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Economic Systems in the Abstract, Capitalism Applied
All economic systems use four essential factors of production
to convert raw resources into usable end goods and services:
This is the physical platform upon which production is carried out. Some goods and services require a considerable amount of land; others, hardly any. Agriculture, for example, is land-intensive; so, too, are certain manufacturing processes, particularly those that use technologies involving horizontal assembly lines. Virtually no good or service can be produced without benefit of at least a small amount of land, but many of those goods and services can be produced in ways that substitute other factors of production for quite a bit of the land that could otherwise be used.
This broad category encompasses a virtually uncountable inventory of tangible things: buildings, cranes, trucks and cars, computers, machinery, pens and pencils, conveyor belts and escalators, water and sewerage pipes, telephone poles, electrical equipment, and just about any other inanimate thing or complex of things used to create products or render services. As mentioned above, physical capital can be substituted for land. Fine examples of this can be seen when approaching large cities: as land values rise toward a central business district, the characteristic composition of business changes from those that are land intensive, like agriculture and traditional manufacturing, toward business types that can use vertical buildings to carry out production. That's why the centers of cities are dominated by skyscrapers that house banking, insurance, and high-end hotels: these enterprises can carry out production without benefit of soil-laden land, so they can substitute capitalvertical buildingsfor land that has been bid up in price so high that agriculture and traditional manufacturing can no longer use it profitably.
Brute, animal muscle power has always been the essential stock and trade of living creatures pressed into productive service. In this basic mode, a person is nothing more than a two-legged beast that converts food eaten into kinetic energy directed to the displacement of objects from one position to another. Although the term "labor" is used much more broadly, in terms of productive factors, it is nothing but animated force waiting to be applied to objects.
Although labor is at the very essence of the nature of a person in production, virtually no person remains mere, insensible force. Peopleand, no doubt, quite a few animalsare persistently in transition to more efficient states of force application. Indeed, this process can become so refined, either through individual initiative or through social institutions of a culture, that some workers hardly need to use muscle at all to cause motive action to take place. Formal education, informal learning, experience, deductive and inductive reasoning may all inform the brute labor of better ways to carry out necessary tasks and even more desirable, less risky ways to live and work. Human capital is the on-going result of the internal production process within people that makes them more than mere beasts of burden. Many people go to college or otherwise get training to cultivate and develop their potential to rent themselves to employers as a human capital package rather than as pure labor; but even without any conscious effort on the part of an individual, by the very essence of his or her higher cognitive abilities, learning will instill valuable insights into how work can be done more efficiently.
The particular combination of land, physical capital, labor, and human capital used on a matrix of raw materials to produce a particular good or service is called a technology
, which, in terms of factor composition and raw materials, can be altogether simple or almost impenetrably complex. Technology can also be long-enduring, as was the case for the way arrow heads were made for many thousands of years, or considerably shorter in duration, as was the case with computing systems that used water instead of electrons to symbolically transfer, combine, and render informational meaning to data input and streams.
The four-factor model of production is incomplete; it offers no explanation for how the factors come to bind to a given technology. They will not do so of their own accord because none of them have individual or collective incentive to be anything other than states of being at any given point in time. This is true even of human capital: although it is the uniquely "knowing" factor of production, its knowledge is a potential awaiting application within a technological framework, oneat least, it is hopedfor which the knowledge is useful.
A fifth factor of production must exist, one that has the sole purpose of bringing a technology into expression by actually combining the other four factors in such a way that a desirable outcome, be it a good or service, is attained, where the term 'desirable' is shaped by cultural values, social needs, and individual wants.
Three principal systems, each with a uniquely identifiable fifth factor, can be set forth, although in practice the distinctions become somewhat blurred because of a tendency of the systems to interplay and oscillate.
The first of the three systems is called the traditional
economy, where the fundamental economic problem of how to allocate the scarce resources among competing possible end uses is resolved by rigid application of customs and traditions. The four factors of production are brought to bear on particular matters by way of inviolable edicts prescribing means, methods, and even acceptable goods and services. Enforcement of this marriage of the factors with a chosen set of technologies is generally through a combination of law and culturally ingrained acceptance.
The second of the three systems is called the command
economy, where that fundamental economic problem of how to allocate the scarce resources among competing possible end uses is resolved by injunctive imposition of means, methods, and outcomes by a centralized authority, be it an individual or a collective governing body with the power to compel the factors both to organize as ordered and to do so in production as a specified, unquestioned technology.
