December 18, 2009

True Blue

The San Francisco Weekly rakes the muck about San Francisco city government in "The Worst-Run Big City in the U.S." I especially liked the picture of San Francisco's male model mayor with the caption, "Mayor Gavin Newsom ponders the differences among the Accountability Matrix, Accountability Index, and Accountability Report."

In short, the better your location, the more you can get away with. (I bet Istanbul is a poorly run city, too.) Due to geography, San Francisco doesn't have much in the way of nearby suburbs to compete with, giving it lots of leeway to be incompetent.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

San Francisco was a great city long before Hippies, Gays, and Latinos took over. It has a lot of corporate HQs, and tourism money to help fund the winos and homeless that clog everything up. Such a pity.

Anonymous said...

Everything is better run on the East Coast, isn't it?

What about the Ivy Admissions Process?

Anonymous said...

I would have guessed Detroit.

Anonymous said...

Uhh.. Pretty much any Midwestern city with black people is worse run than San Francisco.

Glossy said...

"True Blue"

In Russian the word blue (goluboy) also means "gay". Ads for "Avatar" must be eliciting a whole lot of chuckles in Russia right now.

jody said...

isn't san jose the suburb? that seems to be the place where my computer industry friends live.

Gc said...

"A belief that good intentions matter more than results", that`s a liberal ethics in a freaking nutshell. The western culture ain`t cured until this attitude is won.

Harmonious Jim said...

Being a city on a peninsula (like SanFran or old Istanbul) may not go well with good government. But being a city on an island (like Venice, Singapore or Hong Kong) seems to go very well with good government. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

The prettiest city in America...from 5 miles away. I'm amazed at how crappy SF is up close on foot. Filthy streets, a lot of aggressive bums, grungy looking people, dingy looking buildings (SF has strict building preservation laws that effectively forbids giving its structures face lifts).

Chinatowns are typically the most litter strewn and foul smelling areas of any major city (outside the ghettos) -- I've never been to SF's Chinatown but can only imaging it's a total dump

Anonymous said...

I used to live on the Peninsula, and I agree that SF is a dump. In fact I was there just yesterday, and it is still a dump.

I stayed at a converted SRO ("boutique hotel") next to the Tenderloin ("Theater District"). I am not sure what is more stimulating to the senses - the acrid stench of stale urine in the morning, or the fresh wafts of new streams in the evening.

Anonymous said...

"I've never been to SF's Chinatown but can only imaging it's a total dump."

Lots of greasy spoons--always been that way.

The few young marrieds who do live in SF move as soon as they have a child because of the open smoking of dope and the rabble that brings. Parks are a mess with vagrants and druggies.

I'd love for tourists to boycott it so that a different mindset among the supervisors and the mayor's office would develop, but that will not happen because of the demographics.

I live w/in an hour of SF and was recently scammed by its Muni with a fifty dollar fine for being short of a twenty-five cent token. Realizing my pre-paid ticket had expired five minutes before I exited the bus at the terminal, I walked up to the window to pay. That was an idiotic mistake! I was issued a ticket--a fifty dollar fine.

My husband and I decided we wouldn't spend a dime there for at least the next few years. No ball games, no restaurants, no symphony, no nothing. I won't miss it.

As you might imagine, it's a very bad place for a young single woman--the gay population as a percentage of males is huge. Our daughter had a great job there, but complained it was too hard to meet datable men. They were either married or gay. She quit her job and moved to Santa Clara.

It's still unpleasant to see men kissing ....on the streets, on BART, at the symphony.

I never thought I'd say this, but I can, to a degree, understand the factors that ultimately give rise to civil unrest and then civil war. Birds of a feather really do wish to fly together. You don't wish anyone any harm--you just wish to be with people whose behavior you can not only tolerate but respect.

Sam said...

I had a five-hour layover at SF once. I wnt downtown on that train and got off near the library. The place was teeming with agressive, smelly street people; one of whom threatened to kill me for denying him a smoke.

What's the appeal?

Mr. Anon said...

An illuminating article from Lawrence Auster's site on the San Franciso Police Deparment:

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/012941.html

Bullit, Callahan,.....Heather Fong?

I agree with the view of many other posters. Frisco is a hole. It's cold and clammy. The houses are small and salt-rotted. There are few parks and outside of the parks, few trees anywhere. It's a miserable, bleak stucco and concrete desert. One can barely walk 100 yards without nearly tripping over a bum. The city smells like piss,.....because bums piss all over it. John Derbyshire wrote about how the city had to put a fence around a fountain at civic center because the winos were defecating in it.

