The Wages Of Parasites

According to this story in the Wall Street Journal, Sears is on the verge of finally going out of business. For people under the age of forty, this is a meaningless event, as Sears has not been a part of the public consciousness for decades. For those old enough to remember, the early 1990’s was the last time Sears was an anchor store at malls and shopping centers. I think the last time I had a reason to shop at Sears was at the old Natick Mall in the 1990’s. I think I bought a kitchen item, but I no longer recall exactly.

The conventional telling of these stories says that the big retail stores were killed by some combination of Amazon and the internet. That’s mostly just myth-making as companies like Sears were struggling when Amazon was still just a river in Brazil. The big box store, as they came to be called, was always a bad idea that started to show signs of weakness in the 80’s. The logic of this type of retail is a race to the bottom, where margins are maintained by stripping out the value that is implicit in the local retail store concept.

Think of it this way. The local retailer does more than sell stuff. In practice, he stocks the things popular with his community and offers customer service to help his neighbors get the best product for their needs. He’s also going to sponsor the local little league teams and participate in the community. Big retail takes the social capital and the customer service and turns that into a quick profit for the chain store, by cutting prices at the retail side and purchasing power on the supply side. It’s a form of economic piracy.

This model works fine until all of the local competition is gone. At that point it is a battle of soulless wholesalers operating out of warehouse style facilities. The only competition between a Sears and a K-Mart, another defunct chain, was price and location. One thing that is certain about a race to the bottom is that everyone eventually reaches the finish line and for big retail that has meant bankruptcy. You see this with Amazon. Their retailing arm is the marketing expense for their media and technology services now.

This is why conservatives used to be skeptical of capitalism. They correctly saw the reality of large scale retail. It was not that the big retailer was better at selling product or provided a better service. In fact, it has always been the obvious. If you go to your local Home Depot, for example, you are unlikely to get any help from the staff, unless you tackle one of them in the aisle. Even then, the quality of service is so poor, you are better off not asking for help. Big retail turns customer service into a net negative.

Big retail operates as a parasite through false economy. It’s a form of cost shifting, where the loss of social capital and customer service is pushed into the distance, while the cheap prices are in the present. The Old Right understood the corrosive nature of this form of retail and opposed it. Today, everyone laments the loss of local retail and the town shopping district. We’re told it is the result of Amazon being a better choice, but in reality the cause is the willingness of our leaders to auction off our social capital.

Another example of this is the local industrial supply store. Electrical wholesale, welding supplies, HVAC wholesalers and other business that served the trades used to be locally owned family businesses. They were never wildly profitable, but they provided a nice living as a family business. Fred’s Welding Supply would sponsor a little league team, while Fred participated in the community and sent his kids to the local schools. Sometimes one guy would own a couple of stores if his town or city was big enough to support it.

Today, these businesses have been bought up by investment firms powered by credit money from investors. An investment firm gets set up and they bankroll one bigger player as he buys up all of the competitors. The “economies of scale” are that the owners are removed, the accounting and sales staff is centralized and the social capital is carted off to the investors as profit. The customers may get a small break in price, but usually the only thing they notice is the staff now treat them like strangers, rather than neighbors.

Libertarians and “conservatives” will read this and reflexively start chirping about free markets and invisible hands, but there is a reason they are now a punchline. That’s because these are ideologies, if you want to be generous and elevate them to ideologies, that make all the same assumptions about humanity as the Marxists. That is, they see man as the ultimate consumer, a beast that devours his environment, in the same way a plague of locusts wipes out a field. Whittaker Chambers explained this 60 years ago.

Tragedy is bypassed by the pursuit of happiness. Tragedy is henceforth pointless. Henceforth man’s fate, without God, is up to him, and to him alone. His happiness, in strict materialist terms, lies with his own workaday hands and ingenious brain. His happiness becomes, in Miss Rand’s words, “the moral purpose of his life.” Here occurs a little rub whose effects are just as observable in a free enterprise system, which is in practice materialist (whatever else it claims or supposes itself to be), as they would be under an atheist Socialism, if one were ever to deliver that material abundance that all promise. The rub is that the pursuit of happiness, as an end in itself, tends automatically, and widely, to be replaced by the pursuit of pleasure, with a consequent general softening of the fibers of will, intelligence, spirit. No doubt, Miss Rand has brooded upon that little rub. Hence, in part, I presume, her insistence on “man as a heroic being” “with productive achievement as his noblest activity.” For, if Man’s “heroism” (some will prefer to say: “human dignity”) no longer derives from God, or is not a function of that godless integrity which was a root of Nietzsche’s anguish, then Man becomes merely the most consuming of animals, with glut as the condition of his happiness and its replenishment his foremost activity. So Randian Man, at least in his ruling caste, has to be held “heroic” in order not to be beastly. And this, of course, suits the author’s economics and the politics that must arise from them.

A life with no other purpose than to work and consume is actually lower than beastly, because the beast in the field only eats to live. It does not live to eat. Like all living things, it lives to make more copies of itself. For man, possessed of a self-awareness and the capacity to remake his environment, the purpose of life expands to the celebration of life by not only reproducing but leaving a cultural legacy for the next generation. The point of life is for old men to plant trees in whose shade they will never stand.

The auctioning off of our social capital has corresponded with the startling spike in suicide rates. Cosmopolitan globalism and the transactional consumerism that drives it, strips people of their humanity. Like drug addicts, they no longer have the capacity to experience the normal pleasures. The heroin addict is always faced with the choice. Give up the junk and became whole again or take the easy way out. That’s what faces the people of the modern West. The choice is revolt against modernity or amuse ourselves to death.

 

204 thoughts on “The Wages Of Parasites

  1. (((They’re))) out to remove us. Societal cost shifting leaves zero doubt nevermind the narrative. Prevail or die. Because you will.

  2. The shopping mall, Press F, is interesting in that all four of the department stores were in the same place, and so had incentive to ensure that none of them eliminated the other. One lost anchor store in a mall causes a domino effect. Very cartel-like behavior that lolbertarians never seemed to notice, not as if the mall developers weren’t deep pocketed. Some may recall the name DeBartolo, before my time.

    The mall represents a fake community, and the new “town centers” represent an astroturf community. Amazon isn’t a community at all.

  3. The owner of Sears is a Jewish finance guy that is an Ayn Rand fanatic.

    The results were almost preordained.

    • Sears is a corporation and “owned” by its shareholders. The CEO, Eddie Lampert is not the owner. Sears was started in 1983. How many retail consumer companies do you know that last 125 years? If you are a businessman like I am you will understand that everything has a beginning and an end. Every business has its Bell Curve. Markets change, tastes change. Shit happens. Songle changes can be anticipated some not. Some businesses can change with them some not. But no business will be able to change with all of them. A business just like a frog, a car, a refrigerator or a human has a life line. Some longer than others. The only thing eternal is God, not Sears.

      BTW, you do realize Sears was started in 1893. Before the radio 1895, flight 1903, the TV 1927, air conditioning 1902, and Amazon 1994. I think Sears had a good run.

      • And the first recognizable escalator in 1899.
        Sears, of course, was the Amazon of its day, Imagine the damage done to local handymen and laborers and trades by its mail order catalog- where you could buy a ready to assemble house.

    • Sears is part and parcel old school America. The one that existed before malls and big box stores where the white blue collar and middle-class family shopped at during the weekend. Same applied to Kmart.

      The arrival of Wal-Mart and the other big box stores meant vicious throat cutting competition it couldn’t compete against and survive. The big boxes took out a lot of smaller chains and independents as well. I watched our town center up and die as Wal-Mart and Home Deport got going. Stores that were there on main street for he last 30 years went poof.

      Another factor at play is the demise of the white blue collars and middle-class over the last 25 years thanks to globalization. The consumer base to support all these big box stores and Sears just isn’t there.

      Now the big box stores are

      • Sears was founded as a way to undercut the “general dry goods store” in each small town circa the late 19th century. Department stores happened due to the rural population decline after 1920.

        Allstate, Discover and Coldwell Banker were all spun off of Sears due to Wall Street pressure in the 90s. US finance hates this kind of organization that is very common in Japan, the infamous zaibatsu.

        • In short, Sears was the original Pre-Internet Amazon, in that their business model was warehouse-to-consumer via the Postal service BEFORE they opened up retail outlets.

          • Then Sears took advantage of the completed small rail network, just as Walmart did with interstate trucking or China and container shipping.

          • Richard Sears was a railway agent in Redwood Falls, MN, who realized the potential uses of the rails for retail distribution. Sears, Roebuck did have a good run.

  4. What a black pill here. My dad retired from Sears as an appliance repairman many years ago. Last of the decent salaries ever seen there since. There are a few stalwart family hardware stores near me, to my amazement.

    I have had my fill of libertarians (even paleo), Austrian economists and every person that uses that shit term heroic when describing economic man. Progressives? They are nothing.

    For the most part we are truly consumerist meat sticks. If Dawkins has his way, that won’t even be a metaphor.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5499911/amp/Richard-Dawkins-claims-eat-lab-grown-human-meat.html

    • I know people who raised families and retired comfortably from Sears – way back in the day. Appliance salesmen. Sadly those days ended in the early 90’s.

      • And I know a guy who raised a family and retired comfortably as a milk man. Times change, like I said.

    • At the local Ace Hardware the staff will help you find the right fastener(s) from a stellar array. I hope they stay around.

