A Capital Idea Part 137: Capitalism's Externalities

I am talking about the externalities of capitalism itself here, not the externalities of a capitalistic operation, such as "the oil pipeline destroyed some sensitive habitat, and when it leaked, it caused pollution which taxpayers paid to clean up." Capitalism's losers bear significant human costs, emotionally, physically and behaviorally. Having just celebrated my eleventh wedding anniversary yesterday, I am reminded that such costs include high divorce rates. Seeing my aging parents the previous day, which was Thanksgiving Day, reminds me of capitalism's health problem externalities as well.

There is a very clear link between stress and divorce, just as clear as the link between poverty and stress, or between any type of economic hardship and stress. Similarly, there are also clear links between stress and poor health, and between poverty or economic insecurity and stress. Thus, when we hear people such as Alan Greenspan speaking in coded language about keeping the supply of potential workers high and their security and wages low, such friends of capitalism are also saying, "Let's make the average person insecure and less healthy; let's cause marital stess and high divorce rates." Of course, they would never say that directly, but rather, obfuscate such realities and attempt to negate them, with glittering "capitalism is great" or "capitalism is necessary" talk.

Increased divorce rates and more health problems, however, are only two of the more obvious and objectively measurable effects of capitalism's many losers and few winners system. Additionally, capitalism appears to have a deleterious effect on a variety of other "misery index" measures such as murder, suicide and psychological disorders. We live in a nation virtually secure from invading armies, with only rare incidences of international terrorism to disturb our sense of safety as a nation. Yet, Americans kill each other at high rates, propagate fear of foreign attackers, and often drive drunk, distracted, impatiently or tired, causing a great, never ending toll on the nations roadways. We tend to overwork, voluntarily or otherwise, yet complain about slackers who live on government welfare. Depression rates have been increasing, and probably anxiety rates as well; suicide rates are chronically on the high side, as well as murder suicides. This is despite having more and better treatments over time for depression and anxiety. Similarly, child abuse rates remain stubbornly high despite increased understanding of its causes and how it may be reduced. I suspect that the best treatment for those psychological and social ills will prove to be a progressive, egalitarian society with maximal opportunities for democratic participation and for self-determined productive activities.

Even among those who are not victims of "misery index" ills, the insecurity and stess which most people face under capitalism has a very deleterious effect on happiness, causing people to enjoy what they have less and worry about not having it, more. Perhaps that is why fear-motivated politics and negative campaigning have proven to be so effective over the years, although the public seems to be getting a bit tired of and immune to this approach. By every measure, Americans should be enjoying life greatly. We have toys and gadgets which probably weren't even dreamed of 100 years ago. Most of us have all the food that we want, with greater available variety than ever before. We have comfortable places in which to live -- those of us who are not homeless. Certainly, the first two levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs -- physiological needs and safety needs -- are readily taken care of for the large majority of us. Yet, we consistently have mediocre success on ratings of happiness. Perhaps it is time that we should add a level for "sense of security needs," in between "safety needs" and" love and belongingness needs" in Maslow's hierarchy. Meanwhile, living with constantly high stress levels and pressures has detracted from Maslow's third level, which is "love and belongingness needs." Perhaps we also should add a level to Maslow's hierarchy, for "freedom to pursue interests needs" between his two highest needs, "esteem needs" (the fourth level) and "self-actualization needs" (the fifth level). Most of us under capitalism, even those who are doing well and feeling good about themselves, feel only limited freedom to pursue their interests.

I should point out here that happiness is probably not the best measure of people's overall well-being, unless it is redefined to match something like Maslow's hierarchy better. Happiness, as is self-esteem, too often results from superficial sources, such as the casual feedback of other people, or leisure pursuits which serve no socially useful function and may even be detrimental to the greater good in some cases. However, I do not know of any large studies of self-actualization among representative samples, much less any international comparisons of the measure. There is a measure of self-actualization called a "Q-Sort," developed by a student of Carl Rogers named Stevenson, but its application is either in therapy situations or in specific studies of personality as far as I know. I would be interested in seeing international, or other, comparisons based on measures of self-actualization such as the Q-Sort, and would expect that more competitive, capitalistic cultures would actually stunt self-actualization by producing conditions of economic and social insecurity, and by limiting peoples' ability to pursue their own interests through channelling them into highly specialized careers, often of limited interest, and forcing people to be career focused to the exclusion of most outside interests.

Thus, as I have described, the externalities of capitalism are highly pervasive and detrimental to human well-being in various insidious ways. An economic system will always channel peoples' activities to an extent, but it is not necessary that peoples' lives be so devoted to the system as in the financial capitalism system that we are so familiar with. The economy that we have, is one in which the people serve the economy. The economy that we need, is one in which the economy serves the people -- an economy which serves to give people a sense of security as well as taking care of material needs, and an economy in which opportunities for people to pursue the greater good through their special talents and interests, are optimized. By serving the people, the economy will enhance peoples' well-being and ultimately, their opportunties to make the most of their lives -- that is, the chance to achieve what humanists such as Rogers and Maslow called "self-actualization."


Robindell's picture
Robindell 7 years 12 weeks ago

I think what will change capitalism is not reform, because it just doesn't seem to be happening, but the environment and the energy situation. I read a book on global warming, and the author seemed to think that new types of energy would bring with them a new way of looking at commerce and business, at least to a limited degree. I don't think public school teachers,education professors, or economists completely understand the balance between educational failure and economic failure as the cause of unemployment or underemployment. Obama, for example, talks about the need for education, but what he really means for the most part is job training on the post-secondary, collegiate level. All the engineers, computer information programmers, database administrators, cyber security experts, biochemists, accountants, engineers, architects, and so forth won't necessarily create enough good jobs. Of course, educated people can come up with new ideas for new products, but I don't think we know exactly how to produce gainful activity that matches up with people's interests and abilities so that every talented person can use those talents. You have college graduates waiting tables, driving taxis, and working at Walmart and similar stores. Mangement philosophy may have something to do with it, but some of it success at selling. If some doctor says that you need an operation or I need a CT scan, but we don't agree that these procedures are necessary, the doctors will have failed to make the sale. If you or I buy a new flat screen T.V. set, we would be supporting factory workers in China. I don't think you could find a new T.V. made in the U.S. The same is true for many other items.

Automation changes the requirements for employment. In your neighboring state of Arizona, there is a shoe distribution warehouse that looks more like a modern office building than a warehouse. The entire operation is automated. Computers find the right shoes to fill the order, and machines package the orders and sent them down the conveyer belt to the shipping department, to be loaded onto trucks. The only employees they have are computer programmers and other technicians, to keep the machines functioning. There are no workers picking the shoe boxes or moving merchandise on fork lifts. The employees are all white collar technical workers. Professional business jobs in technical areas might be more satisfying and better-paying than the older packing and loading types of unskilled jobs found in warehousing. Can we train everyone to be a computer information expert or robotics technician? Does everyone have that kind of scholastic ability? In psychology, there is something called individual differences. People vary in their abilities and learning styles and capabilities. Not everyone has the ability to become a lawyer, and the same is true for all professions. Some people may have much ability, but would find working in an automated warehouse to be too boring, whereas others would enjoy it or at least find it tolerable.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 7 years 12 weeks ago

Is capitalism bad, or is it wicked, greedy, over-reaching cheaters and bullies who spoil prosperity for all? I don't see how we end up assigning human characteristics to an inanimate concept without realizing we are talking about bad behavior, not a theory of economics.

We could all be living well as capitalists.

Some capitalists are still concerned with making an honest, constructive living, and supporting a company family of employees, using their own venture capital as an umbrella. It is the tyranny of insurance companies which ruins individual capitalists. Insurance giants are owned by monarchs and they don't want company with youse.

Every country in the world has always had families who are the more aggressive, more successful tribes at exploiting resources- they take hold and never let go. Age to age they smell like roses, regardless of the existing form of government, regime, or local conditions.

So let's take the Pittle out of Capitalism and cast out the real Offenders one by one. We can do it with Moody's Manuals.

The Lincoln melange, for example, announced sometime around 1914 that its scientifically, aggressively managed system was laid out upon a grid covering the entire United States. That way the U.S. was exploited homogenously, and with the first wave of independent wealth by the end of WW II swept under the Giants' rug, families and assets nationally had been marked and identified town to town, slated for ultimate sifting into the Trust Company.

