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Mitt's 'Harvest' Comments: Typical MBA-Speak ... or An Omen of Alien Invasion?

Business  (tags: abuse, americans, business, consumers, corporate, corruption, dishonesty, economy, ethics, finance, government, investments, lies, marketing, money, politics, society )

- 2090 days ago -
David Corn at Mother Jones has released another Romney video. This one's from a Bain Capital meeting in 1985 in which Romney says Bain's business model is to acquire companies and then "harvest them at a significant profit" in five to eight years.

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Kit B (276)
Monday October 1, 2012, 2:15 pm
(image: By Richard (RJ) Eskow)

David Corn at Mother Jones has released another Romney video. This one's from a Bain Capital meeting in 1985 in which Romney says Bain's business model is to acquire companies and then "harvest them at a significant profit" in five to eight years.

The word "harvest" has a creepy, sci-fi ring to it, which inspired me to make the image you see below. (My more serious policy-minded colleagues were clearly unimpressed.) And it brought back a horrifying scene in a white and sterile laboratory, one I'd seen many years ago and have never been able to forget.

But is this new video important?

On the one hand, that's how business people talk all the time, which suggests it's not much of a revelation. On the other hand, that's how business people talk all the time.

Some progressives have been outraged at this impersonal description of places that provided people with their livelihoods. But Ayn Rand cultists like Romney's running mate should be even more outraged. After all, it's a pretty shabby way to talk about enterprises which began as the prized brainchildren of Randian free-market ‹bermenschen.

What does it mean for society when investors increasingly seek to "harvest" a company for a profitable sale? We looked into Bain's impact on the health economy in more detail in "Sick Money."

Here's how it works: Target companies are fattened up like sacrificial animals on a diet of debt, much of which goes to pay the exorbitant fees charged by companies like Bain. That put intense pressure on their management to pump up short-term earnings by any means necessary. Jobs are lost. Companies go bankrupt. The harvest continues.

There are good investment firms with long-term strategies. Then there are the "harvesters," whose fast-buck business model has had repercussions throughout the economy. They take whatever they can, drain it, and move on. They have no need for a healthy national economy anymore - no need for roads, bridges, a thriving middle class, or an educated and health population. They can drain an entire economy to a dry husk and then move on.

That's why from I occasionally compare these new-model financiers to the aliens in Independence Day. Their plan for the Earth was to rip all the natural resources from it and move on, leaving a lifeless husk behind as they headed for the next conquest. So when I saw Corn's video, I photoshopped this:
(See above image)

This was done for fun, of course. But it's a serious subject. And admittedly it's a little over the top to compare Bain Capital to the aliens in Independence Day. In my corporate life I heard people say things like Romney did every day and never thought twice about it. That gets me to that laboratory ...

Well, it looked like a laboratory, but it was really a factory. I was seventeen, and had just landed a summer job, writing press releases and employee newsletter pieces for a now-defunct pharmaceutical company. On my first day the boss, a very nice guy, gave me the grand tour.

The company's grounds held a lot of surprises - a stable with some aging horses, vats that were six stories deep - but the the highest-tech part of the tour began when we put on masks and gowns and entered a large dark room filled with green monkeys. Tubes on the ceiling sent soft breezes of sterile air into the room. Some monkeys stared listlessly into space. Others shrieked and rattled the bars of their cages, which were stacked from the floor to the ceiling.

A small conveyor belt ran from the monkey room into a white, brightly lit sterile room where ... well, I won't go into details, except to say that the last stop on the conveyor belt involved workers with microtomes slicing kidneys into paper thin layers.

Slightly at a loss for words, I muttered something to my new boss about the impressive assembly-line design. "Yep,"he agreed cheerfully, "this is a darned good harvesting operation." For the process to work properly, the monkeys needed to "harvested" alive.

I still remember the first stop on the conveyor belt, where the monkeys slapped at the plexiglass between us. And stared.

Hey, at least Mitt Romney didn't vivisect anybody. He just tried to maximize profits. That was his job. That's why it seems this video isn't that big a story, I guess. But I keep thinking about those monkeys. I can still see them at the first stop on that conveyor belt, staring at us as they slapped their hands on the plexiglas pane that separated us.

Those monkeys: I'll never forget their eyes.

The Bain people didn't talk about these companies or their employees as if they were real. Their dehumanizing language is a natural response to their job duties. Some of them, like my first boss at the pharmaceutical company, are sure to be great folks once you get to know them.

They're not evil. To paraphrase Jessica Rabbit: They're not bad, they're just drawn that way - drawn by the lure of easy money, drawn by the politicians who give them tax breaks and bend the rules for them, drawn by the incentives that society (meaning 'we') give them.