      • Too many small, family businesses began to take their customer base for granted; continuing to charge outrageous prices or failing to join co-op buyers, (which could help keep prices lower), simply because “That ain’t the way we do things around here.” I still recall small businesses in my home town that refused to accept credit cards, because the owners weren’t going to give those finance companies “no damned 2 percent” for such convenience to their customers; well after credit cards became widely accepted.

        Free market capitalism means: “Change and upgrade and compete on your strengths, or DIE!” We have this local hardware store in town, been there for 75 years(?). Everybody recognizes their prices run about 10-15% higher than Home Depot, but if you need an obscure part or piece of hardware and the expertise to help install it, you readily eschew “cheap” Home Depot for the local boys!

        What that has to do with suicide rates is somewhat beyond me!

        Better to attribute the lack of knowledge of free market enterprise and economics (including how to allocate your individual “scarce resources” i.e. salary/wages) to the horrible decline in public education under the tutelage of unionized “teachers”.

  5. Capitalism is merely functional and efficient, but no less corrosive than Socialism.

    While Libertarians will rail if Washington DC became communist and controlled local business, they will cheer if Wall Street does so (especially if the stock indicies ascend).

    But does it matter if the local school team is abandoned by Moscow on the Potomac or Wall Street?

    The free market is efficient, but amoral. There is either no justice, or the warped rules of first party voluntary exchange (toxic waste disposed of in the local river is third party).

    The Founding Fathers recognized Government as a fire that needed to be controlled, as servant, not master.

    Libertarians fail to see the “free market” equally is like fire and a tyrannical master, so it must be controlled to be a servant by moral men looking to higher purposes.

    • There is NO ‘Free Market’ and FUSSA is functionally a communist country; read Boston T. Party’s/Kenneth Royce’s “Goodbye April 15th!” the section on the commie manifesto and take note of how many of the 10 planks have been successfully adopted and energized into ‘normal day to day government functioning’.

      And it’s no good to run about crying, “muhh cuntstipooption!!…we need to get back to the cuntstipooption for ‘murica to be fixed!!” as that document has been proven to be a intentionally contrived criminal fraud by a. hamilton and his ‘founding lawyer/bankster friends and supporters (Aaron Burr had exactly the right answer to hamilton’s treason and treachery; he just didn’t shoot him soon enough!!). Kenneth Royce’s “Hologram of Liberty” amply and decisively slaughters the ‘sacred ‘murican cow, the cuntstipooption’

      Stop living in The Matrix — Free your Mind!!

      • Longest surviving written constitution since the Twelve Tables. Not too shabby. I’ll take that and raise you an incoherent rant.

        • Joe Sobran: ‘ As I sometimes put it, the U.S. Constitution poses no serious threat to our form of government.

          • Most revolutions are powered by appeals to ancient rights or forms. That parchment may save our grandkids asses some day.

          • It has no power. People do but no longer exercise it out of selfishness. Do you see a uprising to stop the Sacker familiy from flooding the country with Oxycontin? No.

            Do you see the people getting in the face of Ryan and McConnell to put a end to the censorious crap pulled by Silicon Valley? Nope, just a big yawn.

            Or the Chambers of Commerce keeping our boarders wide open? Again nothing.

          • It has no power. People do but no longer exercise it out of selfishness.
            Only when they have the organized numbers though… Which I don’t know why the right can’t figure that out…

          • Did I say this was happening now?
            I’m not talking about a prevailing mood, but about how things go historically. Chances are there will be a time of mass discontent sometime in the future and people will look for rationales to justify acting on that discontent. It has happened throughout history, in almost every culture north of the equator.

          • 50 Million immigrants will do that to a society.

            Before that there was barely an “us” in the US as it was anyway. Most of the pre 65 immigrants while “White” were people who simply couldn’t function in a fully developed society like Europe.

            They were a mess of highly uncooperative people grifters, criminals carpetbaggers, failures at home, surplus people and religious nutters

            A nation whose stock is made up of folks like that has by nature weak social capital

            the post war consensus was a product of industrial age and given how easy it was for a small communist conspiracy to destroy, brittle.

            A few race riots , some terrorism and a long march and the Republic keeled over . The old US was so damaged from the WW1 to Cold War it became immune compromised

            Now back when Federalism was important and there was a frontier, this was of little consequences but the US Is as developed as Europe now and baring some extraordinary events there will never be another frontier or anywhere to expand

            You can’t flee, start over or anything like that and so eventually it all going to go boom. The power clash over President Trump is just the first rumblings of that

            That said many of the immigrants here are doing quite well compared to at home and have no reason to yet rock the boat . Eventually they’ll want more power, probably to kill of Whites or the like, reverting to the human genocidal norm

            That is a ways off though,

          • It all comes down to the 19th. If women hadn’t been given the franchise, then there is no Prohibition. Without that, the worst of the turn of the century immigrants either fly right or find somewhere else.

          • Sobran also said the Constitution originally was an anti-trust act against government. The anti-Federalist saw it Aristotle’s way–in time this form of government will be taken over by a cabal of it’s enemies, it’s every meaning stood on it’s head. As Z pointed out, it’s run lasted 72 years, we’ve been coasting for the rest.

          • You post something about your Dad working at Sears and how it had a pretty good run. Then turn around and throw a black pill on the constitution, right after I said it had a pretty good run.

            Looking for some consistency here.

    • Right. Homo sapiens has been reduced to Homo economicus. Rather than growing up and learning to deal with the existential challenges of life, we are reduced to choosing among big-box stores and products. I am continually amazed by the length, depth, and sophistication of many product reviews on Amazon.com, versus the ignorance and thoughtlessness of people’s political, social, and philosophical views.

      Some years ago there was a popular bumper sticker: “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Toys — whether they are rubber ducks or game consoles — appeal to children of all ages. And that’s fine with governments and corporations who are the mother, father, brother, sister, and in-laws of our child citizens.

  6. In my teenage years, I worked at a dying big box retailer and I remember, without a hint of irony, everyone talking shit about how Walmart was putting all the medium sized big box retailers out of business.

    Also at this point, I think I despise libertarians more than communists.

    • libertarians (small l) and anarchists/voluntarists won’t kill harm or kill you as we have a “live and let live” approach to life and do abide by the Zero Aggression Principle…read Larken Rose’s “Most Dangerous Superstition” and “The Iron Web” and check out his numerous videos on youtube.

      collectivists, whether they call themselves commies, republocrappers, demoturds, socialists (commies without the balls to grab the AK47 and go for it..yet, yes this describes that freeze dried commie bernie sanders and his pathetic followers) and “Large L” ‘libertarians’ (really republocrappers without the parasite class’s funding but still want to grab for the ‘Ring of Power’ like the rest of the murderous control freaks), these are the parasite class shitweasels that truly do have dark dreams and plans for you and me and others not part of their oligarchy..we’re “groceries on a store shelf” to them.

      Take that to heart..harden your heart and plan and train accordingly!!

      • Always funny to hear the unhinged rantings of lolbertardians about those “collectivists”. They all seem to think that Horatio Alger was a real person.

        Meanwhile, in the real world, anyone with a functioning brain can see that humans are a species that evolved as collective groups(there are species that actually are individualistic out there for comparison too), with radical selfish individualism being largely a deathwish for most our history.

        But you know, boot straps, muh chamber of commerce, etc.

      • They have never been in a position to kill large numbers of people. What they would do if they were in such a position is an unknown.

    • Sometimes simple things can make a difference. At Sears there were no shopping carts and cash registers were located in different sections of the store. So you tended to purchase your one or two items at one section of Sears and leave and then maybe shop at some of the other stores at the shopping mall, which wouldn’t be conducive to pushing a shopping cart through the mall. At Walmart you filled your shopping cart with items from all over the store and paid for them at the checkout, located all in one place, near the doors.

  7. Another critical aspect of the killing of small business is local government with their excessive regulations, red tape, and their overall sluggishness. It is very difficult and very frustrating to deal with byzantine rules that are seemingly designed to kill off organic business growth. Meanwhile, the federal government is subsidizing Amazon by covering a sizable portion of their costs for delivering packages on Sunday. To add insult to injury, government subsidized small business loans are handed out like candy to minorities who abuse the system and rip the public off.

    Modern day business is seemingly designed only for large businesses who have the capital, legal staff, and lobbying power. Large businesses are now almost wholly political entities, which explains why they’ve become enforcers of progressive speech platitudes, restricting loans for gun manufacturers, etc.

    • Here in NY state, it is all but illegal to mow a neighbor’s lawn, paint their house, baby-sit their kids, sell home-made pies to them, cut their hair, or clean their gutters, without incentive-killing fees, applications, licenses, back-round checks…

      I am honored to say that my fingerprints are on file with the State Police. My crime? My late wife was a day-care provider. I lived in the same house where she provided this service. One can’t be too careful – so I got fingerprinted.

      So, all I meant to add is – yes, you are correct. We have one donut shop in town (we’re talking a town of less than 3000 people) – and it’s Dunkin’ Donuts. They alone had the clout to fight past the local liberals and NIMBYs, work through the thicket of state requirements, and… here they are.

  8. I think you get right at the core of the thing with this post, Zman. But I really don’t know anyone from the managerial class who would give up all of their material bennies for more community. Many are in fact down-right hostile to the concept of community and seem to associate it with patriarchy, choking conformity, and their own miserable adolescences.

    Speaking of Nietzsche, he was convinced that taking the 90% of us humans who had been in some sort of bondage since the late neolithic, and making us into citizens would lead to some Very Bad Things. These Crazy Years we are living through prove him to be correct. However, Nietzsche came of age before Mendelian genetics were rediscovered. He believed that some very long period of Lamarckian struggle would free us of our slave morality. He didn’t know that the problem was baked into our DNA.

