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Starbucks, The Tech Sector, And The State Of American "Progressivism"
Townhall.com ^ | August 12, 2012 | Austin Hill

Posted on 08/12/2012 6:13:01 AM PDT by Kaslin

Something exciting just happened in San Francisco. And it should pose an intellectual challenge for those who call themselves “progressives.”

Starbucks, the Seattle-based coffee beverage giant, announced that they will soon allow mobile telephone purchases in their stores. Get the new app from San Francisco-based Square, Inc. on your smart phone, order your drinks in the store, and – presto! - pay the bill with your iPhone or Android.

Along with this new approach to sales, Starbucks is also investing $25 million in Square Inc., and Starbucks C.E.O. Howard Schultz (a bona fide “food and beverage revolutionary”) will soon join Square’s Board of Directors. This was all quite surprising news- especially the part about a coffee company buying into a tech company -but it was nonetheless a cause for celebration in the City by the Bay. Yet another local “tech start-up” appears to be on its way to big things – and this one will likely make mobile retail a mainstream phenomenon.

In the world of business and technology this is certainly progress – consumers will soon be given more choices and convenience, while retailers will have more opportunity to sell their products and generate revenues. And those who choose to invest their money in either of these companies (both the private equity partners of Square, Inc., and the Starbucks stockholders) will likely reap financial benefits as well. But despite all this additional progress – for consumers, retailers, investors, and for San Francisco’s private sector economy - one nonetheless has to ask: can we really call this development “progressive?”

Along with being an epicenter for business development and economic progress (think Apple, Twitter, Cisco Systems, Facebook – and in a bygone era, Levi Strauss and Co.), the San Francisco Bay Area is also an epicenter of political and cultural “progressivism.” And while “progressivism” began in the U.S. as a humanitarian reaction to the social ills accompanying industrialization, today it has become an anathema to human achievement and private enterprise. The result of this bizarre confluence is simply this: there are lots of self-described “progressives” in the United States who enjoy the benefits of private enterprise and human progress, but who nonetheless support some of the most regressive ideas and attitudes that exist in our society.

Consider further the relationship between Starbucks and “progressives.” Few people in the world question the ethics of Starbucks, as their corporate mission statement has always included a quest for “a balance between profitability and social conscience.” Ensuring that farmers are paid reasonably for their coffee beans, investing in the communities where they operate stores, recycling and conservation initiatives, and extraordinary compensation packages for employees (the company provides health and dental benefits to many of their part time employees) - these and other important agendas comprise the way in which Starbucks has always operated.

Starbucks remained consistent with these virtuous-yet-costly policies during the worst of the “great recession,” even as its stock value was tanking (the company is now headed upward again and many portfolio advisors once again recommend it as a “buy”). Yet when it comes to “progressive” activism, Starbucks is treated like every other for-profit, publicly traded entity – the company is simply presumed to be “greedy” and selfish because it seeks to produce a profit, and thus is vilified and maligned.

For “progressives” who believe that vandalism is appropriate (if you don’t respect people’s rights to own private property- a core tenet of capitalism-then it’s easy to justify destroying somebody else’s property) Starbucks is a prime target. Since the days of the 1999 World Trade Organization conference in Seattle when “progressives” damaged and impugned the company in its hometown, Starbucks has remained on the “progressive” activists’ hit list, and even during the past year’s “occupy” uprisings Starbucks stores were frequently the first to get trashed when violence broke-out. The humanitarian and eco-friendly efforts of Starbucks don’t matter to “progressives” of this sort – all they know is that Starbucks is a successful American corporation with a trans-national footprint, and therefore they are to be hated.

More civil-minded “progressives” likely reject this type of vandalism and violence, and some may even acknowledge and support Starbucks for its socially responsible track record. Yet they also support a President who maligns and vilifies American corporations at every turn, and who has advanced a public policy agenda that has stifled the growth of free enterprise rather than encouraging it.

Other “progressives” may support tech companies like Square, Inc., yet resent the fact that many such companies only design their products in the U.S. and have them manufactured elsewhere. A thoughtful person would at least consider how government policies may have driven labor costs upward and made manufacturing unfeasible in the U.S. – but “progressives” generally prefer to just be angry at American companies and then push for more punitive corporate taxation policies.

And do “progressive” owners of Starbucks stock have any idea what their presidential candidate of choice has in mind for their dividends? Shares of Starbucks many produce nicely over the next several months, but unless the President is stopped in November, taxes on dividend income will skyrocket in 2013.