For a long time beginning in the 80s, and extending into the 90s I believe - there was a vast homeless encampment at civic center leading right up to the steps of City Hall. The city gave stipends to the homeless (around $300 / month, or so). When Willie Brown became mayor he had the PD roust them out to other neighborhoods (Western Addition, The Avenues, etc.). He was all for being "compasionate" and he maintained the stipend, but he wasn't about to have to walk through that reeking mob to get to his office.

The city government is corrupt, vain, and incompetent. They've been so caught up with fashionable left-wing causes, like declaring SF a nuclear free zone or a sanctuary city, that they don't bother to do things like fill pot-holes (which are legion). And of course the homosexuals have taken over a good deal of the city and imposed their own deviant culture on it. And even the relatively normal people who live there tend to be insufferable limosine liberals.

It's a cross between Pyongyang, Borgia Rome, and Sodom, with a lousy climate, and good restaurants.

Whiskey said...

Steve --

As many have noted (including Takuan Seiyo at Brussels Journal), San Francisco (and New York) used to far different places. Watch Hitchcock movies like Vertigo or the Birds etc. and you see Anglo bourgeoisie San Francisco.

Gays tipped the balance of power irreversibly to make the city as Mark Steyn noted a playpen for the inherited rich, twenty something people, various activists (a function of youth, gays, and women) and of course feminists.

Most coastal cities used to be well run, before say 1965. Far more conservative and middle class.

Carolyn said...

Count me in as a San Francisco hater. I feel dirty after every visit. The only thing we like about SF is Cable Car Joe's burgers.

My husband's cousin lives in SF. I assume she is a typcial of the effed up type of people who choose to live there. She tried being a lesbian for awhile but then married an alleged "man." However, most women are more masculine than this guy. They have a daughter they named --- wait for it --- Zuzu.

Anonymous said...

San Francisco should outsource their government to Singapore.

Anonymous said...

I grew up there. I miss it everyday. I'll never go back.

Anonymous said...

Watch Hitchcock movies like Vertigo or the Birds etc. and you see Anglo bourgeoisie San Francisco.

In SF around 1987, when I was about 12, I remember watching the Birds with my mom, and when I saw the scene shot in Union Square, I asked her in all innocence "how much did it cost to clean up Union Square like that for the movie?"

dearieme said...

I had a few days there in '66. Very attractive, then.

Peter A said...

I don't think Istanbul is appreciably worse run than any other Turkish city. The problem with Istanbul is the steady influx of Anatolian peasants swelling the population, as well as the loss of the Greek and Armenian populations. It's still an interesting city but a shadow of what it once was. Naples is another city in a breathtakingly beautiful setting that is almost unlivable. On the other hand, is Sydney badly managed?

Anonymous said...

This city is a mecca for people in search of a government handout that they can hand out.

That's nothing new. How do you think the Haight-Ashbury scene was funded? Social support checks for the "mentally ill."

Anonymous said...

SF is no different from Denver. Denver has a John Lindsay like mayor John Hickenlooper aka 'the Hick' who funnels money to his friends via the homeless aka 'The Road Home' which is just a Tammany hall grifter project. The Denver PD is understaffed and way soft on drug dealing and other quality of life crimes. Some in the Department are good cops but alas some are right out of Serpico...

We are getting mob run pot parlors under the guise of helping cancer patients...In all it is quite PC in Denver just like SF. And it is all liable to fall apart becasue in the end Stalinism don't work.

Anonymous said...

Steve, Steve. Many Bay Area suburbs are wonderfully blessed by geography: most of Marin county, much of Contra Costa county (Pleasanton and Dublin and the environs). Much of the peninsula has pretty great geography too. Honestly, the only thing that can prevent a given Bay Area location from being great is demographics.

Huff said...

Whiskey, when you're not repeating and rehashing delusional screeds made by delusional neocon writers, you just state the obvious.

Middletown Girl said...

"I would have guessed Detroit."

Detroit isn't run poorly. It isn't run at all. And, it is no longer a city but a wasteland.

Brian Watkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Middletown Girl said...

What happened to San Francisco--and other urban centers--tells us quite a lot about the conservative mindset. Conservatives cannot stand a challenge and just run away.

