Economics and Politics

Harold Lasswell was an American political scientist and communication theorist. For those who study economics and communication, he’s the guru of the model of communication style that focuses on “Who says what to whom in what channel with what effect.”

He defined “Economics” as the study of how societies allocate scarce resources, deciding what to produce, how and for whom.

He defined “Politics” as the process of deciding who gets what, when and how (in fact, he wrote the book on this!).

As business owners, we use the mechanics of our economic system to produce products or provide services for people. We produce income in order to provide for ourselves and our families, and if we’re fortunate, a little profit. Profits can be difficult to make because of taxes and regulations. Those things are decided upon by politicians.

In other words, the economy tells us what we can do. Politicians choose what we actually do.

We know that the rules of the game are determined by those with the biggest wallets and their lobbyists who have the politicians in their back pocket. As Mark Twain once said about Congress, “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself…”

We’re in the preview months of a presidential election cycle, the craziest, most confusing election cycle most of us can remember. Read much, stay focused. Get to know the candidates inside and out. The one we choose will determine our future economy.

Why We Celebrate Labor Day

Whoopee, a 3-day weekend! Our reward for the determination we have those 5 or 6 days of the week when we turn off the alarm, and instead of pressing the snooze button and heading back under the covers, we roll out of bed and go to work. We all look forward to Labor Day, we all know it’s a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September, but do you know it’s why? It all started with a parade to cheer up big labor.

During the depression of 1893, employees of the Pullman Company started a wildcat strike that, with the help of the American Railroad Union, shut down rail travel in Pullman cars. Thirty people died and there were $80 million worth of property damages. President Grover Cleveland and Congress wanted to make Americans feel better about big labor. What better than a street parade? The first Labor Day parade was held on a Tuesday, September 5, in New York City. Picnics, speeches, and resolutions followed, finally turning into Labor Sunday, which then (why not?) became Labor Monday as a benefit for the retailers in the U.S. (though ironically, their employees have to work the second busiest buying day of the year after Black Friday).

Labor Day also marks the end of summer, the beginning of the school year, and the last day women can wear white shoes (or so they say).

At the height of the industrial revolution, the average American worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week. The Labor Movement called for an 8-hour work day in 1836, and it was established by law in 1916. The law is still on the books, but today the average American works 9.4 hours a day, five days a week.

So what will you do with your 3-day holiday? Shop, relax, travel, picnic with family and friends? Whatever you do, enjoy pressing the snooze button and feel free to dive back under the covers for some extra sleep time.