Thursday, May 31, 2012

325: Regarding "sensible companies" and their goals: I think it's increasingly a mistake to treat companies and even nations as having "goals." Maybe 20 or 50 years ago, one could meaningfully say that Company X had a goal, or America had a plan, because the motivation of the people in charge was largely identical to the motivation of the organization itself. Now I don't think you can make that connection.
(This runs counter to the "cyberpunk" notion that megacorporations are entities independent of their owners with inscrutable motivations. That's a cool idea, but it increasingly looks like many corporations are run by a handful of greedy bastards whose motivations are very easy to understand.)
Company X might not HAVE any over-arching motivation because the people in charge have only one goal: to move money to themselves. The best way to do that is to extract all money from the company, then leave and do it again with another company. Stuff about how much to pay the janitor in order to maximize the company's profits doesn't enter into it.
It's like trying to make sense of the Iraq Conquest based on what America gains. "America" doesn't gain shit. A handful of Republicans gained re-election in 2004 because war favors incumbents and Republicans. That was it. That was the goal. We need to abandon the "shadowy conspiracy theory" view of government popular in the 80s and 90s and embrace the "they are robbing us in plain view of everyone, there they are, look at them taking the money" view.

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