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Finally: CEO's as heroes?

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DavidV
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In the last few days, I have been encouraged by several media presentations of businessmen as heroes. In particular, the bios of David Oreck and Donald Trump presented productivity, rationality, passion, innovation, and even egoism as virtues.

Is it just me, or has there been a change from the usual vilification of CEO’s as egotistical bastards who either inherit their wealth, or cheat it out of others?

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I wouldn't take it to be anything more significant than the occasional exception to the rule. We're in a mixed economy because of mied premises, so sometimes even the good ones get a (brief) moment in the sun.

I'd be wary of Trump as an icon of capitalism. Long before hearing of Ayn Rand, I read Trump's bio, "The Art of the Deal." I don't think I have a copy anymore, so I can't verify this, but as I recall, it was filled with pictures of Trump shaking hands with celebrities and lots of details about his personal life that didn't shed light on what made him such a good deal maker. What stands out is his need for prestige.

The guy's been in and out of bankruptcy. I've heard that his wealth was made through political pull. For a guy who claims to be a brilliant businessman, he hasn't convinced me he knows how to do it. He seems closer to James Taggart or Peter Keating than Hank Rearden.

(I don't like posting on such vague recollections, but I don't have references immediately available. If someone can confirm/deny the above, please do.)

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He also often uses the principle of eminent domain to "acquire" others' property.  Not to heroic if you ask me.

Did you read John Stossel's book Give Me A Break? He talks about how he confronted Trump about trying to force a little old lady out of her home. Eye opening.

I think of Trump more like James Taggart.

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In the last few days, I have been encouraged by several media presentations of businessmen as heroes.  In particular, the bios of David Oreck and Donald Trump presented productivity, rationality, passion, innovation, and even egoism as virtues. 

Is it just me, or has there been a change from the usual vilification of CEO’s as egotistical bastards who either inherit their wealth, or cheat it out of others?

One of my favorite CEO's is Rodger Riney. I think what's really great is CEO's like him and David Oreck is how they treat their staff. If you go into an Oreck store or a Scottrade branch, the managers (who frequently are the only staff and do everything from cleaning toilets to sales) are basically treated as entrepreneurs. While their stores aren't franchises in the traditional sense, the managers generally have a wide latitude to building their businesses and then share in the profits. In retail, this is outrageously rare.

Another good CEO isS Truett CathyHe's the founder of Chik-Fil-A. He doesn't sell franchises in the usual sense but a manager pays 5k or so for the right to manage and shares in the profits. While they have no choice but to close on Sundays, they do have a very good relationship with the company in general. It's also very different when you compare it to someone like McDonald's or Subway.

What they have in common is they believe in their employees and allow them exercise their own judgements. Another thing that stirkes me is that they all do their jobs because they love doing them. Oreck likes vaccums, Riney loves the stock market, and Cathy loves selling chicken.

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pfft, Trump is a professional celebrity. I have never had much respect for him. He's in the company of Orren Boyle and James Taggart to me. When Stossel confronted him about being a bully and using eminent domain to confiscate people's houses, he stormed out saying "I'm Donald Trump, no one talkes to me that way!"

The CEO that I respect in particular is Richard Branson (CEO of Virgin Inc, a massive corporation, anything that man touches turns to gold)

I have a business management textbook, which profiles the rise of entrepenuers in the United States. Despite a slight liberal trend (well, perhaps liberal trend is too harsh, it merely states the disadvantages a company faces when it racially profiles and refuses to accept diversity and all that other stuff the Liberals love to pass laws about) it will re-affirm your faith in capitalism. It's quite amazing how some of the largest companies in the United States are anywhere from 30 to 50 years old, tops. Most of these people came from nothing, and built their empire with their own bare hands and hard work. Ever since flipping through that book reading it's success stories, I can't help but snicker when someone tells me Capitalism is a system where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Theres so much empirical evidence that denies such a ridiculous notion that there isn't even any need to get into the finer points of morality.

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The problem I have with Trump, although I really enjoy his reality show, is his seeming moral relativism. Everytime I hear him on television and he is asked about celebrities, he says about everyone, "He (she) is a good person." I think I remember hearing him evaluate Martha Stewart and Bill Clinton together as good.

Americo.

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