Lawyers conspired in secret, "adding house to house...field to field"- from somewhere in Isaiah, to the One World, One Life of Pepsico.

We paeons can organize just as effective a grid, independently and anonymously. Choose a few Mutual Giants to never give money to, based on their Subsidiaries and Holdings. It is because we are so oblivious to their made-up Monopoly Rules that a good capitalist can't win anymore.

It's so easy to say no to so many of the things that would cut them off at the knees-

Their Kingdom is nothing but junk and junk food anyway.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 7 years 12 weeks ago

Hello Robindell. Thanks for responding to my new post shortly after responding to my previous one.

I more or less agree with you that necessity will probably do more to reform capitalism than will politicians deciding they like the ideas of intellectuals who want to reform capitalism. However, when that happens, because of ecological pressures and the unsustainability of the infinite growth model, it is my hope and expectation that the search for better ideas to replace the old, clearly flawed ones, will prompt people including politicians, to incorporate such ideas. Many economic reform ideas have already started to be used, in fact, so it may be a matter of expanding them -- things such as economic co-ops, worker owned businesses and local economies, for example.

My discussion of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and self-actualization does directly relate to matching people's work with their talents. As I have discussed before -- and I think you agree -- education is not really for the primary purpose of job training. Similarly, well being and self-actualization are not primarily about work. Once we make these realizations, we can move forward toward finding productive ways to live our lives. The current system, however, is more geared toward training people for specialized careers. Thus, the success of the system depends on being able to find work for people in the careers for which they are trained. Otherwise, their specialized training goes to waste. If perhaps, we view education not as an extended job training exercise, but rather, as life preparation, and arrange the educational process accordingly, finding a specific kind of job would not be such a disaster. To an extent, with "liberal education" this is already true, but corporate entities seem interested in specializing education so as to turn it into a sort of talent search and trainging program for their own future employees. This would be a horrible mistake, and some schooling has already moved in this direction.

When I was recently in Nevada, I think I may have actually heard an interview of the owner of that shoe company on the radio, either that or it was some similar sort of operation in the area. I remember they were training people to run the machinery, and also included in the radio show were interviews of a couple of recent "graduates" of the program who had gotten jobs running the machinery. This is an example of the sort of overspecialized education that I was refering to in the previous paragraph, although specialized training certainly is needed for some jobs. The thing about these fellows is that they didn't have much other formal education. I think they were high school graduates who had never been to college.

Leigh, thanks for also replying to this post. I agree that capitalism's ills involve bad behavior by capitalists, but I have to question whether capitalisms problems are really the result of bad behavior rather than a deeply flawed system. It may be possible that people could all live well under capitalism, but only if we solve the problem of how to prevent large inequalities in wealth and the hoarding of resources. It seems clear to me that financial capitalism can only support a small number of very wealthy people, so only a system which prevents inordinate accumulation of wealth can create a society in which every person benefits from the economic system. Perhaps punishing or circumventing the bad actors would be enough, but reworking the system to make economic corruption unfeasible would be best.

You will need to enlighten me regarding what the Lincoln melange or Moody's Manuals are, but I think you are more or less agreeing with me in your own words. We are developing ways to fight the upward redistribution of wealth and create a fairer economic system. Capitalism will still play a role in it, but with more and different rules that are designed to make the system serve the public good better. I know that there are responsible capitalists, although the irresponsible ones have given capitalism a bad name.

By the way, I thought we were "peons" (or pee-ons), not paeons, but perhaps my spelling is a bit off. In any case I agree that we can, should and I predict ultimately will, form an effective economic grid that will render the current socially irresponsible monopolies impotent. Sooner or later, the great majority of us will realize that we don't need their junk.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 7 years 12 weeks ago

Well, you thought right since a paeon is "In quantitative verse, a foot of one long syllable and three short syllables occurring in any order." I'm not sure I know what that means- "a foot of one long syllable." Is this anything like a foot-long sub? What an eye you have!

Though the etymology is more enlightening: "1590s, from L. paean "hymn of deliverance," from Gk. paian "hymn, chant, hymn to Apollo," from Paian, a name of the god of healing; originally the physician of the gods (in Homer), later merged with Apollo; lit. "one who touches" (i.e. "one who heals by a touch"), from paio "to touch, strike."

Obviously I erred in an attempt to glamorize the word with the Latin botanical ae, for alas, by definition, I truly qualify as a peon- " from Mexican Sp. peon "agricultural laborer."

We were supposed to be protected in the United States from inequalities of wealth by having extended the powers of the Federal Reserve System to Regulate banking. I found their Paper published in 1982 promising that any mucking about with Federal Banking Regulations from 1982 onward would be the fault of Congress.

Additionally, the FDIC, 1933, which is a privately managed mutual fund, is regulated by no one.

Special securities were sold in 1933 to prop up the Federal Farm Loan System and the Federal Home Loan Banks. All these set-ups and protective measures have become an endless cycle of bilk for the private aspect of managing public money.

The greatest flaws in American capitalism are generated from the inside- the enemy is us and Congress is sworn to not tell on each other.

Moody's Manuals, not to be confused with Moody's Sermons, have been published annually since the early 1900's. There are various sets for Banks-Insurance-Real Estate Trusts, Steam Railroads, Transportation, Government and Municipal Securities, Public Utilities, and Industry. Intended to maintain transparency for investors and securities and bank examiners, the manuals list the history of entities, acquisitions, subsidiaries, directors, officers, property, affiliates, bonded debt, mortgages, types of securities issued.

Though each individual volume is heavy enough to be used as weaponry in a number of ways, my suggestion to fight with Moody's Manuals is to use this long range collection of data to blow the lid off long- obscured monopolies advanced through Military Personnel and Appointees, under the auspices of long-established War Profiteers.

I think we are caused to confuse fascism with capitalism.

Think of the Corporations Named "General"-

There's General Dynamics, General Foods, General American, American General, General Motors, General Electric, General Atomic, General Bank Holding, General Cinema, General Hospital, General Corporation, General Funding, General Mortgage, General Mills, General Refractories, General Telephone, General Tire, General Trust, General United Life Insurance Company of Iowa.

Mr. General does pretty well, especially when he ends up officer and director of major U.S. corporations.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 7 years 12 weeks ago

I am glad to be asked about the Lincoln Melange, for what more relevant erection under this Title, A Capital Idea Part 137: Capitalism's Externalities than the Lincoln Tower, built 1930, Fort Wayne,IN.

A Gothic jewel of poorest taste, it was built to loom at least more than twenty two stories over the rest of Fort Wayne, Indiana, a town in 1930 concerned with people living in boxes along the river, gangsters, and in banking, getting the Van Sweringen Brothers fortune out of the United States so their "empire" could be sold for $300,000 to the Balls of Muncie, and getting funds of the Crown Prince of Germany, who escaped prison in Holland, in.

The Ball transfer was a matter of senate investigation which went nowhere in 1930, but manifested decades later as Standard Federal-ABN AMRO once it was very unlikely anyone would connect these events.

That Lincoln National Bank only became so in 1914 was to erase their true identity which was the German American National Bank established 1905. This fraction now exists in Japser, IN, recreated in 1955.

Operating in conjunction as a trust department and farm mortgage company in 1914 were the Straus Brothers whose overseas correspondent was Union Bank of Switzerland. Straus was located next door to the telegraph office for even in 1914, wire transfers to and from Europe to and from quiet mid-west towns were a way of life, for some.

They all happily merged in 1928 to become the Pillar of Strength of the Depression and recruited war industry to Fort Wayne for the good of the people. That's what they say. The newspapers seem to be full of a lot of strikes at Harvester, Klansmen, Black Knights, unscheduled stop-overs by Roosevelt-

There is more to this melange which meets the eye because this German American National (Austrian) original mold included Warren Bechtel's financial ideas and American Express/Wells Fargo/American International Corporation, and the Bank of Italy, now Bank of America.

As Lincoln, the German entity passed through the Northwest Bancorporation (notoriously the most predatory bank in the country during the Depression) and merged into Wells Fargo.

