Corporate Strategy

101. Late Stage Capitalism 2: Electric Boogaloo

December 04, 2023 The Corporate Strategy Group Season 3 Episode 40
101. Late Stage Capitalism 2: Electric Boogaloo
Corporate Strategy
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Corporate Strategy
101. Late Stage Capitalism 2: Electric Boogaloo
Dec 04, 2023 Season 3 Episode 40
The Corporate Strategy Group

Linke to documentary mentioned in this ep: https://youtu.be/yjpYzFtxfjU?si=Gi0KpKzfJoEqu_lP 
Hold on tight because we're about to untangle the complex web of capitalism with our seasoned capitalism correspondent, Alex Restrepo. Ever wondered how the world of finance and economics influences your daily life? Get ready for an insightful exploration of the current economic landscape, the looming threat of inflation, and the potential strategies that the US might implement to dodge a hard recession. We're diving headfirst into the often misunderstood concept of late-stage capitalism, and Alex is here to defend the tenets of free market capitalism, guided by the wisdom from Adam Smith's seminal work, The Wealth of Nations.

We're not stopping there, though! We'll take a journey through time, examining the fascinating parallels between the Gilded Age and our current era. We'll explore how the meteoric rise of technology and AI has amplified wealth inequality, and how this mirrors the societal shifts during the Gilded Age. We'll also look back at the evolution of the American economy from the early 1900s to the late 1960s, a period marked by the "middle class boom." Delving into the critical roles played by worker rights, labor movements, and influential factors like the GI Bill, we will discuss the need for political pressure and the importance of finding common ground to spearhead change.

But it's not just about understanding the problem, it's about creating solutions and sparking change. And that's where you come in. We'll discuss the importance of having critical conversations, spreading awareness, and educating others to bring about meaningful change. We'll also take an entertaining detour to talk about the power of memes in communication, and how our Discord channel uses them to keep the conversation going. Our goal is to emphasize the need to move beyond unproductive discussions and nurture a sense of unity to effect change. So, are you ready to reshape the conversation on capitalism? Let's do it together, one episode at a time.

Everything Corporate Strategy:
All the links!

Elevator Music by Julian Avila
Promoted by MrSnooze

Don't forget ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ it helps!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Linke to documentary mentioned in this ep: https://youtu.be/yjpYzFtxfjU?si=Gi0KpKzfJoEqu_lP 
Hold on tight because we're about to untangle the complex web of capitalism with our seasoned capitalism correspondent, Alex Restrepo. Ever wondered how the world of finance and economics influences your daily life? Get ready for an insightful exploration of the current economic landscape, the looming threat of inflation, and the potential strategies that the US might implement to dodge a hard recession. We're diving headfirst into the often misunderstood concept of late-stage capitalism, and Alex is here to defend the tenets of free market capitalism, guided by the wisdom from Adam Smith's seminal work, The Wealth of Nations.

We're not stopping there, though! We'll take a journey through time, examining the fascinating parallels between the Gilded Age and our current era. We'll explore how the meteoric rise of technology and AI has amplified wealth inequality, and how this mirrors the societal shifts during the Gilded Age. We'll also look back at the evolution of the American economy from the early 1900s to the late 1960s, a period marked by the "middle class boom." Delving into the critical roles played by worker rights, labor movements, and influential factors like the GI Bill, we will discuss the need for political pressure and the importance of finding common ground to spearhead change.

But it's not just about understanding the problem, it's about creating solutions and sparking change. And that's where you come in. We'll discuss the importance of having critical conversations, spreading awareness, and educating others to bring about meaningful change. We'll also take an entertaining detour to talk about the power of memes in communication, and how our Discord channel uses them to keep the conversation going. Our goal is to emphasize the need to move beyond unproductive discussions and nurture a sense of unity to effect change. So, are you ready to reshape the conversation on capitalism? Let's do it together, one episode at a time.

Everything Corporate Strategy:
All the links!

Elevator Music by Julian Avila
Promoted by MrSnooze

Don't forget ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ it helps!

Speaker 1:

Welcome back to Corbett Strategy, the podcast. That could have been an email. I'm Bruce and I'm Clark, and with us today is capitalism correspondent Alex Restrepo. Good to have you back. Vibechecked, Alex, how you doing.

Speaker 2:

I'm doing fantastic. I'm feeling caffeinated and nourished and ready to talk about capitalism, our favorite topic on this pod.

Speaker 3:

Are you an official correspondent for capitalism?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, like, as in, like you know, daily show level sure.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I mean, I think it's, I just want to say corporate strategy has endorsed him to this point.

Speaker 3:

I was going to say the same thing. I think you're the very first corporate strategy endorsed. I don't even know what to put your title Should we just say yeah capitalism correspondent.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's how it's complicated Official title Congratulations.

Speaker 1:

Update your LinkedIn after this. I will watch the hits, go through the roof.

Speaker 3:

And just a heads up. Yeah, the economy is going to boom, but I'm not going to pay you anything.

Speaker 2:

So just get prepared for that man, the true capitalism is the friends we lost along the way.

Speaker 1:

Pay your exposure.

