Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Why Does Hyman Hate the Small Business Owner?

Just when it seems Mark Hyman can’t get any more obtuse, he surprises us.

There are only two possible explanations for
his most recent excursion into the depths of dullardism: either he’s incredibly dumb, or he assumes his audience is incredibly dumb and is trying to take advantage of it.

Either way, it doesn’t say much for him.

Here’s the upshot of Hyman’s attack on “The Angry Left” this time around: Wal-Mart is criticized for its treatment of workers, not its prices. Exxon is criticized for its prices, not its treatment of workers. Ergo, the “Angry Left” is inconsistent.

No, I’m not simplifying or caricaturing his argument. That’s what he says.

For good measure, Hyman adds:

“[W]hat is consistent is that most [members of the “Angry Left”] are
borderline—if not out and out—anti-business Socialists.”

No Mark, there’s no inconsistency, and there’s no anti-business sentiment. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Many Americans feel that corporations, like individual people, should be good citizens and be criticized when they don’t behave that way. Such bad behavior might include (but is not limited to) poor treatment of the fellow citizens who work for them by treating them like indentured servants, fleecing their fellow citizens through outrageous prices, and/or using predatory business practices to quash competitors.

Not only are the criticisms of Wal-Mart and Exxon coming from the same basic position—the belief that corporations should be good citizens—but they are pro-business, not anti-business. As Theodore Roosevelt (a Republican, by the way) knew 100 years ago, huge corporations, when left unchecked, can do damage to American business (and consumers) by stifling competition. When allowed to run its course, such a dynamic destroys small businesses, stamps out entrepreneurial spirit, and extinguishes innovation.

In fact, the unchecked growth of mammoth corporate behemoths actually tends to move the economy toward, not away from, those aspects of socialism that democracies find abhorrent: fixed prices, lack of choice, no room for individual innovation, homogeneity of service and products, lack of connection between communities and providers, centralized and bureaucratized decision making, and a lowering impetus to provide high quality goods and services at reasonable prices.

Just because the giant bureaucracies behind all of this are corporate rather than governmental doesn’t make the results any less repugnant.

So, Mark, why don’t you go to Main Street in Anytown U.S.A. and ask the business owners (or those who’ve been forced to close their stores) whether they think objecting to Wal-Mart is “socialism.” Ask the guy who’s dreaming of saving up enough money to start up his own business but is paying away much of his disposable income at the pump to the handful of oil companies that control gasoline production if questioning the amount of profit Exxon is making is stifling business.

My guess is you’ll get a much-needed lesson in the difference between being truly pro business and being pro conglomero-socialism.

But before you do that, take a basic course in logic.


And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 5.03


At 12:42 PM, Anonymous hyman's turtle said...

why does hyman think i'm idiot? he says:
"Wal-Mart has saved Americans billions of dollars. Literally. It has done so by selling goods at rock- bottom prices."
saved us billions, eh, mark? a little googling turned up this tidbit from
"The direct cost to American taxpayers of the Wal-Mart health care crisis is significant and growing. Based on the states that have disclosed information, the estimated 2005 cost of providing public health care assistance to uninsured Wal-Mart workers and their dependents was nearly $1.4 billion... Over the next five years, the projected cost of the Wal-Mart health care crisis will grow to over $2 billion a year by 2010 and will cost American taxpayers an estimated $9.1 billion over the next five years."
poor mark. it must be hard to always be wrong.

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Turtle,

But this is the problem with corporate-controlled public airwaves:

You don't have to ever be right.

You don't have to ever have fairness or balance.

You don't ever have to allow alternate opinions.

And by repetition of stupid ideas, eventually they become accepted into the popular culture. It happened in 1930's Germany, its happening all over the Mideast (anti-westernism), and its never ever good.

With a corporate-minded FCC and corporate (large corporate) controlled airwaves, we end up with propagandists like Hyman, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, etc.

Sure, one side can go around saying 'ditto ditto', but public discourse and democracy in general is given a body blow.

There is no guarantee that things will get better and we will return to a more civil society, unless people start to value their society more.

Let's hope, at least.


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