Instead of blowing tens of billions of dollars on stock buybacks to engineer its financial reports and pull, in cahoots with Wall Street analysts, a bag over investors’ heads with its per-share metrics, IBM should have invested those funds in actual engineering and in people, which might have helped it become great again. But this is unlikely to ever happen, given that Wall Street dominates the show.Unquestionably true. In the current situation, the stock market is purely destructive. The only way a company can function properly is with strictly private, preferably family-based, ownership. But this wasn't consistently and perfectly true before 1980. Look at the auto industry in the '30s. GM had been a stock play from the start. Billy Durant was all about mergers and acquisitions, and didn't especially care about cars. GM began to succeed when it got rid of Billy the second time. It was able to concentrate on improving cars. Ford had been private from the start, and remained so until 1956. Freedom from Wall Street enabled Henry's Social Economics vision to transform the company AND THE COUNTRY. But by 1930 Henry was getting senile, and his rigid vision was interfering with normal development. The company was declining fast because nobody had the power to kick Henry upstairs. Nash was Wall Street from the start, but Charles had learned a strong negative lesson when working for Billy. Don't let the casino dominate. He acted like a private company, carefully saving and investing instead of borrowing and gambling. Nash got through the depression in better shape than any of the Big Three. So: In those years the market was a somewhat negative influence, but it was possible to run a company sanely even while offering shares to the public. Now there's no middle ground. The Casino is unstoppably evil. If you sell your soul to the Casino, you're totally lost.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.