  9. Sears became, not a retailer of merchandise, but a creator of contracts paying a high rate of interest. If you had money, you bought the washing machine somewhere else, where it was cheaper. If you didn’t have money, you paid more at Sears, but were allowed to put it on credit. Eddie Lampert, supposedly the smartest man in the room, couldn’t turn it around, but he personally is emerging in good financial shape, unlike the rest of the shareholders.
    All the buying and selling of stuff isn’t what it’s all about. Whitman said “The kelson of creation is love.” He ain’t wrong.

  10. If capitalism is your economic choice, well and good.

    If capitalism is your theology, you will fall heir to the exact same mistake Marxism makes: that man, and his existence, is ultimately existential materialism.

    Adam Smith wasn’t wrong, the trouble moves in when people try to use capitalistic “pursuit of happiness” to functionally only encompass material possessions and one’s own pleasure.

    You have to first take the Jeffersonian-Bible approach, and take out any thought that the best things in life aren’t things.

    Money isn’t the root of all evil.
    “The love of money is the root of all evil.” is the proper quote.

    People who know the difference between being well, versus just being well-off, never have any problem with capitalism, kept in its pen.
    Capitalism is very like a pig in that regard.
    Tended within bounds, it is an endless source of bacon.
    Turned loose to roam wild, it becomes a scourge of feral hogs, ravaging everything, and destroying the very farm that gave it birth.

    • Jefferson invented “pursuit of happiness”, It isn’t a capitalistic goal. The correct terms were Locke’s “Life, Liberty, and Property”, but Jefferson had trouble envisioning “property” as a God given right, so he improvised to make it fit his narrative. Perhaps some of the difficulties with “Capitalism” stem from the legal fiction of the Corporation, Mike Mansfield, Senator from Montana years ago, said :”No ass to kick, no soul to damn, that’s the Corporation”. He had a point. Still, property rights and the freedom to exchange with each other is the genesis of prosperity, lets not drown the goose in the bathwater.

    • Americans barely know the difference between doing good and doing well.

      That said nearly all of our economic ideas Capitalist and Communist are elderly and were thought up long before automation, computers, home gene engineering , robots and the like

      Coming up with policy and ideas that make sense for the current conditions is not going to be easy.

      My guess is the model is going to be state capitalism ala Singapore . We see elements of this all over Asia and in Europe and to a degree here. To work properly though it requires a measured level of graft and a fairly cooperative society

      The US might not be able to manage an effective version of it because of our racial makeup and cultural preferences . This means we may well simply become another Latino American nation over time or split up and the areas that can manage it will do fine.

      Or yes maybe we’ll find some other way

  11. Over the years I’ve read a fair number of economics articles looking at scale economies in different industries. It’s weird, but with exceptions like electricity generation, they don’t much exist. Trucking, grocery stores, package delivery, hospitals, etc.

    UPS, for example, keeps making this stupid mistake. They think Amazon volume is awesome because they figure it just helps their scale economies so much that, basically, they pay Amazon for the privilege of delivering their stuff. Amazing.

    Same thing with industries like banking. The economies of scale there might be that larger firms can manage having the entire staff living in India better than a local can, but that’s just another form of piracy.

    • Im convinced that economies of scale are just rationalizations for ego driven empire building.

      I remember the push for interstate banking in the early 90s ( the real genesis of multiple financial crises of the last couple of decades) all basically came down to dick measuring contests between US and Japanese or Europeans Banks – ie “the greatest country on earth should have the biggest banks and ours are a fraction of the size of Japan’s // England’s // Germany’s.

  12. Sears owns much of the real estate under their stores. Also you wrote how Sears and K-Mart are competitors. Not so much. I’m not sure who owns who but it is the fucked-up management that ruined K-mart who is also managing Sears.

    Back in the 90’s K-Mart came out with a new agenda, they weren’t going to sell guns or ammo any longer. Within a year almost every K-mart was tit’s up in Texas.
    If you want to suck up to globalists, you won’t make it in Texas. We still have some Sears hanging on around the State, but remember, they own the land and probably the structure. When you can live rent-free, you can suffer lots of other problems.

  13. Communism and Capitalism are ending up at the same destination, with monopolies owned by “the people” but run by a managerial class.

    • Actually that is fascism, at least from the former Italian ‘expert’ that was just hanging around with his pals after the “war to save joe stalin/communism”.

      No different from what “frank the gimp” roosevelt enslaved the fussa to..and he had commies like harry hopkins and alger hiss among others working right beside him.

      Joe McCarthy was more right than we know!!

      • Joe McCarthy was dead-on. That’s why he is hated by ALL the Establishment, ALL the colleges (with maybe 2 exceptions) and EVERY member of the MSM.

        • Publically traded US corporations are socialist institutions in a real way, and as such suffer from the information problems predicted by the ole And Syrian economic school.

          So take heart, the failure of Sears and the like is a failure of socialism.

  14. you wrote:
    “in reality the cause is the willingness of our leaders to auction off our social capital.”
    ————–

    But why? Because our leaders are getting rich off of insider stock tips and access to IPOs…
    the gop congress hides behind mcconnell and ryan, who take the heat while the gop congress does nothing to further the trump nationalist agenda…and the media helps them hide from the voters

  15. There’s a surprising amount of trash talk in the comments criticizing libertarianism and capitalism. Libertarianism is basically “don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.” Capitalism is two people voluntarily exchanging goods or services because both benefit. So, where’s the beef with either of those?

    The Left confuses capitalism with cronyism (which ironically is enabled to a greater extent by leftist policies), and the criticisms of capitalism in these comments is similar. Capitalism isn’t some unsustainable soulless race-to-the-bottom cut throat multinational corporatism. For most of America’s history, capitalism worked just fine, with all of the important subtle nuances that are possible with a market based system where consumers automatically make complex purchase decisions based on what’s in their best interest, including who sponsors their kid’s Little League team.

    Libertarianism isn’t ruining your culture, nor would it if it had significant political power which it doesn’t. Capitalism isn’t ruining your economy. Misidentifying the problems is certain to result in costly and time wasting non-solutions, and we’ve had way too much of that lately.

    • The free market most efficiently produces material prosperity. My complaint is when a capitalist insists that the free market must be the highest value. For example, I am willing to pay more for produce and manufactured goods that are produced by an American making a good wage. The capitalist will criticize my choice as not maximally efficient but misses my point. The community that is engendered by protectionism and restrictive immigration is qualitatively better even if it is not the most free market. Do we have an economy that serves our people or do our people serve the economy?

      • When one studies Austrian Economics as taught by Von Mises, Hayek, Rothbard and others, one understands that there is NO separation between the economy and people; we humans ARE the economy and the economy is merely another ecosystem that we inhabit.

        When anyone unbalances an ecosystem it will ALWAYS create harm to those within it and the system will try to reset to a balanced state if it can.

        Yes, there are certain tests that will flush out the collectivists/statists..they can’t seem to help popping up like the ‘whistle dogs’ here in Arizona when their ‘Matrix’ is questioned or threatened.

      • I tend to view the economy as analogous to a river. Everybody drinks from it, some enterprising souls will find creative ways to profit from it, some people will use it as a convenient way of disposing of trash or dead bodies, polluting it for everyone else.

        While I agree with the libertarians that a free market provides the most efficient distribution of resources, I disagree that maximum efficiency necessarily results in the most beneficial results. The reality is that the economy is a shared resource that, like the river, needs to be managed such that particular parties can’t pollute it such that it’s detrimental to the public at large.

        Of course, the libertarians will counter by asking just how much regulation is enough, and having established the precedent that the government can legitimately intervene in the economy, how do you set the limits as to how much regulation is legitimate, and how you prevent the regulation process from becoming corrupt. It is a legitimate point.

        I don’t really have a good answer to that. Obviously, in both the cases of the river and the economy, there is never going to be a final answer. People are going to find new uses for rivers and markets, some uses will become obsolete, changing conditions will alter use cases over time. Of course, there will always be special interests attempting to corrupt the regulation process. It seems to be an unsolvable problem.

    • Yep, the piece is click-bait for all the closet-Collectivists.

      And, they are Legion.

    • Saying ‘Libertarianism is basically “don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.”’ is like saying “Feminism is just giving women equal rights.” This may be what the dictionary says, but in practice, libertarianism, capitalism, and feminism lead to the social atomization that dissolves white communities and leaves us helpless before other organized ethnic groups.

    • There was an example in China some years back that I thought was an interesting test case for economic theory in practice.

      An overpass on one of their superhighway collapsed, and an investigation found that the concrete was not sound because the manufacturer of th concrete had been diluting it with garbage in order to increase volume at no cost, and bribing the local inspector to look the other way. In a true free market, the problem here was not the development of an inferior product to get an edge on the concrete contracting market, as building codes are a restriction on markets, the problem was that this guy had to bribe some official in order to do it. Personally, I like knowing that when I enter a building it has to be designed to have some level of safety for emergencies(unlike in various shithole countries) but that’s just me.

