Archives for category: Business

Ever heard that water is an incompressible fluid? Well, that is an approximation, and it is reasonable in freshman physics classes.

However, water compresses plenty. All matter will compress. An increase in pressure on the matter will compress it. This compression is work. This work is lost (used up) and unavailable for other purposes. The work typically heats the material, increasing its temperature.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had many arguments about this bit of oversimplification throughout my years. It is one of those situations where a little knowledge (an inadequate amount of knowledge) is dangerous. Fortunately, it is only the kind of danger that is annoying, not destructive.

My point is when we consider a hydraulic system, we generalize and simplify, and we say that a force acting on the water or hydraulic fluid within an enclosed system will act on all surfaces equally. Yes, kinda. Nature will not let you get away with the approximation.

Applying 1 pound-force on 10 in2 allows us to calculate 10 pound-force on a 1-in2 ram, but not all the 10 pounds-force is actually there on the ram. Some of it was lost in work compressing the fluid, and some more was lost in friction acting on the liquid moving through the ram channel to push against the 1-in2 ram.

Accountants make up all kinds of formulas and rules. Each has its purpose and use, and some are limited and not usable in all situations. No amount of accounting can eliminate cost incurred. Obfuscating it somewhere other than final price is sleight of hand.

When a petroleum company incurs cost, such as gross production or severance tax, and every other tax they incur, the petroleum company must account the cost, and somewhere, they must pay it. Revenues must be higher than costs, or the company goes bankrupt (and all the employees become unemployed). Sooner or later, in all circumstances, increasing costs, even gross production taxes, increase the price the petroleum company must charge in sales or fees.

Refiners will pay more. In turn, they must cover the costs with revenues, and the end result is a rise in the price every poor sod pays to fill his vehicle so he can get to work and feed his family. If fuel costs increase, and his paycheck doesn’t, he will have less with which to feed his family.

Real life, be it accounting or physics, never lets us get away with anything. Everything has its costs. To do anything, one must expend time and energy. For anything to happen, time and energy are used up. (That is the purpose of the universe, to use up all time and all enthalpy.)

We all know these things when we pay attention. Pay attention. One can never be so poor as to be unable to pay attention.

In physics, if work is done, it is used up. We have to get energy from somewhere again to do more (or just to do it again). The same goes for money and costs. If we had to pay it, it is gone. We have to get money from somewhere else, or we fail. In the world we live in, you and I, the end consumers, pay that extra money. It doesn’t come from anywhere but us (in general, the business owner, even an oil baron, is one of us; not so the government; they don’t make money; they only take it). Everywhere (like a bank or the government) that has money got it from us. We paid. To the bank, we hope we get more (in interest or intangibles) than we put on deposit. With the government, we can only hope they don’t waste it all, and we live in fear they will only keep coming for more.

I often disagree with specific points he makes, but I can never dismiss Mr. Kummer.

The FRED data indicates Kummer is on the right track, but the data hardly support his specifics.

First, we need more data and more thorough data. We also need to account for the effect of taxes. For practical purposes, taxes on the companies are simply taxes passed to the consumer, the laborer. (Government involvement distorts everything in many ways, which are often unnoticed. Taxes are direct government involvement and distortion. Even when problems get fixed, the government can change the rules or the taxes and foul it all up again.)

What Kummer presents is only a starting point. I will be rethinking my stance on private unions, but I’ve never been against private unions; I think they are too powerful, but that would seem a bad assumption. I do think they are more corrupt than can be useful. Unions have not held themselves and their leadership accountable.

I can’t change my stance on public unions. Public unions are inherently immoral. Public unions are against freedom. Public unions are inherently coercive. Coercion is evil. Public unions are wrong and should not be tolerated in a free society. For instance, government-school unions hold children as hostages, which is coercive and violent against parents and other taxpayers. One cannot justify such actions. One cannot justify such organizations.

As to the middle class, I’m not sure that is a valid notion. Still, much of the information in the article (and linked) is useful and can be used to build for a better future.

Group mentality, which too often degenerates into mob mentality, is a root problem. There is strength and there is safety in numbers, but the individual is the only group that matters in the long run. When we scapegoat and resort to coercion and violence, we are retreating from what is right and good. We must acknowledge each other as individuals and each with separate and worthy aims. Somehow we have to charitably work together to maximize the freedom and wellbeing of all.