Speaker 2:

This around the world are reeling right now.

Speaker 1:

Ruling over for the exposure. We're not going to do news today because no guest Clark's got a hard stop. Surprise, surprise to all, we're going to get right into it. It's the end of FY 23. I know our listeners are clamoring at the bit to get the latest quarterly yearly financial updates. Pants why we brought on our capitalism correspondent, mr Alexi Streppo. How's the year going?

Speaker 2:

Actually, I mean, if you're literally asking me the question, I'll give you a real answer.

Speaker 2:

And it's going surprisingly well. It does appear that the Fed here in the US may pull off that soft landing. So, despite a ton of headwinds, as in two significant wars, they're disrupting a significant amount of the globalization that we understand today as our economy. It looks like the US may pull through and, as a result, it may help the global economy overall. So inflation is coming down faster than expected and the economy doesn't seem to be slowing as much as was feared. We may be able to avoid a hard recession and if that's the case, I mean that's good news all around.

Speaker 1:

Let me ask one more probing question on that For our fresher listeners out there. What does that mean for them?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So the long and the short of business right Inflation for any number of reasons, and there's plenty of economists who debate the reasons for the inflation. For any number of reasons, inflation was happening. That creates a significant problem in the economy in that it's very difficult to count on savings. Number one, because your savings are worth less and less day over day, because inflation is making every individual dollar worth less. Number two, you can buy less with the funds you have, but if they start giving out a lot of raises to keep up with inflation, then the costs of labor go up and so inflation goes up even more. It creates what's known as a wage spiral.

Speaker 2:

It's an official term economists use and that can lead to basically runaway inflation, which is something we've seen throughout history, and it's something we've seen in recent history. As an example, argentina is constantly suffering with runaway inflation. Venezuela has had significant problems with runaway inflation, and it can similarly undermine the operation of the economy, and so those are both extreme cases. Venezuela in particular is a very extreme case, but even minor shockwaves in terms of price to goods ratios, which is ultimately what inflation is, can have a really significant impact on the bottom line for everybody in terms of how they live and how expensive it is to live and I think overall folks have felt that and rents going up.

Speaker 1:

For us in.

Speaker 2:

Florida homeowners insurance going up, price of gas occasionally spiking Vehicles being really expensive, even used vehicles, and so I think that that's a direct impact that everybody's likely very familiar with. And absolutely, oh, go ahead.

Speaker 3:

Clark. No, no, I was going to say one. I'm really happy you're a correspondent, because I don't know anything of what you just said. So this was great because I'm learning. I told Bruce on the last episode I'm like I'm so happy Alex is coming back because I pay no attention to anything and I'm super excited to learn, and so everything you said just correlates with everything we see going on in the world today and I think to your point. It is interesting because at the beginning and middle of the year everyone's like all right. The house prices are getting so high and supply and demand ratio is off, so you're going to start to see a soft depression almost at the end of the year and it's great to hear actually things are not going as bad as we thought they were going to do, even with the unexpected yet to world kind of wars going on at the moment as well.

Speaker 1:

Sorry, bruce, go ahead. No, no, no, I had no point. I appreciate you got yours in though. So, firstly, thanks for the update. I know I put you on the spot there. You actually had a little bit of an ulterior motive, mr Restrepo, when you, when you reached out to us and said, hey, you had an update on corporate strategy in the past. I'm just going to put myself on the sword here. I've said things that might be a little bit derogatory towards our old capitalism, specifically the late stage capitalism, and, alex, correct me if I'm wrong, but you want to defend yeah, I mean I want to defend free market capitalism.

Speaker 2:

Sure, I think you're defending evil Corp. Well, no, no, I want to be very clear. I'm actually not defending evil Corp and I'm going to talk about the differences, but I'm afraid to hear that free market capitalism 100% I support. I think so. You may have heard of a guy named Adam Smith. He wrote a book on the wealth of nations back in the 18th century and it's widely viewed as the foundational work for modern economics. It's often quoted by corporate raiders who rail against government intervention in the economy as defending the invisible hand of the market, or laissez-faire as a concept from French government, the idea of hands off right. Let the invisible hand of the market tend to itself.

Speaker 2:

I think everyone well, not everyone, I'm sure there's plenty of economics nerds like me out there, but for some of you it may be a surprise that Adam Smith was a bleeding heart liberal. He wrote on the wealth of nations to help poor people Very specifically. What he viewed was doing things like division of labor, the idea that you would have different nations that specialize in those things, as opposed to trying to do everything for themselves as a means to elevate the living standards for everyone involved. So the example he gave was France is really good at producing wine, scotland is really good at producing scotch. If France tried to make scotch or Scotland tried to make wine, those products wouldn't be very good and they'd be wasted resources. They would be much better off trading with each other for the things that they're better at producing, and it would increase productivity and the overall standard of living for everybody involved.

Speaker 2:

Cut to 240 years later and I think you could argue that he was right. You look at the standard of living today and I don't know about you, but I'd much rather be who I am today, a middle class resident in the United States of America, than a king 300 years ago in terms of standard of living, and so I think that history has borne Adam Smith to be correct overall. But again, his focus was not on making five or six individuals 100 billionaires. His focus was on elevating the standard of living for humanity as a whole. So something to keep in mind.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you make me think of. You know just any sort of like you know strategy game. What's the most popular one? What's the name of that strategy game? You play in little hexagons, you place them down on things.