The icing of the cake is that Moody's Manuals can be used to prove the Lincoln melange is not only Wells Fargo, but Bank of America and National City/First National banks too, always have been, and these are primarliy a favored branch of banking of the Senate and the Federal Reserve.

Above primarily being the Land-gathering arm of Centralization, we have for Industrial Centralization the NBD Melange with somewhat parallel components such as Morris Plan Industrial Bankers and Manufacturers Hanover.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 7 years 11 weeks ago

Thom just had a post about how Goldman Sachs was buying the whole world and getting itself "too big to fail" bailouts whenever it causes a crash. I suppose the same applies to these other interconnected banks.

We need people such as you to delve into the information treasure found in Moody's Manuals or other such sources. I think I might grow impatient with them and my head might start spinning when I look at them.

I do think that there are some summaries of the interconnections among businesses available on the internet. Perhaps you could add to them. I have seen a few of them, on occasion.

I find the names used by these meta-corporations interesting too -- such as Bank of America, which is really the Bank of Italy, except it's owned by Germans if I read that correctly. The name "Lincoln" evokes images of Abraham Lincoln and selfless service, of course, which probably couldn't be further from the truth.

Now we both know the difference between peons and paeons, although I am unable to come up with an example of a paeon. Of peons, on the other hand, I can think of nearly 7 billion examples.

Robindell's picture
Robindell 7 years 11 weeks ago

I have been to downtown Fort Wayne, and I don't remember the Lincoln Life Insurance tower at all, although I have heard of the company. I seem to have read that the company was bought out or mereged with some other insurance company, and is no longer headquartered in Fort Wayne. There is supposed to be a collection of Lincoln artifacts that was in Fort Wayne, possibly, at one time, inside of the Lincoln Life building. There is a bank building in downtown Fort Wayne that is 30 stories or so in height, and a more modern, generic skyscraper which I counted as being about 40 storie tall. There is a office building called the Anthony Wayne building which is something like 10 or 20 floors. Fort Wayne is a relatively small city, although it is the second largest in Indiana, and I only remember 2 skyscrapers that were of any substantial height, but are low compared to buildings found in major cities, such as New York, Chicago, Philadephia, Houston, or Los Angeles. Fort Wayne would not be considered a major financial center.

Incidentally, there is a company in Fort Wayne called Magnavox which I believe is at least in part a defense contractor and probably make some kind of electronic technology parts. When I was younger, I someone heard that Magnavox was in Fort Wayne, but I never knew if this was the same company that made the rather well-known Magnavox television sets for consumers. In Bloomington, IN, there used to be the largest T.V. factory in the world, which made RCA televisions and at the time of its closure was owned by Thompson Consumer Electronics, which I think is based in England but had a U.S. headquarters in Indianapolis and the license to use the RCA name and other consumer electronics brand names on their products which eventually were all imported.

Natural Lefty, after giving it some thought, I would raise the following point regarding Dr. Abraham Maslow (at least I can claim that Lincoln and Maslow had the same first name): it would be helpful to distinguish between the failures of capitalism when companies go out of business and many people lose their jobs, as just happened last week with Hostess Products, which conservative people in my state are blaming on the union, when no less than the Wall St. Journal reported that the company had suffered from mismangement for some time, in addition to a decline in sales of their sugary confections, most famously, the Twinkie, and that the workers simply did not want to accept the pension and pay cuts that they were offered, and the seperate issue of work and self-actualization. In other words, there are his Hierarchy of Needs the lower level needs, which are threatened and put at risk when a person loses his or her job, and then there people who have jobs but are not actualized by them, or are not adequately paid, including, as I understand it, some part-time college professors or graduate teaching assistances, or people who work in restaurants or in retail and so forth. Some people are left with no job, while many others may be dissatisfied with their jobs. I study that was done several years ago of retail workers found that a large percentage of the employees surveyed were dissatisfied with their positions, and the most disappointing aspect was the lack of opportunities with their employers for promotion, for upward mobility. This was associated with the high turnover rate among retail workers.

I have found that a certain company in one area of its operation seems to have a lack of knowledge and insight into basic management practices, including an understanding of the organizational structure flowchart, which is often called "line and staff," and the principle of management supervision that each employee should only report to one supervisor, rather than being supervised by 3 or 4 different people. When I studied management, I was surprised as to how much emphasize was placed on psychological factors in how people are treated and in trying to be positive in approach in motivating employees and getting good results. MacGregor as you probably know has what he called Theory X and Theory Y of supervising people. The problem is that many companies often do not follow the best practices that are taught in business schools within academia. Employee morale is a sociological concept that is also significant, but often ignored. In closing, I used to visit a Web site that was called "Disgruntled" which was all about disgruntled employees who didn't like how they were being treated by their co-workers or by their bosses, and different adverse trends in management. The editor of the Web site quit because he himself became disgruntled, I think with his salary or perhaps with other issues as well. Unfortunately, that caused the site to be permanently shut down.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 7 years 11 weeks ago

I don't think I went to Fort Wayne in my brief excusion to Indiana with my wife in the summer of 2008. (I remember the year because the Beijing Olympics were going on at the time. Due to a snafu and a flght delay, our arrival was not greeted by a car rental company employee. It was like 1 a.m. there time and all the employees had gone home. We were forced to spend the night in a sort of rec room where we watched the marathon race that a runner from Kenya won. That runner has since passed away in a fall from a balcony in a lover's quarrel. I had never heard Cicadas before that trip and they were making noises whenever we were outside that sounded to me like damaged electrical wires., so that was a wierd trip for me all around.) Perhaps the Lincoln tower is one of the buildings you mentioned. I think Magnavox used to be one of the major television makers, if it isn't still. I am not surprised that Hostess has factories in Indiana. There seemed to be a lot of junk food there, but we liked the people we met. By the way, Indiana is one of only two states that Obama won in 2008 that he didn't win this year, but in the past, it has usually gone Republican.

I had to read the Maslow-related part part of your post again to get what you meant, but I think I do now. There are jobs which people have, in other words, that fail to adequately supply people with the income or security they need to even fulfill the lower levels of Maslow's pyramid, the physiological and/or safety needs. That is a really good point. Such situations are allowed by capitalism because it basically puts the company owner in charge of workers' salaries, aside from minimum wage considerations. In effect it says to employers that they can mistreat employees all they want, and the only consequences they will have to consider are the almighty "market" forces, such as how many people are willing to work under such lousy conditions. It's the "race to the bottom" that I have heard mentioned several times on the radio.

I have been hearing good things about Costco these past few days, which surprises me because my experience shopping there indicates that it's like a club where one has to pay to get in, then you are constantly "carded" and treated like a potential suspect while shopping there. I find most of the prices there pretty high, but some items are less expensive than usual. Anyway, it turns out that this particular CEO likes to pay his employees more and himself, less than what American CEOs typically do, by far. That makes me think more kindly toward shopping there again. My wife did get a Costco card this year so we have gone there a few times. I still cannot understand why it's so popular though.

Actually, I have never heard of MacGregor, but my stepdaughter probably has since she has an MBA. I know that a lot of an MBA education is psychological, even if it tends to amount to the worst form of consumer psychology, as I was exposed to Isabella's curriculum at times, and helped her with her thesis, which involved a lot of psychology. It was about customizing business websites for people of different cultures.