      It is telling how flawed the libertardian philosophy is, that it always has to exist in an ideal hypothetical state, and libertardians never seem to point out how well a true small govt., almost 100% free market country like Somalia does. As far as I’m aware Somalia isn’t some Wakanda, and its primary export is high seas pirates that steal goods from countries that have restrictions on how businessmen have to operate in the marketplace, but mention that to one of these “capitalism is the highest good” types and prepare for the REEEEing of your life

      Lolbertarians are just as incapable of living in the real world as progressives are, and just as the prog will insist that Dindu is 100% equal to Isaac Newton, lolbertardians are incapable of conceding that in the real world the end state of capitalism is for one person to hold all the chips at the end of the game of “eat or be eaten”

    • If the country you live in is rapidly destabilizing and everyone is collectivizing for safety, you’d be a fool to believe that ‘being nice to everyone’ will protect you or your family. I don’t hear anyone talking about the Bosnian libertarian, the Rhodesian libertarian, or the Syrian libertarian. I bet soon that the South African libertarian will be alive as long as it takes for the local ANC militia to come and respect his private property rights.

      • Exactly right…I don’t know why they can’t correlate that… Community will be our saving grace in terms of saving our culture…

        • Let’s not hyperventilate, libertarian within certain (White) norms. Libertarian global Kapitalism is what doesn’t scale.

          Libertarian warmaking-being free to attack and pillage under some made-up ‘national security’ bullshit, or as a manufactured threat like ‘drug cartels’ or ‘white christian militias’- well, that doesn’t scale either.

      • The problem with libertarianism, is that it is predicated on people not cheating too much, being punished by some higher power when they do and also on a minimal level of criminal predation.

        All of that existed to some extent at various places in the post civil war US up through the 1930s or so.

        Failure to recognize that underlying social construct, and it uniqueness is the fatal flaw of the ideology

  16. Good essay, Z-man…The joy of living comes from interaction with 1) Nature in all its magnificence, and 2) other people, in person or through their works of art or craft, from Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Van Gogh to art work or choral singing from your local high school….Consumption and pleasure seeking cannot and will not sustain a person, but our evil culture pretends otherwise.

  17. “the cause is the willingness of our leaders to auction off our social capital.”

    I’m not so sure about that. I think us commoners have had a lot to do with it. If people kept shopping at small businesses the transition wouldn’t have taken place. The people abandoned small businesses to save a few bucks.

  18. The truth of this post is undeniable, but it still hurts to hear malls being criticized. Not too long ago it’s where all us teenagers hung out on weekend nights. Most of my best junior high and high school memories happened in malls. Your parents could drop you off and feel ok about it. It was the perfect setting. Shelter from the elements. All night safety. Malls offered more strolling time and variety with a date or friends than you could ever get on the old time “mainstreet” or “soda shop” (before my time).

    On the social end of the mall there’d be a movie theatre, a game arcade, and some ice cream-burger place. Carousels with tinkly music. Flirting. Record stores. Spencers. Aww man it was PERFECT for hanging out. And you could step right outside for a quick smoke too.

    Granted, all this worked because we were all cut from the same cloth. Soon the malls were taken over by the rowdies. Then the shopping zombie immigrant families of 15.

    And now as an adult, I can see the cold commercial side of it, as covered in Z’s post. But man, I don’t care what anyone says, malls were the freakin PLACE.

    • I worked at a mall movie theater 88-90. Everything you say, especially the girls. How many John Hughes movies are set there? It was implicitly white and we didn’t even know it; just like libertarianism.

  19. Z, this is one of your best articles, it addresses the big picture. Man’s biggest fight is the one with himself. Biblical morality achieves a better outcome, but it comes only by denying the instant gratifications, of which are more easily available in the modern world.

    • ” Biblical morality achieves a better outcome, but it comes only by denying the instant gratifications, of which are more easily available in the modern world.”

      Is this to say that people who happen to be Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Anamist or Neo-Pagan/Wiccan either don’t have or aren’t capable of being moral beings and living and interacting with others in a moral fashion?

      I’m a Neo-Pagan Witch, and live my life in a moral fashion that both honors my religion and honors and respects other individuals that I meet and interact with. I also have no problem with delaying personal gratification for things that matter in the long term…bit of a stoic in that regard.

      Hope that that helps put things into perspective in this regard.

      • In other words, you’re White.

        You don’t fall into Dinduism. Case in point, only Punjabi can be Sikh. Only a Hindu can be born Hindu. The religions were born and made in bloody times, in wars between racial cultures.

        First, one must quell the wars between one’s People. The big religions largely succeeded uniting for defense, but the Semitic ones united for conquest.
        Blood determines religion’s thrust.

        (The Bantu and Han sought local dominance. Theirs are illustrations of regional, racial religions without all the universalist frippery. Genocide holds no guilt for them.)

        I say the Whites were used as a proxy, piggybacked by another, and that our “crimes” were not born of our natural intent. Our worst elements were incentivized, and are corrupting our law-abiding inclinations.
        Our natural loyalties to God, king, country, and each other have been disrupted.

  20. One of the most important aspects of difference between local shop and big box is the accountability factor, which in turn explains the general decline in the quality of things. In the old days, if someone sold you a shoddy suit or wobbly table, that guy had to pass you on the street at least once a week or maybe once a day. Now, if something you buy breaks an hour after you got it, your only option is to get the run-around on a phone-tree manned by an army of Shaniquas more interested in tending their pedicures than addressing your complaint (while they have you on hold for thirty minutes). As usual, race is central to the problem: all the things lefties and greens like (public transportation, walkable communities, local markets) were also popular with badwhites until the cities got slaughtered by the Great Society. Throwing the majority overboard to bring a minority into the fold doesn’t make much numerical or strategic sense, but there was a lot of quasi-religious messianic horseshit floating around in the 60s. MLK, LSD, etc.

  21. Progress. It’s just buffalo chips to me.
    The obsession with constant progress. Where a great invention is destroyed just to make room for a replacement touted as “a better, new, and improved, widget”. What you really get is mass produced, large volume crap. Much like everything China barffs up and sells to the starry eyed masses of dummies addicted to “the latest and greatest” whatever. Consumers are just that, consumers. Where did the well rounded, even keeled life go. It’s going full circle. We have to make what we need with our own two hands. If it’s to last long enough to be useful. Suicide by greed, envy, and laziness. Feeling dizzy? That’s the swirling undertow of man flushing himself down the toilet. Let them go, slow down and it will all be over soon enough. Life, and I mean whole life is a personal contest that you cannot get away with cheating. The instructions are readily available. Progress is in our hearts. Not under the Christmas tree.

    • That’s all fine and dandy, but don’t worry, Amazon sells many of the base tools you need to survive without the system.

  22. I’ve already given up on humanity. And now I feel little guilt about buying from Amazon or Walmart or whoever has the lowest price. I buy local when the price difference is small, or sometimes from worthy entrepreneurs at the farmer’s market. But the things I buy are purposeful, in preparation for the inevitable collapse, not fashion clothes, or TVs, or jet skiis. The money I save funds more preps or gets put into worthwhile assets, property, or escape plan B. Community is already a dead concept, and I am already over lamenting its demise.

    • Just remember that no man is an island; the lone wolf will die (usually in a quite miserable fashion with much unecessary suffering).

      No matter how much you may try to escape it, we humans ARE social animals; even the most monkish of us needs SOME interaction with others.

      Read what Mountain Gorilla has to say about the importance of kith and kin, clan and tribe.

      In the upcoming unpleasantness, you will need them as much as they’ll need you…if nothing else to watch your back while you sleep or to deal with medical emergencies like if you suffer a broken bone or worse.

  23. The market always wins. Capitalism has proven this hands down. Scream about WalMart to your heart’s content – but that is as good as it gets in today’s world. The Chinese, the Russians, and pretty much the entire second and third world would give their left nut to have it as good. As would your ancestors. The problem isn’t Walmart… it’s us.

    We are too stupid to see that the cheapest product is not the least expensive. Eg. 15 years ago I spent $200 on a pair of camping pants and a shirt. They were made by a local company too. My family told me I was nuts. I still wear them, they look great. How many pairs of Levi’s jeans have they gone through? How many cheap 3 packs of shirts made in Taiwan? Probably more than $200 bucks.

    I could set up a welding supply store in your town tomorrow, offer top flight service, take the lead in community services and charities – and most of you would still go to WalMart or the big retailers instead. The problem isn’t the drug dealer… it’s the addict. The dealers are doing exactly what their customers want, and they do it very, very well.

    Happiness and contentment come from within. In the west we are trying to achieve that through materialism and our friends in Big Retail are happy to help us. Blaming them for moral and ethical bankruptcy is like blaming guns for crime.

    • Funny, but just last week finally wore out a pair of Filson shorts. Probably 15 years old. First of their products I’ve ever had to toss.

    • Amen on that…Sense of Community has been deteriorating for years which is why we need to be bringing it back with a vengeance to survive and thrive…Oh and if you brought a welding supply store into my town and I knew you and what you stood for me and all the people I know would shop there…

    • I owned and operated a small retail store. People had no problem walking in and asking me if a product I sold was a better deal on some ebay auction or Amazon. I eventually gave in and started selling new and used stuff on ebay. When I couldn’t take the low-margin sub-minimum wage workload any longer, I quit.

    • You’re not wrong, exactly. But the reason we have social rules is to prevent socially destructive behavior like this. Except we abandoned those rules because {current_year}.

      Back when I was a callow youth, I would argue in favor of Walmart with all the familiar muh capitalism stuff. But, just as smart economists back in the 90s thought Russia would be fixed as soon as we gave them functioning Western institutions, plenty of them were ignorant to the fact that local communities relied on massive levels of public good production. All that was assumed to have exactly zero value while consumers focused on what was really important: cheap t-shirts and big houses.