Speaker 2:

Settlers of Catan.

Speaker 3:

There we go. That's what I was looking for. The reason I bring that up is like you go, you bring it back to like. The very simple thing that he was trying to get across is like usually the production is better in areas because resources are available. So you know, if you don't have resources in area, you can't produce the thing. So you need to trade with countries to get that resource to build the thing. Well, it might be just more effective in general just for them to build it because they already have the resource available. So totally agree with you. It's like, yeah, as they trade, you know that makes everybody's lives a little better because everyone gets to share the wealth.

Speaker 1:

Can we pause for just a second to acknowledge that Clark knows what Settlers of Catan was? Like this is news to me.

Speaker 3:

I knew it was a game.

Speaker 2:

He didn't remember the name of it. He did remember the shape on the board.

Speaker 3:

So and isn't it, hexagon yeah? Okay good, I got that right. I knew it was little shapes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you did.

Speaker 3:

I know geometry.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I'm astounded. I was ready to learn about capitalism, but it turns out that I never knew that Clark was a board gamer. We need to get, maybe, a live stream of the three of us battling out for domination.

Speaker 3:

You know this, I'm awful. I'm awful Like I know the games I eventually figured out. When I figured it out, I get pretty competitive. But man learning the game, whoo, because I don't play a lot of board games, it's tough.

Speaker 1:

So, settlers aside, to get back to your original point late stage capitalism. Not the kind of free market capitalism that Adam Smith correct, correct, yep, yeah Was was laying down in his original book, am I right?

Speaker 2:

I would argue that what we understand as late stage capitalism is slandering capitalism. I would argue that what we're looking at is, you know, the organization and maintaining of a plutocracy, and so that's ultimately what we have, and it's not really it's not certainly not free market capitalism, and, I would argue, it's not really capitalism at all.

Speaker 1:

To a certain extent, and for those that don't know what what is a plutocracy? You know, not me, obviously, but you know people. I know I'd cast. You know, obviously, I know what that means.

Speaker 3:

But if you can just explain it for everyone who doesn't understand, that'd be great. So quick myth lesson.

Speaker 2:

Pluto was the Roman equivalent of Hades, and Hades had a Catholic origin. He was a God of the earth or the deep, and so Pluto was the God of underneath the ground, and wealth came from the ground gold and silver and so he was viewed as very wealth, as the Lord of wealth, the God of wealth. As much as anything Andocracy is just refers to a form of government right, so, like democracy come from demos, meaning people, and so ruled by the people, alligarchy is high, archie also being another term for, like high level just means ruled by the few, and plutocracy means ruled by the wealthy and something. That's exactly how I understood it. So thanks for explaining that to everyone else.

Speaker 3:

Thanks, Clark, I'm glad we could.

Speaker 1:

I'm glad we could help out everyone who wasn't Clark on the pot today. There is another term you may have heard, depending on I mean, if you follow the same circles, I do like in terms of people who are I mean, if you follow the same circles.

Speaker 2:

I do like in terms of economics reporting of a kleptocracy which is ruled by thieves, and so that's something that sometimes has been referred to like there are certain nation states overseas that have, you know, an oligarchy. Then the individuals may be known as oligarchs, but often it's often referred to as a kleptocracy as well, where they're stealing right from the wealth of the nation as much as they can.

Speaker 3:

It's actually my favoriteocracy, so I'm happy you brought that one up.

Speaker 1:

Is there, I'm, you know again, I'm going to put you in the spot here for your big brain knowledge. Is there currently a kleptocracy at play on the planet today?

Speaker 2:

There's a few, there's a bunch. I don't want to point fingers because you know you may have listeners from these nations.

Speaker 1:

Sure, sure, sure. Well, maybe they don't, maybe they're not fan, you know.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, I don't want to talk smack about anybody's nation, right, but ultimately, yeah, any. I would argue that to a certain extent, the US is right, at least mildly. So you may have heard the term, like pork barrel spending. It's basically where, like, bills in Congress are loaded with filler, where they're just spending money in their districts to spend money. Right To bring money into their districts. So some would argue that that's a form of a kleptocracy, where they're stealing from us, the taxpayers, in order to fund vanity or petty projects. Right to win political favor, right.

Speaker 1:

Right. I mean, you know, bringing it back to the corporate realm. I literally had to build a budget this week for the next year and I'm building it on guesses and nothing. So I'm trying to get as much money as I can for projects I don't know about, for a direction we don't fully understand. But I'm taking that money and I'm going to spend it. So I get it. I get it on both fronts.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, the whole annual planning corporate cycle is always painful because it's like, OK, I've got to estimate costs for projects I don't yet have all the details for For the business opportunities that likely are going to change in three months and we're going to adjust this whole plan. How do I even know what to ask for? But I'm in trouble if I don't spend the money.