The third of the three systems is called the market
economy, where the fundamental economic problem of how to allocate the scarce resources among competing possible end uses is resolved by a refined state of human capital that volitionally bears risk in organizing the four factors, and does so purely with the expectation of acquiring gain commensurate with or exceeding the risk taken. In this kind of economy, the values of goods and services, factors of production, and raw materials are proxied by something called "prices," which reflect relative degrees of their respective scarcities. Consequential to market economies, for better or worse, is that those prices, if not persistently distorted, provide a brutally efficient mechanism by which the entrepreneurial skill
, the fifth factor of production in market economies, determines the most efficient technology to bring to bear on a particular production problem.
Once again, traditional, command, and market economies are paradigms that do not exist in the real world. Perhaps most notably, the individual incentive to gain personal advantage and reward ensures that, even in the most repressive of authoritarian regimes, people will bear risk for expected gain. In this same way, when expressed prices are prohibited from reflecting actual levels of relative scarcity, as is the case in a regime of effective price controls, non-explicit pricing mechanisms like queues (waiting lines), side agreements, and full-blown black markets become part of the full prices consumers pay.
At the same time, market economies are shaped not merely by personal greed, but more fundamentally by cultural, religious, and legal lines of force that encourage certain technologies, discourage others, and inform the matrix of end-result goods and services that will be available to households, businesses, and government agency buyers. Moreover, inherent within market economies are powerful forces encouraging entrepreneurial skill to direct itself to distorting the competitive landscape to such an extent that prices no longer reflect relative scarcities and sometimes don't even push technological innovation that would otherwise substitute away from factors whose price relatives have made them no longer desirable to use extensively. Such market concentration
, driven as it is by the natural desire to ensure, sustain, and make permanent a stream of cash flowwhat is sometimes generically referred to as "rent-seeking"ends up diminishing the much-heralded and otherwise quite typical efficiency that market economies have when compared to command and traditional economies.
However, entrepreneurial skill is what makes a market economy what it is: a landscape of business solutions to production problems wherein individuals, companies, and other expressions of enterprise take it upon themselves to organize the other four factors of production in such a way that goods and/or service are brought forth for consumers, be they households, other businesses, or perhaps government purchasing entities. It is then that the right and power of these end users comes to the fore because it is they who decide whether or not to buy and whether or not to buy in sufficient quantities to make it worth the money, time, and risk the entrepreneurial skill is expending in the enterprise. This is what is meant by "consumer sovereignty."
With all of that in mind, your host here at The Dark Wraith Forums herewith announces to readers the following goods and services, all of which are offered under the banner of Dark Wraith Publishing.
Dark Wraith Publishing Online Store
: This is a stand-alone shopping site offering visitors an eclectic selection of graphical art prints; pre-owned jewelry and other merchandise of better quality; magnetic hematite bracelets sold under the Dark Wraith Jewelry label; and other items as become available from time to time. The digital art prints are all remastered from graphics presented in articles here at The Dark Wraith Forums. Some are large, 24"×18" poster-sized prints; others are smaller, on the order of approximately 10"×8". The pre-owned jewelry and other items, like stuffed mink bears and natural-wood wall clocks, are being sold on commission. Other items of jewelry, aside from the Dark Wraith Jewelry label merchandise, include occasional offerings of handmade necklaces and earrings designed and created by a native of Ecuador living here in the United States. The inventory of that hand-made jewelry is thin, but I anticipate another small shipment of necklaces and earrings within a couple of weeks. Ah, yes: I'm also selling custom-designed bumper stickers. Only a small number of each will be offered, and these sales will be serial; so, if you like the one that's available now, buy it before it's sold out because it won't be offered again for a while. Soon, I'll be offering a line of high-end, hand-made coats for plus-size women under a commission agreement with the manufacturer (yes, the apparel is made right here in the U.S., believe it or not). Also, I expect eventually to offer DVDs of my economics lectures, as well as a 2008 Dark Wraith Publishing calendar.
I should also be able to offer some other exclusives or semi-exclusives as time goes along, but we'll see about that. For now, much of the merchandise being offered is pre-owned, on commission. By all means, if you have higher end merchandise you're interested in selling in a secure, online store, please let me know. My commission rate is brutally unreasonable, but the store in which goods are being sold does look pretty nice.