    • Good point. But the missing piece is the rise of toxic advertising and propaganda that really picked up in the early 20th century.

      People are addicted to consumer goods for the same reason they’re brainwashed by SJW nonsense — because they’re being aggressively bombarded by messaging that’s purposely hitting their psychological triggers. Then you have the destruction of American education, which removes any resistance.

      Of course, all great empires are corrupted by their wealth, but what we see in the modern West (and spreading to Asia, etc.) is an even more perverted version of that corruption created entirely by design.

      And the messaging has been used the same way to promote feminism, US interventionism, etc.

  24. About six months ago I was in the local mall here in Vermont. Inside I saw an elderly Chinese couple trimming their fingernails into a garbage can in front of the Sears. There were very few other people around. They are tearing down the other Mall in Burlington. Malls will not be missed.

    • Malls won’t be missed but having a communal civic space, an ersatz town square will be.

      A nation made up of atomized consumers is no such thing and won’t stand against a stiff breeze much less an existential threat

  25. It seems like every big change wrought by a new iteration of capitalism has involved the breaking of some unwritten rule that everyone has unconsciously learned to respect and observe, and the capitalist either recognizes his opportunity out of consideration of the facts, or is simply morally unaware, or both.

    You mention the town retailer and Sears. Sears didn’t get started by selling stuff people couldn’t otherwise get. Folks could order anything Sears offered through their local retailer, but by ordering direct they bypassed the local middle man. Funny thing is, you could tell when Sears was beginning to struggle when you would go into their stores to buy something and they took you to a catalog stand to order it. It was just a matter of time before someone perfected another kind of catalog purchasing and did to Sears what Sears had done to the earlier retailers.

    Amazon is the old Sears done with an internet catalog, and nothing more. They are still a form of middle man. The next step will be when the producers are able to bypass Amazon.

    The battle of atomized man vs his more community-based, spiritual counterpart is one that crosses all boundaries. Part of Marx’s critique of capitalism was his explication of how feudal institutions actually safeguarded the well-being of the little guy and his family. There is actually a libertarian side to this as well. Back when Popper and Hayek were in the same social circle as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis they came up with their critiques of scientism, because they could see the detriment that an excess of materialism could do to society, a materialism that could be based in their own ideas. It was around this time that Hayek was instructing his students in the London School of Economics to look into the possibilities of free banking and multiple local currencies as a means of promoting localism. The Rationale of Central Banking by Vera Smith was the result of this. Poorly titled, it is actually a case for local banking and abolition of legal tender laws. If you have local currencies there is a cost to buying outside the locality. Part of the thinking behind this comes from seeing how the market fairs of central France were highly active up until the kings centralized currency. Most analysis of this by university historians involves changes in geopolitics, the currency side getting short shrift.

    I think part of the reason these guys were coming up with these ideas is because of the practical unworkability of distributivism, which would require a central power just like the socialists and communists salivate over, to enforce keeping property distributed, and the right needed a less materialistic alternative to the homo economicus that makes up both libertarianism and communism.

    I’ve been to conferences where the ideas of Robert Nisbet (Quest for Community) have been discussed, but always fall asleep. I take this as meaning there’s a lot of description and analysis, but not much in the way of practical solutions.

  26. “A life with no other purpose than to work and consume is actually lower than beastly”

    Amen, brother. Consumption often leads to debt slavery, which is one of it’s purposes.

  27. And that MS (((Rand))) childless, spent her last days dependent on social security, is the irony.

    • You know what’s even more ironic is those that want to be just like her and insist that you should as well…What’s up with people who want to follow in the footsteps of loser’s…Sad That…

  28. Your last line reminds me of the Neil Postman book, “Amusing Ourselves to Death”. I highly recommend it.

  29. I would suggest that the angst that leads to high suicide rates is grounded in a personal sense of worthlessness. This desperation is often wrought by the absence of existential challenges in one’s life experience and the corresponding lack of opportunities to overcome obstacles and prove one’s mettle. If you’re never tested, you will never know pride of accomplishment. And no one starts out wanting to become an addict or a parasite.

    • There is a predilection towards suicide for certain people. It is how they are wired. Just as money can make the misery or joy more comfortable, so can fame and fortune make the depressive personality more comfortable. But it doesn’t change how the person is wired, underneath it all.

      Agreed, the drivers are often a sense of worthlessness, but that can well up inside a person, no matter what he has done. There are a lot of Anthony Bourdain fans (like me) who deeply appreciated what he said and did in his books and broadcasts, and can say he brought a lot of good to the world. Nevertheless, you can see and hear the brooding and doubts in his work, if you look for it. People prone to suicide live in a different world than ones who are not, and I am not sure either side can quite understand the other.

    • Worthlessness? Or self loathing. How many of the suicides also have tattoos, body piercings?

      • It’s all part of the package. One thing that turns up again and again is the inability to consistently regulate one’s outward behavior patterns over time. “Why did you do that?” “I don’t know”. The whole “falling off the wagon” thing. Perhaps the internal thinking and sense of self-worth and self-loathing (two sides of the same coin) are just as inconsistently internally applied or responded to, which results in occasional bouts of extreme behaviors.

    • Errmmmm….that ‘worthlessness’ (if that be the cause of suicides) is due to atheism, whether real or ‘practical.’ IOW, one’s worth is infinite to the God who created one, and knowing that makes all the difference.

      • They see it or they don’t. Maybe suicidal tendencies are God’s Darwinian winnowing. Wheat from chaff.

  30. Once again, somewhat off kilter. To take one of his points, suicide rates. The study did not, and probably could not, control for willingness to accurately report suicides. Previously, suicide was often reported as an accidental death, for many reasons: religious, life insurance, social reputation, etc.

  31. I bought a ceiling fan at Home Depot once. I didn’t look closely at the box, and when I arrived home I had this sinking feeling as I opened a box that had clearly been opened at least once before. Broken hardware. Missing parts. So, back to Home Depot I went to turn it back in. Since I wanted to see what would happen, I didn’t otherwise mark up the box. A few days later, it was taped back up and placed back on the shelf. Now when I return things, I write on the box with a Sharpie, “Missing parts, broken glass” or whatever. In order to disguise this, they would have to tape and sticker it in a way that would be a warning sign in and of itself.

    The local mom and pop h/w store where I grew up, the owners would have been mortified if they sold me garbage like that, and would have made it right through a discount or something to make up for it. In the big stores, nobody gives a shit because nobody is actually accountable.

    I suspect next-wave shopping malls are going to be repurposed as entertainment venues with restaurants, amusements, and impulse shopping. Like Downtown Disney, in a sense. “Buying local” will increasingly equate to “off brand” (like non-Starbucks coffee shops) or buying things that are impractical to purchase online.

    As a small business owner, two things are basically killing local shops: taxes and rents (which are intertwined) Local communities like to place property taxes on businesses which dwarf residential taxes. For example, my annual prop taxes on my house run about $1500/yr. I pay over $5000/yr for my share of the property taxes in the building I lease…but my house is 3x larger than the sqft of the retail space. And that’s outside the rents which are similarly outrageous. You can rent a 4,000sqft McMansion for about $2000/mo in my neighborhood. Want to rent a 1200sqft retail space? Plan on close to $3,000/mo…the landlord wants to pay off the mortgage and live on the residuals. Oh, and then the town nearly doubled water rates last year. Every time I start feeling a little bit comfortable with my margins, the town raises taxes, raises water or my landlord raises the CAM, or for the last two years the State of Colorado has mandated a 15%/yr annual increase in the minimum wage which will raise it to $12/hr next year…until the slackass voters decide $15/hr is even better for entry level work.

    You’ll see tens of thousands of square feet of empty retail space because the landlord has paid off the building, but doesn’t want to lower the rents to attract businesses, which squeezes those who remain.

    The word you’re looking for but don’t use, Zman, is “transactional”. Society is devolving into transactional relationships. I’m only useful to other human beings to the extent I can give them something they want. If I can’t do that, I’m of no use to them. People have former friends who are like that. The ones who only show up when they want something. That’s what we’re becoming.

    • The commercial tenants pay the high rents because the underlying property is valuable. Because the property is valuable, there is usually a lot of borrowing (financing) involved in the ownership of the property. So the money flows uphill from the customer to the business owner to the landlord to the bank (or other financing institution). Only the ultimate lender gets much return, in the short run. The traditional way of breaking the cycle was for the business owner to own the property under the store. Price Club, the predecessor and model for CostCo, strictly adhered to the “own the land under the store” model, but could not expand fast enough to take advantage of the growth of their business model. Middle management broke away, formed CostCo, expanded quickly using the financing model, and ultimately bought out Price Club. The new way to break the cycle is for the business owner to go on-line with his business, though that strategy largely breaks the sense of community between the business owner and his clientele.

      • Yeah, I know how it works. I almost bought this building 5 years ago. Decided to buy some property up in the mountains for my family’s personal use instead. His mortgage is about $5500/mo and the rents deliver about $12000/mo. It’s not a huge facility. He has $$ room to keep businesses open and bays full. I put my foot down on CAM a couple of years ago and told him to stick it where the sun don’t shine (he had raised it 30% in less than 3 years) which stopped the bleeding. Threatened an audit, and that put an end to the CAM craziness. But I know he’s having a hard time finding somebody to replace me. So, instead of a long-term tenant, he gets to lose me this year, and finance a construction project for whomever he can get to take over this bay.

        Short term transactional thinking. All I am to him is a rent check. If he valued me (and the other tenants), he’d work harder to keep us. Not only will he lose me, there’s another tenant on the brink of leaving too. And if he thinks I’m going to be a great referral for him, he can forget about it.