Robindell's picture
Robindell 7 years 11 weeks ago

I know that you have a new post, but just to briefly follow up with the above, you may have noticed that the co-founder and CEO of Costco spoke at the Democratic National Convention. Costco has overtaken Sam's Club, which is a subsidary of Walmart, named after Sam Walton, as the largest club membership type discount store. I have heard it said that Walmart is the Republican retail store, where as Costco is the Democratic company in discount retailing. Costco has unionized employees and, so I have heard, encouraged the union or unions to represent a certain number of their workers. I would imagine that the managers are not in the union, but I don't know for sure how many of their employees are unionized, and exactly which ones. The upper management is Democratic and I am pretty sure donates to Democrats, not Republicans. I am interested in retail and so I was able to discover an interesting thing about Costco's annual membership fee and card which you mentioned. Retail is a type of business that most often relies on mass merchandising for a store to make a profit. The profit margin in retail is considerably lower than in many other industries, such as the medical device or pharmaceutical industries, for example. There may be some speciality stores that deal in high-end products, expensive furniture, jewlery, art gallaries, musical instruments, etc. that may have a higher profit margin, but most stores have to sell a lot of stuff to make a profit. From what I found out, Costco's prices are so low that they don't make a profit on the products. They make their money on -- you guessed it -- the membership fees. That is why they are so concerned as to whether you were a card-carrying member, because if they let someone in who hadn't "paid up" for their membership, they wouldn't make much profit on the actual purchases you may make. I am not a Costco member; they have a store about 30 minutes away. My understanding is that they have a lot of bulk items which allow customers to save by buying in quantity. That also could save additional trips to the store to replentish your supply of something you use regularly. Another aspect is that they are like a department store and have a variety of items, tires for your car, pastry for desert, probably an optical department, all of which allows people to pay less than regular retail. I think they may even sell insurance. Costco does pay more than other retailers, and I read what you said, that the CEO earns less than his counterparts at other companies. It is about as close to the ideal organization for a fairly large corporation that I think you will find in U.S. capitalism at present. They are not pefect, but are better than most in certain respects.

I seem to remember that Maslow was mentioned in the supervision class that I referred to above. The psychological component of the course was strictly about how to supervise people in a positive way. The professor asked me at the end if I would like to take another course that he also taught that he would enjoy having me in class again, but I didn't do that. He was a good teacher. He did a mock employment interview in which he pretended to ask illegal questions of the person being interviewed, just to make the point in a somewhat humorous vein that you are not supposed to engage in employment discrimination when trying to hire people. He had an M.B.A. and had previously worked for a local industrial manufacturing company which went out-of-business, and he used to criticize them in a subtle way, but I could see that he was unhappy or somewhat bitter about his former employer, and didn't approve of certain aspects of their management approach. Unfortunately, the guy was later convicted of federal income tax evasion. I don't know if he had just made a mistake or did not deliberately pay all of his taxes.

I was referring to both the working poor as well as laid off workers who become unemployed due to corporate failure or sending plants to Mexico or China. Hostess also had a plant in the suburbs of Chicago where the Twinkie was invented. They also made both white and whole wheat bread. Indiana does have many fast food restaurants which I sometimes have patronized, if only to have a cup of coffee, and stores sell snacks, but that is true of the entire country. In my county, there are three health supplement/food stores (with high prices which I can't afford), and the regular stores carry organic produce and natural type of products, ceral and whatnot. The people in this state, however, do tend to be overweight, but again, that is a natural trend.

By not going to Fort Wayne, you didn't miss much. Their zoo is called the children's zoo and is pretty nice and lets you get close to the animals. They have a modern indoor plant conservatory downtown. There is a recontructed Fort Wayne which I passed by. It is good-sized, but not a major metropolis. Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Gerald Ford came from, is somewhat larger, but is sort of comparable in size, as is Riverside from what you have mentioned. The insurance company, Lincoln, which Leigh mentioned, may have been named that because Lincoln and his parents moved to southern Indiana from Kentucky and lived here before he went to the "Land of Lincoln," Illinois.

If you ever happend to visit Northern Indiana again, I could show you the dunes and surrounding forest which are in both the Dunes State Park and in the Indiana National Lakeshore. The area is known for having some unique combination of plants growing near one another which usually does not occur in nature. When I was young and lived at home, we had a scientist from the University of Chicago who asked permission to go in back of the house, where there was a "natural" forest, and take water samples from the marsh back there. We lived within the boundary of the national park in two different houses. In the first house, I would walk through the woods in back for two or three miles on rather rugged land with no trails, going all the way to the next road to the east, and one day I discovered a babbling brook, a stream that was like a mini waterfall. I would sit in that spot for some time and just listen to the sound of the water. Also, one day when I was in back in the forest, without warning, a very tall tree suddenly came crashing down. We called the National Park Service, and they sent out an arborist who said that the tree had been eaten through by wood-eating insects, sort of like termites. If I had been standing on the other side of the tree, I could have been killed or at least injured. There are some beautiful state parks in Indiana and throughout the Midwest. The one near where I am is the most visited in the state, being on Lake Michigan. But Indiana is at the bottom when it comes to taking action on the state level to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, which are a part of the term in economics, "externalities," although you were using it in a different sense, from what I understood above. There are some concerned environmentalists who want better state policies and to use natural gas more and renewable instead of so much coal. Also, since you visited the state, there is a plan that would have to be passed by the state legislature and then approved by voters in the affected area for a local tax increase, including the city of Indianapolis, to create a light rail system such as many other cities, even those smaller than Indy, already have. In Minneapolis and in Houston, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Portland, OR, they have light rail. It would not be a subway like they have in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but would run on the ground. There would be more than one line that would be built. Also, bus service would be expanded to pick up where the current bus system in the city leaves off. Some state lawmakers went down to Charlotte, NC, because that city has a light rail system (and a Republican mayor who supported it). This effort would at least be a start to get some cars off the streets and highway of the metro area, but last year, it didn't go anywhere in the legislature. Now, though, with the global warming issue looming more than ever, the effort has better-organized support. Indianapolis has a population of over 700,000, and then there are several suburbs that further adds to that amount.

I wouldn't mind visiting California someday, but it is a long way from here. Being an amatuer urbanologist, I would be interested in visiting Los Angeles and maybe San Franscisco or San Diego, as well as some of the rural areas that I have heard about, such as the redwoods and so on.

I wonder if you ever see movie stars walking around Riverside, since you are only an hour or so from Los Angeles and Hollywood. Maybe you could find a producer and screen writer to do a Natural Lefty movie. There is a play by Clifford Odets, Waiting for Lefty.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 7 years 11 weeks ago

Well, NL, in all modesty it is absolutely true- We need people like me who are willing to have spent twenty years of their lives in courthouse basements, squinting at illegible micro-fiche for hours on end, and buying retired copies of Moody's from old libraries for daily reading ,learning old corporation law and the histories of trust companies, railroads, and American industry. This is how I have found a lot of facts that have never come into the open, because it's a hell of a job dredging them up. My Moody's collection has the dust from the Great Depression in its pages. I get filthy looking up things.There are all kinds of interesting markings that people made for various reasons over the years. I find researcher notes.

My database is huge with 20 years of archival work, which is why I can pull up corporate or financial coincidental facts and historical occurrences very quickly. And, I have been adding to the internet by posting on TH for almost 6 years in addition to having a website where are featured narratives, games, and official docs. Information gets around.

In reality, this database is Intelligence and should be utilized for a number of purposes. What should I do? March it down to the Miami Field Office of the FBI? OK lady, we'll take a look-

The most interesting up to date buried facts of Bank of America is that there was in 1929 Bank of America Chicago which merged into Central Trust Company of Chicago, which then falls off the map.

At that time Bank of Italy was not called Bank of America and was headquartered in San Francisco with Wells Fargo. When Bank of America Chicago merged into Central Trust and disappeared, Continental Illinois NB&T was formed. Bank of Italy sold stock shares to Continental Illinois investors in Continental National Bank in Salt Lake City, whose correspondent was in Indianapolis.

Chicago Title & Tust Company, Tr, actually Lincoln/Wells Fargo, held real estate to secure stock shares for investors in Continental Illinois Bank.

Finally, all the Continentals became Bank of America which then began transferring as Trustee, realty Deeded to Chicago Title & Trust, TR, without recording a change of Trustee or Affidavit, as would be normal. This slight of hand is easily accomplished in elderly estates where CT&T was made Trusee in the 1950's. All Titles are clear in 50 years. The likelihood of heirs looking back into the real estate of their old relatives is miniscule. And BABA and Wolfie are not going to sue each other. They are each other's title insurance company.

When the opportunity is ripe, realty is being taken out of estates with lateral descendants or divided families, and put into private tax-free trusts which are owned by Bank of America and a private accountant. The private accountant is used to hold the real estate as a trust asset, and Bank of America keeps the cash in Private Banking accounts. Heirs are told their trust was divided into two parts and the estate tax is paid out of the heirs part. Heirs are told the bulk of the estate is in the tax-exempt charitable part of the trust which is inherited by BA.

