Century Marks

Century Marks

Critiquing capitalism

In a recent poll by Harvard University, 51 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 say they don’t support capitalism, while 42 percent say they do. Only 33 percent claim to support socialism. The pollsters acknowledge that it is not clear what these results mean since capitalism can mean different things. This age cohort associates capitalism with the Great Recession of 2008 and not the system that opposed the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union during the cold war. Only among people 50 years and older is there a majority support for capitalism (Washington Post, April 26).

Grateful CEO

Hamdi Ulukaya, president and CEO of the Chobani yogurt company, recently gave his 2,000 full-time employees a 10 percent stake in the company. Long-term employees’ stake could be worth more than $1 million. Ulukaya, an immigrant from Turkey, regards this giveaway as one of the finest moments of his life. “I’ve built something I never thought would be such a success, but I cannot think of Chobani being built without all these people,” he said. The upstate New York company was valued in 2014 at between $3 and $5 billion (Time, April 26).

Financial impotence

In a survey the Federal Reserve Board discovered that 47 percent of Americans would not be able to pay a $400 emergency bill. Either they’d have to sell something or borrow from a family member. This comes as no surprise to writer Neal Gabler, who knows what it’s like to juggle creditors, be down to his last $5, go to the mailbox and get more bills but no checks to pay for them, and borrow money from his adult daughters when he and his wife run out of heating fuel. It’s more embarrassing to admit “financial impotence” than sexual impotence, he says. Gabler decided to speak up about his shameful experience when he realized it is happening to millions of other Americans, and not just poor ones (Atlantic, May).

Everyday failure

Johannes Haushofer posted a résumé of his failures, which got more attention than any of his previous work. His failure CV consists of “Degree programs I did not get into,” “Research funding I did not get,” and “Paper rejections from academic journals.” Haushofer explained his motivation for divulging failures: “Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible. I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me.” We are inclined to blame ourselves for failures, but “applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days,” he said (CNBC, April 27).

Hawaii igloos

The First Assembly of God in Honolulu thinks it has a partial solution to the homelessness crisis in Hawaii, which has the highest per capita homeless rate in the country. The church is putting up dome-shaped buildings that look like igloos, using land it had once reserved to build retreat cabins. The structures can each house four people, and they keep the temperature ten to 15 degrees cooler than outside. They are made of 21 fiberglass panels that overlap like fish scales and can fit into the back of a pickup truck. The 314-square-foot structures cost the church about $9,500 each, not including a floor or base and shipping costs (AP).