Speaker 1:

But I mean to the point. I can see why you would fill a bill with pork, simply because the same logic applies right you don't know what's going to be going on three weeks from now, let alone three months.

Speaker 3:

So you have that something, nothing. I think that's like the idea behind it, right?

Speaker 1:

So I can defend it. I don't want to, but I could.

Speaker 3:

Well, I guess you know, and sorry for my my pea brain not being able to maybe keep up with the conversation. So, going back to the beginning of, like, what are you maybe trying to defend in terms of late state capitalism? And maybe we need just a refresher of what late stage capitalism is. Just for everybody who didn't listen to that episode, go back and listen to it, it's great. And then, like, what are you trying to defend in terms of, like, you know, if, if you want to, you know you agree with it, or if you're starting to see, like, the benefits of it or what's kind of your angle?

Speaker 2:

Again, I want to be clear. I am not defending late stage capitalism, I am defending free market capitalism. But, but yeah, no. But having said that, I can answer your question in terms of what I'm looking to do and I was kind of inspired by a video that I watched, a documentary on the Gilded Age. I linked it in the Discord already. You should have the link available to you, bruce, to be able to put on the description for this pod episode. It's on YouTube, it's a free PBS doc. It's like it's like about an hour long.

Speaker 2:

But the Gilded Age, for those that don't know, was a time in late 19th century, early 20th century in the US, where a handful of capitalists were able to dominate industries Vanderbilt and the railroads, you know, rockefeller and the oil industry, carnegie and the steel industry, and then eventually, jp Morgan ruling finance was able to take over all of it to a certain extent.

Speaker 2:

He was kind of the ultimate robber baron, which is the term they used for these high level capitalists during the Gilded Age. It was called the Gilded Age because, if you're not familiar with gilding, gilding is the process where you lay gold on top of unprecious metals, so gold being a precious metal, kind of guilds. This, you know, overall frame that is not necessarily made of anything precious, and that was the idea was that there was a veneer of wealth and fabulousness at this time from this very few ruling elite. Right and beneath it was society crumbling under the weight of the system, right In particular. Some of the hallmarks of this time are, let's see, drastic wealth inequality, an economy that was going up and down, with various shocks to the financial system from booms and busts, political parties that no one felt represented anybody, and, you know, individuals that were capitalizing on brand new technologies to make themselves inordinately wealthy. I'm just curious, real quick does that sound like anything any of you are familiar with?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm not going to point any fingers, but I feel like I'm living in the Gilded Age.

Speaker 3:

Yes, it definitely feels like that, with the boom of technology and now AI, correct.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, ai is absolutely, you know, the new railroad, if you want, or whatever you want to harken it to, but either way, it's very similar. And the internet, right. So you look at the Gilded Age, it wasn't one technology, it was a number of technologies feeding each other, right. So steel production in general facilitated easier construction of more railways. More railways facilitated infrastructure to allow oil to move around, which allowed oil to subvert other forms of fuel, to become the dominant fuel system, which allowed cars internal oil to be used. So you look at the internal combustion engine, cars to become dominant. Ford was another Robert Barron, which all of which needed capital financing, which was facilitated by folks like JP Morgan, right. So you look at today, right, and you have the internet as like the underlying steel necessary to build everything else out. And then from there, you know, you get big mega shopping exchanges like Amazon. You get, you know, big Google, you know, like, from a search perspective, to be able to find everything. You know you get operating systems and office supplies and office tools, and you know all that from Microsoft, and then all of them playing in the AI space and in the cloud compute space, right. And you kind of see where a lot of this is going and, for that matter, you know not even that. That's just the fang stuff. Talking about companies like Tesla, you talk about finance companies that are captivating. You know all this. Goldman Sachs has made a ton of money from IPOs from tech companies, right as an example.

Speaker 2:

I'm not trying to pick on any one company or any handful of companies. I'm just showing you that there's definitely an analog between the Gilded Age and today. It is, however, worth noting. There was an intermediary period. It wasn't just wealth inequality going on forever and ever. We actually had a period where there was the opposite, where we had a burgeoning what would be called a middle class. It is worth noting that, and this is something that, bruce, you and I have talked about.

Speaker 2:

In my opinion and again I want to emphasize, I am actually a proponent of open market capitalism, free market capitalism, but, realistically, there are really only two classes. There is the working class and the owner class, and what I mean by that is, if you make minimum wage or you make $500,000 a year, but you need to make $500,000 a year to continue to live the way you do, you're a worker. If, however, you're able to earn your income, everything you need to live, the way you do, from things you own that passively provide you money. You are an owner, that's it, and you could be an owner with a net worth of $100,000. And you can be a worker that's making a million dollars a year. It doesn't matter, right? Those are the two classes that exist.

Speaker 2:

I bring it up so that folks understand where the real challenges are, because I think too often classes are played against each other as a way to distract Number one and number two as a way to, hopefully, for folks that are doing well. Us in tech, we do pretty well. Let's have some empathy for our fellow working class folks, right? The folks that also have to go in and clock in and do all that. We have to do the same thing. We may make a little more money, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't empathize with our fellow working class folks.