Self-described “progressives” – in San Francisco and elsewhere – can enjoy the benefits of private enterprise like everyone else. Yet if their deeply-held attitudes and ideas prevail in America long-term, they will successfully bring about a “regression” of things that are important to all of us.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: ceo; corporateamerica; progressives; starbucks

1 posted on 08/12/2012 6:13:07 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
In the world of business and technology this is certainly progress...

Mebbe.

But in the world of decent coffee, Starbucks sucks.

I'd rather order a cup of distilled cat do-do.

I've never drank distilled cat do-do, but I feel rather strongly that it would taste better than that swill Starbucks calls coffee.

2 posted on 08/12/2012 6:21:04 AM PDT by OldSmaj (I am an avowed enemy of islam and obama is a damned fool and traitor. Questions?)
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To: OldSmaj

” I’ve never drank distilled cat do-do, but I feel rather strongly that it would taste better than that swill Starbucks calls coffee. “

I tried Star’bux’ coffee once (somebody else bought it for me) and after the first sip, decided that Circle-K coffee is better, for about a quarter of the price...


3 posted on 08/12/2012 6:26:53 AM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: OldSmaj

I agree! IMO, Dunkin has the best coffee.


4 posted on 08/12/2012 6:28:59 AM PDT by FES0844
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To: FES0844

I don’t care for coffee, but most of family. that does drink coffee, seems to liks Duncan Doughnuts or McDonald’s coffee better than Starbucks.


5 posted on 08/12/2012 6:35:45 AM PDT by 3Fingas (Sons and Daughters of Freedom, Committee of Correspondence)
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To: FES0844

I don’t care for coffee, but most of family. that does drink coffee, seems to like Duncan Doughnuts or McDonald’s coffee better than Starbucks.


6 posted on 08/12/2012 6:36:17 AM PDT by 3Fingas (Sons and Daughters of Freedom, Committee of Correspondence)
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To: Uncle Ike

Dunkin donuts coffee is not even coffee,It’s more like coffee flavored water.There is no body to it,no substance.Thats why I like Starbucks coffee and I’m not even a liberal.I just got tired of paying for the same diluted “Coffee” when I went to D and D.

One day I decided to try Starbucks on the way to work and now I stop there at least once a day.


7 posted on 08/12/2012 6:47:53 AM PDT by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: puppypusher

Have you ever tried Illy?


8 posted on 08/12/2012 6:53:59 AM PDT by HotKat (Politicians are like diapers; they need to be changed often and for the same reason. Mark Twain)
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To: Kaslin

Oh great.. ordering coffee with my phone. Can’t say I’m interested.. and watching others do it seems even more depressing. even better when they’re driving. This ‘revolution’ sucks.


9 posted on 08/12/2012 7:06:47 AM PDT by Track9 (Ego undermines moral courage.)
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To: Kaslin

I really enjoy Starbucks. $1.82 for a tall extra bold


10 posted on 08/12/2012 7:09:47 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: Track9

I find ordering with my phone to be a great convenience. How can buying something with your phone, be depressing? It’s not any different than buying sometthing any other way.


11 posted on 08/12/2012 7:13:38 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: Uncle Ike
This is not about coffee any more than Amazon was about just books.

Another huge opportunity for new income streams(or perhaps just a shift of the old ones)...with their own promise and unique set of problems will likely come out of this, creating offshoots of more jobs and other opportunities as the idea expands. That is the essence of America and American opportunity.

What needs to happen, though, is that progressivism no longer be allowed to have it both ways.....to run the rampant destruction it's caused without shouldering the blame.

That's a daunting task, but there is a new batch of leaders who cut their teeth during the Reagan era - Paul Ryan and Scott Walker among them. Reagan's sunny optimism and right minded approach of limited government and expansion of freedom are in every fiber of their being.

It's truly a a battle for the soul of America - and we have to win. What happened in Wisconsin gives me a glimmer of hope....November will tell all.

12 posted on 08/12/2012 7:14:02 AM PDT by Mygirlsmom (Whaddaya mean I didn't build this tagline????)
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To: stuartcr

Watching the tops of everybody’s heads as they walk around glued to their phones is what I find offensive. I’m sure they are a ‘convenience’ and that’s good, but how much of it is just mindless entertainment with progressive agendas.


