Monthly Archives: December 2016

Inequality Series Part I: Income Inequality as a Product of Corporate Inequality

As this wonderful Harvard Business Review article explains, the stratification of corporate wealth is a prime driver of individuals’ income inequality.

While better performing companies can afford to hire better talent, it’s not just the hard skills that count in the competition for labor.  Employees value the soft skills, in both themselves and others, and seek out collaborative environments that compound their own labor value, which helps the firm’s performance, which helps the pay, which helps the recruitment…and the upward cycle continues.

Also, once a leading company reaches #1, they can often use their clout to “raise the drawbridge” to potential competitors via M & As, or by influencing political regulations.

This tension-balance of democracy and oligarchy within the US economy simultaneously both furthers and checks social inequality: things aren’t as good as they could be, but they aren’t as bad as they could be.

“Maybe competition creates corporate inequality. But maybe it’s lack of competition that preserves it.”



Why Clinton Lost in Michigan (and Elsewhere)

Michigan highlights the campaign problems that repeated all over the Midwest: an inability to react to changing facts on the ground.

“Trump won the state despite getting 30,000 fewer votes than George W. Bush did when he lost it in 2004.” Now re-read that sentence.

“(The national campaign plan) was very surgical and corporate. They had their model, this is how they’re going to do it. Their thing was, ‘We don’t have to leave [literature] at the doors, everyone knows who Hillary Clinton is,’” said one person involved in the Michigan campaign. “But in terms of activists, it seems different, it’s maybe they don’t care about us.”

Some pieces of the article sound like petty he-said/she-saids, with unverifiable anecdotes. However, the fact that TV ads in Michigan were nearly nonexistent does indicate support was taken for granted.

“Brooklyn’s theory from the start was that 2016 was going to be a purely base turnout election. Efforts were focused on voter registration and then, in the final weeks, turning out voters identified as Clinton’s, without confirmation that they were.”

Nonetheless, the official reasoning for the Dems’ loss is that key states’ numbers went south during the week leading up to the election, after FBI Dir James Comey used his position to very publicly raise suspicion about Hillary’s emails and integrity.

In either case, this chapter can serve as a lesson for what campaigns CAN control–the dangers of sole reliance on centrality and bureaucracy. The fact that liberals (who by definition more heavily favor federal control over the states)  suffered by this fallacy is perhaps poetic justice.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Mile

Many schoolchildren in the UK have adopted the “daily mile,” with positive results.  In addition to regular physical education, all students who are physically able must go outside together when called, in whatever they are wearing, and run around the neighborhood.

The movement started in Scotland and is most popular there. While empirical evidence of it reducing obesity and boosting concentration is still pending, students’ reported enthusiasm for more activity is enough to aid growth. One boy remarked that the exercise, “makes me feel like I’m proud of myself.”

Next stop, USA!?


Renzi’s Resignation

“Italy is not only the past.” stated Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on this week’s 60 Minutes. We featured him, and fellow interviewee Virginia Raggi, on the blog a month ago.

Today, his referendum to drastically reduce the number of parliamentarians was defeated.  He will resign, as he promised to do in the event of rejection of his idea.

MC applauds his vivacity and looks forward to his future accomplishments.  All young (and old)  politicians should be so bold, principled, willing to fight for appreciation–and to keep moving if it is not forthcoming.