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The idea was to promote competition among the units, which Lampert assumed would lead to higher profits. Instead, this is what happened, as described by Mina Kimes, a reporter for Bloomberg Business :. An outspoken advocate of free-market economics and fan of the novelist Ayn Rand, he created the model because he expected the invisible hand of the market to drive better results. Instead, the divisions turned against each other — and Sears and Kmart, the overarching brands, suffered.

A close-up of the debacle was described by Lynn Stuart Parramore in a Salon article from It got crazy. Executives started undermining other units because they knew their bonuses were tied to individual unit performance. They began to focus solely on the economic performance of their unit at the expense of the overall Sears brand. Sears became a miserable place to work, rife with infighting and screaming matches. Employees, focused solely on making money in their own unit, ceased to have any loyalty to the company or stake in its survival.

We all know the end of the story: Sears share prices fell, and the company appears to be headed toward bankruptcy. What Lampert failed to see is that humans actually have a natural inclination to work for the mutual benefit of an organization.

They like to cooperate and collaborate, and they often work more productively when they have shared goals. Take all of that away and you create a company that will destroy itself. What followed was succinctly summarized by Honduran attorney Oscar Cruz:. The coup in unleashed the voracity of the groups with real power in this country. It gave them free reins to take over everything.


They started to reform the Constitution and many laws — the ZEDE comes in this context — and they made the Constitution into a tool for them to get rich. As part of this process, the Honduran government passed a law in that created autonomous free-trade zones that are governed by corporations instead of the countries in which they exist. So what was the outcome?

Writer Edwin Lyngar described vacationing in Honduras in , an experience that turned him from Ayn Rand supporter to Ayn Rand debunker. In his words:. The greatest examples of libertarianism in action are the hundreds of men, women and children standing alongside the roads all over Honduras. They then stand next to the filled-in pothole soliciting tips from grateful motorists.


That is the wet dream of libertarian private sector innovation. On the mainland, there are two kinds of neighborhoods, slums that seem to go on forever and middle-class neighborhoods where every house is its own citadel. In San Pedro Sula, most houses are surrounded by high stone walls topped with either concertina wire or electric fence at the top. As I strolled past these castle-like fortifications, all I could think about was how great this city would be during a zombie apocalypse. Without collective effort, large infrastructure projects like road construction and repair languish.

We walked through the gated walls and past a man in casual slacks with a pistol belt slung haphazardly around his waist. Welcome to an Ayn Rand libertarian paradise, where your extra-large pepperoni pizza must also have an armed guard. The result was Campus Martius, in the middle of the old downtown. The Motor City even displaced cars to make room for people. Life is returning to that part of the city. Something similar is happening at the neighborhood level.

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Instead of retreating to their own patches of urban turf, neighbors are tearing down their back fences to create larger shared spaces. The Baltimore city council recently passed an ordinance to make it easier for neighbors to close off back alleys to make secure commons.

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The mayor has embraced the idea; and over the past year more than fifty neighborhood groups have begun the process. Traditional main streets serve much the same function. The growing antipathy to Wal-Mart and other big box stories comes from more than a concern about sub-living wages. The social productivity of traditional main streets has a multiplier effect.

It’s time the Conservatives started to take economics seriously again

Studies have shown that localities with large numbers of home grown businesses, along with community institutions and family farms, have higher median incomes and lower unemployment. One scholar who has studied this phenomenon, Charles Tolbert of Baylor University, cites a gas station owner in one town who switched from self-service to full service during a recession, and hired ten additional people. He had to charge more, but most of his customers kept coming anyway, because they understood that the extra pennies per gallon were providing jobs for their neighbors.

Nowhere is the reclamation of the commons more in evidence than in regard to food. Food is where the human economy began.

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It once served as a locus of community — in the growing, selling, cooking and eating — but today that dimension is largely gone. Most of us have no idea where our food even comes from, beyond the supermarket. We scarf down Egg McMuffins in the enclosure of our cars. The growth in markets has been remarkable — from 1, in the U. By comparison, Whole Foods now has about outlets in the U. Farmers Markets are not just — or even mainly — about organic food.

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They are about local food, and the opportunity to deal face to face with the people who produce it. Community gardens have grown in a similar manner, and for some of the same reasons. View on Google Maps. Add this event to your calendar.

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