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« More from Mexico | Main | Nutrition / Food »

October 04, 2007

Some FvBlowhard Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Friedrich von Blowhard treated himself to a little websurfing and turned up some excellent stuff.

* Naked Capitalism reports that even Republicans are turning their backs on free trade -- or rather, on what's laughably called "free trade." As Yves Smith writes:

More open trade can be a good thing, but not if entered into naively. Our system is more accurately characterized as managed trade, in which we negotiate trade pacts to promote corporate interests.

* Dean Baker thinks that elite (and corporate) self-interest explains a lot.

* Oprah magazine, believe it or not, runs some relationship advice (based on, as you'd imagine, "new studies") that strikes FvB and me -- both of us Old Married Guys -- as very good. I especially like the one tip about "Don't get angry and demanding when you're unhappy with things. Instead, express what you need and ask for help in getting it." Tactical wisdom!

* Guys who spend a lot of time on their grooming often do better economically, reports Bloomberg's Matthew Lynn. Lynn isn't cheery about what this may mean: "Within most large corporations," he writes, "showmanship is now rated more highly than ability or intrinsic worth." I ain't arguing with that interpretation.

* Steve Sailer marvels at how large college endowments have become, and wonders whether many red-blooded Americans will want to see a new musical about Andrew Cunanen, the despicable nutcase who killed Gianni Versace.

Thanks to Friedrich.



posted by Michael at October 4, 2007


I wonder about that grooming study. It's hard to say because the article doesn't say much about how it was done, but it isn't at all obvious from the article that better grooming causes higher earning. I can think of a few of other explanations: 1) Men who earn more money can buy more expensive clothes; the mere act of buying expensive clothes tends to make them more concerned with their appearance generally. 2) Grooming is correlated with some other factor--probably not actual ability at a job, admittedly--like charm, networking ability, or less charitably being good at sucking up to people, which leads to raises and promotions. 3) Men who earn more money have bigger egos; this makes them more vain.

I guess the fact that women benefit less from this effect does bolster the article's thesis though, since presumably the people who tend to hold high positions--mostly men--are better at judging how much time a man has put into his appearance than a woman, since they do it themselves.

Posted by: BP on October 4, 2007 11:49 AM

Re Capitalism: I'm an old-style Commie-hater from the fifties, raised in the belief that Communism is an unholy alliance of thugs and intellectuals spending other people's money. Trouble is, when I try to define the modern corporation, I can only come up with, well, "an unholy alliance of thugs and intellectuals spending other people's money". Some here in Australia would say that our greatest businessman was Sir Sidney Kidman. When you read his life you are staggered by his capacity for risk and adaptability to sudden and massive change. Needless to say, the company he founded was wrecked by a spiv in the eighties...but even that spiv was eventually brought down. Nowadays, our business titans get rich by simply taking a job, and even richer by leaving it, especially if the departure is made urgent by significant failures. I guess my bewildered question to Blowhard readers is: Can there be true Capitalism without personal risk?

Posted by: Robert Townshend on October 4, 2007 9:16 PM

Well, I'd describe it more as an unholy alliance of bean-counters and salesmen spending other people's money. This is why intellectuals like communism and salesmen like capitalism. :)

Posted by: SFG on October 8, 2007 12:20 PM

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