Thrift Shops

Everyone loves shopping. It helps to have money when shopping, the more the better. Thrift Stores give poorer citizens a chance to shop for almost anything. Compared to ‘regular stores’, thrift shops are poorly lit, and without fancy presentations of items. The ‘sex appeal’ of shopping is much minimized. Unless, of course, one considers ‘thrift’ sexy, which I think it is somewhat. It’s a matter of appreciating economy, parsimoniousness. What I like most about thrift shops is leaving them, and then appreciating how, for so little money, one can get so much good stuff.

Tracking

The other day I wrote a blog about old sci-fi movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. Since then I have been blasted with ads for videos, toys, recordings, etc. related to the movie. Certainly, marketers are watching me and everyone else. It causes us to think about things longer than we wished to. Others with their own motives want us to keep thinking of a past thing so that they can predict and control our buying habits in the immediate future. I wonder how this affects the creativity of the society. It reminds me of the fact that machines beat humans every time now at chess. The competition is between the programmers of the game software. So, can you make your own decisions or are they being gamed by professionals who rarely lose? The only way to know is to cut off from internet influence. (You may need to drink more than usual).

Betrayal

Trumpf built his entire administration upon demanding unctuous loyalty from his allies and now finds himself wounded by what he sees as their shabby betrayal of him. He is entirely without integrity, using one standard for assessing the self and another for judging others depending on egoistic motives. This sort of switch can occur more or less consciously. When mental habits are very strong little conscious effort is needed to have them be executed. Hence, they playout more or less automatically.

Should the duplicity become apparent to the self one can use rationalization to feel better (i.e. cognitive dissonance reduction operations). These include: Coming to believe more strongly than ever that one’s positions are right, and denigrating the others as themselves being without integrity. When the treasonous person really starts to lose it they can have psychotic delusions of grandeur that go beyond the distortions of dissonance reduction. Psychosis is the Big Leagues of psychological defense. (By the way when Trump was thought to say ‘Bigly’ he was saying ‘Big League’ in New Yawkese. Few if any seem to have noted this).

In any case, leaders set examples of ‘how to think’ for followers. Currently a bit less than half your neighbors think like Trumpf. The horror of this is illustrated by seeing the ten commandments through the eyes of Trump-like thinking:

The Ten Commandments as seen by a Trump personality

  1. I am the Lord your God (“I am a stable genius.” )
  2. You shall have no other gods before me (“I will be very angry at Mike Pence if he doesn’t listen to me.”)
  3. You shall not take my name in vain (Say whatever comes to mind. Be wild and impulsive.)
  4. Observe the Sabbath (“Kosher, Shmosher. Let’s play golf!”)
  5. Honor your father and mother (If they have given you millions of dollars.)
  6. You shall not kill (Have your followers do it for you.)
  7. You shall not steal (Stealing assures always winning)
  8. You shall not commit adultery (Why not?)
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor (“To hell with fake news. They always lie about me. It’s a witch hunt”.)
  10. You shall not be envious of what your neighbor has (“Envy and greed are good…the Dow has hit records during my reign!!”)

MBA killers

Starting about when Ronald Reagan got into office, college graduates who formerly wanted to attend medical or law school began going to business schools. They got a degree called Masters in Business Administration—the MBA. As far as I can tell, MBAs are taught to make as much money as possible without getting thrown in jail. The best schools, like Harvard, Wharton, Duke, and Columbia seem to attract the most aggressive sharks. There is even a TV show called Sharks on which no nonsense MBA types decide if some naif’s business plan will succeed. The contestants are grilled in a harsh manner and most plans are rejected as being too weak.

I saw this kind of MBA attitude when I took five psychology students to the Columbia business school to participate in a mock labor negotiation. The event was hosted by Margaret Chandler, a famous labor relations scholar. The psychologists played the role of labor, naturally the business students took the management roles. Though this was only a practice exercise the MBAs had the psychologists scared to death. They used a classic negotiating technique in which one person on the negotiation team acts entirely nuts, shouting and screaming like a psychotic This terrified the touchy feely psychologists so much that they lowered their demands to get the thing over with and flee the room.

In the old days MBAs were relatively scarce. They wound up as CEOs, CFOs, and other high level positions. Now, with many MBA graduates around, they often find themselves managing service departments, the mail room, and really every function in organizations. The MBA credo is to turn every office of a company into a profit center. For example, when you call the service department of the company that sold you a phone, vacuum, bicycle, or whatever, you don’t get service. Rather they try to sell you a new, more expensive replacement for the broken one. Now service goes from a cost center to a profit center, from service to sales. MBAs know that sales is where the money is. Service is a loser. Service interactions are a form of ‘bait and switch’. They catch the poor customer with a promise of service but then switch their role to sales. If not illegal, this is a kind of moral crime very common in business today.

The ‘anything for a buck’ attitude has spread throughout the country. MBA values dominate the entire culture. It is not an accident that two of the worst presidents in American history, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, were graduates of MBA programs.

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