The human cost of these "harvests" is pervasive and terrible. But they're not inevitable, and even in this corrupted democracy the the people behind them aren't all-powerful.

So don't fear the reapers. We're not helpless primates in a science-fiction nightmare. We can take our democracy back, even if we have to wrestle it from the hands of corporatized politicians. We can change the warped incentives in our economic policies and encourage more productive investments - and more responsible business leaders.

At least we can try. And even if we fail, we can do one last thing before they "harvest" our economic future: We can make sure they've looked into our eyes.

By Richard (RJ) Eskow - Campaign for America's Future

Is this the liberal media - I sure hope so!

Past Member (0)
Monday October 1, 2012, 2:19 pm
Mittens, he always talks like one of the pod-people.

Yvonne White (229)
Monday October 1, 2012, 2:21 pm
We should remember the last MBA President was Bu$h the Le$$er - who bankrupted several companies, a State, and finally, the entire United States!!!! Why are "money educated" RepubliCONs so cruelly stupid????

Carrie B (306)
Monday October 1, 2012, 2:36 pm
Not stupid Yvonne - just completely self serving.

JL A (281)
Monday October 1, 2012, 3:01 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Carrie because you have done so within the last week. You cannot currently send a star to Brian because you have done so within the last week. You cannot currently send a star to Yvonne because you have done so within the last week.

I do not want to sit idle and silent for such a 'grim reaper' as Richard describes and it is time to restrain parasites making money at the expense of companies and people adding to the economy and actual economic growth (I count commodities profiteers amongst the parasites if they have no direct business need for the product they have purchased the futures for...).

Kit B (276)
Monday October 1, 2012, 3:24 pm

I can't seem to send out Green Stars either, but my thanks for the comments. I do think it's time that we got our collective act together, stopped being the hand maidens to these self-serving companies and began to work together to build our future, forward, not backwards.

pam w (139)
Monday October 1, 2012, 4:13 pm
Am I the only one who remembers that Richard Gere's character in "Pretty Woman" did this for a living? Bought companies, RAPED them and then moved on....leaving devastation and ruin in his wake.....

It's the good old American dream, isn't it? Ruining companies....?

Angelika R (143)
Monday October 1, 2012, 4:21 pm
I admit I stopped reading when it got to a point that I'd rather not see...Forgive me Kit-but I got the idea. So sick of blood suckers..

marie C (163)
Monday October 1, 2012, 4:27 pm
Noted thanks Kit

Kit B (276)
Monday October 1, 2012, 4:47 pm

Nope Pam, I do remember and it just doesn't make any of this more palatable. These people apparently don't think about who they are hurting or the results for the country at large, they think about the bottom line, without conscience.

Past Member (0)
Monday October 1, 2012, 5:10 pm
Great article. Thanks.

Kamila A (141)
Monday October 1, 2012, 5:29 pm
Take a look at this video, an interview of Dr. Carol Rosin, Aerospace Exec of Fairchild Industries
The alien attack scenario may not be as crazy it sounds now if you consider what they have already done in efforts to create an Orwellian state.

Franshisca Dearmas (89)
Monday October 1, 2012, 6:33 pm
Thanks for the info.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 1:38 am
The world of business, especially big business is tough. I worked for a billionaire who was constantly taking over other companies and 'harvesting" them. Is it wrong? No. Is it unethical? No, not as long as your pay market value for the company. Does it do the economy any good? Yes, many jobs are saved and more are created. Capitalism is not always a pretty plan of action, but the alternatives are usually less effective and uglier.

Read: "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" - Milan Kundera

SuSanne P (193)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 9:06 am
TY Kit. Tears are streaming down my eyes after reading this. I haven't time this moment to watch the video but I will.
I cannot send you a STAR, but know one is sent your way. This statement is the only Hope I have at this point.
"At least we can try. And even if we fail, we can do one last thing before they "harvest" our economic future: We can make sure they've looked into our eyes.

SuSanne P (193)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 9:07 am
TY Kit. Tears are streaming down my eyes after reading this. I haven't time this moment to watch the video but I will.
I cannot send you a STAR, but know one is sent your way. This statement is the only Hope I have at this point.
"At least we can try. And even if we fail, we can do one last thing before they "harvest" our economic future: We can make sure they've looked into our eyes.

SuSanne P (193)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 9:10 am
I will watch Camila's link, but can't see where the video you submitted is Kit. Please help.

Tamara Hayes (185)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 9:39 am
Noted with a very heavy sigh. Thanks Kit.

