Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Quote of the day: "...the sugar sanded"

From Louisa May Alcott's Little Men:
Jack Ford's peculiar pastime was buying and selling; and he bid fair to follow in the footsteps of his uncle, a country merchant, who sold a little of everything thing and made money fast. Jack had seen the sugar sanded, the molasses watered, the butter mixed with lard, and things of that kind, and labored under the delusion that it was all a proper part of the business. 
I regret to say that I may have seen the sugar sanded now and again (not recently, of course.) 

7 comments:

  1. Whenever I talk to an immigrant from latin america or the middle east, I realize any sugar sanding here in the US is minimal. Despite the fact that I want Trump to close the border with a huge wall, these stories still give me some sympathy for people who want to come here. The problem really is corruption in other parts of the world, and that's what makes it hypercompetitive here.

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  2. Jack Ford was rational, not delusional. American businessmen are forced to be dishonest (oops, I mean hypercompetitive) because of them evil furriners.

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    1. I think he was saying that lots of other governments are more corrupt and/or less effective, so people who want to cheat can do so without consequences (either the government doesn't care, can't do anything, or has been paid off). The US isn't a the top of the uncorrupt scale, but it's better here than most other places (except maybe Chicago and Louisiana). The Chinese diethylene glycol and melamine scandals would be appropriate examples of what people would do if no one is looking or cares (the diethylene glycol scandal was almost identical to the one in the US that got the FDA started).

      The World's Most Dangerous Places (4th edition?) had the tidbit that when one of the leaders of KFOR landed in Albania, the first word he learned was "baksheesh".

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  3. If you were referring to me: corruption in other parts of the world causes the brightest in these lands with hopes and dreams to come to the US and study and find a job here in the natural sciences. I know this from talking with immigrants who are disgusted with the corruption in their countries and hope for a better life here; practically none of them want to return to the land they came from (makes sense, since life is so much better here). So once they get there green cards/citizenship, they are in the pool with native born americans to find jobs. If jobs in the US in the natural sciences are not expanding at the rate that programs are producing graduates and this country gives green cards to these immigrants, then it becomes a hypercompetitive job market to those who would like to find a decent job.

    If these corrupt places corrected themselves that would lead to opportunity in these other countries and there would be fewer immigrants coming here, making it less competitve in the US. Don't expect that happen any time soon. In fact, a lot of countries are now worse off (Phillipines, Venezuela, Brazil, middle east) than ever according to the immigrants.

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    1. When I read it first, I assumed qvxb was referring to your comment. Afterwards I wasn't sure.

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    2. NMH,

      Please accept my apologies. I misunderstood your original post. I thought you were justifying shady practices by US businesses on their need to compete with foreign firms that were unhampered by regulations. Obviously you were not and I agree with your analysis.

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    3. qvxb: thank you, but I really am a jerk. But Im pretty sure I wouldn't be if competition were not so extreme and EVERYBODY in the field could get a great job if they wanted one.

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