Dark Wraith Publishing Bookstore
: Powered by Amazon.com, Dark Wraith Publishing Bookstore is a nice little frame of books I personally recommend, all available from Amazon.com. The Website, itself, is actually my own; I made the Amazon.com Website provided for me into an embedded IFRAME so I could put my own advertising content in it, as well. I can open more rooms in the Amazon bookstore, so if anyone has some serious recommendations, send me an e-mail message. At the very least, I can name any new room in the bookstore for the individual whose recommended books are featured there. Some regulars here, by the way, might have noticed that the Dark Wraith Publishing Bookstore was slipped in as a giant frame at the bottom of this Website a few days ago. Then again, no one mentioned seeing it, which could mean no one noticed it. Of course, putting anything important at the very bottom of a long-winded Website like this one is not a particularly good way to get the content noticed, I suppose. That should have occurred to me before I thought coding the bookstore in down there was a good idea on which to spend an hour and a half.
Dark Wraith Textbook Vendor Portal
Prowling around the sites above may reveal to the probing visitor several other properties of Dark Wraith Publishing, specifically, a few Dark Wraith Publishing storefronts from reputable companies in the Plow & Hearth family of stores. (Without drooling about that particular company, I am most impressed by the founders' efforts to offer lines of children's toys at Magic Cabin
that key on simple, old-fashioned designs free of high-technology: simple, fun toys that develop core cognitive abilities are miraculously effective as "educational" devices because self-motivated imagination builds powerful abstraction and reasoning skills far better than any computer hardware or software ever could or ever will. Period
Now, speaking of advertisers, visitors to the main store and the other commercial properties will find a veritable menagerie of reputable companies. Although not exhaustive, the list (in no particular order) includes the following: Amazon.com
, Regent International Hotels
, A&E Television Networks and The History Channel
, Madison Avenue Mall
, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
, Barnes & Noble
, Hot Topic
, Starbucks Store
, Apple iTunes
, Delta Airlines
, Diamonds International
, Health Benefits Direct
, Magic Cabin
, Plow & Hearth
, Liz Claiborne
, Microsoft Windows Marketplace
, Radisson Hotels and Resorts
, Sierra Club
, and Student Universe
. You'll see others at the various sites; I just can't remember all of them right now. I should note that every one of these advertisers is getting free exposure; I earn money only on the very rare occasion that a visitor clicks on an ad and then purchases something from the vendor. That's how it works for Webmasters at my end of the game. It's not particularly desirable, but I like the fact that, unlike mainstream online media and the A-list bloggers, I'm not beholden to the corporate interests: I don't take the money in advance of performing the service for which I have been granted affiliate status; therefore, I don't have to worry about not getting my regular paycheck because there is
no regular paycheck.
Wandering across these commercial properties of Dark Wraith Publishing, you are seeing a hard-core, bottom-level application of capitalism. I am all at risk. The odds are overwhelmingly against ever recovering the opportunity cost of hundreds of hours of coding, graphical design, photographing products, setting up affiliate relationships, and fine-tuning everything for search engine optimization. The odds are overwhelmingly against ever recovering the actual moneymy own, none of it borrowedinvested in this enterprise. I am all at risk of having a hundred thousand competitors offer better merchandise, better prices, better looking Websites, and better promotional copy. I am all at risk of having some hoehandle sue me for something stupid. I am all at risk of having some malcontent figure out a way to beat my security systems. In summary, I am all at risk of getting my backside kicked really hard. Again.
On the other hand, as much as I have the right to take an absolute economic beating, I also take to myself the right to create something I never would have created if I had been told to do it by some authority. I can also rest assured that no government, no central authority, would ever have created something exactly like what I have done. I need not share the gain earned from my labor with the "collective" except to the extent that my profit be reasonably taxed to provide for the common good; and within that common good, I have no problem with the government appropriating a sufficient amount of my earnings to pay the many to stay at home and out of my way in the competitive environment.
Also, I should note that this is the kind of capitalism that does not rely on corporate chicanery, sloth, and machinations to earn money. Unlike a veritable host of corporations that hide behind their corporate veil from accountability and liability, I need not seek my gain in the unconscionable blood money of needless war, pork-barrel politics, and contributions to the politicians in control of this grant or that government contract. To that extent, should my enterprise survive and endure, it will not be at the teat of the very government against which the fatcats of industry whine so mightily and pay their shills to condemn so roundly. As much as I find wearisome the clarion call to massive government interfering in my right to be economically free, I find entirely exasperating the cry of the phony conservatives who sound the clarion call to free markets when they would be the first to get slaughtered were they to face competition without their phalanx of lawyers, anticompetitive tricks, and loyal boards of directors to vote them compensation packages obscenely in excess of the gain they merit from their business acumen.