Just think. San Fran used to be middle class and kinda conservative. In other words, it wasn't very hospitable to gays and hippie types. Yet, gays and hippies had the guts and resilience to arrive and set up their communities nevertheless. What did conservatives do? Stay and fight it out like Michael Savage does everyday in the heart of San Fran? Or, did they just pack up things and move to the burbs.

This is why conservatives lose in cities. They just flee! Of course, liberals flee too, but the young ones return to cities for jobs, culture, and other stuff. Conservatives prefer to stay in small towns and suburbs and have long conservations with their gun collection.

It's a great thing that the US is a huge country. But, therein lies the danger too. When things go wrong, lots of people have the choice to pack up and run away. Settling in safer or quieter communities, they ignore or forget about all the bad things that are happening in other parts of the country. If all of US were california, would Americans have allowed it to be overrun by Mexican illegals? No, we let it happen because the problem seemed far away to most Americans in other states or Northern California. Also, white Californians felt safe in knowing that if things got too bad, they could just move to another state like Colorado or Washington and find paradise again. Just as foreigners leave their problems behind by coming to America, lots of Americans leave their problems by crossing state borders or moving out of dangerous cities. We all feel safe because of the SIZE of this country. Physically and psychologically. Even those who haven't been moved out of dangerous areas feel they will be able to SOMEDAY.

In the 19th century, the white population felt HOPE in the idea of moving westward, claiming a piece of land, and starting anew. Today, the white population feels SAFE in running from blackening or browning regions and settling in nicer, quieter, and whiter areas. Because people have the option of settling in quieter areas far removed from hellholes like LA or Detroit, they can make pretend that all is well in the world. If you vacation in Colorado or some wooded area in Pennsylvania, it's easy to imagine that America is still 95% white and stable. In such a secure and safe environment, alarmists of the alternative right sound downright insane or paranoid. White people in those areas look all around and see nothing but whiteness and stability. (This is especially so since national media are controlled by liberals who not only under-report negative stories about black crime and illegal invasion but have taboo-ized discussion of such.)

So, white conservatives need to stop this practice of chickenshit running. Stand and hold onto territory. Like when Stalin told his troops in WWII, don't retreat!

OhioStater said...

Im a horrible swimmer (you can guess why) and standing at the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge is a humbling experience. 2 miles to Alcatraz, 1 mile to San Fran, 1 mile to Marin, and 5 miles to Oakland. That's a lot of water. More water surrounds San Fran than Manhattan, and NY is a true island. If you are unlucky enough to swim west, it's an easy 5,000 mile swim to Tokyo.

Arnold said...

Sydney, with a great natural location, is another city that suffers from a government of Third World incompetence. I used to live there, and it was all right. But I wouldn't dream of living there now, even if I could afford it.

Pat Shuff said...

Aside from the bad parts an earthquake would be a merciful blessing. The parasitism has outgrown the host, printing over
the cracks of widening gaps with stimulus notwithstanding. Living on credit lasts until the debtor has none.

Middletown Girl said...

I think the problem with San Fran is it's still very rich--thanks to hightech sector--and majority whites. As such, it can AFFORD to be pompously and wastefully incompetent. It's like Saudi Arabia during boom times. It can afford to be spectacularly corrupt, reactionary, and incompetent.

Anonymous said...

Anyone viewing any T.V. show or movie made before around 1965 or so can see the difference in culture and mores between than and now. You tube has also made it possible to view everyday scenes of slices of life from that time. For example, google New York Worlds Fair and the You Tube video is striking, particularly viewing the changes in homo sapiens between than and now. Nearly every man was wearing a shirt and tie and many were wearing a sport jacket. The women were mainly attired in dresses or smart pant suits. Obesity was almost non-existent. As an aside, black faces were few. Very sad to see what we have lost in barely two generations.

albertosaurus said...

Today in San Francisco it's 55 degrees and sunny. In New York City it's 11 (wind chill) degrees. Had you slept on the street last night in NY you would be dead. But had you slept in Golden Gate Park in SF you would be fine.

That's the difference.

Without any policy differences or governance differences at all, street people will always find it easier to live in San Francisco. That has been true for a long time. But about forty years ago San Franciscans decided that they would pay more than other states and counties in General Assistance (GA).

AFDC is federal and state funded. GA is funded exclusively by the locality.

