“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Thursday, July 21, 2005

bloodsucking for fun and profit

Sometimes it is nice to see the face of the virgin in a gimme cup. And then, sometimes it is nice to see the face of Satan in a NYT article.

The article in question is about Costco. Costco is famous for paying its CEO a reasonable salary, as such things go, and doing the same for its employees. The latter policy has pissed off certain Wall Street poobahs.

Emme Kozloff, for instance:

“Emme Kozloff, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, faulted Mr. Sinegal as being too generous to employees, noting that when analysts complained that Costco's workers were paying just 4 percent toward their health costs, he raised that percentage only to 8 percent, when the retail average is 25 percent.

"He has been too benevolent," she said. "He's right that a happy employee is a productive long-term employee, but he could force employees to pick up a little more of the burden."

And here is a Deutsche bank hoodlum:

“Costco's average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42 percent higher than its fiercest rival, Sam's Club. And Costco's health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco "it's better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder."”

Dreher and Kozloff are obviously sick with that sickness unto death that is the Bush culture. LI however, wishes them no other ill than a compensation package and a health plan like a Walmart greeter’s, children who hiss and spit at them in their old age, and a lifetime of permanent nightmares in which they wander, penniless, through the ruins of a country that they have made a career of debauching, chased by the people they have systematically shit upon who are armed with a healthy quantity of good dreamtime steel pipe. From all of us at LI, at least, they have our undying hatred. We just want them to pick up a “little more of the burden” of the inequality they have spread around with such abandon.

7 comments:

Deleted said...

Fordism is too pinko for them. The questing sphincter of profit maximizationis insatiable, Roger. It must be fed even if it kills the company and necessitates a bail out. It is immoral to defy this imperative. I rely on The Economist to cheerlead the process and give accurate reports on its consistently disastrous outcome.

roger said...

harry -- a bit cynical this morning, eh?
Here's a question for you. Would it be worth while or a waist of time to find Ms. Kozloff's email address and post it and urge letters to be written to her in a polite tone, urging her to employ her talents where they could be more useful - or would that be pointless harrassment? I'm honestly not sure. I'm not into pointless harrassment. But obviously we have to experiment with new, and sometimes stupid, forms of resistance if we are going to change anything in this culture. What do you think?

roger said...

I should watch my waist, eh?

Deleted said...

I've studied the Kozloffs of the world for a while, Roger. I have helpful graphic I use when I poisoning the minds of today's youth. In my studies, I've found that admonishing them is pointless unless it's kept up over a period of years. Simple emails are not enough. Rehabilitation is very time consuming and requires some assistance. The graphic explains why this is so better than I can manage with mere words.

Paul craddick said...

I'm glad to say: add me to the chorus of the outraged (though, Roger, I think you weakened your piece with the predictable pot-shot at "Bush Culture").

Unless there's something we're all missing, Kozloff's pablum is beneath contempt - especially because Sinegal is doing very well with respect to the "bottom line," a standard which ought to be normative for Kozloff.

Some great excerpts:

"Combining high quality with stunningly low prices, the shirts appeal to upscale customers - and epitomize why some retail analysts say Mr. Sinegal just might be America's shrewdest merchant since Sam Walton"

'And Costco's customers, who are more affluent than other warehouse store shoppers, stay loyal because they like that low prices do not come at the workers' expense. "This is not altruistic," [Sinegal] said. "This is good business."'

Indeed.

Those of us who are enthusiasts for what the market could and ought to be can only hope that Sinegal's apparent genius is infectious. The return of the owner-manager type would be a great boon, socially and commercially - not least because it would pull the rug out from under the redistributionists and Étatistes.

My only gripe has to do with health care: I'm not happy with people relying on corporate entities - paramount amongst them, the State - for "benefits" such as health insurance. But, hey - if you have to rely on anyone, it seems that Sinegal and Costco promise to be reliable.

roger said...

Paul, I knew your Chestertonian side would kick in sometime!
Thanks for the comment. As we know from Solow and Schumpeter, what counts, in capitalism, is growth, and growth is about human capital -- since it is humans who do things like invent technology, new services, etc., etc. It isn't about screwing the worker for such as Ms. Kozloff.

Deleted said...

Those of us who are enthusiasts for what the market could and ought to be can only hope that Sinegal's apparent genius is infectious. The return of the owner-manager type would be a great boon, socially and commercially - not least because it would pull the rug out from under the redistributionists and Étatistes.

I am happy to be in near total agreement.