Please visit my sites; and let me know what you think. If you tell me my prices are too high, I'll take the criticism in stride. If you tell me my coding and Web design skills are wanting, I'll be downright offended.
The Dark Wraith draws the line at some kinds of constructive criticism.
Wraith! Wow! Just WOW! You've been so busy!
So, this is that project you've been working on?! Great stuff and great work (as always), Wraith. You never cease to impress me. Fantastic you! I hope you will add the nice graphic links to all the other sites under the Dark Wraith umbrella, too. And you know I'll try and do what I can.
Now, I had to chuckle (sorry!) at your side bar Art of Grousing over the hassles with your internet provider, cuz I've been there, and done that, way too many times. "I have to call for tech support because I can't connect to the internet." Then, there's that darn menu button punch dance... press 1 for this, press 2 for that... (press 3 and byte me!) and then get put on "ignore" while you (im)patiently wait for a human to answer. And while you're waiting and waiting...
canned message loops say, "If you're having problems, look for the solution on our site..." and other repeated loopy crapola I don't want to hear. Please! just torment me with elevator muzak instead!
Same with the electric company when the power is out: Call up to report the outage, recording says, "try checking us out online." Like, DUH? Idiots!
Ooh, I like to push that back at the (poor) rep that gets to handle MY call! Of course, I do apologize to the rep, and tell them they're just caught in between me and the idiots that I'm really ticked off with. (Never end a sentence a preposition with. *snicker* Pbbbtht!)
I did browse around your bookstore already...
Some regulars here, by the way, might have noticed that the Dark Wraith Publishing Bookstore was slipped in as a giant frame at the bottom of this Website a few days ago. Then again, no one mentioned seeing it, which could mean no one noticed it.
Or, it could mean that by the time one did notice, the comments were closed! :-(
Congrats and good luckies on your new ventures, Wraith. I do love your stuff.
Good evening, Moody Blue.
Actually, I sort of knew a few people were rummaging around down at the base of this Website. Of course, blackdog and Mr. Goat were down there looking for the secret entrance to the Snack Storage Room, but I think I thwarted their efforts by setting up a false door that actually leads to the outhouse.
Or maybe it leads to the Inner Rituals Room, where we ceremonially (and ceremoniously) sacrifice effigies of Notable Neo-Conservatives.
I hope they didn't find that room; I haven't cleaned up in there from last week's life-size Dick Cheney Voodoo Doll waterboarding festival. That got pretty wild, especially when the doll started hollering, "I don't have a brain for you to wash!"
Where was I? Oh, yes: the new stores. Thank you for the compliments. Only time will tell if they are a successful venture. If nothing else, I'm certainly better at coding now than I thought I was a month ago.
The Dark Wraith is getting too old to learn new tricks.
LOL at the false door! I needed a good laff, thank you!
Seriously, Wraith, you always, ALWAYS do great work.
And stop with the "too old" crap, already! You've got many miles left to go, my dear.
And Happy Thanks Giving, Wraith. Thank you, for being you.
Greetings Dark Wraith,
How wonderful it was to wander around your new store. I will keep it in mind when I wish to spend my hard earned and slowly depreciating american currency. ;) So much to choose from..you have been very, very busy..like having our own Santa Claus with a wicked wit!
I noticed that the link to your Textbook Portal is pointing to textbooks.html but the link is actually http://dark-wraith.com/store/textbooks/
I hope all is well with you over this "festive" week-long break.
You have indeed been a busy bee. You caught me snoopin', huh? Moody Blue is correct; Comments were closed.
The gift selection is kinda oomphy, which might be a really good thing. Selling goods that are not readily available elsewhere is always a good thing! The Textbook Store is a wonderful idea. Hopefully you'll also get non-student purchasers, for whatever reasons. All in all, this looks readily expandable, so who knows.
I see great things for your future here, soon's that PIE section gets opened up!
The Economic Project for the New Wraith Century is very well done, indeed! It’s the kind of site I would have done if I had the time…or your skills! Congrats.
I hope a number of your students will use it to gain a little insight.
I did particularly enjoy the “back door” comment. I’ve visited a lot of back doors in my computer life. Some leave the key in the obvious places; others do a so-so job of putting it above the jamb. I won’t comment on yours other than the pictures are very nice…and I hope they sell.
You might consider setting up a service for aspiring young money-makers. It could be profitable so long as no one gets too greedy. It seems that IS the word of the day...get as much as possible from a few and if more are attracted, well, that’s fine.