The Nevada welfare departments in the sixties eliminated GA altogether and gave those unemployeable men who applied for GA a bus ticket to San Francisco. Other states did likewise.

When I was a public social worker in 1969 I had a black family who had been on AFDC in rural Mississippi. The sheriff had personally packed them all on a Greyhound to SF. At that time San Francisco supplemented AFDC with GA funds. SF became the principal magnet city for the least attractive citizens in the nation.

Obviously the SF electorate could have simply lowered or eliminated GA too - but they didn't. In fact they made the attractors greater every year.

This black bureaucrat who is highlighted in the article runs the parks system. That means he runs Golden Gate Park.

Currently (as of last week) one of the hottest political issues in the SF Chronicle is over the rights of the homeless who live in the park. These settlers sleep beneath the bushes at night and spreadout during the day to panhandle and break into houses. They resist getting jobs. They resist living in city supplied housing. They resist taking showers.

In the Chronicle anyone who advocates reform is criticized by the paper and the readership. The problem is much deeper than that black department head. It is deeper than just general municipal mismanagement.

On the other hand it's a beautiful day today. I think I go into San Francisco - a city so gorgeous that it makes your eyes water.

Anonymous said...

Some (obvious) things that occur to me after working for many years in government at various (state, town, county)levels. First, politics is a business: the vast majority of politicians are interested only in staying employed, NOT in working for the people. Most of their time is spent finding ways to get taxpayer money into private hands. The funneling of public funds to "non-profits" (in quotes because, of course, the people who run these organizations can pay themselves whatever they like, due to the weak oversight of state attorneys general) is a huge problem.At the county I worked for, it was probably the worst unsolved and ongoing legal problem, since none of the county legislators wanted the gravy train to their campaign donors to stop. Finally, although I have felt that the present financial weakness of daily newspapers is, in part, payback for their inability to honestly report the news, we need them. I am absolutely sure that the San Fransisco paper that reported this story will be pressured to fire or reassign these two reporters. I hope it does not. If only the New York Times or MSNBC could show such courage, then Obama would not be emboldened to attack his adversaries in the media.

The White Detroiter said...

I would have guessed Detroit too (google Kwame Kilpatrick to learn about a truly awful mayor) but I suppose the Motor City at least has cheap real estate.

Anonymous said...

"What about the Ivy Admissions Process?"

Quoting the article:

"They made up for that rough start. Their class rankings range from 13 out of a class of 632 (Kenny) to 46 (Martina) — and they have sky-high SAT scores (including Carol’s perfect 800 on the verbal part of that exam)."

They're quadruplets with high IQs. What's the problem?

Anonymous said...

Brian said the weather is great?

For visiting a short time, okay (for the atmosphere), but for living, no, at least not for me. Guess it's a matter of one's adaptation. The fog creeping in "on little cat's feet" is romantic for a time, but grows depressing soon enough.

It's downright foggy, damp, and cold during the summer months. China Basin is a better place to watch baseball games than Candlestick (might as well be in the Arctic at Candlestick during those months) but even the new park doesn't offer baseball weather.


Berkeley and Oakland offer much better weather, but of course, Oakland's a mess (except for the Oakland Hills where affluent whites live) and Berkeley--well, if you can put up with aging hippies and other silliness (I can't anymore) it has great weather.

However, no city is lovlier than SF in September or October.

Middletown Girl said...

When will Detroit be renamed Destroit?

Anonymous said...

The demographics of a city like SF would never elect a mayor like Rudy Guiliani. Too bad.

I suppose it's just as well they don't. Were the city to actually get decent government, the bums and addicts, and a really unpleasant subset of gays (you know, the guys that wear fairy wings and diapers, the ones who make vulgar gestures during their "pride" parades-- what a misnomer that is-- the ones who frequent the annual S&M fair), would move in droves out into my area in Contra Costa County. We've enough problems as it is.

Let's keep the city decadent as it is.

Cat Patrol said...

I like San Francisco for the most part. Its a hell of a lot more beautiful than LA. Especially that area around the old Presidio. Chinatowns a dump tho.

Dutch Boy said...