Since lawyers have talked the public out of Probate and into making personal Trusts they have cut off the formerly protective legal rights of heirs and put themselves in control of their clients' property and the lives of their descendants. Banks and lawyers end up with millions of their clients' assets, and blood heirs get checks ranging from $7,000-$12,000 on a typical day. Without Probate, Trust documents tend to come out of nowhere- they are not original in the case of fraud, and the going term used is "reconstructed document to the best of our memory." The original Trust and signatures are never intact when you have just inherited $7,000 and BA has garnered $13 million from your granny, and what kind of a suit are you going to file with your $7,000?

Moody's and Deeds prove that prior to 1929, Bank of America sold its own shares on the margin of realty claimed as an asset of Wells Fargo. I am pretty sure this is why Bank of America holds FDIC#3510 and Wolfie folds FDIC#3511.

It is extremely difficult to get the complete history of Continental Illinois Bank without a 1932 Moody's Manual. There are certain breaks in corporate histories which are referred back to an old year in Moody's.

One thing for certain, it was by no means a matter of public knowledge that when Continental Illinois National Bank & Trust was the giant of department stores, clothing and shoe maufacturers, all along it was joint bank of Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 7 years 11 weeks ago

I know everybody thinks I just make this stuff up.

Robindell- I will upload a postcard of the Lincoln Tower, Fort Wayne Bank Building, and Freimann Park, a gift from Magnavox pres. Frank Freimann which allowed town planners to further erase the old face of downtown. I will also upload a picture of the Lincoln Tower when it was the only skyscraper in town. http://www.thomhartmann.com/users/leighmf/blog/2012/11/bank-buildings-fort-wayne-indiana

at this link http://www.thomhartmann.com/users/leighmf/blog/2012/07/steel-dynamics-fort-wayne-national-corporation I have a picture of the Lincoln Life/Elektron.Standard Building and a couple of street maps showing Berry Street and the location of the big bucks. The dollar sign across Berry from the Courthouse is the location of Lincoln Tower.

I have a journalist friend there who was thinking of leaving and I said, "No way! You would not believe the the secrets hidden all around that county. Fort Wayne is where it is happening!"

Turns out, he finds quite a bit to cover.

I never lived there, but I have studied the town since the county was incorporated in 1834 and I came to know more about it than many who live there. I would say I know as much as those who are considered the current experts in Ft. Wayne, IN history.

Magnavox in Fort Wayne was more concerned with Defense Electronics and in the 1950's had huge backorders from the military. Lawyers merged other Magnavox sudsidiaries with furniture manufacturers, and now that branch of the company has been reduced to production of Radio Shack items.

There has always been a deliberately generated confusion about Who's Who on Berry Street.

East Berry is the main street of downtown and the institutions thereabout are holding unbelievable sums of money for such a town where the average family income is $48,000. East Berry Street is the headquarters of the old money, platted originally in an easement of the Pennsylvania RR.

The Lincoln Tower is almost opposite the Courthouse on Berry. This is where the Lincoln Museum was made in the lobby of the Lincoln National Bank. However, that was a war-time name change of the German American National Bank. The Museum was created to convince citizens of Fort Wayne they were not doing business with the German American National Bank and the predatory Northwest Bancorporation.

The Bank later in the century merged with Norwest, then Wells Fargo, the Tower was foreclosed by American United Life in 1997, 2 million in arrears, and re-purchased by a new "Tower Bank" which is headed by the last president of Steel Dynamics.

The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company never occupied the Lincoln Tower and after existing at 215 East Berry, before my gg-father moved into the offices which were then changed to "The Standard Building," the insurance company built an agency on Clinton.

The former Lincoln Life at 215 East Berry is a beautiful Art Nouveax building by Wing and Mahurin. When Lincoln Life occupied the building, it was called Lincoln Life. When called the Standard Building, the Anthony Wayne Bank moved to the first floor. The bank existed there until it built a larger building which now is also across the street from the Courthouse, on the corner. The Standard Building is now filled up with successors of the Kryder lawyers and is called The Elektron Building.

The large modern bank building you saw was Fort Wayne National Bank, erected 1969, where and when the Kryder estate disappeared. It merged into National City but was always National City. If you notice on television, you will see a copy of that same building all over the nation. They built hundreds of them as part of an REIT and it is all the same model- the Rectangular Beehive Bank Model.

Robindell's picture
Robindell 7 years 11 weeks ago

I posted a reply to your seperate blog on the Fort Wayne Bank Building. I mention these companies mostly as they exist today as I am not an historian or expert on Fort Wayne businesses. I did read, however, that The Elektron Building once housed the headquarters of the Lincoln National Life Insurance Comapany, apparently as its first headquarters, which is still headquartered in Fort Wayne on Clinton St. as I mention in my other reply. I also saw that the building was known for a while as the Standard Building. I would be interested in seeing the outside architecture and height of the building. National City is now PNC Bank which I also mention. As I said, I have been to Fort Wayne, twice in fact, and walked right by the Fort Wayne National Bank/PNC Bank Building.

All of this may seem a bit strange to Natural Lefty, who has been to Indiana but never visited Fort Wayne.

By the way, in today's paper, it is reported that Gary, IN, which once had a population of 180,000 as does Fort Wayne from what I have previously researched, now only has 80,000, and a study done by a professor at the University of California at Berkeley found that Gary is the most under-policed city in America, whereas Sunnydale, CA is the most over-policed city.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 7 years 11 weeks ago

I'll upload the Standard Building and former Lincoln Life Building on the Bank page. I think it was only five floors. Your research was right on.

Gary is not to be believed. You can buy houses in Gary on e-bay for $3,000.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 7 years 11 weeks ago

I am sure you were waiting for lefty. I read a couple of comments here but I had to log off, and Fridays are super busy for me until after 3 p.m. You are too flattering, Robindell.

The closest I can recall to celebrity sightings in Riverside is that my parents saw Walter Matthau at a restaurant around a town called Murrieta. It is south of Riverside along the 215 freeway. My parents used to go to that restaurant frequently although I only went with them a couple of times, which was strange since I often went to restaurants with them. It was farther from their home than the usually went to a restaurant, and I think it went out of business years ago. California is a very large and diverse state. We are about 60 miles east of Los Angeles here, but we are light years away in terms of celebrity presence.

Back to a topic related to this blog post, I do think that Costco is the basically the Democratic Party version of Republican Wal-Mart, as I have been to both and they are substantially similar. Actually, I did see that prices for many items are lower in Costco than in Wal-Mart. The only hitch is, as you say, the $50 annual fee in order to have the privilege of shopping there, which means that one has to buy a lot of stuff at Costco in order to make it worth the membership fee. I don't know if Sam's Club has an annual fee too, or not, but I think there is one near here that we have never been to. There was a regular Wal-Mart near here, but they just recently moved next door and turned into a super Wal-Mart. This area is a shopping mecca, which is nice when one wants to go shopping, but I generally don't like shopping, except for food, gardening, fishing equipment or bookstores. My wife likes shopping sometimes, so she likes this area for its bargains. When I say close, I do mean close. A person could actually reasonably walk to many stores from here, although we usually drive. My wife has walked to the stores and left a note sometimes while I am teaching, though. We have a movie theatre, a bunch of restaurants, Winco Foods, Smart and Final, Best Buy, Target, Petco, and a bunch of other stores in the shopping area near my house (about a mile away, mostly). However, virtually everything is a chain store, reflecting the homogenization and monopolization that has been going on in business around the world. In fact, Costco is very popular in Taiwan, too. Many of my wife's relatives like to shop at Costco stores in Taiwan. I am sure it is in many other countries as well.

Now that I know more about Costco's policies and politics, I think I will be more willing to shop there .As I mentioned, we will need to shop there quite a bit in order to justify the membership fee. Perhaps that is why it is so popular -- people keep going there in order to recoup there membership fees by buying relatively inexpensive items there. I was thinking about what you wrote, Robindell, and I think there are probably easily 10,000 or so members who bought their cards at the local Costco in Moreno Valley. (This one is on the Moreno Valley side of the street -- the east side. Wal-Mart is on the west side of the street which is in Riverside.) That would amount to $500,000 per year in revenue for the memberships alone. It could be a lot more than that, more like $1 million, so you could be correct that the membership fees are the main source of revenue for Costco, although I think they make some revenue through sales even though the profit margin is low.