        It’s not entirely on him. The town doubled his property taxes – doubled – 4-5 years ago. Then in 2016 they nearly doubled the water rates. We have restaurants in the complex, so our water bills (which are a shared cost even though I barely use any water) went from pretty-big to enormous.

    • How hard would it be for you to move? I mean when does the cost of staying outweigh relocating where you don’t have that…

      • For me, my lease is nearly up, so I am outta here. I can move 7-8 miles south outside of town limits, in a different city/tax base, and reduce my costs 25%. More available retail space, lower triple-net, better property management.

          • Can’t everbody move. This sh*t is what happens when the city dads, politicals, have no risk and start to get greedy, eyeing their golden parachutes. That, and being squeezed by the governor above to pass bigger payments upward, because our politicians are a mafia.

          • I disagree anyone can move if they have the will…I do agree about the greed of some and I know it’s something we would have to contend with no matter where we are…But a sizable group working in concert can have a huge impact on their community especially if it’s ideas that benefit the community at large…

          • This may sound like a weird question, but does the pH of the soil at Bitterroot Valley trend alkaline?

          • Depends on which side of the Valley you are on… People grow all sorts of things here…It would of been the orchard capital of the US if the transportation aspect could of been overcome…What did you have in mind to grow?

      • Yep Agree which is why I yell Community so much… Probably get tired of hearing of it;) but it’s my calling at the moment…

        • Not tired, you and Zman are both building community. Online or physical, we must hear that there are others like us, a sanctuary.

          • Thanks Brother we will need each other in these coming trials that will test our faith and fortitude…

  32. That’s a fair enough analysis of corporatization and financialization. It’s a bit of a misunderstanding of Sears (and its competitors such as Montgomery Ward and Spiegel) because it picks up the story very late in the day. Those enterprises began in the nineteenth century as mail-order retailers serving the settlers opening up the American West. The big mail-order houses were the only way that folks on the farms and in the small towns of the Midwest and the West could obtain most manufactured goods. No mom-and-pop store had the capital to fulfill the needs of a widely scattered population. Sears, especially, became very good at this mode of retailing, eventually selling even cars and houses. While they always had big stores in cities, where they competed with other department stores, they didn’t get into malls until the 1950s They didn’t exit the catalog business until the 1990s, just at the point where the mail-order business was undergoing a renaissance. Apparently, they were just too elephantine to adjust. For a guy who grew up in the 1950s waiting for the truck to bring the latest order from Sears or Ward’s, or going to the small store on Main Street, which sold paint and sone hardware, but mostly served as a catalog-order pickup point, and who can see Sears Tower thrusting up from the eastern horizon from his home in the western Chicago suburbs, the demise of Sears, as of Ward’s before it, symbolizes the death of that America.

  33. “The heroin addict is always faced with the choice. Give up the junk and became whole again or take the easy way out.”

    And now we have an actual junkie suicide in Anthony Bourdain.

    • The addictive personality and the depressive personality seem to have many similar things going on. Think of it as the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, and the addictive brain or depressive brain chooses to deal with the devil, who takes him over the edge. Most of the rest of us are content to work with the angel and ignore the devil. Walk or run away from what can hurt you and those around you. Not everyone can do that, and, IMO, many of those who deal with the devil do so with some understanding that it is fundamentally wrong and dangerous, but they are compelled to go in that direction anyway. My personal opinion is that people are largely wired that way, and all the therapy and drug treatments are simply attempts to somehow roadblock the bad path, as much as possible, but not to “cure” the problem. AA admits they don’t “cure”, they simply arm the alcoholic with tools to fight their tendencies.

      I think this is very important to understand, because some of the more “out there” lefties are operating under these sorts of compulsions. Logic and discussions will not make them see the light. They have taken their positions and will defend them above all. They are compelled to do so, by the way they are wired. You can avoid them, or try to convince them to tone it down a bit. But you will not move them off of the “world-saving”, “people-saving” assumptions they live under.

      • Or the other option which will be the one we have to use eventually unless you plan on being enslaved or letting them put you in the ditch…We Are At War Remember…

      • Just a small bit about projection, since you’re thinking about Leftist brains.

        Projection permeates Leftist thinking, even to the point where the projectors constantly accuse the Right of projecting.

        Why do they do this? How to tell a projector that he’s the one projecting?

        It’s because they are trying to figure us out, through the lens of their own feminine thinking- their own hamster hindbrain.

        That’s why it quickly devolves to immediate, personal attacks. They don’t see the larger world beyond themselves, so everything gets personal. And vindictive. And faddish.

        Do unto others before they do unto you.
        That’s why they gotta stop Trump!
        Cuz he’s gonna! Cuz whatever!

        They accuse you of what they’re thinking, because they are Good People and would never think of that. But you will cuz you Evil Dumbass. And they never forgive or forget the imagined sleights you’re going to do someday. Eternally vigilant!

        (Been staying over at my uber-lefty besties house again. I tell him he’s a laboratory control, cuz he is. Predictable as a clock.)

    • Gerard, aren’t you going to record a tearful hysterical video rant and post it on Instagram over Bourdain? No?

    • Yes – the first like totally ever.

      Out of curiosity, who is this guy? I never heard of him.

      addendum: ok, I’m told he was a TV guy who wandered around the planet eating weird food.

  34. Ideally Trump will be able push Turkey economically, and get them pointed at Iran for relief (i.e. by taking Iranian oil fields)

    • Ideally all neocons will croak before the next election, thus reducing this toxic influence of Trump to do Israel’s bidding.

  35. Btw, Sears didn’t collapse for any reason other than they got rid of their catalog operations back in the late 80’s or early 90’s. They had a fantastic catalog operation back in pre-internet days. Shortly after they abandoned their catalog offerings, the internet exploded. If Sears had stuck with that service offering, they would have been one of the best positioned companies in America for the internet revolution.

    • I am not sure that follows. Plenty of stores (JC Penney) had strong catalog and that doesn’t offer any advantage to internet migration.

  36. Sears sort of tied themselves to the mall as the “way of the future”. What happened to the malls? For one thing, time. Malls are aging structures which can be refurbished inside, but rather difficult on the outside. Plus, you have to be able to afford to update your look. Mall rent has always been too high. You have to have a certain amount of traffic to maintain the income stream. Stores like Sears were immune to that in that they were a national chain with thousands of stores and could support non-performing stores with other stores that were profitable. But, traffic declined. Well, paying traffic. The malls became air-conditioned Serengetis for herds of dindus and hispanic families. Traffic stayed the same or even increased, but serious buyers decreased. In addition, you had increased loss due to shop lifting and racial lawsuits. I haven’t been in a mall in years. The largest in our city has become a hangout for the dregs and resembles a Tijuana mercado. I don’t know what percentage of Sear’s drop from prominence is due to this process, but I know it didn’t help when the other poor merchandising and economic decisions cut into their margins.

    • “Traffic stayed the same or even increased, but serious buyers decreased.” This hadn’t occurred to me. But yes, I do see mass strolling compared to buying. Here in SoCal it’s what many Latino families do after church. And hordes of Chinese, who you’re constantly dodging because they walk like they drive.

      I can’t think of anything in life that I’ve gone from loving so much to hating so much, as malls. They were so peaceful and nice when I was a kid. They’re what nurtured my lifelong love of elevator music. I still remember the smell of the water fountains and all the pennies at the bottom. The refreshing cold concrete on my cheek. And the loud yet calming din of the splashing water.

      The ice cream-burger place at our mall was called Ferrell’s. The video game arcade was called The Red Baron. I just looked online and my old Toledo mall has been flattened, and is now a giant vacant lot. I’m sad. If you grew up in the 70s and 80s you probably feel the same way about malls as the old guys feel about Mainstreet.

      • It helps knowing where someone hails from to understand their comments and where they are at in the awake spectrum… Thanks…

      • I hadn’t thought much lately about the malls when I was a teenager, but your experiences mirror mine almost exactly. Mine was the one in Carlsbad, CA, along El Camino Real. Drove by it last week, still there.

        • Oh my gosh. How did you know I was talking about Southwyck? Yes, not best part of town, but I’m ok with working class whites. The other mall, closer to me, was Franklin Park Mall. Do you know that one too? wtf…

          • Bowled at the nearby alley. Dad worked in south Toledo.
            I went to a couple of movies in the late 80s until I noticed my friend and I were the only white kids there.

            Did go to Franklin Park. It’s hard to go back and visit and see how hard Toledo was hit after 2008.

          • Yeah, mid to late 80’s is when it started going down like that. Oddly, the last movie I saw there was Colors, with Sean Penn. I took the half-retarded kid from school to see it just out of kindness. None of the kids from school we saw there would even acknowledge me (us). Nice. Hah. Reminded me of that passage from Catcher in the Rye where Holden wonders during a movie how even bitchy women can be moved to tears at the revealed humanity of some scene. Then when the movie’s over slip right back into being hard hearted as ever. I guess Salinger wasn’t big on the idea of The Arts being able to change us for the better.

  37. I don’t think you’ve lived in a lot of rural communities. it’s nice to think the local stores respond to local demand. Unfortunately, when they are the only business in town, sometimes they don’t.

    Used to be a store out in the middle of nowhere, that sold 6 packs of pop for $5 back in the 80s. He had a sign that read: This is not Burger King. You get it my way or hit the highway.