I do have one criticism. While I’m not a super Animal rights activist, and I know those critters are really mean, nasty cusses, I probably won’t be ordering any of Mr. Roosevelt’s namesakes. Just my opinion.
Regardless. Very nice job on the site. And believe me, some of us understand and appreciate the coding nightmares you must have endured, unless of course, you tricked some undergrads into thinking they got extra credit for assistance! I found that alleviates a lot of work, not headaches, just work.
Good afternoon, Father Tyme.
Unfortunately, finding hard-core coders is not all that easy. Fifteen years ago, I had a truly decent little community of young hackers I was overseeing, but times have changed: I know of only two or three right now who have the potential, and none of them are even remotely interested in the lone gunman lifestyle.
One of them just posted his first (I think it's his first, anyway) comment, here. He's as bright as I've seen in a long time, and he is one of only a few former students to whom I would ever give registered commenter status, in part because I trust him and in part because he defies the New Age Law of Gravity (to wit, intelligence of college students is going down like a rock heading for a black hole of neo-conservatism).
Now, as far as those bears are concerned, no minks were killed for the bears. That's right, the craftsman who makes them is dedicated to using animal fur, but only animal fur that was previously part of expensive coats. The minks were killed for the coats, not for the bears.
Most minks are at a loss for an explanation.
Ergo, their fur is now on teddy bears.
The Dark Wraith nails the hide to the wall.
Good evening, trog.
Actually, concerning the idea of selling pies, I suppose I could sell desserts, but I'm afraid that keeping them fresh in transit would be problematic. I guess a big bag of ice included in the packaging might work.
I'll have to think about that. Maybe I should ask Minstrel Boy how he keeps those holiday truffles fresh that he mails out every year.
I just thought of another problem: if I mail French cream pies, how do I keep them from getting all messed up by those manhandlers at the post office? That could be a real problem.
The Dark Wraith might want to give up the whole Desserts-by-Mail idea until he can send them over a broadband connection.
Egad, the false door leading to the outhouse ploy!!
Goat and I fell for it, last I saw the goat was galloping toward the hills and I have spent the last several days under the house.
Thankfully we didn't see any neo-con horrors, just the contents of the outhouse which was pretty rough. I was going to roll in it in preparation for a later date, but Goat took off like a shot, so I did too.
Missed out on the date, guess I'll just get a book instead.
As to you problem with your broadband, O Dark One, let me inform you what it's like to be officially stoopid.
Yesterday a potent cold front went through, the temps went from close to 80* to a low of just over freezing in hours. Today it almost got to 50*, not arctic but in a house insulated by wasps building dirt and paper nests in the walls the heat flowed out quickly. The pilot lite in the main ultra-high-tech heater was lit but the main burner wouldn't come on. So last night it was coolish to say the least.
This afternoon I checked out the aforementioned nuklear heater and found that the position valve, conviently located on the back, protected by a metal cover that barely lets paws of my size in was in the pilot position.
Used to tell students that it was OK to be stoopid, it took no skill at all and was common to everyone at times.
Sometimes I think my previous statements come back to haunt me.
My apologies, oh great Dark One, for not mentioning another one of your great Economics lessons here, also. (Given the late hour low brain function, I guess I kind of got side tracked with all that other neat stuff... whoopsie.)
Thank you for the lesson, Professor.
(And as for what you said about all that coding stuff, well... it sounded kind of like English, but it read more like Geek, to me! I'll gladly leave that to the hacking coders who know how to do, and actually enjoy, all that fancy kind of footworking. We can't all be in the parade... somebody has to applaud as it goes by. I'll just stay curbside, and enjoy the show.)
Good evening, blackdog.
I must point out that I have spent years educating myself in Stupid. My coursework has included Hands-On Stupid; Stupid Is As Studid Does; Advanced Stupid Lab; Stupid As A Butt Pimple; Managerial Stupid; Logistics and Transportation Stupid; Warp Stupid; Introduction to So Stupid It Hurts; Intermediate So Stupid It Hurts; Advanced So Stupid It Hurts; Dissertation Research in So Stupid It Hurts; and Applied Stupid for Evolutionary Dead-Ends.
Yes, blackdog, I am not merely an expert in Stupid; I am, in fact, the authority in Stupid.
Don't believe me? Last Summer, I turned on a gas grill, only to realize I had no matches (no one told me about that red button that actually ignites gas grills without matches these days).