Pointing out problems is easy. Finding solutions is hard. Avoiding coercion and violence is even harder. We must work together in ways that do not promote coercion and violence.

Source: What unions did for America. We should miss them. – Fabius Maximus website

(WordPress apparently no longer allows me to add categories. I get to chose from the ones I already have.)

I came across a local TV news blurb saying the about-to-be-constructed highway (turnpike) connecting I-44 and I-40 in East Oklahoma County will cut through the very edge of a Girl Scout Camp, Camp Cookieland.

Okay, yes, and they should work with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to work things out and disrupt the small camp as little as possible. A couple of the local TV stations have already covered the subject, and most news outlets around here are covering the overall turnpike situation. It is necessary, and it will be hard on some folks, but our area needs the highway, and sooner will be easier than later. It is a matter of safety, first, and economic development, and it improves the likely longevity of Tinker Air Force Base, which is incalculable in value to Oklahoma, especially Oklahoma County.

Here is a graphic of the situation:
GS & OTA East OK County

As you can see, I copied this straight off a Google Maps search, and edited. The light green-yellow outline is the camp. (You can verify the property records with Oklahoma County.) The orange lines approximate the nearly final location of the multilane divided highway. Yes, it will matter. It should be quite workable though.

The news report I heard indicated the Girl Scout office and administration personnel were leaving it to the girl scouts to decide. They are apparently planning a meeting for the end of March. I hope they stand up for themselves, but I also do not want to see it become too much. I’ll leave it at that, because things could get worse than I could imagine. Emotions can run high anytime something inevitable is about to happen, especially if those affected suppose something different could be done. Well, something different just affects others. I’ll trust they will be reasonable on both sides. I expect the engineers were aware as they drew the lines. I also trust that OTA is prepared to defend their decision and present what little room there will be for adjustment.

I sure hope all involved will focus on the more important aspects, stay rational, subjugate their own emotions to their own reason without external coercion, and arrive at a good solution with the least pain possible for all involved. Pain in these circumstances will be unavoidable. All of us need to recognize and acknowledge how hard this is going to be on a few for a while in order for all of us to be better off in the long run.

Again, this highway is necessary. It is inevitable. Sooner rather than later results in minimized pain and maximized benefit. Let’s all cooperate and pull together as needed.

We Oklahomans have a reputation of helping our neighbors in need. This is a time to show it.

I’m too far away to be affected by the construction, but the benefits will reach several miles in all directions. Those of us in such favorable circumstances must keep in mind we just might need to go the extra mile for our neighbors sooner or later. Let’s be mindful of our obligations and fill them when we can.

Girl Scout camp link:
http://www.gswestok.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-program/ways-to-participate/camp-and-outdoors.html

A tidbit, many Girl Scout camps are being sold because the organizations responsible for them can’t make an economic case for keeping them up. I have no idea what the status of this particular camp is. I think it likely that it will be around for several years to come.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority web site for the overall effort:
http://www.drivingforwardok.com/#!northeast-ok-county-loop/uaypg

There is documentation there, and recent events. At this writing, they hadn’t added information about the public meeting in Harrah in March for announcing the nearly-final route.

One last thought, noise is a nonstarter. Look up Camp DaKaNi in Google Maps. The interstate highway and Frontier City are a half-mile away. I’ve never heard anyone mention noise, and I never consciously noticed it myself in the many days I volunteered out there.

In my experience, nobody cares about noise, except on those rare occasions an E-3 or B-1 is flying low overhead. Yeah, most everyone will cover their ears, but it flies on within a few seconds. I live about two-and-one-half miles from the runway and aircraft ramps on Tinker AFB. Many people live closer.

I grew up three blocks from a major rail line. I’ve lived within 750 feet of a major US interstate highway, and I’ve known many who’ve lived even closer to such noise sources. People seem to only have problems with such noise sources when they are warned of them. When they exist, nobody notices. Airports are exceptional, but as I said, Tinker AFB is too close and too important for any of us in Oklahoma County to complain of noise.

I came across a 2014 essay at First Things, by Samuel Gregg.

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/08/correcting-catholic-blindness

I wrote the following on Facebook:

Wow. Please read.

Gregg discusses economic freedom in Asia, and says:
“The ADB estimated that between 1990 and 2005 approximately 850 million people escaped absolute poverty. That is an astonishing figure.”

The article is a year old, and the numbers and predictions can be checked for this year, if you care to.

