be paid in Canadian dollars.

nettymus said...

Was that here that you did the big wheel race? That is one of my few vivid memories form being younger than 4. My bigbird big wheel was pretty freakin sweet, as well. ^_^

Neel Mehta said...

Why is Jason Lee wearing a sombrero? Whatever the reason, we can't let him get past our borders!