I may have mentioned this before a long time ago to you, but my botanist uncle did his master's thesis on the sand dunes along the Indiana shore of Lake Michigan. From what you said, it seems you grew up near there. I think my father and his brother both went to Indiana University, although my father went to Northwestern in Chicago for medical school.

Leigh, I am glad you are finding out about the nuts and bolts of how corporate and banking giants are monopolizing our economic system. This knowledge can give us ways to counteract them and fight back, as you mentioned before.

Why don't you mention the link to your site? I have never seen it.

By the way, I found out from my friend Nimblecivet that the fire in Pakistan which killed so many garment workers was the same day I wrote this blog post "Capitalism's Externalities." How ironic. We need to re-emphasize that lost lives in industrial accidents are sometimes a cost of capitalism. Also, I need to make it clear that the way externalities are usually mentioned, is as monetary costs of doing business that are pawned off on the public. In this post, I am talking about non-financial costs to the public, of doing business.

Robindell's picture
Robindell 7 years 11 weeks ago

Life sometimes hold the unexpected, so maybe someday, all three of us can meet, and the meeting place would be outside of the Lincoln National Bank Tower in Fort Wayne.

I found a picture of the Elktron Building on a Web site, but I will see if I can see the additional photos from Leigh here on Thom's location.

I found Leigh's site which asks, "Where is the Kryder or Kryder's Money?" It has much factual data on it from her many years of research.

Chicago was once a movie capital, by the way, during the silent era, and Charlie Chaplin made a few films there, and more recently, a studio opened up which is making a T.V. show. Many films have used the Chicago Loop for a backdrop.

I just wanted to follow up to NL's last post. It doesn't surprise me that you have many of the chain stores that are located in my part of the country. as well. The one advantage of it perhaps is that you and I can compare notes on a company such as Costco, while living thousands of miles away from one another. I have bought cat supplies at Petco. We have one main commercial area in Northwest Indiana. There are any number of strip malls locally and in Chicago and the suburbs. These companies in the clothing area use Asiatic workers who have sometimes been found to be working in sweatshops. In parts of the world, actual slavery still exists. The very tragic fire in the factory in Pakistan that you mentioned was a dramatic example of the lack of concern for safety and poor working conditons in these countries. In that country, they seem to be more intereted in accusing people of criticizing or burning the Koran than in fixing the subpar labor conditions in the garment industry. It brings to mind the Bhopol, India disaster at the Union Carbide gas plant, a number of years ago.

Just to clarify my geograhpic background, which you alluded to, since I don't know any one else who would be interested, I grew up on the South Side of Chicago. When I was 5 and younger, we lived in an apartment building that was somewhat old way back then, and I am sure probably still exists. We lived close enough to the beach that my father would sometimes walk me to the lakefront from home. A large branch of the Chicago Public Library was nearby, and my father, who was largely self-taught, took me there. It was also old then, and although Chicago has built some new libraries, I think this building is probably still in use.

I may have mentioned this before, but I have several different indirect connections through my family to President Obama. First, my parents took me to Sunday School at a reformed temple called KAM that today is the headquarters of the organization founded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, called Rainbow/Push. It was once called Operation Breadbasket. They have been in the building for many years. What happened with the congregation is that as Jews moved out of the neighborhood and the entire southeast side, which back then had many synagouges and was heavily Jewish, KAM merged with another reformed temple that was only several blocks away. That temple took the name of both congregations, Isaiah/KAM. The temple today is very progressive-minded in the sense that they do a lot with urban gardening and food-producing. Reformed Jews do not have to keep Kosher and usually don't follow the strict rules of the Sabbath where you can't drive or turn on or off any lights or electric devices after sundown Friday until the end of Saturday. The men may wear skull caps, yarmaulkes, only when in temple, and many don't even wear them there. The temple is located in one of the richest residential neighborhoods in all of Chicago which has historic mansions built by former industrialists, sort of along the lines of Leigh's area of research. One of those mansions, worth $1 million or maybe even more, is located right across the street from the temple, but it is blocked off from the street by concrete barriers. The house is not readily visible from the street. There is a constant presence of Secret Service agents in the area. It is the home of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The neighborhood is called Kenwood and is a subset of the Hyde Park neighborhood. Louis Farrakon of the Nation of Islam has his house and compound right near there. If NL were to ever come here to visit, one of the places in Chicago I would want to show you is the campus of the University of Chicago. The president taught law there. The law school has a library, but the classroom part of it is one of the least impressive buildings at the university. The Midway divides the campus. The Midway is narrow, park-like area in the middle of 60th St. It dates from the World Columbian Exhibition of the late 1800s, designed by the famous Fredrick Law Olmsted. There is a beautiful sculpture, quite large with many figures and a pool, within it. The law school faces the Midway. Across the Midway is the medical school and U. of C. hospitals, where I was born. Michelle Obama was an administrator for the U. of C. hospitals. The university was criticized for not taking enough charity cases at the medical center. The university is about to open a brand new hospital annex building which is only for certain serious diseases and is described as the most advanced, state-of-the-art facility in the world. Another thing which doesn't have anything to do with President Obama is that growing up, I had a friend from the Sunday School class whose father was a professor at the U. of C. and, like NL, was a social scientist of sorts. He taught in the School of Social Service Administration which is right by the law school, and his area of specialization was juvenile delinquency, a problem which has only gotten more severe since then.

The other two connections between me and the president is that my father had a second, part-time job which he worked evenings and on some Saturdays as the accountant for a basement, academically-oriented bookstore in Hyde Park, right down the street from the university. The owner is long deceased, but the shop is still there. It is where Obama signed copies of his autobiography, and he was known to have visited the store as a customer, browsing for books.

The U. of C. is not only known for law and economics, but for its social work, sociology, and education departments. Thorstein Veblen, who was considered to be an economist and wrote The Theory of The Leisure Class, which sounds a little like some of NL's posts, taught at the university, as did the educational philospher John Dewey, and the child psychologist Bruno Bettleheim, who was somewhat discredited after his death because he supposedly was rather strict with the children to the point that he may have been somewhat abusive at times. Maybe NL has read about that. They used to say that they had more Nobel Prize winners in science at the U. of C. than at Ivy League schools. Physicist Entrico Fermi produced the first nuclear chain reaction on campus. The university runs the Argonne National Laboratory which is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy. Right now, they have the commission to work on an improved electric battery.

The final connection is that we moved farther south in Chicago to a house on Euclid Ave. This is a residential street that continues for many blocks. Further north on this street was the home of Michelle Obama's parents, where she grew up.

We moved to Indiana when I was 13, in 7th grade, and I have lived in this state ever since, except for two periods when I temporarily lived out-of-state. In my area, there is an electric train which is sometimes called the last interurban passenger train. It was on financially shaky ground for a time when it was owned by a for-profit railroad, the B & O, which became the Chessie System. The line goes between downtown Chicago and South Bend, where it ends at the airport. Most of the trains don't go all the way to South Bend, but some do. My father commuted to Chicago on this train for many years, and I once had a job in Chicago, and took the train for a while. The state government of Indiana recognized that this passenger service was essential for many people, and so they formed a commuter transportation agency, known as a district, which bought the train from Chessie. The commuter district owns and operates the train, which has increased its ridership so that it became the largest commuter transportation rail line in the country. The trains run on electric lines above the tracks which are "followed" with cantilever arms that fold up and down. The traffic on the expressway to Chicago is horrendous, so when I go to the city, I take the train all the time now. This also prevents my burning gasoline in the car. In Indiana, I lived close to the state park I mentioned, and I still live nearby. The park is part woods and hiking trails, which I think you would much enjoy, and part Lake Michigan beach. So, I could walk to the lakefront from home thorugh the park. Trail eight at the Indiana Dunes State Park is a real killer, as it eventually comes to the first of the three tallest dunes in the park, and the climb is straight up. It was always strenous, but now I would really huff and puff to get up to the top. It is a remote area, and so one needs to be in good health to hike the dunes. The trail leads to the beach, but you can also continue to the two other tall dunes. I know that you have dunes in California as well, so maybe it would be interesting to compare the areas.