13 posted on 08/12/2012 7:22:48 AM PDT by Track9 (Ego undermines moral courage.)
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To: HotKat

No!But the people who I have been known users have been committed following the use of it.

You don’t happen to be one of those,now do you?


14 posted on 08/12/2012 7:23:29 AM PDT by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: OldSmaj

As someone who does not care for all the exotic flavored coffees, I find that the best cup of standard American joe to be had on the road is from the Canucks at Tim Horton’s.


15 posted on 08/12/2012 7:23:44 AM PDT by Notary Sojac (Ut veniant omnes)
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To: Track9

You must be extremely tall.

Why do you find cell phone usage offensive?

What has cell phone usage have to do with buying coffee with it? It’s just like showing a credit card.

Do you play computer games or use email? What is so wrong with mindless entertainment and how do you get progressive agendas out of cell phone usage?


16 posted on 08/12/2012 7:27:36 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: stuartcr

Sheesh.. talk about a failure to communicate. I think I’ll just go back to my homemade coffee.


17 posted on 08/12/2012 7:33:29 AM PDT by Track9 (Ego undermines moral courage.)
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To: stuartcr

I agree. Its not about the coffee. Its about the technology. I’m thinking a call to my local Denny’s lets say. Sit down. Eat breakfast and pay with my smart phone. No waiting at the counter to pay. I’m liking it.


18 posted on 08/12/2012 7:35:55 AM PDT by Conservative4Ever (The Obamas = rude, crude and socially unacceptable)
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To: puppypusher

No!But the people who have been known users have been committed following the use of it.

You don’t happen to be one of those,now do you?


19 posted on 08/12/2012 7:37:01 AM PDT by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: HotKat

No!But the people who have been known users have been committed following the use of it.

You don’t happen to be one of those,now do you?


20 posted on 08/12/2012 7:37:40 AM PDT by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: Kaslin

Progressive, just another name for liberal, socialist, communist, Marxist, to hide its true identity. Evil is evil, no matter what we call it.


21 posted on 08/12/2012 8:00:27 AM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: puppypusher

Dittos.


22 posted on 08/12/2012 8:03:11 AM PDT by TribalPrincess2U (0bama's agenda¬óDivide and conquer.)
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To: OldSmaj

It doesn’t appeal to the Folgers or Dunkin’ Donuts crowd, but make no mistake, the coffee is fantastic. I liken it to to Bud drinkers who find the more flavorful microbrews unpleasant.


23 posted on 08/12/2012 8:32:00 AM PDT by Melas (u)
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To: OldSmaj

Coffee preference is like beer preference, there is no real “best” brand to EVERYONE; it’s all according to taste, and by that I mean our own tastes, each of our own preferences. Often that is predominately due to experience - people very often like best that which people are most used to.


24 posted on 08/12/2012 8:32:35 AM PDT by Wuli
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To: puppypusher

I couldn’t agree more. Coffee is like beer. If you like good beer, and find yourself in the company of a someone who thinks that Miller Lite is even decent, there is no point in discussing beer with him. Same with people who drink DD coffee. Just let them be, and understand that they like the watered down no flavor java.


25 posted on 08/12/2012 8:34:45 AM PDT by Melas (u)
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To: Melas

Coors light for me, in the freezer until it’s just above the slush point (about 28F).

Perfect for these 100 degree afternoons we’ve been having, and 15 bucks for a 24 pack, LOL.


26 posted on 08/12/2012 8:45:25 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: Kaslin

Austin Hill used to be the afternoon drive time host on 580 am here in Boise, but his show suddenly disappeared. I wonder if a bunch of North Enders complained to the station management to the point where they couldn’t take it any more?

Now we have some guy from the East named Todd Schnitt in that slot. I don’t care for his show.


27 posted on 08/12/2012 9:16:37 AM PDT by Disambiguator
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To: Kaslin

Wasn’t Starbucks the site of gay protesters - people who wanted to define marriage as between any combination of people or groups? Two men - one woman - six men - one woman - one woman - 400 illegal ‘immigrants’ who always wanted to live in the United States?


28 posted on 08/12/2012 9:33:40 AM PDT by GOPJ (Freeper Neveronmywatch's convinced: Put a compass in the hands of a liberal it'll point south.)
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To: Kaslin

The classical Chinese empire had an interesting concept about the evolution of society, which while it wouldn’t work here, as such, has an element of common sense that we might be able to adapt to our advantage.

