Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guess What?

I was reading Mike Konczal's interview with Jos Kosman about the dangers of Bain-style capitalism. In the interview's course, Konczal mentions that even some "left neoliberals" defend the leveraged buy out. Guess what? It's Matthew Yglesias.

Here's how Yglesias defines himself and his concern. He is, he says,
something of a squishy centrist neoliberal, I’ve long been uncomfortable with the populist attack Democrats have been preparing to unleash on Mitt Romney as a job-destroying corporate raider.
Why is he "uncomfortable" with an honest critique of the excesses of venture capitalism? Because there might appear to be a
distinction between the good kind of businessman, the one who launches and grows firms, creating new products and jobs and opportunities, and the evil, Romney-style businessman, who makes millions by raiding and looting.
as is so often the case, the reality is more complicated. Almost every successful business career is built on the ashes of doomed factories, pink-slipped workers, and towns laid to waste.
See? What Mitt Romney did destroying companies for his personal profit even though it meant the destruction of who knows how many of his fellow citizens is fine because, after all, that just how capitalism works. 

So here's the thing. Konczol and the Roosevelt Institute are supposed to be some sort of a left/progressive dealio dedicated to making the world a better place. How, I wonder, can he contintue to misrepresent[1] Yglesias neoliberalism, which "left" only in the sense that despite all evidence to the contrary Yglesias maintains that neoliberalism shall set us free, and link to him without pointing out that Yglesias despises people.

Any decent human being after admitting that an economic system requires goodness knows how many of millions of ruined lives and destroyed cities, villages, and towns over the years would concluded that the system needs to be changed rather than, as Yglesias put's it, he is
happy to defend the layoff business as a legitimate and even useful element of a dynamic modern economy, I’m sure glad it’s not my job. Normal people, if put in a position where layoffs are necessary, find them to be emotionally arduous in the extreme.
 Of "productive" creative destruction Yglesias intones that
no one at Apple ever has to feel responsible for those layoffs. To walk into a dying factory or doomed corporate office and actually fire people, you need to be pretty callous.
If you ignore the whole Apple outsourced it manufactures to China, and that Steve Jobs wanted more pollution and child labor here so we could compete with China for his investment. Ygelsias' is absolutely right: no one at Apple is responsible for making the series of decisions that closed plants and offered no replacement because creative destruction did it unaided.

Were the world run along the lines of merit, in the sense of quality of argument, knowledge, and ability to think coherently, Yglesias would be writing celebrity biographical sketches for the Penny Saver.

See also.


  1. I have always thought of sufferring for the sake of sufferring as "boomer think", but Yglesias isn't a bomber so I guess there is something else wrong with him, where yglesias misses the boat here is that he doesn't understand what Romney was really doing, which was making a company look good on paper, in order to drive up the stock price, while in many cases hurting the long term prospects for the same company. Romney was all about short term profit for himself and you certainly cannot run a country like that.

    Which leads me to my next question, why does Romney want to be president anyway?

  2. He wants to do for America what he did for AMPAD, maybe? Or possible what fun is it to become rich destroying companies if you can't destroy a country? As to Yglesias, he is just plain dumb.