"The prettiest city in America...from 5 miles away. I'm amazed at how crappy SF is up close on foot. Filthy streets, a lot of aggressive bums, grungy looking people, dingy looking buildings (SF has strict building preservation laws that effectively forbids giving its structures face lifts)."
Pretty much my impression too from my 3 year's residence there (and that was 25 years ago, it must be worse now). There is a melancholy about the place - like meeting a boozy old bag lady in the gutter whom used to know as a beautiful ingenue. Even so, could it possibly be worse run than Detroit, St. Louis or New Orleans?

Anonymous said...

The demographics of a city like SF would never elect a mayor like Rudy Guiliani.

Nowadays mayoral contests in San Franciso are typically between
Establishment Democrats (who would be regarded as liberals in most other places, but are seen as comparatively conservative in San Francisco, because of their ties with the business community) and left-wing challengers (as happened with Newsom's initial victory over Matt Gonzalez, the Establishment Democrats typically win).

Few people realize that San Francisco was once a Republican city, and that as late as 1975 not just a Republican but a conservative Republican came close to winning the mayor's office.

That year, state Sen. George Moscone forged a modern political alliance of gays, NAMs, unions and the city's dominant liberal political machine and defeated John Barbagelata. It was one of the closest races for mayor in the city's history -- Barbagelata lost by a scant 4,500 votes -- but it was the high-water mark for Republicanism in San Francisco.

Anonymous said...

A typical day on the San Francisco Muni:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=nx6FRSemW38

Gotta love it.

Chief Seattle said...

Ok, it's certainly not a place for affordable family formation. But it's a great place to visit if you like to eat and walk. The restaurants, both high and low end, are excellent due to an abundance of local produce and a surfeit of immigrants to cook it, serve it, and clean up afterwards. The views are amazing, the weather is usually good, most parks are beautiful despite the homeless. And there's a certain anything-goes lightness about the city.

Because it's too expensive for families with children there's a lot of young people and a lot of turnover. So it's fairly easy for a group of entrenched politicians to keep power, and to use it to enrich themselves and their friends, all under the guise of compassion of course.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that youtube video. I used to ride the 30 everyday. I wish there were clones of that Chinese lady to patrol every bus in the city.

Anonymous said...

"Few people realize that San Francisco was once a Republican city, and that as late as 1975 not just a Republican but a conservative Republican came close to winning the mayor's office."

I remember the name George Christopher, right?

Anonymous said...

SF is a ghetto. This is especially true in the Castro. It is a place where the wierdest people can go and be in the majority. Everywhere else they are in the minority.

I lived in SF for years. One day I was reading the SF Guardian. It is a liberal rag. Like all news papers it has a obituary, 99% of which were gays who had died of AIDs. Like all obits it lists who they were, who their friends and families are and where they are from. Every single gay guy that was dying was from somewhere other than SF! That moment stuck me like a thunder bolt. Many of these guys came from the south, or the midwest where they would never be accepted or fit in. The irony is that where gays are the majority they are a bunch of fucking fascists. Nice fascists though.

Mr. Anon said...

"Brian Watkins said...

The businesses are mostly in finance, technology, and art. If you're educated and competent, there is work and plenty of money."

By "technology" you mean "web design", not actual engineering, or anything that's really involved with the development of technology. So essentially, all of SF's businesses amount to parasitism. They don't make anything there - they just process money.

Albertosaurus: You make a good point, as indeed you always do. The weather is mild there, so it's a relatively good place to sleep on the street. I remember in the 80s, towns in the central valley were giving homeless guys one-way bus tickets to Tucson. I guess SF was full up by then.

San Francisco has always been a relatively liberal city. I heard it from my aunt that it was not uncommon even in the 1940s to see homosexual men on dates.

City boosters used to refer to SF as "The City That Knows How" - it was always a joke elsewhere on the peninsula. And that was before SF became a city where smoking is considered a public health hazard but having multiple anonymous sex partners isn't.

Anonymous said...

"San Francisco has always been a relatively liberal city. I heard it from my aunt that it was not uncommon even in the 1940s to see homosexual men on dates."


Remember its Barbary Coast heritage. It's always had that strange mixture of wildness because of its being a port city coupled with its more cosmopolitan nature.

While it had its seedy neighborhoods (what city doesn't?) it was a city known for exhibiting good taste, and my guess is that the men your aunt saw were exibiting tasteful behavior.

The country has lost refinement and tastefulness and no city exhibits that more than SF. Yes, I know places like Detroit are a mess, but they didn't have as far to fall.

Gene Berman said...

