"polluting our minds with unnecessary greed"

I ranted last month about the socialist rag produced by the business student council at my school. I had hoped that this was an anomaly, until I opened up the latest issue. Here is a quote from “Can’t Buy Me Love,” an editorial from a freshman business major:

Gullible consumers rush to the stores, confident that their new pair of Nikes will suddenly transform them into 6’5” NBA all-stars surrounded by flashy cars and beautiful models. What, you mean that’s not true? …. As silly as it may seem, we do fall for this ingenious plan, hatched by companies to seduce us to spend money. Why has materialism become such a huge problem?
With technology in the increase, our society has become so fast paced that people no longer bother to fully communicate with one another. Now instead of tucking their kids into bed ever night, busy parents can read them a bedtime story via videophone. This lack of attention results in families spending less and less time together. Dinner is eaten in front of the television and kids only come home to sleep…. The chance that companies will stop pushing products on us and polluting our minds with unnecessary greed is very slim. Therefore, the chance of resolving these problems falls on the average consumer’s shoulders.

On a more positive note, we discussed offshore outsourcing in my global IT systems class this week. Despite my professor’s best efforts to raise doubts about the benefits of outsourcing, virtually the entire class was united in the opinion that it was a good thing. When he suggested that CEO’s ought to value “human factors” above profits, one student exclaimed “why, that would be negligent!” The professor then proceeded to spend an hour writing dozens of complex diagrams and equations, all to make the point that out-outsourcing is attractive because foreign IT workers get paid less, although “there’s no reason to think that they’re less productive than Americans.”

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3 Responses to "polluting our minds with unnecessary greed"

  1. You should have a talk with that frosh business major – he may want to reconsider his major. However, it is not much of a surprise. Business school faculties across the country are anti-market.

    I love the out-sourcing issue. I wrote about it a few weeks ago on my blog – but this article is well worth sharing: http://mises.org/fullarticle.asp?control=1443&id=65

  2. Yeah, and that terrible “materialistic” videophone is also currently being used as a tool to bring education to remote Inuit villages in the norther negions of Alaska, as I witnessed first hand while working for GCI Comm Corp. in Titchick State Park, AK.
    Bunch a balogna!

  3. Using technology to strengthen social bonds, like the video link to remote Inuit villages, strengthens society and strengthens both the individual and the community. But when technology becomes a means of distancing parents from their children or a tool of oppression (whether capitalist, socialist or fascist), it weakens society by weakening the individuals who compose that society.

    If consumers become so obsessed with consumption that they neglect basic human relationships, that they neglect self-knowledge and barely have the emotional intelligence to differentiate their own kids from Bart, Lisa, & Maggie, then the pursuit of “material success” darkens our future.

    Greed, per se does not strengthen society, and therefore cannot strenthen business nor, in the long term, those who invest capital in them. I don’t find that particular snippet of an essay too far off the mark. It suffers from sophmoric overstatement, but rests on solid ground.

    A quick note about IT outsourcing: The more we outsource to save money/increase short-term bottom line, the less incentive there is for Americans to gain IT skills. To carry this to its (possibly) absurd conclusion, in a generation we may wake up to find that we have no national talent pool in IT, that our brightest and most creative have gone into other fields, and that we are regressing to third world status, having exported manufacturing as well as intellectual accomplishment. And what would that profit any of us?

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