Speaker 1:

I love that stance and I also love the way that you've kind of brought it full circle with the Gilded Age to today, because even in those times there were still those who were making out okay, despite the fact that a lot of society was probably feeling the heat from the completely disconnected upper class right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's correct. And so if we want to use the concept of a middle class right, which is to say workers that are doing better than bear subsistence right let's kind of summarize the definition that way Then what you see is post the Gilded Age, and the Gilded Age really ends when government passes rules and laws to break up the monopolies, right. And when that happens, right, there's a number of other things that are going on as well, including, you know, per your lawyer. Guess that you had, not too long ago, the creation of the National Labor NLRB, the National Labor Relationship Board or Relations Board, and a bunch of other laws protecting the ability for workers to organize right, so they break up the monopolies workers are able to organize, and all of that together eventually leads to a burgeoning quote unquote middle class, which is again folks that are just doing much better than just subsistence. There's a number of other factors, including the GI Bill, which allowed some parts of our society to be able to buy homes, which led to wealth building in terms of equity built into the houses. You know things like that. And so there's a period right between the early 1900s and the late 1960s in which the quote unquote middle class grows expansively in the United States.

Speaker 2:

Now, since then you've seen the purchasing power of the capabilities of the quote unquote middle class decline. What used to be achievable in terms of living standards by one individual earning money in a household now requires at least two, and likely also requires some degree of debt. Right, To be able to afford two cars in a garage and, you know, a home where everybody's eating, beautiful meals and blah, blah, blah. That ideal image, right, it's harder and harder to do, and in fact today there are many individuals that have to work multiple jobs. Right, and so we've slipped back into a new gilded age, both from the way wealth has accumulated at the top and the way struggles have accumulated at the bottom. Right. But I just want to reemphasize again there was a way out Now. Part of that was individuals realizing the strength they had as a group right, and so political movements and movements towards labor organizing really helped there. Boycotts of industries and companies really helped.

Speaker 2:

Putting on political pressure as units right, and not just political pressures on any one party, but all parties right. An example of that is in the documentary. There's a third party that gets created and it ends up winning a huge majority in the state of Kansas Congress, right, so, like the House of Representatives for the state of Kansas, gets taken over by this third party. That third party doesn't exist today, and the reason it doesn't exist today is because an opportunist politician by the name of William Jennings Bryan takes over the mantle of that party but uses it to change the direction of the Democratic Party and they kind of end up absorbing a lot of those concepts.

Speaker 2:

We're talking a lot of history here. I'm going to stop for a second. I do want to say one thing. This is all relevant, right, Because we're looking at corporate strategies, right, but corporations run in our economy, right, what we would consider overall a capitalist economy. If you don't understand the system that the place you work at is built on, then it's very difficult for you to affect positive change. As an example, the change you all talked about in the 100th episode about meetings being better, right, Communications being better, right. That's one example of change, but it can. There's any number of examples of change you may want to affect, but you want to make sure that you understand, from the large scope of history, where are we today and what has been done in the past to affect positive change? And I think there's a lot of lessons we can take from the end of the previous skill, that age.

Speaker 1:

And that's exactly where I want to get right. I know we've got a little bit of time left before Clark has to leave us for a meeting. At the very beginning, you know, I threw you under the bossy mask. You just described the economy for 2023, and you said it's doing better, which is good. You see, I'm over the moon about that. That impacts me positively. I think it impacts a lot of people positively. But, just like the Gilded Age, it required some serious like realization amongst all parties and you know we're very divided as a society today that those parties did not fit them anymore. They needed something new to pull themselves out of this, and I don't think there's any reconciliation to the fact that the economy is doing better, but we're still incredibly divided as just a functional site, but not just in the United States, but just across the globe to realize that there could be something better. We could establish a more regulated and normal free market versus where we're at today.

Speaker 2:

I would just say that we have to continue to apply pressure and find common ground. I think the reason we have challenges, the divisions we have, is the folks in power that simply want to maintain political power. I think that a lot this is not everybody, but there are more than enough cynical players that are simply political operatives and wish to continue to maintain political power. They do a really good job of getting folks to react emotionally to things and so, as a result, individual ideas as an example, labor reform right, like the ability to re strengthen organization of labor right that's an example of something that could be done politically and likely. There's wide support for it amongst the bases of all parties I would probably argue globally. But parties are really good at saying but what about this other issue? Like this guy likes to wear bow ties, that's terrible, right, exactly.

Speaker 1:

I can't go for that guy Right exactly.

Speaker 2:

And so, like you know, all of a sudden the identity of bow tie wears is abhorrent to those that like straight ties or no tie at all, you know, or something like that, Right and nuance gets lost, right. And so what we have to try to do is do a better job overall, and this is everybody. I'm just dialing back the identity politics noise so that we can find common grounds on smaller issues. I know you hate, like old boomer sayings, but you know how do you eat an elephant?

Speaker 3:

I think Clark knows this one Yep, one bite at a time.

Speaker 2:

And so I look at the political problems you described there, clark or Bruce, sorry, as you know, the elephant right, the elephant in the room. So how do we eat this elephant? And one bite at a time. We got to take small victories where we where we get them. I think we've had a few this year, right. So if we're looking in retrospective at the year in economics, there's big ones that made the news right, like the mainstream news, like big labor wins in terms of organizing, which is fantastic, strikes that were successful in getting what they wanted to help protect them against AI and things like that.

