Where Have All the Capitalists Gone?

I ventured over to the school of engineering today to hear a lecture from Boeing’s Chief Technological Officer.  Being in a “social science,” I was looking forward to some good old fashioned capitalist talk.  You know, men who wear ties and not track pants, free bottled water, profits, markets, calculus, etc?

The talk was impressive in a sense.  The CTO highlighted Boeing’s technological successes by showing us videos of the materials testing they had to endure to sa…

  1. Mafuta Kizola

    I am an Engineering student and this year we had ”Business and Sustainability” Module … and it felt like taking crazy pills too.

    We had a lecture about ”built in obsolescence” and more Green nonsense that I could support.

    I seriously don’t know why they always kiss up to these people. But was there ever an example of unapologetic Capitalist Business man ? On top of my mind I can only remember Tony Stark from Iron Man

    CEO are paid mercenaries it seems to me.

  2. raycon and lindacon

    Corporate America, especially of the size of Boeing, are simply a voluntary extension of government.  The corporatist state is here in all it’s perversity, and you either learn to play ball or get off the field.

    Besides, this green claptrap sells.  Marketing guys are all over it like green on a golf course.

  3. liberal jim

    To me your problem is not with Boeing but with the federal government and the two parties that have fostered its growth.  What you are complaining about is simply a cost of doing business that has been placed on all businesses by government.  Government is twice the size it needs to be in order to carry out its essential functions and therefore involves itself in things it should not be concerned with.   No one in the Republican Party is making any serious proposals to change this and the Dems solution is more of the same.  

  4. r r
    raycon:  Besides, this green claptrap sells.  Marketing guys are all over it like green on a golf course.

    I couldn’t tell if they were using “green”  for marketing or if they were forced to talk about it by some government initiative or other.  Probably both, sadly.

  5. r r
    Samuel Amaral:

    We had a lecture about ”built in obsolescence” and more Green nonsense that I could support.

    Do you feel like the Green nonsense weakens the profession?  I couldn’t stop thinking that for all the time they wasted trying to figure out how to make tree bark into airplane wings, they could have been developing something that was actually beneficial to mankind.

  6. Western Chauvinist
    Samwise Gamgee

    Samuel Amaral:

    We had a lecture about ”built in obsolescence” and more Green nonsense that I could support.

    Do you feel like the Green nonsense weakens the profession?  I couldn’t stop thinking that for all the time they wasted trying to figure out how to make tree bark into airplane wings, they could have been developing something that was actually beneficial to mankind. · Nov 5 at 6:34am

    Well, yea-ah!  Lefties would have us believe that capitalism is all about eeevil, greedy, obsceeeeeene prrrrofitts, when, as KC pointed out in another comment thread, it is really about excellence.  When you’ve got your eye on diversity and green technology, you unavoidably have taken your eye off the excellence ball.  I can think of no other force as destructive to human flourishing as the Left.

  7. r r
    Western Chauvinist

      I can think of no other force as destructive to human flourishing as the Left. 

    You’re such a chauvinist, haha.  I love it.

  8. Charlotte

    What a terrific post, Samwise. I particularly liked your closer:

    Why can’t a company be proud of the technological advances they’ve given to the world, the jobs to their employees and the massive economic growth their technology has produced?  Will we conservatives and capitalists ever stop being embarrassed about what we believe in?

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

  9. Mafuta Kizola
    Samwise Gamgee

    Samuel Amaral:

    We had a lecture about ”built in obsolescence” and more Green nonsense that I could support.

    Do you feel like the Green nonsense weakens the profession?  I couldn’t stop thinking that for all the time they wasted trying to figure out how to make tree bark into airplane wings, they could have been developing something that was actually beneficial to mankind. · Nov 5 at 6:34am

    It does weakens the profession, because instead of engineer our way to deal with real problems, we are wasting time to deal with a warming relevant to climatologists, ie irrelevant for the rest of us.

    The guys that wrote Freakonomics had some very good engineers devise plant to mitigate global warming and Reason Magazine has a very good study about how global warming is great for agriculture.

    Samwise Gamgee

    Western Chauvinist

      I can think of no other force as destructive to human flourishing as the Left. 

    You’re such a chauvinist, haha.  I love it. · Nov 5 at 8:20am

    hahahaha, shameless chauvinism … approved !

  10. David John

    This too shall pass. I don’t worry about it so much. Everybody understands it and thinks it’s ridiculous. Let it play out.

    I actually worked for Boeing during the early days of political correctness. Periodically we were forced to attend “sensitivity training” during which we were supposed to engage in childish dialog about how people (esp. minorities & women) can be hurt by unkind comments.  These were occasions for great mirth as almost every topic on the agenda brought forth from the scientists an acerbic wit that usually laid dormant beneath professional demeanor. The human resources flak in charge was likewise found to have a sense of humor.