Mr. Anon:

Production of consumer goods in a modern, relatively free market economy involves numerous (very numerous, as a matter of fact) performances of specialized labor and each is rewarded primarily on the basis of its contribution to the successful final product(s), as determined by the entrepreneur or his subordinate managers. But, in making this determination, the top men cannot--if they hope for success-- exercise arbitrary whims or personal preferences; their activities--to produce profit and avoid loss--must accord with the real "boss"--the consumers, whose behavior ultimately determines who shall serve them and how great shall be their reward (if any).

Different products vary greatly in the proportions of different types of inputs contributing to their ultimate marketability. Business is not about producing widgets but about producing profits. The various specialties involved in producing these profits are all contributory to one degree or another--none is "parasitic" in any sense of that word. It is very common (and has been for many years) for those with little understanding to disparage efforts of sales and marketing people or those of advertising, packaging, etc. But all of these are integral parts of the productive process through which consumers' needs are best--and most profitably--satisfied.

It would be different if we were not free men but were bound to "make do" with whatever we were offered. In such situation, typified by the former USSR and the communist model economy, we would have no need of so many brands of toothpaste, bath, dish, and laundry soap, nor of the fancy wrappers nor adroit packaging of multitudinous candy bars, toiletries, or even the option-and- elegance-laden motor vehicles in everyday use by many, many, millions. Shakespeare said " a rose by any other name smells just as sweetly" but I very much doubt that the National Association of Florists would approve a "Special Turd-Blossom Bouquet" as a name during their annual "Secretary's Week" promotion (I may be dated--it's probably "National Administrative Specialist Week" nowadays). The guy who thought up the name "Exxon" (for the former "Esso") was reportedly paid a couple mil for his creativity; I don't know how rewarded was the guy who came up with "Nothing Runs Like A Deere" or many other clever bits of advertising/sales promotion (I knew the gal who--as a secretary--thought up the name "Pyrex--and her reward was just her regular salary.) The important thing to understand is that the goal, whether of product engineers or of sales departments
(and others) is to enlarge sales to a degree greater than the enlarged costs (and thus, to generate a greater absolute profit). Were the intention to achieve a greater profit through a reduction in unit cost, investment must be made in more efficient machinery and production methods. The very fact that competing companies do not always rush to
adopt the latest of such machines/methods is simply proof that those most concerned (the entrpreneurs and managers) are of the opinion that "it doesn't pay" and, instead, resort to the other, first-mentioned method of improving their "bottom line."

I apologize for being somewhat long-winded in explanation and certainly intend no condescension; though simple economic facts, such matters are not widely understood by those who should and almost not at all by the general public. It is precisely such widespread ignorance that fosters political pressures for many types of government interference with industry and business and puts us on (as Hayek put it) "the road to serfdom."

Mr. Anon said...

"Gene Berman said...

..their activities--to produce profit and avoid loss--must accord with the real "boss"--the consumers, whose behavior ultimately determines who shall serve them and how great shall be their reward (if any)."

The reward of bankers is nowadays determined by how many and which pals they have in the Treasury department and the Fed. I am not their boss.

"Business is not about producing widgets but about producing profits."

It is this very view that is helping to destroy our country. People used to take pride in their business. Sure, they wanted to make money (and they did, by the way), but they also wanted to make cars, toasters, generators, whatever. The decline in professionalism that you defend is helping to turn this nation into a wasteland.

"It is precisely such widespread ignorance that fosters political pressures for many types of government interference with industry and business and puts us on (as Hayek put it) "the road to serfdom.""

We now more nearly have - or at least up until last year, had - the libertarian paradise you seem to want, than at any time in the past. And I don't see that it works all that well. This country was healthier in the 1950s. We are on a more certain road to serfdom now - and largely because of the laissez-faire practices you espouse. There is more to life than money, and a country is not just its economy.

And I stand by my previous assertion - that the economy of San Francisco is an economy of parasites.

Gene Berman said...

Mr. Anon:

Though your views are wrong-headed, you are welcome to them. Facts are a different matter, though: they stand on their own.

What you call my "view" (business is about producing profits, not widgets) is fact, not view. Business inattentive to this reality will cease to exist. The economic role of "profit and loss" is precisely of showing business if their activities accord with the wishes of consumers or are misemploying the resources.