Speaker 2:

And there were smaller victories that we talked about on this pod but wasn't necessarily picked up by the quote unquote mainstream media as an example, the situation with Dungeons and Dragons that we covered in the first episode on late stage capitalism. That's right. So to give an update there, if you're not familiar, there was an issue where the Hasbro the company that now owns the intellectual property that is the role playing game called Dungeons and Dragons wanted to change the way their open gaming license worked. It was ruffling a lot of feathers because it was going to be real bad and, if you want, there's an episode about it where we talked about it on this pod, but there's also plenty of stuff online if you want to read about it.

Speaker 2:

But suffice it to say that the gaming community as a whole erupted, and I was one of them.

Speaker 2:

I literally canceled my subscription to D&D Beyond, which is a money maker for Hasbro, and I was not alone. There were hundreds of thousands of subscriptions canceled in unison in response to this move and that pressure. Right, it wasn't our words, it wasn't because Hasbro has a good heart and you know it grew three sizes too big or anything like that, nothing like that. There's no fairytale. We affected their bottom line and things changed, and so that's an example of a bite out of that elephant in a positive direction, and I think that you know we need to celebrate those victories, talk about them more and then, so that we can then repeat right, repeat and repeat, and repeat until we get back to a more equitable framework, where it really is a free market, where the plutocracy isn't allowed to use the momentum of their mass in the economy to subvert the free market and change laws in favor of themselves, squash competition, all of which is detrimental to society as a whole, much less individual workers.

Speaker 3:

Right, and there's a lot of examples like you mentioned. You already mentioned a few, but think about the whole game stop stock thing. That affected how different people are trying to like short the market and by banding together they were able to influence that change. That had some pretty enormous impacts. And you actually think about things like some of the European regulations that have inflicted Apple to actually put USBC in their device, because they set a standard for the whole entire country that everyone needs to move to? This new type? Or, you know, having a new sort of app market that's not just dominated by two players Apple and Google like having the ability to have third party markets as well. So it's the power that comes in with us working together as a working society to ensure that somebody doesn't take more advantage than they should. That would neg negatively impact us all and point us against each other in the end.

Speaker 2:

Yes, sir.

Speaker 1:

Something. I get out, yeah, I yeah, I feel like we covered the bases this time. If you've made it this far, congratulations, because if Clark and I get it, we know you get it.

Speaker 3:

So I don't know if I can get anyone get it.

Speaker 1:

Now, now that I get it my, my thought is you know one, what can we do to be better? Because I've made it pretty clear in the past me and capitalism and blood heads. But I am willing to make an agreement here that basically says I will accept it as the reality, especially free market capitalism the way Alex describes it. I will accept it as my personal economic Lord and Savior. But if you listen to this, if you participate in this conversation, you are just as responsible as we are. You know, we brought Alex on to spread the good word. We help magnify this voice.

Speaker 1:

But it is on all of us to have these conversations to create the awareness, because it just can't be us that know these things. If we continue to remain divided and not have critical conversations or you do find common ground, like Alex is suggesting, then we're never going to get anywhere. We have to be able to let our guard down, try and actually have a meaningful conversation. Let's remove some of the nonsense and talk about what we can actually do. Bring up those examples like Dungeons and Dragons, gamestop Unity, collapsing as a company because of bad decisions they've made, like there's a bevy of good examples out there where we can prove that individuals can absolutely move the mark and if we do our due diligence, share episodes like this, educate others, I think we can get to a more positive outcome. Would you agree, alex? Alex?

Speaker 3:

Daly Starts with the awareness. I think that's pretty what you said is so important and, alex, I want to hear your thoughts on it too. But, to be honest, like I had no idea about these things when I started as a fresher, you know eyes wide open in this big world and I thought you know people, you know that were, you know making greedy decisions or you know holding on to information, not sharing them like it's frustrating. But when you really abstract it, it's like why, what's the point of us doing it? Not only does it make us do less work, but also, you know, it basically puts us against each other, which contributes to the problem. So the awareness to your point, bruce, it's like that's one of the biggest things is you've got to make people aware and we got to work together as a working class to actually understand that and bring that awareness to them so we can actually effectively make change together. Sorry, alex, I jumped in right ahead of you.

Speaker 2:

No, you're good and you know. Speaking of your fresher status, I'm glad you've been promoted to certified fresh.

Speaker 3:

So I know it's official yeah.

Speaker 1:

Correspondence and certified fresh. What an episode.

Speaker 2:

I don't know if you're familiar with 12 step programs, right, but they say the first step is admitting that you have a problem.

Speaker 2:

I would argue that a more broad way to apply that it would be how can you treat a problem if you don't know about it?