I went into the house and found some matches. It took me a minute or so.
I then went back out, lit a match, and tossed it through the grill and onto the burner thing.
Blackdog, you probably understand better than most what happened next. That's right: the gas grill went "WOOF!"
I spoke in tongues. It was something like, "AAAYee'uhHuh'a-muthah-hot-'n-hot."
I think that's ancient Scythian, but I'm not sure.
People were watching; that's the part I hate.
Yes, dog, I have worked hard for my advanced degree in Stupid.
The Dark Wraith, at every possible occasion, wants to promote the benefits of a well-rounded educational background.
Good evening, Moody Blue.
I just posted an altered version of this article, entitled "Economic Systems," over at Big Brass Blog. I took out the references to my commercial operations and expanded more than a little bit on the core economics lesson.
The Dark Wraith is getting back to work following his frolic in the world of shopping cart Website development.
Speaking of speaking in tongues, that was "chokin' on popcorn from laughing" funny!
(As opposed to "chokin' on a pretzel" post-birth-abortion attempts.)
outstanding work friend wraith! beautiful display. excellent titles too. i can personally recommend "sutras of abu grhaib" and "broken government" (as a matter of fact, i heartily recommend the last two books by john dean also) "imperial hubris" is also a wonderfully written polemic.
best of luck on your venture. (maybe we can work a truffle trade out to dodge the tax man through barter)
Indeed, Minstrel Boy, from what I've heard, the IRS is still not using the modern information retrieval methods so popular with other agencies of the Executive Branch.
That seems odd to me. Throughout history, tax collectors have had the reputation of being the brutish, torturing sorts; now, here we are in the 21st Century, and the IRS is behind the curve on enhanced techniques for getting what it wants.
Tax collectors just aren't what they used to be.
Maybe I can talk them into buying some of my posters.
The Dark Wraith thinks those large art prints would look good in a few government agency main foyers.
I just posted an altered version of this article, entitled "Economic Systems," over at Big Brass Blog.
Thank you (forever the student!) for the direction to your expanded version.
I took out the references to my commercial operations…
May I ask what opinions you might have on the use of advertising for marketing purposes? (I'm guessing that there may be several points of view, from different perspectives, on this?)
When I called the Wraith’s hotline to order that special something for someone,
I’m became a little disheartened.
After placing my order with that nice Hindu operator, I was told they wouldn’t accept my American Money!
Surprised, I asked why. And this is what she said…
(With apologies to Silver and Cohn,
Yes, We have no bananas)
Ta duh, duh dum dum dah…
There's an internet store in cyber spathe
It's run by our own good Wraith.
And he keeps good things to eat
But you should hear him speak!
When you ask him anything, he never answers "no".
He just "yes"es you to death,
And as he takes your dough, he tells you...
"Yes! We don’t take no dollars
We take no more dollars today!!
We take sheqels and Rupee, Lempira and Zloty
And all kinds of Euros and say
We take an old fashioned Ngultrum
A Chungking new Yuan, but
"Yes! We don’t take no dollars
We take no more dollars today!!
Business got so good for him that he wrote home today,
"Send me Trog and Goat and blackdog; I need help right away."
When he got them in the store, there was fun, you bet.
Someone asked for "special grass"
and then the whole quartet
Answered all en mass:
"Yes! We don’t take no dollars
We take no more dollars today!!
Just try those Teddy Birrs
Those Rubles and Pesos
They ain't worth much anyway.
We'll sell you two kinds of pictures,
Virtual and some with Scriptures,
But yes, don’t take no dollars
We take no more dollars today!!
...after this brief interlude, we'll be taking requests!! (Tips in Ameros only, Please!)
The Dark Wraith should not have purchased air freshener for this hotel from the traveling salesman in the VW minibus.
what i do with my truffles, involves simply spending the money it takes to only ship overnight. there really is no alternative. i thought, at first about freezing them and then shipping, but nasty things began happening. the ganache center not only expanded cracking the chocolate shell, which is an invitation for fungal bloom, it also broke down that gorgeous liason i create with the chocolate, cream, butter, and subtle flavoring agents. i had to restrict my attempts to shipping overnight, the day after manufacture. expansion of the truffle business would involve franchising and opening a store locally, or only catering to folks who are willing to pay the freight costs, which often outstrip the cost of the truffles themselves.
Good morning, Moody Blue.
You asked "...what opinions [I ] might have on the use of advertising for marketing purposes." That's about three courses I would teach in marketing, and there's not much opinion about it, at least not until quite a few of the underlying marketing principles have been set forth.