    • Yep some people are like that where greed rules the day then when the competition comes to town whether by mail order(Amazon) or a new store they screech and moan about loyalty of customer and the need to shop local when they never gave a damn about their community in the first place…

    • Notso… You are implying not all local businessmen are altruistic? But that would destroy the narrative of the post, would it not?

      • Din C, there’s a difference between Z being flat out wrong, and Z making generalizations which have to be made in short posts that don’t bore the shit out of everyone with details and qualifications.

  38. I can see the Natick Mall from my little jail cell cubicle and if I want a good parking spot I go to the Sears side where the lot is always empty. The Wegmans they just opened to replace another old retailer JC Penney is booming.

    • Now that is good thinking. The whites have been chased out into buying new suburban tracts, leaving the former community hub filled with nail salons- yet the vibrants don’t have any grocery stores.

      Anon White Male is right, the ladies stop shopping when they have to run a gauntlet of foul-mouthed ferals outside the front door.
      I don’t go back there either. Used to love the mall, loved it.

    • Wegmans is a great store and like the other up and coming retailer, Aldi, is privately held. No need for stupidity to meet the quarter’s numbers.

  39. This post is poignant to me, very topical for the time. My hometown here is a small Illinois town of about 900-1000 people. Next week a grocery store in town that has been open since the early 1970s will close….. and a Dollar General will open next month.
    Part of me wants to rail against big business and big chains, but as Glenfithie said, we’re the root of the problem. I’d run to this store for milk or bread or the odd item, but me and everyone else in town would drive 20-30 minutes into the city to buy most of our groceries cheapsr at Aldi, Kroger, HyVee or the other big chains. Sigh

  40. I fell for Miss Rand’s polemic against the leftist looters. Doubts emerged after my high school days in the Mall were over. I did some years as a local “Fred’s Welding Supply” equivalent as well. When I was done with a long day, I’d catch Anthony Bourdain, on No Reservations, jetting around to the places I had no time or money to visit, and hinting at his existential angst and doubts about consumerism. He got the first important message of this column, Z, but never the second.

    • Solzhenitsyn:

      “If humanism were right in declaring that man is born to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then cheerfully get the most out of them. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one’s life journey may become an experience of moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it. It is imperative to review the table of widespread human values. Its present incorrectness is astounding. It is not possible that assessment of the President’s performance be reduced to the question of how much money one makes or of unlimited availability of gasoline. Only voluntary, inspired self-restraint can raise man above the world stream of materialism.”

      “It would be retrogression to attach oneself today to the ossified formulas of the Enlightenment. Social dogmatism leaves us completely helpless in front of the trials of our times.”

      • Jordan Peterson has riffed on Solzhenitsyn, stating that meaning, not happiness, should be the goal, in order to have a healthy and moral life. The mere pursuit of pleasure alone will never allow one outrun the cruel, relentless realities of mortality that keep one awake at night.

  41. The problem with Sears is that it has been poorly managed for decades. It started declining in the 1970’s, even before malls became popular, let alone the internet and Amazon. Other “big box” retailers such as Best Buy and Ross Dress for Less are doing just fine. You can order from them through the internet, then pick up at the nearest store to your home or work. Walmart offers the same service. Businesses that adapt to changing conditions usually do OK. Those that don’t usually disappear. A lot of this is due to poor management. E.g. why didn’t the railroads start their own airlines?

    The rest of this posting is pure jibberish. When I go to a retailer, I am looking for the best deal I can get. If the product does not require follow on service, price and quality are the only issues that matter to me. The fact is, Home Depot and Lowe’s are vastly superior to the mom and pop hardware stores of old for the simple reason the selection is so vastly increased. Much of what is offered at these stores used to be available only through specialty industrial distributors of the type that sell exclusively to industrial and commercial customers.

    The arguments about “social investment” are the same as those advanced by auto dealerships who are trying to preserve state-level franchise laws that prevent car manufacturers from selling directly to customers. The dealerships tout their investment in the community while, at the same time, make shopping for an automobile as unpleasant of experience as going to a doctor for a proctoscopy. There is a reason why middlemen are often despised.

    Business is about buying and selling a product or service on terms that are mutually beneficial to the two parties involved. That is its only purpose. This posting is making more out of a contractual business deal than is relevant.

    The fact is, that until we get some kind of science fiction style post-scarcity manufacturing system (presumably based on self-replication technology such as nanotechnology) capitalism is the only system that is most consist with the notion of individual liberty, individual autonomy, and freedom of association between consenting COMPETENT individuals. Despite its many flaw (which it does have) Ayn Rand’s philosophy remains the only truly consistent defender of individual liberty and autonomy. That fact alone makes it vastly superior to any other memetic system* as of yet conceived by humans.

    *I use the term memetic system as a global term to mean philosophy, religion, and ideology. In terms of psychology and neurobiology, their is no meaningful differences in these three terms.

    As far as the “atomization” of modern society, as strange as it may seem to some of you, some of us actually thrive in this kind of environment and prefer it to any other social environment.

    • So in other words you have no heart no soul no care for your fellow man… Everything is just a business transaction to you and you would rather interact with robots than humans…What a loss…Sad That…

      • Seems like Abelard prefers to interact with the fellow man that offers him the best deal, a character flaw i share,.

        • Even if it means putting money into the pocket of your enemy…Soros loves you kind of people and selling you the rope to hang yourself…Sad That…

          • The key words are ‘fellow man’. There’s a difference between renting beside each other and The Girl Next Door.

      • When I get up each morning of my life, I have certain goals and objective I pursue, both on a daily basis as well as long-term. I interact with individuals, companies, and institutions IN A BUSINESS SETTING (as opposed to family, friends, and other I associate with for fun) for the purposes of accomplishing those objectives. The people, and especially institutions (companies, government, other organizations) offer value to me only that basis, none other.

        Your comment, as well as the original posting, is rooted in the human suffering aspect of these matters. I will address that in a separate comment.

        • That works well when everyone is following that same path but when they are not and everything they do has a purpose and that is to eradicate you, your family, and your way of life then you will lose everytime…See they don’t separate business and pleasure everything they do has a focus and a goal in mind and that is to control or kill you it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to them…

    • The idea seems to me that certain institutions can’t survive soulless, transactional diversity. Our little Chinatown has dragon parades and sponsors churches/temples, our weekend auction and Latino grocers are big, bright, teeming with happy brown crowds, they sponsor futbol teams and dances. Our Sikhs have ginormous weddings and sponsor farm expos.
      When the whites leave, malls die, along with their ecosystem. You’ll never see a brown Macy’s / JC Penny combo thrive. Bazaars are the brown style.

      Dindus, of course, have nothing. Even the liquor stores have closed, only Arab mini-marts survive there. It wasn’t that way before bussing when their kids could walk to school. They had their own plaza mini-malls too.

  42. I met an old guy who told me that the best thing about Sears catalogs was that they made great toilet paper in the ol’ outhouse back in the 1930s. He said that in every outhouse in Nebraska, someone was sitting, reading and wiping …
    He was born in 1927.

    I love oldsters.

  43. I looked through 145 comments to see if anyone caught the most important line in this essay- no one had.

    “The point of life is for old men to plant trees in whose shade they will never stand.”

    Amen.

    • Oh I read it all right. But what’s to comment on? I’m old enough to have watched our elites rip the guts out of American culture from the 80’s onward in order to benefit themselves and to punish us for beling alive. I watched the f**king boomers destroy California so they could get a six figure pension out of the state. They didn’t care, they fled to other states to poison them as well We have the government green lighting the mass distribution of Oxycontin from certain well known pharmas that killing whites across the country and ruining families. Hollywood rubs our noses in shit with their garbage. Our women have turned into evil creatures that no male in their right mind would touch.

      Normally we’d could simply build shadow communities to replace the dying ones. However the elites have made it next to impossible to set up alternatives.

      We have to get rid of them and their associates before we can do anything.

  44. This quotation of Fran Lebowitz is worth a glance: “In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.”

    In my university days I read E.F. Schumacher’s book Small Is Beautiful, and have since commended it to everyone, because there is a deep human need for an antidote to the Globali$t-scale wealth arrogation that’s taking meaningful work, which makes meaningful lives, from all of us, all over this earth.

  45. An exceptionally good article. We (on the societal level) are indeed in the process of amusing ourselves to death. It is a terrifying spectacle, like watching a huge traffic accident in slow motion. Articles like this are priceless because they state in clear terms what is happening and where the potential solution lies. Well done!

  46. “If you go to your local Home Depot, for example, you are unlikely to get any help from the staff, unless you tackle one of them in the aisle.” Funny, my recent bitch about HD was that every worker you passed asked if you needed any help, or “How ya doin’,” which was irritating as it forced you to respond to every insincere question. Obviously, they had gotten the word from on high that if they failed to nag customers, they would be fired. “How to uglify the simplest social interactions…” Finally they came to their senses, but before that I had started patronizing Lowes because they didn’t do this.

    There certainly are drawbacks to libertarianism; no human system will ever be perfect. It’s just that every other alternative is worse. Anyway, libertarianism is simply non-aggression. Is aggression going to be better?

    • At Wal-Mart a few weeks ago, every employee was saying “hi” or asking if I needed help. When the guy who waxes the floor said hi to me with a smile, I knew something was up. He wasn’t even an employee, but contracted. So when the cashier was super “nice” too, I asker her with a jovial grin, “ok, what’s the deal, why’s everyone being so nice?” She all, “we’re just nice, isn’t that a good thing?” I’m all, “It’s never been that way before. So there’s a new rule for you guys or what?” She wouldn’t break character and got a little bitchy so I let it go. I thought she’d whisper something like, “yeah, they’ve got us doing such & such now…”

      She kept one of my bags below by her thigh (not even near the carousel), and I had to walk all the way back from the exit to retrieve it. She’s saw me coming and she’s all, “ahh, you forget your bag.” I felt like saying, “no, you didn’t GIVE me my bag, hoping I’d drive all the way home without it.” This must be a trick they use on rude customers.

