A perspective on the non-profit sector
Lots of the 'toll booth' companies in reality are just software shells connecting a large network of small businesses that make it possible for those companies to make money. Google is basically a data service and indexing company for webmasters, all social media companies rely on hordes of media companies supplying content, they all rely on ad management companies, and Amazon relies on both third party sellers and a dizzying array of third party logistics providers.
20th century small business just operates using a different non-software layers of communications which 21st century businesses also share: phones, the interstate highway network, in-state highway networks, the ports, freight rail, newspapers, regulated TV, and the mail. I think Kotkin is wrong: small business is going to become more important and not less important, because big companies are becoming like sclerotic Japanese zaibatsus incapable of fresh, innovative action. The companies that have been succeeding have been growing large networks of dynamic, competitive, and efficient small businesses. Alibaba would be a key example of this type of dynamic operating in China, while Google, Amazon, and Instagram are key examples of this dynamic in the US.
NGOs are religious organizations for secular internationalists. They are responsive to their customers: their rich masters, not the general public. Their profit and loss is based on how much their masters give them. If they please master, master rewards them. It's a thin market subject to big swings based on arbitrary and ill-informed decisions, partly because it's driven by rich people dumping money that would be otherwise taxed. The tax issue would be the key issue to address to improve the dynamic: it's driven by rich guys looking for ways to improve their operating environment in a tax efficient manner. They would be stupid not to play the game.
One thing that became very evident during the pandemic to me is that small business kulaks are a reservoir of anti-insanity. For instance, owner owned small businesses around me are dramatically more likely not to make the staff wear masks compared to corporate businesses, even franchises. The only daycare and school in the area that doesn't make kids wear masks are small owner operated affairs.
While it is nice what big business was able to do during the pandemic, it's also true that the government literally shutting their competition down was a big boon to their bottom line and something they ultimately weren't going to protest (or even mildly support). As with everything else, regulation is easier for the big boys to deal with and so they naturally aren't the main enemies of regulation.
Even if they aren't absolutely the most efficient, perhaps keeping a few small business kulaks around is worth it from a societal checks and balances perspective.
A bit OT but an important essay on Wokeness - and the long fight against it ahead of all who oppose it. https://theupheaval.substack.com/p/no-the-revolution-isnt-over
Charitable contributions should be promoted with a partial tax credit rather than a deduction. Contributions from high income individuals should not be more valued than contributions from the less well off.
Wasn't a corollary to Say's Law that you need to employee people at a level so they can afford to buy your products? If all production is automated for example, and no one has jobs, then they can not buy the products the robots produce.
It would seem that capital providers need to conclude they have better returns on capital if they invest in new innovation rather than non-profits and government. How does the market signal that trade?
When they invest in Government, that feels like a signal they are really a rent seeker. Which also suggests they are at the end of the S curve innovation in their domain. Does that signal possible creative destruction arbitrage?
Actually Henry Ford didn't originally raise wages so that his workers could afford automobiles, that would be self-defeating. He lowered costs by perfecting the assembly-line and adopting "Taylorization" of his workforce; but then had to pay his workers more because they hated the incessant never-ending routine of those assembly lines. There is something dehumanizing, almost robotic, in being the man who only installs the right-side door continuously. Eventually auto workers received the right to work "down-the-line", rotating tasks to reduce the mind-numbing monotony.
Thoughts on Give Directly? The summary is giving money directly to the poorest people in the world to spend on whatever way they choose.
Sharp post, Arnold.
However much we may distrust what Congress spends on, at least we should want to tax enough to the deficit to near zero is not a surplus.