Speaker 2:

And so, from that perspective, awareness is absolutely the first step, right, simply being aware of the challenge is the first step. And then, as you got into the world and interact with folks right, regardless of where you stand culturally or politically or nationally or any of those things likely you've at some point had a knee jerk reaction, a feeling reaction. First, do your best to check that, if you can and I know it can be difficult, trust me, I know it can be difficult, but do your best to check that. And then try to figure out where you can find common ground instead, because yelling at each other just isn't going to get us anywhere, right, and so, trying to find where there is something acceptable, and I would argue that the only way to do that is to not try to address everything, address small things alone, individually, you know, break it up into quanta individual packets of activity, right, and I think if we can do that, I think we'll be far more productive as a whole.

Speaker 1:

I completely agree. Just even bringing in a personal example, my father and I love to debate just about anything under the sun. It's all fair game for a nice family oriented argument. But I could have given up a long time ago. I could have just said you know what? It's not worth talking to him. He's set in his ways, he's old, let's just walk away and let's have it be that.

Speaker 1:

But my brother and I decided no, we're going to continue to engage in these conversations. We're going to bring data, we're going to bring facts, we're going to try and take emotions out of the equation and, you know, play on. What does he want, Like what does my father think and how can we convince him that things like minimum wage should be increased and that it's not a livable salary anymore? And I'm very happy to say he agrees with us now. But it came over a long period of time with lots of conversations, lots of removing emotion from the equation, not saying stuck in his ways, Like it's not easy. It's not easy and it takes a lot of effort and time. But you can make. You can make understanders out of these people and once they're on your side, you're unstoppable.

Speaker 3:

And I think you said two important things there. It's one from the angle of like you know your father.

Speaker 3:

You guys were influenced, change was a great. You kind of like banded together and you know, obviously he was willing to change. And I think that's the first thing is like trying to think about exactly what you said, alex. What are those situations where maybe I'm not willing to change or I'm making a bigger deal out of something that actually, at the end of the day, you know some stupid corporate nonsense that's forcing me to pin myself against my coworker and think about, like what are those things and then how you can kind of change your mindset on it. So be open to it.

Speaker 3:

But also, I think what's important about what you just said is you do have to realize when to move on. Some people just aren't going to get it, you know. Even no matter how much you kind of you know, bring the data, how much you want to bring it to them, some people are just not going to be willing to change, and it could be just probably because of people, because of the awareness and education and lack of so that they don't understand what you're trying to accomplish. So band together with those people who are like minded, who do see you know a different perspective and are willing to listen to you, because that's how you're going to influence change is finding those people rather than focusing just on one person who doesn't.

Speaker 2:

I'd like to challenge you on that. Oh okay, you're gonna do it. I was gonna do it too. Oh, yeah, so first of all, in general, there's the concept of cutting bait and sales, which is you know, you're better off, like you know, cutting away from a bad situation early, then trying to struggle through it right. So to a certain extent, I agree. However, I would argue that what I'm advocating is, instead of giving up on that person, give up on that point with that person alone but still be able to engage that person on other points.

Speaker 2:

That's kind of what I'm getting at is that we wrap up everything so it's all or nothing. It's a binary equation for everything in the world instead of it being a binary equation for each individual thing. And I think if we can lose in one path and then parallel stream to another path and have victory right and by victory I actually don't mean that we win, I mean that we achieve understanding between each other that's the real victory right. And so, instead of giving up on the person, give up on that one individual battle and move on to the next battle, and by battle I don't mean you actually fight them, just the next conversation where hopefully you can find some common ground.

Speaker 1:

Well, so much of our discourse and arguments today just come from a basic lack of understanding on all sides. People are not willing to consider and think and see eye to eye or at least understand why. They bring this to the table with them and it kills the discourse, it kills the conversation. And I love your point, alex, about you know. Drop a point, find another point, find more common ground, because even that little piece of common ground can sprawl out into a much larger understanding. And that's how we unify, that's how we fix the gap. Yeah, agreed.

Speaker 3:

Thank you for helping me learn today.

Speaker 2:

You only have a few minutes left. I want to hear him describe memes. Man, let's do it.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, let's do it. Hey, are you sure it's my turn?

Speaker 1:

I'm pretty sure it's your turn. It's definitely your turn. So it's everyone's favorite game show. It's time let's all dig right into. What do you mean? It's a channel on our Discord and you'll find out how to get there in just a minute, but for now, it's Clark's turn to explain the current email Sorry, the current meme that resides in that channel. Clark, go ahead, give us your best gap.

Speaker 3:

Which one is it I mean? What do you mean? Was it the one you posted, alex? Yes, it's definitely that one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it is.

Speaker 3:

Okay, oh great. How do I get on? How do I get myself? The situation, or have you come up with this, like, how did this happen? It was a great idea in theory, but I feel like I'm always the one explaining. You got to get some hard ones.

Speaker 1:

Yeah just you know that's the way the cookie crumbles. Just you know, some people, just you know inherit wealth.

Speaker 3:

It's supposed to be the manager here. What are we doing? Okay, okay, okay, okay, all right, I'm going to paint the picture and once you guys close your eyes, I think this is an important step. And what do you mean is visualizing? So you have two people sitting on a bench, you know, obviously it looks like they're engaged in some really good conversation, but they're sitting far enough away that you can tell they're not associated with each other. Still with me. What? Yeah, it's like they're waiting for something, you know. You know like bus might be coming along, whatever might be.