I am very familiar with the Northwestern's medical school (the Feinberg School of Medicine). Right now, there is a controversy about their wanting to tear down an older hospital building which is no longer in use, because presevationists feel that it is of historical architectual signficance, and the medical school says the building is obsolete and need the land to build a new medical research building. Chicago is well-known for its architecture. It just so happens that my father had two smaller surgeries and saw a doctor beforehand at Northwestern, and I once had sinus tomography at their hospital. The main two hospital buildings were torn down and replaced with new buildings several years ago. The medical school and the law school are on the downtown campus in what is called the Streatorville neighborhood, and the main campus of Northwestern is in the north suburb of Evanston, which I have been to.

That gives you some more of my geographical whereabouts.

Capitalism is such an instable system that I like others on this site of Thom's have doubts if it can survive in its present form. When I go onto news sites like the Huffington Post, I read some conservative comments that make me angry. Most of the comments on that site, though, were not right wing, but some were. I think we should try and respond whenever possible.

You know, Chicago historically is linked to the westward movement all the way to the Pacific. At one time, Chicago was the fastest growing city in the world. People went west for opportunity. Often, they found it, but like gold prospectors during the California gold rush, sometimes they didn't. Capitalism has a way of letting people down sometimes. Speaking of working conditions and job satisfaction and the Windy City, if you have time, I would inquire if you ever read the novel The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. I have a co-worker at work who lived in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, which is on the South Side, and is close to where the old Chicago stockyards were located, which is the setting of the book. She is old enough to remember the stockyards, which closed a number of years ago. They were the world's largest. They were right next to the now-gone International Amplitheatre, which is where the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention took place.

I will end now with a humorous thought of mine. I once worked at a chain store that was located in a strip mall. I was on the west, or left side of the mall. I told myself, it is my goal to work my way down, store by store, so that when I retire, I will end up at the store that is on the east end of the mall, having gone from one side to the other.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 7 years 11 weeks ago

I know we have many of the same nationwide chain stores here. I wanted to go to Costco yesterday, in fact, and my wife initially agreed, but she then insisted on going to Stater Brothers (a local supermarket chain, unless they have now gone national; I went to high school with one of the Stater heirs and he was kind of a jerk) because the Blackberries were on sale. I am thinking of buying gasoline at Costco now as well as other things. Their gasoline is supposed to be somewhat cheaper. I know that the local Costco is usually rather crowded so it seems to be doing well. Many stores go out of business here, including the Albertson's and Sav-On which were just shut down. Only discount stores seem to do well around here, but this area is an economic basket case although I think it may be improving.

I have pseudoconnections to Obama, but no real ones. Being from Chicago, it would be more likely that you would have real connections to him. When I was an undergraduate, I knew several people who went to the same high school in Hawaii as Obama. One of them was a gal who a lot of people thought might end up marrying me or that we were a couple, which is strange because we never dated and she made it clear that she was not interested, but we were friends. People who went to private colleges in this region usually either chose between The Claremont Colleges, and Occidental College. I went to Pitzer College which is part of the Claremont Colleges, while I believe Obama went to Occidental College. He probably applied to at least one of the Claremont Colleges and was accepted, but didn't go; otherwise, I might have known him when I was an undergraduate. I do have a friend on Facebook who knew Obama when he was "Barry Obama from Hawaii" as an undergraduate at Occidental College.

I agree about the instability of capitalism; I think that is a pitfall of capitalism and it's made worse by capitalists who intentionally want workers to be insecure, or who take actions such as manipulating prices that make the system more unstable. I don't think capitalism can survive in its present form, either.

I often argue with conservatives intentionally, although I am really not a confrontational person. It needs to be done, and I get so angry at them sometimes, that I feel obligated to argue with them. I also argue intentionally with progressives with whom I disagree, but much less often. I really want all of us to get along and have a coalition of sorts, but when I see progressives being unreasonable and fragmenting us, I feel they are being counterproductive. I run The Thom Hartmann Bloggers Group on Facebook, and that group is a refuge from conservatism, because I don't add anybody who is conservative to the group. I feel we need a place where we progressives can come together without being subject to the right-wing echo machine. I thought you were going to look me up on Facebook, but that hasn't happened. Here and my bloggers group are my biggest priorities on the internet. The number of members in the bloggers group has risen substantially in recent months, and the activity is up some, which is good, although it's still not a big group. I don't go out of my way to advertise it; I more or less let people naturally gravitate to it. By the way, I think there is another group on Facebook with a very similar name to mine, so sometimes people get confused between them.

While you were working your way through the strip mall, I have been working my way from teaching anywhere from 7 in the morning, to having classes from 6-10 p.m. Mostly, I am assigned classes that start at 8 in the morning in recent sessions, which is earlier than I would like, but I accept them. I am glad they no longer have the classes that start at 7 a.m., a practice which was stopped when the school found out that was against state policy.

Believe it or not, I have actually spoken to several people I have met on the internet, on the telephone -- people living in other states. I have yet to meet any of them in person, though. I think that might be a very good thing, if that happens, but I am not sure how that will happen. Our financial status here has taken a big hit recently with the cancelling of the land deal, and continuing class cuts at the school where I teach, so I am no jetsetter at this time -- perhaps in the future, though.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 7 years 11 weeks ago

My grandfather Frank Kryder graduated from Indiana U, Bloomington. I didn't live in Fort Wayne. It was too dangerous for his children, and my grandmother took her daughters away in the middle of the night in 1941.

You know, if you read the pre-1930 censuses in your spare time you will see that some people, especially women, listed their occupation as Capitalist.

My great-grandmother's sister in law Bertha Romy was a capitalist. It simply meant that she funded enterprise or bought and sold property. You could be a capitalist and give a farmer a better deal to warehouse his crop than the bank.

So capitalism was a good thing- it meant independence from predatory lending institutions which had the only game in town.

I think what we have now is just BANKISM.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 7 years 11 weeks ago

Yes, "Bankism" is what we have now. People helping acquaintances financially, as capitalism, makes a lot more sense than Bankism or corporatism, because Bankism and corporatism concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few lucky people, is insidious, impersonal and dismissive of the greater good, and disempowers the "99%" at the same time.

I was wondering who this Kryder character was. Now I know he was your grandfather. But why was Ft. Wayne too dangerous? I think I am missing something there.

All of my ancestors had anglo surnames like Walker and Williams. One of my great grandfathers was a Senator (from North Dakota) for awhile, though.

Robindell's picture
Robindell 7 years 11 weeks ago

Thank you for the above replies. After I completed my typing, thoughts came to me of extra things that I should have or would have liked to include in my post, but time and space did not permit, so I would like to add to what I wrote, because I think these are interesting things to mention here. Because of its layout and my experience with it, I personally do not care for Facebook. I found it to be, quite frankly, a waste of time. Maybe some people have pages that are better than others. I do not remember my user name and password for it because I just don't use it, so I would have to first make a note of your wife's family name which I think is the name you said to use, and then I would have to find some mail from Facebook that would automatically get me on without having to sign on. I have limited time to use the computer and Internet, and I have been checking out Fort Wayne to reply to our friend Leigh, and other things. I can't promise I will get to it, at least immediately. Thom is nice enough to let us communicate here, however.

Supervalu which owns Albertson's and many other supermarkets has some difficulties and has had to close some stores, unfortunately, largely because of competition from places like Walmart and Target and even Costco. During Thanksgiving, on some T.V. talk show, I heard a statistic that addresses the very thing you were mentioning, Natural Lefty, about chain stores. The statistic came as a surprise. It was the percentage of retail stores which are indenpendent and locally owned compared to chain stores. Chain stores, according to this person, only make up a small percentage of over retail businesses. Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact figure, but I think he said that the chains were only 5%, and independents were the rest. It could have been a little higher number for the chain stores, but whatever it was, I remember the speaker made the point that they don't dominate as many people believe, and there are people who encourage shoppers to shop locally. Both in Indiana and Illinois, there are any number of independent stores. There is an appliance store in a north suburb that adverstises sometimes which has only one location. There is an appliance retailer in my area that only operates two stores, and there is another that has one location only. There are grocery stores in Chicago that have only one supermarket or maybe more than one, but are only in Chicago. There are many clothing stores all over that are not chain stores. I'm sure that you have such stores in Riverside as well as in the Los Angeles metro area, and I have found that college towns tend to have more independent stores that cater to students than in other communities.