I have resisted the temptation to publish a video series of my lectures on marketing. I almost did, but I had better thoughts at the last moment and deleted the two video files before they ever went to YouTube and Revver. (Now, although many of the regular readers here would understand to a greater or lesser extent what my underlying purpose is in teaching marketing the way I do, I most certainly have no interest in getting those whacked-out Leftist crackpots started on me again.)
Anyway, although advertising is a crucial component of marketing, it is by no means synonymous with marketing, which covers a whole range of activities involved in everything from idea-generation to testing to packaging to consumer and competitor market analyses to placement to after-sale service to pricing to elasticity of demand to supplier relationships to... to...
Okay, I'm going to end up writing the table of contents for a marketing book if I don't stop.
Suffice it to say that my online store is actually a nice little case study. The truth of the matter is that an online store is a complicated little bundle of marketing maneuvers; and Internet selling is brutally rough because small players have to figure out a niche that avoids going head-to-head with giant online retailers people naturally trust far more. At the same time, getting noticed is a difficult—actually, next-to-impossible—exercise. The only lever I have, other than to tease the search engines to pay attention, is through my own content-driven Websites. I can put advertisements in the sidebars at Big Brass Blog and The UnCapitalist Journal (although advertising at the latter site is a bit of an intellectual exercise in working at cross purposes), but the only place where I can engage in promotion beyond static advertising is here.
This, rather obviously, points to the distinction between "advertising" and "promotion," the latter of which I did in the present article. A subset of the promotion was the advertising, but there was more to the marketing that went on here than just promo and ad work: here, I did some marketing as far as testing. Not only was I interested in hit rates to the selling sites, but I was also interested in sub-hits, returns, click-throughs on ads, loading times, etc.
The backroom results of this marketing phase will take me a little while to review, but I can tell quite a bit already. Although it's not exactly catastrophic, this venture is probably not going to be successful, at least not right away. It's not much different from small brick-and-mortar stores: the main clientèle will be "locals," and only through cross-marketing relationships is there any hope of expansion. Purchase rates will be very typical of small, Internet enterprises: well below a tenth of a percent of hits. (Well below a tenth of a percent.) That's pretty normal, and the only way around that is to have the accidental hot-hot-hot product, which is a totally random thing that has very little to do with marketing genius, although those who are beneficiaries of this random luck are presented in retrospect as being exactly that.
I am rambling here. That's what I do when I start in on a subject that I should be addressing in a long, detailed article that goes through lots of foundational groundwork before talking about applications. Eventually, I might write an article or two on marketing principles, but I think I'll wait for a long while before doing that. The last thing I need is for students to stumble into this Website and read something that makes them think marketing is a great college major. It isn't.
The Dark Wraith should lay off the marketing talk, now.
Good morning, Minstrel Boy.
There might be an alternative. I'll have to look into it, but I'll send you an e-mail message if I get a confirmation.
The Dark Wraith will be in touch.
Dark Wraith Posted on 11/23/07 at 10:56:00
Thank you for that, Wraith.
Aha! you've only lightly touched on it and I now realize that it's even more vastly complicated than I had imagined. I had kind of figured as much. (That's why you're the teacher.) Some of this I do understand but there is more that I need to learn about, because some of it just doesn't make sense to me. (That's why I’m still only the student.) I understand some of the basic reasons for using advertising (to make yourself, your product, your services, your business, etc., known to a larger "audience") so that you can increase your business volume (?). But some of it, I just don't get.
For instance, I don't understand the logic of being a trapped victim of what I would call "captive audience" marketing / promotions, like what happens when you're stuck on "ignore" (hold) waiting to talk to a tech support rep for your internet provider, and you get the endless looped "we've got this, and we've got that," yada yada… and "check out our great cable offerings on line," blah, blah, blah, -- and, "aren't you excited?" (Uh, well no, not really – I have other thoughts of what "excited" means! And watching TV isn't even on the list.) "And, oh, we want to take over your phone service, too." I mean, I already know about all that stuff, and have known for a while: I get it in the mail with my bill, I see it on my cable TV, I get their darn messages on the cable box, and I even get it in emails. It's all much like spam. Then, I'm forced to listen to it while on hold? It's just too much! There's a point, I think, at which you are alienating your customers, more than promoting yourself.
