The Pen is mightier than the sword, but the Pen must sometimes move the sword against corruption if the corrupt are not moved by the pen.. An idea without an implementer is useless. "The Rulers do not carry the sword in vain"Rom 13:4

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Anti Capitalist Anti Hero Gar Alperovitz

How lamentably sad to see the fortunes and fortune of a superb  Spanish cooperative venture like Fagor go down in a screaming heap of financial flames.  Fagor is a fragment of the massive "Mondragon" empire. Started by a Catholic Priest decades ago with 5 cooperative workers and a vision for a viable future, it grew steadily to become bigger than Ben Hur on the national and global stage.

Then it all turned to jelly.

Mondragon developed into a world-wide network of cooperatives that boasts $14 billion in total revenues, distributed among 110 cooperatives, 147 subsidiary companies, eight foundations and a benefit society with total assets of 35.8 billion euros. The MCC currently employs over 80,000 people, 32,000 of which are coop members, and include in their products manufactured goods as diverse as washing machines and high end bicycles as well as financial products such as hedge funds and a network of retail stores that span Europe. Fagor alone, has over 5,600 employees in 5 factories in Spain and eight other non-cooperative factories in China, France, Poland and Morocco, and the ratio of the CEO’s salary is limited to 10 times that of the highest paid worker.

That's the good news. Now the bad.  I notice  a couple of red flags in this vast operation. Flag one is that the workers in Spain were under the illusory impression that they can make washing machines yesterday, today, and forever.  After all...they were a 'cooperative'...they ran the show.. one person one vote. This socialist theological orthodoxy has finally encountered the reality that their world is not a closed system.  If they had done their SWOT analysis, it would have clearly demonstrated that if you make washing machines in Spain, at a rate of pay set by the workers, a rate that they would regard as a 'living wage' no doubt... and another company makes washing machines in say...China, at a much lower rate of pay/wages....then trouble is looming on the horizon. This is the "T" part of SWOT..'threats'.

But economic reality seldom trumps theological orthodoxy when it comes to take home pay.   No one likes the idea that just to survive, they have to take a pay cut of hmm.. 80%!   Fagor workers took a pay cut of 20% in order to be more competitive....but here's the problem, it was not an accountant advising them of the real numbers/challenges, it was their own 'cooperative' voting power. No one wants to vote themselves into poverty.   The alternative though is one rung lower than mere poverty on the economic ladder it is... "survival."

I suppose that Mondragon shot themselves in the foot..or at least one of their body parts..Fagor, when they opened low labor cost factories in low wage countries like China. I suspect they did not make washing machines in China that would compete directly with Fagor, that would be suicide. But Mondragon had clearly recognized that China is the destination of choice for manufactured goods that will remain in the market place tomorrow. That venture had nothing to do with any of their cooperative foundations, it was pure economic rationalism as far as I can see.

Now..with Fagor flaming out, it's workers are firing up and freaking out at the prospect of a life situation about 2 notches lower than 'poverty'....  Are they angry? Of course they are....but who are they angry at?

Let's put that question aside for a moment and see how the Wall St Journal sees things:
According to the Wall Street Journal, by keeping the cooperative workers jobs in Spain and France, instead of moving the whole operation to low wage countries, MCC could no longer compete with those multinationals who use  solely cheap outsourced labor. This led to loss of sales and profits in the parent country and raised Fagor’s debt burden which made it more financially vulnerable.

But according to the Pope of Socialist Cooperative  Orhodoxy Gar Alperovitz:

However, according to Gar Alperovitz, a supporter of Mondragon, much of the sales plummeted in Spain due a housing recession which was the product of the overall capitalist created banking crisis of 2008 not due to FAGOR’s policy decisions  – if people don’t have houses, they will not buy domestic products such as washing machines, cooking ware, etc. no matter what the price.*

Ok..so it's "The Capitalists".  Really? Is there no way it could be the intransigence of people who are stuck in an ideological black hole back in the 18th century who believe they are 'entitled' to a living of their own dream and that nothing can or should interfere with that...including economic reality?

Also on the "not due to  Fagor's policy decisions"   Really Gar ? Try this!

Fagor acquired a French appliance company to try to achieve the scale to compete with Whirlpool Corp. and Electrolux in the free-market global economy. This however, again led to a massive increase in debt and more financial vulnerability.*  (reminder..SWOT!)

It's one thing to have a great utopian dream of  how things 'should' be...in a perfect world. It's another to hold that dream  in a real 'now' world that does not permit such dreams and visions to come true because to be blunt...it's a rather primal jungle out there!

I think it's about time these dreamy socialist types, woke up to the fact that their leaders and speakers like Alperovitz and the other patron saint Dr Richard Wolff do very well indeed by wandering around blaming capitalism, attacking everyone and everything that is not encompassed by their very blinkered and Dinosaur like world view, but the workers? aaah.. go figure folks.  They are left with anguished faces, distraught minds,  devastated emotions and a blind sense of hopelessness that causes them to lash out and scream.....but they aren't sure who to scream at......  May I suggest they scream at  Mr Gar Alperovitz and Dr Richard Wolff as a great beginning!
All these feral academics can do as the dust of your destroyed livelihood settles is.....pontificate about how things should be,  and  peruse the entrails of what was once your life!

As an afterthought, have a close look at their names (Wolff and Alperovitz) and give some reflection to their ultimate ethnic and political connection.... and if you have any doubts about that.. look up  the Bavarian Revolution, and make sure you do a 'bio' on each of the main names in this attempted coup... it will open your eyes considerably to the events which followed. You should begin with the name Kurt Eisner and see what this traitor did in 1918 at a Munitions factory.

This dastardly character Alperovitz is just a modern Kurt Eisner in drag...same race...same ambition of the Soviet style "Planned economy" which worked out so well, it imploded while thousands of people waited and waited..and waited in longgggg lines for a loaf of bread.... yep...that worked out well.....but go one level deeper... when  jokers like Alporovitz talk about a 'new system...they mean a new system WHERE THEY ARE RUNNING THE SHOW!.... I shout this out because you 'bewildered masses' out there are so thick headed flat headed slow headed and boof headed,you cannot see past their raving ranting rhetoric to what the real deal is!  Just like the greedy and corrupt Clodius who wanted Cicero's head...he made a wonderful speech that "seemed to be in the people's interests".... learn young Jedi...learn!

* Source

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