TomCat S (128)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 11:59 am
It's clear that this vulture capitalist and his party must harvest no votes!

Michael T (82)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 1:51 pm
Do we really want a brain that thinks bain to run the country? He vetoed the health care bill in MA 17 times and then claimed responsibility for it's popularity.
There's a popular venture capitalist formula that's been practiced since the Reagan era and is the source of the ever burgeoning wealth of many of the 1%.. Bain Capital has been particularly successful in its use of this formula.
1- purchase a profitable corporation under the guise of restoring greater profits. This is the signal to Wall Street to start purchasing shares.

2- Lay off the experienced workforce whose labor created the corporation's profit reputation.
This will show short term high profits on the balance sheet and increase the Corporation's market share.
3- this is the signal to Wall Street to dump the inflated shares to pension and insurance plans, while simultaneously insiders get rid of their own now super-inflated stock

4-Break down the corporation and sell the parts because the parts are now worth more than the whole. Bain wins, Wall Street wins: pension plans, banks, long term insurance loses.

Is this the platform of our flip flop politician?

Here is a short video on how this works in greater detail.
After the comments about the 47% this becomes even more important as a consideration.

Lin Penrose (92)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 2:05 pm
Noted Kit and thanks. 1985 - humm - perhaps Mr. Romney has grown and is now ready to be harvested by the investments others have used to fertilized his future. I am not a Romney fan nor of the potential V.P. However, we who are looking at these politicians and others who are leaders in our social groups, must look at our own inter-relationships as social creatures and as earth dwellers. Some humans are living the roles of true parasites and invasive virus (some politicians, governments and religions), some try to clean up the dead (scavengers like lobsters, shrimp, funeral businesses, vultures etc),some try to live symbiotically with each other and the earth (me, maybe you, ants, honeybees, many more -the best we can). Mixtures of the aforementioned, and some I certainly can't identify, exist.
As individuals who can make decisions, who would you want to follow? Who would you like to be? Do you want to be harvested as a tax-payer in many various forms, a factory (females) producing soldiers and tax-payers, a soldier for more wars of questionable purpose for resources? I think Mr. Romeny is a victim, of indoctrination, a source of energy, as most of us are, waiting to be harvested. I won't vote for Mr. Romney, nor those who fertilized his life of more potential terror for this planet.
Guess I'll lose more C2 friends now. Care 2 may not let my comments be printed though.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 2:37 pm

The idea of capitalism is not to take apart other companies and Harvest them for parts. I don't where people get these ideas. Capitalism, a flawed system but one that we will use to the foreseeable future, is actually about entrepreneurship, taking an idea of something the public needs, call it a widget, and then making something, hiring people to make that product, paying employees, selling that widget and making a profit for the entrepreneur The majority of business in this country is small business, people who invest in making their ideas a reality. These are not wealthy people, but they are, or should we be more honest and say they were, the middle class. These are the people that get eaten up by those large conglomerates, or banks that foreclose when a payment is late, these are the people that once could be found on the real MAIN STREET of towns and cities across America. These folks, the ones that served our daily needs, from family owned grocery stores, to flower shops, jewelry stores, restaurants, car washes, gas stations, bakeries, mechanics, and the list goes on and on. These people are the heart of America is also my reason for not shopping at any BIG BOX stores. For the very minuet amount I might save at the cash register, I lose in my community. While Walmart may save a few dollars when you check out, what you get for that money? Where is the food coming from, what are the employees paid, how do these companies grow your parks, your playgrounds, schools, the heart beat of all communities - they do not.

Lin - May I say that any friend you lose for stating your own thinking was not much of friend to begin with, accepting the we are all individuals and each have our unique way viewing things, that is real friendship.

Michael T (82)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 4:35 pm
Very true Kit. However, certain tax codes actually support vulture capital and a growing portion of businessmen are pursuing such an activity because of how it allows them to destroy capital for everyone and make obscene profits while doing so. That's not business, or capitalism, it is the complete opposite of it and is the ruin of this country in so many ways it is almost uncountable.

Mandi T (367)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 9:49 am
Noted (sigh) TY Kit

Lois Jordan (63)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 4:56 pm
Noted & thank you, Kit. Vulture companies are appropriately named. There is no other word for them than "evil."

Jenny Dooley (830)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 6:49 pm
Such a coincidence...I watched Alien Invasion last night.
I can imagine Romney 'harvesting' in this way.

Yvonne White (229)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 8:31 pm
LOL! You cannot currently send a star to Thubten because you have done so within the last week.
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