The Jackdaw Journal
A Publication of M2 Communications

jack-daw [JAK-dah], n. 1. a glossy, black, European bird, corvus monedula, of the crow family, that nests in towers, ruins, etc.; has a proclivity to collect bright objects that attract its attention; can include bits of ice, things round or square, twigs, filaments of light bulbs; specialist on the lookout of what fits the construction of its nest.

jackdaw journal [JAK-dah JERN-al], n. 1. a repository of bright objects — wit, wisdom and whimsey — collected and/or created by Michael McKinney.   2. a web log or blog


Business Archives
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Why Bankruptcy?

April 6, 2009

David Wessel explains in the Wall Street Journal of the rational behind bacnkruptcy. In Bankruptcy Is Vital to Capitalism he writes:
America is relearning an old lesson: Failure and bankruptcy are essential to capitalism.

Bankruptcy is an orderly way to give an overburdened debtor a fresh start and to decide which creditors get paid back and which don't. As Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz teaches: Bankruptcy is a way to cope with those times when markets fail to allocate capital wisely and monitor its use.

In good times, bankruptcy is a way to encourage risk-taking. After all, an economy in which everyone fears trying something that might fail is a stagnant one. But the roots of modern American business bankruptcy date to bad times like today.

Bankruptcy is not a death sentence. It's more like an organ transplant. It can save a company's life, but sometimes the patient dies. Bankruptcy is unpleasant and should never be so easy that it encourages foolishness. Headline-making bankruptcies of several brand-name companies at a moment of severe economic crisis can so undermine confidence in the economy that avoiding them makes sense.

But bankruptcy, or some other orderly process to share the pain, is the only way to prevent mistakes and debts of the past from hobbling an economy's future.

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Failure of Self-Interest?

March 9, 2009

Alan Greenspan described himself, in congressional testimony last October as being “in a state of shocked disbelief” over the failure of the “self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity.” Self-interest was very present and working. It’s just that the self-interest was defined too narrowly. Self-interest was personal not institutional.

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How To Be Efficient With Fewer Violins

January 30, 2008

How To Be Efficient With Fewer Violins OR How a Liberal-Minded Industrial Engineer Reported on a Symphony Concert.

For considerable periods the four oboe players had nothing to do. The number should be reduced and the work spread more evenly over the whole concert, thus eliminating peaks and valleys of activity.

All the twelve violins were playing identical notes; this seems unnecessary duplication. The staff of this section should be drastically cut. If a larger volume of sound is required it could be obtained by means of electronic apparatus.

Much effort was absorbed in the playing of demi-semi-quavers; this seems to be an unnecessary refinement. It is recommended that all notes be rounded up to the nearest semiquaver. If this were done, it would be possible to use trainees and lower-grade operatives more extensively.

There seems to be too much repetition of some musical passages. Scores should be drastically pruned. No useful purpose is derived by repeating on the horns something which has already been handled by the strings. It is estimated that if all redundant passages were eliminated the whole concert time of two hours could be reduced twenty minutes and there would be no need for an Intermission.

In many cases the operators were using one hand for holding the instrument whereas the introduction of a fixture would have rendered the idle hand available for other work. Also, it was noted that excessive effort was being used occasionally by the players of wind instruments, whereas one compressor could supply adequate air for all instruments under more accurately controlled conditions.

Finally, obsolescence of equipment is another matter into which it is suggested further investigation could be made, as it was reported in the program that the leading violinist's instrument was already several hundred years old. If normal depreciation schedules had been applied, the value of this instrument would have been reduced to zero and purchase of more modern equipment could then have been considered.

Author Unknown

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