    Like so many such things mandated by law, these meetings had exactly the opposite effects intended.

  11. Randy Weivoda

    I think this is why “Atlas Shrugged” has remained so popular.  It’s not that Ayn Rand was the world’s greatest novelist (that would probably be Louis McMaster Bujold or James Alan Gardner or … well, that’s a whole other topic).  It’s just so exciting — even energizing — to see a story with characters who are capitalists and are proud of it!  It makes one want to come out of the closet. 

  12. Grendel

    Capitalists are people who invest and organize the deployment of capital to create productive assets.  Do not think that corporate management are capitalists.  Your lecturer was the CTO–a technocrat, which means he doesn’t really see people very well.  He’s smart enough to realize that Young’s modulus and the second law of thermodynamics lack a spiritual dimension.  He doesn’t understand the moral imperatives satisfied by his using his God-given talents to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people in wondrous ways, provide productive employment for hundreds of thousands, and increase the wealth of society.  So when the hucksters of some pseudo-scientific religion like Greenism come along, he’s easy pickings.

  13. Good Berean

    Ah, Master Samwise, you know not the ways of the enlightened culture of the Northwest. From Portland to Seattle, this is the culture you will find on the Left Coast. Boeing, Microsoft, and other mega corporates in our region have long embraced the social culture of liberal  progressivism. It is a matter of survival. Now if Boeing’s corporate culture had developed in, say, Texas, you would have heard a different tune. But here, green, tolerance and diversity, among other liberal ideals, reign supreme.

  14. david foster

    Grendel…”the CTO–a technocrat, which means he doesn’t really see people very well”

    It is most unlikely that an individual could rise to a position with management responsibility for hundreds or thousands of people, as a direct report to the CEO of a company like Boeing, without having pretty astute people skills. The fact that someone has an engineering background and responsibilities doesn’t automatically make him incapable of good human relationship skills.

    Samwise, is this the guy you’re talking about? Interesting background…note the job as a high school science teacher.

  15. John Walker
    Samwise Gamgee:  “Where Have All the Capitalists Gone?”

    It’s not where they’ve gone, it’s where we’re going.

    Flying subsonic from point to point on this rock is so last century!

  16. r r
    david foster:  Samwise, is this the guy you’re talking about? Interesting background…note the job as a high school science teacher. · Nov 5 at 1:24pm

    Yes, David, that’s him.  He was a pretty good speaker aside from all the green nonsense.  He had excellent insights to give to the students in terms of pursuing the parts of the field that truly interest them.  He told the students about the many failed job applications he has endured to get to where he is today.  An impressive man, really.

  17. r r
    Good Berean: Boeing, Microsoft, and other mega corporates in our region have long embraced the social culture of liberal  progressivism. It is a matter of survival. 

    I didn’t consider that… I always associate Boeing with St. Louis, being a southern Midwesterner myself…  But I know they are huge in Chicago and Washington state too.  Hopefully, as they continue to move production further south they will just focus on excellence and not so much on making people feel warm and fuzzy.

  18. Andrea Ryan

    The real capitalists in this country are small businesses under 50 or 100 people where success or failure means keeping their house or not.  The people of Boeing are not capitalists.  They’re engineers and executives.  If they waste a few million dollars chasing after feel good green stuff they don’t care.  It’s not their capital.

  19. jt
    One of the biggest problems in IT today is the power costs of running datacenters. I used to work for a company that made equipment for datacenters and we recently started to try to reduce power consumption in our products. This was framed as a “Green” initiative. Signs went up, proposal documents required a “green” section. They could have taken a business perspective and presented this as a competitive advantage crucial to defeating our competitors, raising our stock price and market share. They could have presented this as a challenging engineering problem which is the kind of approach that inspires engineers. Instead the most visible part of the propaganda program focused on climate, carbon footprints, the environment and our obligations to the community.
  20. Grendel
    david foster: Grendel…”the CTO–a technocrat, which means he doesn’t really see people very well”

    It is most unlikely that an individual could rise to a position with management responsibility for hundreds or thousands of people, as a direct report to the CEO of a company like Boeing, without having pretty astute people skills.

    That’s a fair, intuitive point, but people management skills mean putting “resources” in “opportunities”.   (You ever been called a “resource”?)  That’s what a technocrat does, on a large or small scale.  A first-line manager at IBM told me his boss had told him he wasn’t ready for promotion because he hadn’t fired enough people.

    I wasn’t referring to people skills or sensitivity, but to seeing business not from the inside, as a logic of coordinated inputs and outputs, but as an enterprise of rational, purposeful persons contributing to the larger society of rational, purposeful persons.  The left claims to to take such a moral view, but it is one of lying and distorting cliches: greed, grim conformity, Profits Before People, fair share of taxes.  How much more easily “corporate fraud” rolls off the tongue than “academic fraud”.

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