Speaker 3:

And somebody yeah, yeah, yeah, it could be anybody, and what it says is emails are like a box of chocolates it might be sweet or it might be shit.

Speaker 1:

I live that. I live that description, clark, you crushed it.

Speaker 3:

That's so good. It's so true, like every time I open an email, I'm like is this going to be actually useful or am I just going to delete this? And I would say probably 90% of the time it's the latter.

Speaker 2:

I love how he described it, as if he's never seen Forrest Gump.

Speaker 3:

That's a possibility.

Speaker 2:

Well, I can just say Forrest Gump. That added so much to the description. I really appreciate that effort, thank you.

Speaker 3:

I feel like it's one of those things like what is it Like scatter quers? Whatever the game is like, you can't say what the thing is. That would just give it away.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, no, it's like taboo, right we're like yeah, so in this podcast.

Speaker 1:

I have learned that Clark knows quite a lot more about board games than he's ever leapt on in his entire life. No, Like three board games, Clark.

Speaker 3:

No, I can't believe. You know, I feel like a stream is coming on where we're going to do them and it's going to be so bad, it's going to be so embarrassing for me. But you know what, if you guys want to see it, I'm in.

Speaker 1:

We want to see it, we want to live it, and if you want to live with us in our Discord, there's one way you can do that Get into. What do you mean game? Get in that channel.

Speaker 3:

Go to our website. It's suesupnext, and this time I'm remembering Bruce, you're up next. So you guys better boil up some spicy bottom of the barrel memes for us.

Speaker 1:

I can handle it. Boil them up, that's what I say. It's like a jumbo peanut and a deep fryer. I'll eat it. Go to our website corporatestrategybiz. The biz stands for business. It'sbiz. I know you'd want to spell it the right way, but don't do that. Go there. And if you can't spell it, go to the show notes. It's in there too. There's so many ways you can get there. But the important thing is you go to the Contact Us page and on there you can join our Discord. It's the coolest group of listeners on the planet. We love the conversations that happen here. We have fun, we have real conversations. We solve problems. You don't want to miss out.

Speaker 3:

More people are joining all the time. Every time I look inside the Discord, it's incredible yeah but you look like once a year.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's a plight. But, yeah, definitely join. You can actually sign up on the website as well. If you want to be emailed every single time there's a new episode dropping, you can be emailed right away. We actually are thinking about dropping some hints to the next episode in the future in the email. So if you subscribe to the email, you're going to get a heads up before everyone else knows. So definitely do that. But yeah, there's a whole bunch of ways you can submit topics on there. You can listen to previous episodes. It's an easy way to share it. So definitely jump on the website and give us a review, if you can, on your podcast provider of choice, because it really does help and I feel like the more people that are doing that, the better. We're getting in the algorithm now that we've had 100 episodes. So please keep it up. It's great.

Speaker 1:

Hey Clark, if someone wants a visual representation of the corporate strategy podcast, where would they go for that?

Speaker 3:

Man, we have a YouTube now. There's a video up there. It's great. You can see us talking with our faces not our real faces, our an emoji faces and it actually has the full transcript of the podcast all matched up nice and pretty. It was a lot of fun. It actually turned out better than I thought it was going to be, so please go check that out. If you guys like it, we'll do more.

Speaker 1:

And our future plans is to turn the new segment of the show into those kind of videos, and maybe it's not an emojis, maybe we turn into cat people. It's all up for grabs. It'd be anything we'll see. So, speaking of cat people, there may be ads on this episode. There may not be. Recently it's been a dry spell. Y'all have been lucky.

Speaker 1:

I just get what I put out there and if you heard an ad and you felt funny about it, well that's just because right now corporate strategies are completely host funded podcast and you know as fine as we are doing that. Yes, singular, thank you, clark. It's fine as I am hosting. You know we are interested in maybe not draining my bank account every month to keep this show live. So if you're interested, support the show. There's a link also in the show notes to do that. Eventually, we'd like to get to the point where we're not only listener funded but we can do a lot more because we actually have budget to do cooler things. So you've got money burning a hole in your pocket. There's a way to do that.

Speaker 3:

Love it and remember when you eat the elephant, do it one bite at a time. Alex, this was great. Thank you so much for coming on again.

Speaker 1:

Yes, Thank you, Alex. Really appreciate having you on. Hey, do you got a closing thought for us?

Speaker 2:

No, I think we got to the net. Net of it during the episodes. I think we're good Dang it.

Speaker 1:

Darn you.

Speaker 3:

Well, remember it's end of the fiscal year, so you know. Complete your annual budgets, get ready for next year, claim money that you actually don't know if you need, then make sure you spend it all, because that's the old corporate way.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, make sure to elevate your core competencies, and if you don't, until next time I'm Bruce and I'm Clark and you're on mute We'll touch base with you next week. Okay, okay, stop it.

Capitalism and the Economy
Late Stage Capitalism and Wealth Inequality
Achieving Positive Change in the Economy
Building Awareness and Finding Common Ground
Moving on From Unproductive Conversations