      I guess it was a bit rude of me to say that stuff. But the new niceness was so obviously corporate strategy, I couldn’t help being dickish about it. If the new niceness doesn’t budge sales, you can just hear the meeting at HQ, “OK, send the message to the stores that they can drop the nicey-nice now”.

      • Speaking of too nice, 15 or 20 years ago the Safeway grocery chain supposedly made a rule that if the cashier learned the customer’s name, through chitchat or reading their check/credit card, they were to address the customer by name
        “Have a good day Mr. Smith!”
        Thanks for shopping here Miss Jones.” Etc
        The rule was supposedly rescinded when too many overeager guys thought the cashiers were hitting on them.

        • Yeah, Von’s or Albertson’s started doing the “Mr. Smith” thing out here a few years ago, then thankfully stopped. It was corny and kinda creepy. Only in America could they get away with that level of personal freshness / fakery.

          When I walk into a chain store and some hidden clerk robotically chirps, “Helloooo, thanks for coming.” I light up and cheerily yell, “OH, well thank YOU for having ME!!!” Like I was at a real BBQ with real friends. The whole front of the store usually turns and looks at me. I know, it’s kinda weird.

    • What they do at HD is hang around at the front of the aisle and say “hello” to meet their quotas of such things. If you turn down their aisle and start looking confused, they will sidle quietly away to another spot. Saying “hello” is a heck of a lot easier than actually solving customer problems, and it all pays the same.

    • PJ1;
      In case anybody’s still reading this thread, you said: “Anyway, libertarianism is simply non-aggression. Is aggression going to be better?”

      The problem that many people, me included, have with Libertarianism is the attractive but otherworldly assumption that there is an actual choice to be made between ‘non-aggression’ and ‘aggression’. The sad fact is that we live in a fallen world. In our existing world, ‘aggression’ was, is now, and ever will be, world without end (to make a bastardized paraphrase).

      I too solemnly wish that the world were not fallen, but my wishing will not make it so. Nor will your wishing make it so either.

      Best wishes.

  47. Customer service in the US has drastically gone down just in the past few years. After living in Asia for a while, I was shocked at how bad it had gotten. Amazon, for instance, used to have decent CS at least, but it’s absolutely horrible now.

  48. Since this is essentially a critique of libertarianism from a human suffering standpoint, I will explain here why libertarianism is actually better than any competing system for reducing and overcoming human suffering.

    Of all of the myriad misfortunes that can affect a person, ALL of them fall into four and ONLY four categories. There are no others. They are 1) medical, 2) financial, 3) legal, and 4) being a crime victim.

    The worse experience an individual can have is to suffer a medical problem. This is usually far worse than a financial problem because they are usually much more difficult to overcome, if at all. The reason why liberarianism is better for experiencing a medical problem than any other system is because, contrary to popular thought, free markets do reduce medical costs. Look at how the cost of lasiks eye surgery and cosmetic surgery has dropped over the years, relative to mean income. Since they are outside the highly regulated and subsidized rhelm of conventiona medicine, free market economics is allow to work in these specialties. An even bigger reason for libertarianism in medicine is the reduction of regulation will make it easier for people to engage in DIY medicine using home labs. DIY development of even advanced techniques such as CRISPR gene therapy is already a reality. Lastly, effective anti-aging will be developed faster and with lower cost in a libertarian environment than in any other. As we all know, aging itself is the biggest medical problem with all face. It is time to end it once and for all.

    The second problem an individual can face is a financial problem. Loss of job, loss of business, bad investments, etc. Naturally a libertarian society would offer greater opportunity in business start-ups, jobs, and investments; as compared to any other system. Thus any given individual is less likely to suffer financial penury and, if suffering such, will have more options to overcome such in a libertarian system than in any other kind of system.

    Third is legal. Obviously a libertarian system having fewer laws and regulations than any other system will present fewer chances of the individual running afoul of any law or regulation and, consequently experiencing the legal problems associated with such.

    Lastly, being a crime victim is more likely in a system with all kinds of pointlessly stupid laws and regulations competing for the resources of law enforcement, than a libertarian system free of such thus allowing law enforcement to focus their efforts to prevent real crime with real victims.

    As you can see, you are less likely to experience any of these misfortunes in a libertarian system than in any other and, having experience any of them (particularly the first two), you will likely have greater resources and ability to overcome them in a libertarian society than any other system.

    There may be legitimate arguments against libertarianism. However, the reduction of human suffering cannot be considered to be one of them.

    • As one who is sympathetic to libertarianism, I must nonetheless reject this list of “ONLY four categories” of suffering. I’ve been able to dodge the mating-game bullets this civilization throws at so many others, but I’ve known so many others who suffered so very much from the vicissitudes of this game.
      And this game is likely to get even more destructive, seeing that the Establishment is escalating the Gender War, as the WaPo published Friday a brutal feminist diatribe (“Why can’t we HATE men?”), see https://www.washingtonpost…. 944de66d9e7_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0c2d3a64c7e8.

      This screed ends with the following “advice” to men:

      “… Don’t run for office. Don’t be in charge of anything. Step away from the power. We got this. And please know that your crocodile tears won’t be wiped away by us anymore. WE have every right to HATE you. You have done us wrong. #BecausePatriarchy. It is long past time to play hard for Team Feminism. And win.”

      • Yep I knew the #metoo would just be the start of bringing down Patriarchy…It’s just a matter of time before the really ramp it up and call for killing all white males and have it be mainstream…

      • It’s good she just came right out and said let’s hate men. It cracks open the door for a hate fest on all sides. When the gloves come off, things get brutal. We don’t lose that fight.

  49. Sears tried to be too many things for too many customers. It’s like the restaurant that aims to provide 50 mediocre dishes, rather than being excellent at 10.

    The other stores are dying because American malls are dying. It’s not a relaxing environment because of racial diversity. Black people being loud aren’t likely to attack your teenager, but it’s possible. It’s a minor Pascal’s Wager. Low probability, high penalty. Cell phone videos how just how inhospitable malls can be for whites.

  50. ot: I think Soros is losing it, I really do. The latest Drudge Soros quotes really seem different in tone and tense. Would be surprising if Soros didn’t crumble like all the others who go up against Trump.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say DJT made a trip down to the crossroads, when he was a young man. And made himself a deal. Because he looks like he is using some powerful fukkin’ hoodoo right now.

  51. Free market capitalism is the worst way to determine the allocation of scarce resources (and all resources are “scarce) EXCEPT for all the other methods!

    Interesting that “Z” is now tying the “increasing” (?) suicide rate to the existence of “Big Retail”

    .Heretofore, I thought it was the decline of bowling leagues that was the leading cause of the increase in suicide rates!

  52. The problem with Whittaker’s (and anyone elses) critique of “materialism” is that spiritualism is inherently subjective and, thus, cannot be discussed objectively.

    Afterall. one man’s theology is another man’s belly laugh (Robert Heinlein)

  53. The generalizing of who the boomers are goes on. We can be the base of the Tea Party and of the independent voters for Trump, and the first to point out the that the establishment — whether calling themselves R or D — is the enemy. We can be the most knowledgeable, the best-educated, and the ones who, having grown up as Free Range Kids, push hardest for the return of trad values.

    We can be the ones pointing out the Communist/Islamic background of a Third Worlder running for president and beg those who grew up with SJW/leftist/America-hating values and Blah-blah-Studies degrees, not to vote for someone who hides his records just because he identifies as black…and later warn them not to vote for a power-mad criminal just because she’s female. We can be the most aware of current events because we have the time to study and the background to understand fake news and propaganda when we see it.

    But it doesn’t matter There will always be a group that identifies so strongly with their age cohort (and sometimes other tribal qualifications) that they will shut us out from working with them by carelessly dismissing us — not as individuals, but as just another identity group.

    Too bad. Not smart politically. Weakening any progress made among the grassroots by separating people by the year they were born instead of their ideology. But they’ll go on, publically defining (mistakenly) who we are, what we do, how we get news, what we pay attention to and trust, and giving us fake labels.

    Sad that some can’t see or appreciate that we were fighting the establishment from the left when we were young and naïve and now are fighting it as reborn counter-culture individuals attacking from the right. And we’ll go on valuing, learning from, and working with you, even as you think you are defining and dismissing us. Bu it would be nice if you would consider what you’re disregarding and work with us rather than smugly looking down on us.

  54. While all of this is very well reasoned out, I’m not sure it’s accurate.
    I direct your attention to a recent headline where JCPennys, another distressed retailer, is “deciding” to sell off their fleet of private jets. WTH!? A fleet? Granted, there’s a life cycle to big companies. However, I’ve experienced several instances where big store employees do their best to meet your needs. And some of them go to some length to underwrite certain local events or affairs.
    But, as JCPennys so adroitly revealed, stupid amounts of waste can accumulate in a company that thinks they sit perpetually at the top of the hill. What happens isn’t so much “piracy” but rather a forgetfulness regarding basic economic principles. The fact that bankruptcies happen isn’t a testament to big, soulless retailers but rather…human arrogance, pride, and nature.

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