Capitalism Changed the Name of the Washington Football Team

Capitalism Changed the Name

Make no mistake about it, capitalism changed the name of the Washington football team; not outraged Native Americans, not laws passed by politicians, not do-gooders. It was capitalism, pure and simple and that’s a good thing.

By now most sports fans, and plenty of those who are not, are aware Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington football team capitulated to capitalistic pressure from big money sponsors of the team and finally agreed to change the name. It’s about time. The thing to remember is that Native Americans, do-gooders, and politicians have been calling for the name change for decades. Snyder vowed he would never change the name. Never is now.

Everyone knows that capitalism changed the name when nothing else could convince Snyder. Money, pure and simple. The executives at FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and other sponsors told Daniel the money was ending. Nike did more than talk, the company pulled all Washington football gear from sale. That’s what it took. Not, mealy-mouthed things like: I’m going to stop selling your gear. Listen here, Snyder, your stuff is off sale. Go look at the website. It’s gone. Big round of applause for Nike.

That’s capitalism in action. Why did enterprise companies like FedEx suddenly choose now to make it clear the time had come? Because they feared people would stop purchasing their products and using their service. It’s likely the executives at those companies probably think the old nickname is offensive but they didn’t get an epiphany last week, they got a message from consumers. They passed that message along. The name changed. Follow the money.

This is the message of Economic Liberalism, the mantra of the Libertarian. You can pass as many laws as you want but people will find a way around them. People can scream and yell all they want but only when the purchasing patterns change do we see action. And action we see.

What can we learn from the fact capitalism changed the name? That capitalism works to ensure social justice if people want social justice. We rely on politicians but forget that most politicians are elected by a tiny fraction of the population. You want justice? Convince enough people to demand it with their money and you’ll get it. No politicians can do that for you. The power is yours.

Tom Liberman

When is a Naughty Leopard neither Naughty nor a Leopard?

Naughty LeopardI’m just now reading about the Walmart Naughty Leopard controversy although the story has been out for over a week.

Walmart made the costume, which is designed for toddler girls, available for Halloween and there was an immediate uproar about the sexualization of young girls. People simply heard the name of the costume and immediately began to send in furious letters of outrage. Stories sprang up on all the media outlets about the horror of this awful, dangerous, evil costume that was turning little girls into wild sexual animals.

Enough outraged people inundated Walmart with complaints that the company pulled the costume from the shelves and issued an apology.

Do you want to know my opinion on this nonsense? Of course you do!

The costume has a major problem but being too sexy isn’t one of them. It’s a cute little costume that is not sexy, is less revealing that outfits I see little girls wearing out and about all the time, and in no way turns little girls in sexual objects.

So, what’s do I find wrong with the costume? Leopards are yellow/gold with black spots. The costume is black with purple trim. Seriously? Naughty Leopard? I’d call it the Purple Crab costume except the cute little ears don’t quite work.

Naughty in this case is meant to convey a mischievous little girl. Anyone who actually bothered to examine the costume before expressing their horrified outrage would have immediately noted all of this.

Walmart is a big-boy company and can make their own decisions but I find this absolutely ridiculous. Clearly someone at the company felt an apology was a cheaper and better solution than simply telling the outraged parents the truth. That the adults obviously jumped to an erroneous conclusions and that if they simply examined the costume in question they would find nothing objectionable about it. Walmart should be getting an apology from everyone who wrote in a complaint, not handing one out.

I haven’t even started talking about the free market yet. By golly, if people want to buy a costume then Walmart should sell it. It’s economics, it’s capitalism, it’s the free market that this country supposedly believes in. People need to mind their own business.

I guess it seems like a little thing but little things add up. Walmart wanted to avoid bad publicity and acquiesced to a popular but ridiculous and unfounded fear. When a business gives into fear, when a politician gives into to fear, when you give into fear, when I give into fear, we all lose a little.

I’m not afraid. I demand Walmart put the Naughty Leopard costume back on the shelf.

Who’s with me?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Sword of Water ($2.99 for a full length eBook)
Next Release: The Spear of the Hunt

Crony Capitalism

Crony Capitalism

Crony CapitalismThe topic for today is something called crony capitalism which is destroying free enterprise. The basic idea of capitalism is that free markets provide the best economic model for the growth of a nation. There are a lot variables within capitalism but at its most fundamental it is an idea that includes private ownership and production, wages for workers, free competition, and accumulation of capital for profit.

The ideas of capitalism are probably good fodder for another blog. What I want to discuss today is how crony capitalism is destroying the free market and with it our libertarian ideals. While crony capitalism has the word capitalism within it, it is actually a form of socialism, or government control of industry. Socialism is another badly misunderstood word and I should take that up in another blog. The ideas keep rolling in!

What is largely meant by this term is not capitalism at all. The United States government has become overly involved in the success of business. It is through government involvement that a particular product or service now succeeds. This has spawned an entire industry of lobbyist who spend their days trying to convince government officials to pass laws, regulations, and make actual purchases that favor their employer.

Most people see this problem with the U.S. military and decisions on which system to purchase are often decided by factors other than the actual effectiveness of the product.

However, this crony capitalism extends much deeper into society than most people realize. Go ask your employer if you have any government contracts. Ask them how much of the company money is spent on trying to get government agents to give them advantages.

There are a lot of reasons to fear this subversion of true capitalism but I think the main idea goes back to what Ayn Rand suggests in her writing. That the individual achiever must be allowed to succeed or society as a whole will eventually fail. The problem with crony capitalism, from my perspective at least, is that companies and individuals achieve not on the merit of their work but upon their ability to bribe government officials into altering the playing field so that they succeed. This eventually means companies that are good at bribery and backstabbing succeed while companies that just want to make a good product, employ hard workers, pay them a good salary, and make some money are defeated.

Again, we arrive at the point where I’ve complained all day long and not offered any solutions to the problem.

This is an extremely difficult problem but at its heart it comes down to fairness of government regulation. I’m a relatively moderate Libertarian in that I believe government regulation is necessary to prevent anti-trust situations but these regulations need to be broad and aimed at creating a fair playing field for all businesses.

It’s not easy to come up with legislation of this sort but I’ll take on food labeling as an example of my ideas. There are currently a bevy of regulations on how to display the nutritional contents of food. The problem is in defining what percent of a particular nutrient applies to a wide variety of people and what defines a serving size. It seems clear to me that nothing is going to be applicable to someone of my size, 5 foot 7 inches (1.7 meters) 165 lbs (74.8 kg) of twisted steel, and say, the left tackle of the St. Louis Rams. Go Rams!

So, why not simply put in the actual nutritional value of the entire package on the label. I can figure out how much of the package I eat, I can easily find out the daily allowances for someone of my size. It’s not the governments job to lead me to  the water and hold my hand while I drink.

Another example might be the animal husbandry industry. Simply make the producer put a webcam on their livestock and slaughtering pens and make it publicly available. If I know how the animal is treated then it is up to me if I want to save a little money or purchase the more expensive, but better treated, animal.

I’m a believer that government needs to regulate but the purpose is to create a fair playing field so that the best business can succeed, which is a winning formula for you and me.

Tom Liberman