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A brief history of the corporation 1600 to 2100

This is long but absolutely chock full of interesting information and sideways looks at things. A must read if you have the time. A Brief History of the Corporation: 1600 to 2100
. . . It is difficult for us in 2011, with Walmart and Facebook as examples of corporations that significantly control our lives, to understand the sheer power the East India Company exercised during its heyday. Power that makes even the most out-of-control of today’s corporations seem tame by comparison. To a large extent, the history of the first 200 years of corporate evolution is the history of the East India Company. And despite its name and nation of origin, to think of it as a corporation that helped Britain rule India is to entirely misunderstand the nature of the beast. Two images hint at its actual globe-straddling, 10x-Walmart influence: the image of the Boston Tea Partiers dumping crates of tea into the sea during the American struggle for independence, and the image of smoky opium dens in China. One image symbolizes the rise of a new empire. The other marks the decline of an old one. The East India Company supplied both the tea and the opium. At a broader level, the EIC managed to balance an unbalanced trade equation between Europe and Asia whose solution had eluded even the Roman empire. Massive flows of gold and silver from Europe to Asia via the Silk and Spice routes had been a given in world trade for several thousand years. Asia simply had far more to sell than it wanted to buy. Until the EIC came along A very rough sketch of how the EIC solved the equation reveals the structure of value-addition in the mercantilist world economy. The EIC started out by buying textiles from Bengal and tea from China in exchange for gold and silver. Then it realized it was playing the same sucker game that had trapped and helped bankrupt Rome. Next, it figured out that it could take control of the opium industry in Bengal, trade opium for tea in China with a significant surplus, and use the money to buy the textiles it needed in Bengal. Guns would be needed. As a bonus, along with its partners, it participated in yet another clever trade: textiles for slaves along the coast of Africa, who could be sold in America for gold and silver. . . .

Bankrupt by Beanie Babies

The film is made by the son of the gentleman with the heart tshirt. I worked for a few months in college at a Spencer Gifts-type store. We sold the fuck out of Beanie Babies. When the shipment of Beanies would arrive, the parents and collectors would riot and tear through the boxes, elbowing each other and so on. Madness. Bankrupt By Beanies

EVE Online now selling vanity gear for avatars, like a $68 monocle

That's $68 in U.S. currency. For a monocle that your avatar wears in game. I get that maybe they want to make money or provide more cash-dumps for people hoarding in-game currency, but c'mon, these prices are ludicrous. The link below goes to the EVE Online forums where players are aghast. EVE Online | EVE Insider | Forums

June 21, 2011

National Labor Relations Board inroduces new rules to streamline Union elections, Republicans freak out

When I worked at Borders easily half of my management training was devoted to shutting down unionization talk amongst employees. Republicans Call Rule That Would Make Union Elections Fairer An ‘Outrage,’ ‘Misguided,’ And ‘Reckless’ | ThinkProgress
Today, the National Labor Relations Board announced a new rule aimed at speeding up the process for union elections, in an attempt to prevent employers from using the various tactics they break out to delay and ultimately undermine unionization drives. According to research by John-Paul Ferguson of Stanford Business School, 35 percent of the time that workers file a petition for a union election, the election does not occur due to the many steps that employers take — including bringing in anti-union consultants — to delay elections for weeks, if not years. Currently, the average time between workers filing a petition for an election and the election taking place is 58 days, ample time for employers to engage in coercion and intimidation, or to fire pro-union workers (which happens in 25 percent of union drives). But congressional Republicans — who are whipped into an uproar by any step that favors workers over corporations — still screamed bloody murder over the change . . . The proposed rule would address the roadblocks that commonly are thrown up when the NLRB attempts to set up an election. There is currently no limit on employers’ or unions’ ability to demand a pre-election hearing on most any issue, including the eligibility of employees to vote, or the scope of the bargaining unit, which can be used to delay an election. Many of these issues could be resolved after voting, and others are manufactured for purposes of delay and don’t need to be resolved at all, ever. As former NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein explains, “The problem has been that a party in any election case has the ability to undermine the expression of employee free choice by manipulating Board procedures to create delay.” . . .