He discusses other examples. If you are a statist, this should shame you. If you believe in your political party, you are probably a statist. If you believe in and hold up the authority of the state and the obligation of the people to subject themselves in obedience, you are a statist. Statism, corporatism, socialism, and various other progressivisms are failed and detrimental to the human condition. Flatly, progressivism is against the human soul. Progressivism as practiced for the last century or so in the USA and much of the rest of the world destroys people by claiming to save them. Progressivism destroys the individual from within.

If you are a staunch Democrat, you are probably a progressive. I aver you hate humanity by your actions and attitudes. You can pretend to “do it for the children,” but you in fact do it for the authority, and the authority is invariably corrupt. The power is corrupted. It is always so.

All authority must be strictly and powerfully constrained. That is hard to do, because who watches the watchers? Still, it must be so. Authority must be strongly constrained, or it is tyranny.

We cannot allow for absolutist authority in any regard. We cannot allow for absolute religious authority. We cannot allow for any sort of political or regulatory authority, because it always seeks its own. It always becomes corrupt. It always corrupts all it controls. We must have strict controls on anything even resembling authority. Of course, all authorities cry foul and claim I’m rebellious, and worse.

Gregg closes thus, “None of this means compromising on the demands of justice. It would, however, allow the “seeing” of Catholic social teaching to take wider account of the empirical without being empiricist, to look at what actually works without lapsing into pragmatism, and to remove some of the conceptual blinkers that have inhibited many Catholics’ vision of how to transform the world’s economies into arenas of human flourishing. The well-being of the poor surely demands nothing less.”

Feel free to comment. I welcome opportunity to stretch and challenge my thinking.

I shared this on Facebook, reproducing here.

Regarding this article from Heartland: http://blog.heartland.org/2015/10/teslas-success-a-great-example-of-how-government-regulations-manipulate-markets/

Note how badly all coercive regulations from the government screw up things for us little people. The regulations are supposed to be good for us, good for the environment, but no. All the regulations accomplish is driving up prices for all cars, and making lots of junk that we have to dispose of. Tesla is laughing all the way to the bank though nearly nobody can afford their cars, and those who can, just don’t want them. The problem is not electric cars. Electric cars are great, and eventually, inevitably will take over, but either we must have an incomprehensible breakthrough in batteries, or we must build the electrical infrastructure into the roads.

We will, but it could be decades.

https://books.google.com/books/about/History_of_the_Electric_Automobile.html?id=T8tpQgAACAAJ&hl=en
History of the Electric Automobile: Battery-only Powered Cars
“Beginning with early electric vehicle development in England, France, and the US, Wakefield provides an in-depth look at the golden age of electric vehicles (1895-1905), demonstrating the technological improvements and business risks of this era. He also explores the dead era of the 1930s, 1940s.”

Note that the golden era of battery cars was the turn of the century, the last one, not this one. The fact is that batteries are not significantly better now than then, despite heroic efforts by some of the world’s best. We need batteries about 50 times better than they are now. That currently does not seem possible. If it is, if we develop those batteries tomorrow, at similar prices to our current best batteries, the cars of the world will be over 90% electric in about five years. IF!

Don’t count on it any time soon.

Mr. Gene M. Van Son has written a couple of articles for American Thinker. Both are good. This second one, http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/12/business_and_the_gospels.html, is excellent.

He points out how the corporate world is running counter to the principles of good work ethic and good Christian living that used to be the bedrock of Capitalism. He references the Pope and other recent Papal and Catholic writings and emphasis, and points out how it is consistent with traditional Christian and capitalistic thinking.

He mentions Vocation of the Business Leader. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace prepared it. They call it a reflection. It seems appropriate for each of us to reflect upon it.

He mentions the book’s Six Practical Principles for Business. A bit stuffy, perhaps, but I think these are good principles and worthy of emulation. Number 6 sums up well: Businesses are just in the allocation of resources to all stakeholders: employees, customers, investors, suppliers, and the community.

Our corporate world has lost sight of the long run and the breadth of stakeholders and focuses only on the short term and the monetary shareholders (stockholders).

Sooner or later, the long-term interests will require their due and our shortsighted endeavors will fail. This lesson seems to me the one we should take from recent Papal statements, not some sort of anti-Capitalistic notion.

Personal responsibility and long-term thinking, inclusive of as much of the relevant stakeholders as we can know. That is how each of us must pursue our industry, no matter what it is, no matter the level.

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