For the last installment of this series, we move from personality to activity for our business connection. 

Pinochle – At our family reunion, Pinochle (pronounced “pee-nuhk-uhl) was the game of choice. Or, as the people in my generation put it, “These old geezers love their Pinochle!” If you aren’t familiar, this is a trick-taking, Ace-Ten card game typically for two to four players and played with a 48-card deck. It is derived from the card game bezique; players score points by trick-taking and also by forming combinations of cards into melds. It is thus considered part of a “trick-and-meld” category. So it’s more like poker, where deception is a key ingredient, than spades, where everything is in the open and you just have to assemble more assets than your opponent.

Big business is getting soil on its reputation these days. As I’ve said before, money is not a zero-sum thing. Just because there is a certain amount of money in existence now does not mean that is the only amount that will ever exist. Money can be destroyed and created. Those with a liberal political ideology view money as zero-sum, and that a very few people have the most of it, and since no more can be created, more mechanisms are needed to ensure that everyone has enough of this limited resource to live a fulfilling life. Although most big businesses ascribe to the conservative political ideology that more money can be created, their actions indicate belief in the zero-sum philosophy, as they employ tricks of Pinochle and poker to squeeze more revenue out of customers, and give as little of the profits to the rank-and-file employees as they can legally get away with. Public companies have the double-whammy of having stockholders that behave the same way. If a company reports, “We made $13,874,912,647.88 in profits last year,” and some math major who owns a big chunk of stock comes to the annual meeting and says, “if you had laid off one more admin assistant, you would have made 13,874,912,647.89. Now lay off another person or I’m going to organize an effort to get the CEO and CFO fired!” What do you think would happen? The company would lay people off – and more than just one.

This is no way to live. It’s a big factor that had me itching to leave the corporate world. I prefer a world where I work with others in a plain, open manner – here’s what I can do for you, here’s how much I charge, and you can earn lots more than what you will pay me with the time you have freed up from these other tasks.” What you see is what you get. No need for Pinochle or other games of deception.

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