I spoke nowhere of "bankers"; not a word of my comments touched on such topic. I tried merely (unsuccessfully, so it seems) to disabuse you of the common idea that some functions (notably those such as advertising, sales, etc.) were less "productive" than others (as, for instance, engineering or machine-tool operation). Another fact is, regardless your (or my) opinion as to which function is more "productive" (or even important) in achieving the result--a (profitable) product--the rate at which each is paid is determined by neither opinion (nor, indeed, those of management) but comes as a "given" according to relative scarcity ("supply and demand") of such labor. The same may be maintained with regard to "financial" types, such as accountants, employed or contracted by such enterprises.

When first primitive fish-spearers forsook thier speed-and-agility-demanding activities in favor of using nets, the best might have bemoaned the loss of distinction and admiration of his lesser fellows but as long as he, with the rest, got more fish for themselves and families (and in less time--leaving more for producing other desired items or for leisure, he had little cause to complain of "modernization." It is a sad fact but true that changing conditions, including technology, frequently make previously-valued performances nearly useless. We no longer need pay an iceman (or clean manure from streets) when homes have refrigerators. People, including craftsman, handle change differently. You'll have to pay hundreds (or more)of dollars "up front" and then wait for 8 years if you'd like to have a knife made by Tony Randall (and the waiting list grows longer). But you can buy a pair of excellent Tony Lama cowboy boots in many places, right off the shelf, though Tony hasn't made them personally, by hand (as he did when I was young) for many years.

While we're at it, let's consider the things you've mentioned: cars, toasters, and generators. Like many other things, every one of those things is better now than then and even usually lasts longer, though the toaster is so relatively inexpensive it can be discarded at the slightest sign of underperformance. Cars last twice as long, as do most of their component systems (not to mention likewise the the tires) such as brakes, transmissions, etc.
Communications are extraordinarily improved (AND CHEAPER!!)

To close, I'll simply agree that, in some respects, we were better off in the '50s--just not in the ways that you seem to think. And, contrary to your perception, our economy (and much else of our lives) are far less free today than then. Though you seem to believe we live in a realization of a "libertarian paradise," quite the opposite is true: we live in a world of vastly increased control over every aspect (including the economic) of life. That you don't recognize that fact makes me suspect you of being relatively young--not old enough to actually remember those times and to draw the relevant comparisons.

I do have a suggestion that may help you understand these matters better (than merely reading my comments) while providing a rational frame within which to evaluate political, social, and, especially, economic events. Read the excellent and clearly written ECONOMICS IN ONE LESSON by Henry Hazlitt. I think you'll actually enjoy the insight gained.

Mr. Anon said...

"Gene Berman said...

I spoke nowhere of "bankers"; not a word of my comments touched on such topic."

We were speaking of San Francisco, were we not? Finance is a large business in San Francisco. Business - not an industry - business.

"Cars last twice as long, as do most of their component systems (not to mention likewise the the tires) such as brakes, transmissions, etc."

Yes, thanks to the Japanese, who do not subscribe to the libertarian economic model you espouse.

"I do have a suggestion that may help you understand these matters better (than merely reading my comments) while providing a rational frame within which to evaluate political, social, and, especially, economic events. Read the excellent and clearly written ECONOMICS IN ONE LESSON by Henry Hazlitt. I think you'll actually enjoy the insight gained."

Mr. Berman: And I cordially invite you to go to Hell. I don't need advice from a condescending fool.

Gene Berman said...

Mr. Anon:

Thanks. And a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours as well.

Mr. Anon said...

"Gene Berman said...

Mr. Anon:

Thanks. And a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours as well."

Thankyou. A Merry Christmas to you too, and best wishes for the New Year.

Anonymous said...

I used to live across the bay in Concord. I'd ride to SF each day on the BART to perform the work I was doing at the time. That involved actually hiking the streets of SF, riding the MUNI, etc.

The sheer FILTH of the place, and the burnt-out husks of the people I saw on Market Street and in places like the UN Plaza would get to me so much that I'd return home each day an emotional wreck.

I can have a pretty hard shell when it comes to people who brought their circumstances on themselves. But when combined with the complete zoo-like atmosphere, the noise, the dirt, the human waste in the gutters and on the BART steps... It got to me.

For what it may be worth, not every gay considers SF some sort of a magnet. Many became fed up with it and left for better, more quiet, and above all DECENT surroundings. Not all of us are what you see in the pride parades and in fact are repulsed by the goings-on in SF.

- the friendly grizzly