I looked up a listing of cities from the largest, New York, to those of around 100,000 on Wikapedia, based on the 2011 census. Riverside (California, not Illinois) came out as #59, with a population of 310,651. Fort Wayne was #74 with 255,824. Both of those cities have larger populations according to the 2011 figures than I would have guessed. Indianapolis was previously listed at #14, but it moved up to #12 with a count of 827,908. I think Indianapolis has a better-than-average job market which may have accounted for some growth in the population, or maybe a few other cities lost population.

In mentioning the strip of green that runs through the campus of the University of Chicago, I should have been more complete and given you the full name, which is "Midway Plaisance." There are streets that run through that section which I remember looking at, and they say Midway Plaisance on them, and that is the official name of the parkway. The World Columbian Exposition is listed as being from the year 1893, and that was when that Midway Plaisance was created.

I neglected to mention, in talking about some of the well-known historical faculty from the U. of C., that the father of your field of social psychology, or at least one of the founders, described by Wikapedia as being a philosopher, sociologist, and psychologist, taught at the university for many years, George Herbert Mead. I think he was the one who had "the looking glass self." A professor of mine, a sociologist, said that Mead did not have any graduate degrees, and that is exactly what Wikapedia states, that Mead had two bachelor's degrees, from Oberlin College and from Harvard. According to Wikapedia, Mead was very active in local Chicago politics and society, believing that science could be used to help solve social problems, which continue in our urban areas to this day. Another psychologist who taught at the U. of C. is related to the one you mentioned in your orginal post on this thread, Maslow, because this figure is also classified, by a textbook author, as being a proponent of the humanistic school of personality theory, i.e., Carl Rogers, who grew up in the Chicago area as a conservative, Christian fundamentalist. He later wrote to his parents that he was changing to being a liberal, and they were disappointed. From what I have read, he was similar to Maslow in that he also emphasized actualization in his approach to personality and with his non-directive therapy. Milt Rosenberg is a retired social psychologist from the U. of C. who used to be more progressive but became a Republican. He still is a genius in terms of his knowledge about many subjects, and he studied with Leon Festinger. He was from New York City, originally, but has been in Chicago on WGN radio for years. If you go to the WGN Web site, Milt, as he likes to be called, has his own section (the show is called, "Extension 720") where you can see some of the topics he has done and maybe listen to some of the shows. He does a lot on politics and history, and sometimes, religion, but other things as well, even music once-in-a-while. In recent years, he has had on some conservatives and has openly expressed his opposition to Obama, but for the most part, he seems to be more academic and objective in terms of his selection of guests and his demeanor. He did an experiment I read about years ago in social psychology involving white people who said that they didn't want to live near blacks. I know that it involved having the subjects hypnotized and seeing if their racial attitudes could be changed under hypnosis, or something to that effect. You could look it up under Rosenberg, Milton if interested.

Another famous person from the University of Chicago was the one-time president of the university, Robert Maynard Hutchins. He eliminated football from the university because he didn't think it was relevant, and had the idea of having only academically talented students go to college, but to modify high school so that the last two years would be like the first to years of college, sort of like a community college as part of high school. Information about Hutchins and his educational plan are easy to look up, so you can review it if you would like, but I always found him to be an interesting figure. When I mentioned the U. of C. it was because it has such a rich history in the social sciences and in American higher education. The U.of C. is sort of on the same level of rigor and reputation as Stanford Unversity is. There are some other non-Ivy League institutions on that same level, maybe Duke, Rice, Reed College in Oregon, and like where you went as an undergraduate in your home state. You are a professor so know more about higher education than do I. Your uncle was right in the area where I lived and near where I still live when he studied the plant life in the Indiana Dunes. He may have been in a spot that I have also been to, although the woods are large. The National Lakeshore was spearheaded by Democratic Senator Paul Douglas from Ilinois and by a group called Save the Dunes. Much of our lakeshore was taken by the steel industry, but much of the surrounding wooded area has been protected by the national park, which is in different seperate pieces, not one contiguous plot of land like in most parks, as this was considered to be the nation's first urban national park.

I didn't mean that you would return to the Midwest any time soon, necessarily, but in general it might be worthwhile to come here again, if you were so inclined. I have heard about the cuts in the community college system of California as I happened to hear a program on the radio in which the top state official in higher education or community colleges was interviewed about the situation. I was a bit distracted at the time, but I am aware of the situation. I also know that many states, including the one where I live, have drastically reduced the amount of money they give to public universities, so that their budgets now have a much smaller percentage coming from the state. It is interesting that your father and brother seemed to have gone to I.U., but with all the colleges and universities in California, and other Western states, I would have thought they would have stayed there, unless they were originally from the Midwest.

Two places I would recommend considering if you ever came to this part of the country again would be Madison, WIsconsin and Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana U. The town has a collegiate feel to it that is unique, even among college towns, and the campus has sometimes been called the mosts beautiful of all, because the buildings are made from Indiana limestone, Many are old, but the library which has a ten-story tower and the Musical Arts Center both opened around 1970. The music school is the world's largest, and they have the Kinsey Institute for the Study of Sexual Behavior. The psychology department is on 10th St., right across from the main library. B.F. Skinner once held forth there, before going to Harvard. Bloomington is near Lake Monroe which is a man-made lake and is the largest lake in Indiana and has boating and recreation. South of the lake is the vast Hoosier National Forerst. Madison is a city on several lakes. The protests against Scott Walker in the capitol building and out on the streets of Madison were and are historic. State St. in Madison is lined with independent restaurants and shops that cater largely to students, and the campus, though institutional, is quite nice. I am out of time, and I said what I wanted to convey.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 7 years 10 weeks ago

About the chain stores: It seems to me that a far higher percent than 5% around here, are chain stores. Frankly, I would be very suprised if 95% of businesses were not chain stores, whatever the program you heard said. Also, one should consider how much money the chain stores take in, compared to other businesses, how large the buildings are, and the trend toward having more chain stores or fewer. I think the trend is toward more chain stores. Then there is the issue of big businesses influencing politics. I also wonder if some of the so-called independent stores are actually owned by chain stores.

Regarding my father: He was born in Butte Montana, a "miracle baby" and my grandparent's first, many years after my grandmother had nearly died of tuberculosis, but ultimately recoverd to live to the age of about 90 years. Later, they had another son, who became my botanist uncle. My grandfather was an M.D. who treated influenza patients in Europe following WWI, He ultimately became what was then called a "roentgenologist" later known as a radiologist. I don't know what they were doing inButte, Montana, but I think it was medical related. However, I think he had a job lined up in Albuquerque, N.M, because they moved there shortly after my father was born. My grandmother taught Pueblo Indians in Albuquerque at one of the schools while grandfather practiced radiology, I think. Something that puzzles me is that my grandmother said she named my father after a Pueblo Indian kid in her class, which is strange because he was born shortly before they went to Albuquerque, but the story seems credible. Perhaps they changed his middle name, because he (and I) have the same strange first name as my grandfather, but a different, more normal middle name which we normallly use.

When my father was about 10 years old, they moved to Danville, Illinois. I guess grandfather got a better job there. I actually went through Danville when I was in the area with my wife a few years ago, but I am sure it is a lot bigger and very different from when my father was there. There is a big shopping mall there now, for instance. My father said he grew up with Dick and Jerry Van Dyke in Danville. As I am sure you konw, Danville is close to the border with Indiana, so it's not surprising that he and his brother went to college in Indiana. My father went to medical school in Chicago, though, and wound up in Riverside when he got his first full-time job there after finishing his medical training. My mother was born and raised in California, though. In fact, so was her mother.

Carl Rogers is very important to me, actually, moreso than Maslow, but both of them worked together at times and had similar ideas. I read more of Rogers works, though. Yes, the story about his strict childhood was true, as well as how he grew up to be a liberal and free thinker rather than the religious dittohead his parents had wanted him to be. This life history influenced his theory, when he talked about parents putting "conditions of worth" on children. It was Maslow, however, who had the pyramid with the hierarchy of needs which fit so well with this post.

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