Whole Foods CEO really gets this capitalism thing

From a Reason Magazine interview with CEO of Whole Foods John Mackey:

We’ve created this wall in the world. On the one hand, we believe that not-for-profits and government are motivated by a deeper purpose—public service—and then on the other side of this wall, we have corporations and businesses, and they’re motivated strictly by selfishness and greed. And frankly, most young, idealistic people are more drawn toward the one that’s not motivated strictly by selfishness. I just think that’s a false dichotomy. I want to tear that wall down and get people to see that business is motivated by, or has the potential for, a deeper purpose.

Amen! This is what I was talking about.

” I like the quote by Michelangelo. He said, “Criticize through creating.” It’s easy to be a critic. It’s much harder to create something”

That’s a great lesson for me.

Example #23489 of government intervention into the marketplace hurting the poor

Don’t you hate it when those bastard free marketers push home loans on people who can’t afford the monthly payments, leading them to bankruptcy, homelessness and foreclosure? Yeah, me too, except, oh wait, no that would be government bureaucrats pushing home loans on the poor.

The city of Cleveland contributed to its foreclosure crisis by helping low-income people buy homes with mortgage payments they couldn’t afford.

The city provided loans of up to $20,000… but did not check whether recipients could afford to stay in the homes. Cleveland, which has one of the nation’s worst foreclosure problems, did not change its policies even as hundreds of people defaulted on their mortgages.

Some recipients of the loan program made as little as $15,000 a year.

The super sexy Nick Gillespie explains it thusly:

Gotta love the double-whammy. Residents get coaxed into homes they can’t afford and then get to pay increased taxes to cover the city’s loss of tax dollars on the back side. Which then helps fuel the downward spiral in a city that just can’t seem to find bottom in terms of job and population loss.

Update:

From Obama’s speech after meeting with the banking executives:

“Now, no one wants banks making the kinds of risky loans that got us into this situation in the first place.”

Agorism in action, as legit economy takes a nosedive, the informal economy perks up

Over at the Agorist section of Reddit, I ran across an article on the emerging underground economy. Cool stuff.

I’d like to make a few points. From the article:

Competition from producers who don’t pay taxes and licensing fees isn’t fair to the many struggling small businesses who play by the rules. Businesses facing this price pressure should promote the benefits of regulation, he advises, instead of trying to get out from under it.

Amen! It’s not enough for “legit” businesses to say that everyone should have to operate under the burdens of regulation, taxation and licensure. Established businesses should have to justify why anyone should be forced to operate under those restrictions. They can’t be honest about it, because the truth is that many of the hoops new businesses have to jump through exist for the sole purpose of limiting entry into a market.

Licensure is a perfect example. A license requirement limits competition. The harder a license is to get, the fewer competitors you have. That means you can make more money providing the same goods and services. A license is supposed to ensure that the person providing you with a good or service is qualified to do so.

But is a license any guarantee your hairdresser will give you a good haircut? Is it any guarantee your threader won’t mess up your eyebrows?

Barriers to entry hurt the poor the most. First, they drive up prices by limiting competition. Then, they make it harder for the poor to start businesses. Someone with plenty of start-up capital is much less deterred by taxes and licensure requirements than someone who’s struggling to feed themselves. This film addresses the issue.

That’s one reason why Kiva microlending has been so effective in third-world countries but hasn’t seen much success in the first world. In a third-world country, you need far less time, education and money to start a business because there’s so much less bureaucracy to wade through. All they need is enough money for their supplies. One little-considered approach to ending poverty is America is to make it easier for the poor to go into business for themselves.

Anyway, I look forward to reading more on the Agorism channel on Reddit. Check it out for yourself.

“It’s not against the law to take a picture of a police officer unless they don’t want you to.”

Cops seem to think annoying to them = against the law. Cops are not the law.

This award-winning photographer was taking wide-angle shots of a mall Santa and choir when police begin to harass him and take his camera. The photographer asks if he can take a picture of the officer in question and nearly gets his shoulder dislocated as his answer.

This is the type of crap is that people against privatizing security are fighting to protect.

Tainted school lunches, another way public schools fail children

Not only are they notoriously gross-tasting and badly-prepared, lunches at public schools also contain more fecal matter and e.coli than the food at McDonald’s, according to USA Today. They’ve actually got a whole series on the issue.

For a contrast, check out this post from the NYC Private Schools Blog. It’s a guest post written by a lunch man from a NYC private school detailing how much he loves introducing kids to high-quality, nutritious foods.

While public schools literally take donations from the USDA that even McDonald’s won’t touch, private schools shop around for the best quality at reasonable prices. I wonder what the difference is. Could it be, I dunno, the profit motive?

Anyone have any stats about private school lunches? I’m curious to see if private schools both pay less and serve better quality lunches, like they do servings of education.