Continuing a Theme

I was tempted not to post today because I rather hoped more people would read Michael's post from yesterday featuring an excerpt of a dynamite piece by James Lileks who is hands down one of the best writers on the net.

But this piece about Polish firm PKN Orlen caught my eye.

I still propose a contest of offers, in which the company's supervisory board will select a so-called headhunting company. Shareholders should also have right to propose their candidates. The supervisory board would then select the winner and it seems that this is the only way to select a really good manager," Socha said.

What is so special about this? Well for a start 20 years ago Poland was still labouring under the yoke of Communist oppression. Now it is a full fledged (if somewhat fragile) free market democracy. Poland's economy has moved forward faster than most Eastern Bloc nations and now they are part of NATO and the European Union.

When I was a boy you couldn't even conceive of this happening. Poland was part of the evil empire all goods and services were strictly controlled by the government. And as in any state controlled centrally planned economy they results were atrocious.

Now they have the freedom not only to run their own companies but to pay headhunters to find chief executives for them.

When the Berlin Wall fell and Communism collapsed many Western companies rushed to invest in the former Soviet Bloc. McDonalds was one of the first to arrive. An old Fortune magazine article I once read said that the Polish diet was so poor under Communism that McDonalds was actually healthier than what the population was eating up to that point.

Try getting your head around that when McDonalds is considered to be feeding us poison if you believe the anti-capitalism propaganda that is spewed about the burger chain. Never mind that most people are too lazy to even work out three times a week. If they haul their bloated carcasses into a McDonalds and eat 40 Big Macs it's somehow the company's fault that they are dying from obesity.

Most advocates of state control in economic function are masters of debate by emotion instead of fact.

"We can't leave our water supply or health system up to those who are more interested in profit" they wail. Yet our whole food supply system is in the hands of the private sector. And no one is starving. In fact as Lileks points out in the post below the variety and choice of healthy foods is simply stunning.

No one can convince me that there are very many services that governments try to deliver to the public that can't be better handled by private, for profit firms. Sure things like the military and law enforcement are better off in public hands but that's about it.

Want proof of how much more efficient the private sector is over government? Next time you have to go to a government office to get a permit or a health card renewed or what ever, make sure you go to a McDonalds or other fast food restaurant before or just after you go to the government office.

I am willing to bet that a pimply faced teenager will get you your order in less than a minute while at the government office a sullen overpaid unionized employee will take forever to complete what seems to be a simple task. And I am not even including the horrendous lineups.

Remember this the next time someone is advocating that the government should be allowed to handle some other aspect of your life and vote accordingly.

And if you haven't already read the post just below this one.

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