Nor does it make sense while sitting on hold waiting for internet tech support ("for problems with your internet, press 2") and having to listen to endless loopy messages about how great their internet service is, (and more "yada yada, blah blah blah"), when I've already got the internet service, and I'm sitting stuck on hold waiting for tech support because of connections problems with that service. But to have to keep hearing the message that their service is "always on" over and over is enough to make me shriek when the reason I’m sitting on hold and waiting is because their dang service ISN'T on always! "And thank you for being patient. We value our subscribers." (Puke.) I guess logic isn't my strong suit. And the longer I have to wait, the more I have to sit and listen, the more I'm so fired up by the time a real live person comes on the line.
(Of course, having just this week gone through this nonsense, once again, because the "system was being upgraded" --which, IMO, should be seamless and without any customer awareness or service interruption-- leaving me without access to the net for several hours, has nothing at all to do with my still being fired up at them. Heh. )
I just have strong objections to that kind of advertising being forced on me. It's more than enough like "propagandizing" (IMO) without adding in more craziness!
Now, I do understand and am much more forgiving of events beyond their control, like severe storms and major grid outages.
Whew! Sorry that I got a little rantish. Talk about rambling ranting when cranky! Sheesh! Well, I guess I was really trying to say you shouldn't feel that you're the only one who yells back at the loopy canned messages!
You've done some great work on this newest project, Wraith. I'm still exploring through it and enjoying doing so. I certainly do appreciate the time and talent it has taken, too.
You give so much, and you truly deserve something back for all you do, besides just mere words of gratitude. But I think I better understand your reasons for just promoting and advertising your commercial venture here, for now.
Thank you, for all you do, my friend.
There might be an alternative.
Yeah, right. I don't think your suggestion to "eat all the ones that look iffy", is gonna go over big with the Accounting Dept.; Not to mention Shipping might just try getting in on the act themselves! I have to admit, your argument that "shipping costs would be much lower"-pure genius!
Wonderful Post Dark Wraith Sir.
A comment, Minks aren't rodents, they're mustelids (Weasels)
kissing cousins of the current crop in Washington these days.
Mustelids. Stunned, I believe you are on to something here.
Good afternoon, Stunned, and thank you for the correction. I was of a mind that they weren't rodents, but I would not have come up with mustelids even if a gun had pointed to my head by one of the furry varmints.
I must point out that biology was never one of my strong suits. I avoided coursework in life sciences like some people avoid okra, even though I spent a bit of time preparing for a major in physical anthropology, a field for which I retain an unfulfilled passion.
But biology and all those related fields? Naw.
I think it has something to do with that whole eat-and-be-eaten circle of life thing. I over-personalize the "be-eaten" arc of the circle.
Firearms help; but that's a trade-off kind of scenario, too.
The Dark Wraith still looks back fondly on the days o asymmetric warfare.
See, thass what I'm talkin' about! Don't "be-eaten" all the profits in the Truffles Dept.!
A minor correction is in order.
The truffles that Minstrel Boy makes are never to be eaten; they are to be savored.
The Dark Wraith knows how to dine properly.
Hopefully this will lead to an essay by DW on who/what is really at the top of the food chain.
Good evening, Dark Wraith.
In reading through the comments, I was glad you explained that the mink bears were not the direct cause of the poor little minks' deaths.
Good evening, Old White Lady.
In fact, I'm going to change the copy in the item descriptions. Although the maker made very clear that the way she uses animal furs is part of an actual arts-and-crafts movement in the making of high-end stuffed animals, it didn't really strike me at the time as being significant. Now that I understand more about it, I'm going to make that abundantly clear in the descriptions.
I'm also going to offer all three as a single purchase at a discount to what they'd cost individually.
I should also point out, as far as products at the store are concerned, that I just put several of my lecture series up as DVDs. For some reason, I was having a devil of a time turning the WMV files into the format that can be played on regular home DVD players. I have some pretty heavy duty software for that kind of thing, and it wasn't working; then I decided to try a low-end, very low cost program I've had for quite some time but never used. Well, I'll be darned, the thing burns DVDs without a hitch.
I'm still trying to figure why the fancy stuff couldn't do something so simple, yet the cheap stuff could.
The Dark Wraith sees a lesson in there somewhere.
Good evening Mr. Wraith.
And a belated Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Good Evening All...
I'm back from the wilderness of Michigan. Too many outlaws, still feeling ill, and having to ride herd on the young'uns, as well as forgetting to bring the laptop means I'm just now catching up here.
This may find several folks here to strike a chord with (I laughed hysterically, but YMMV and I've been sick).
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