It was something of a “cycle of emperors”, based on the seasons of the year. In order, each of four emperors would be raised to perform in their particular mode of operation, to reflect spring, summer, fall and winter.

The first of the four was the “builder” emperor, who would essentially remake China from scratch. All new cities and infrastructure, like roads. Encouragement for new businesses. New social systems and lots of enthusiastic new leaders with new ideas (within the conformity of Confucianism).

The second, after the first emperor died, was the “maintenance” emperor, who would get this new China working, with all the bugs of the new system worked out and everything running efficiently.

After he died, the third emperor would be the “degenerate” emperor, who would pull most of the government into Peking, and let the country fall apart, allowing inefficient businesses to fail, ineffective social systems to collapse, and a general cull of what didn’t work. The only thing they wouldn’t tolerate is someone trying to save what should be allowed to fail.

The last in the series was the “destroyer” or “water” emperor, who set the government to wipe clean all the decayed everything, often at the cost of millions of lives, so that his replacement, the new “builder” emperor, would have a clean slate of a nation to build anew. The “water” emperors were a fairly brutal lot, but this was literally what everyone, from peasant up, expected of them. As to do so was seen as necessary for the health of their nation.

Now obviously, there are some serious flaws in this philosophy, like the “killing of millions of people” part.

But overall, it actually worked in a way, keeping China a vital and functional empire for a very long time, despite foreign invasions at about 200 year intervals. The “Chinese Way” was so integrated into society that while invaders would conquer a given dynasty, in a generation or two, the invaders would be doing things the Chinese Way, and would effectively become Chinese.

As an interesting note, this system was so ingrained into the people that though Mao Tse Tung was a communist, had he been an emperor, he would have been a “water” emperor. So all the vicious brutality of the Cultural Revolution and The Great Leap Forward would have been expected of him, even demanded of him.

Emperors were kept in line to their programming, when they strayed, because if they ordered something not in line with their purpose, it just wouldn’t happen. Everyone ordered to obey would foul up, and things just wouldn’t come to pass. But if he did what he was supposed to do, according to his role, everything happened promptly and efficiently, and his orders were carried out expertly.

In any event, how could America adapt to the basic, underlying concept of an evolution to society, but in a more sensible, less violent, and more corrective way?

The first thing that comes to mind is city management. Some of the modern western (Republican led) cities have taken to doing an infrastructure repair schedule, in which they “rotate” neighborhoods of the city so that repairs and replacements are staggered.

The neighborhood in most disrepair is fixed first, in one big project. Once it is done, with some maintenance, it should last for years in good condition. Since the neighborhood second to worst in disrepair is “in the batter’s box” for a rebuild, it gets little or no maintenance and is allowed to decay.

In this way, a piece at a time, the city is revitalized in its entirety. It accepts that the city will never be either completely pristine, but it will also never be completely falling apart, like Detroit.

But this also works at the national level, with national infrastructure like the Interstate Highway System, dams and waterways, airports, railroads, etc.

To every season, turn, turn, turn.


29 posted on 08/12/2012 9:38:58 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
Now obviously, there are some serious flaws in this philosophy, like the “killing of millions of people” part.

Sheesh, everyone's a critic. Nice post.

That part of it is certainly incorporated into quite a bit of progressive thinking, wherein the death of millions is rather blandly contemplated in the interest of a Brave New World to come. It's generally millions of other people, though.

30 posted on 08/12/2012 9:44:54 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: puppypusher

I’m not an abuser. Treat myself once a week.


31 posted on 08/12/2012 10:24:04 AM PDT by HotKat (Politicians are like diapers; they need to be changed often and for the same reason. Mark Twain)
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To: nascarnation
Perfect for these 100 degree afternoons we’ve been having, and 15 bucks for a 24 pack, LOL.

There is that. That would buy me two 24oz bottles of my favorite brew. I drink it a bit warmer as well, at about 45 Fahrenheit.

32 posted on 08/12/2012 12:40:53 PM PDT by Melas (u)
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To: 3Fingas; FES0844
I don’t care for coffee, but most of family. that does drink coffee, seems to liks Duncan Doughnuts or McDonald’s coffee better than Starbucks.

Drinking and patronizing and lounging around Starbucks reading Gore Vidal is a "lifestyle" (social-status) statement. It implies "I went to a good university -- not yours -- I drive a better car, I have a better job, I am bien pensant and feel more deeply and humanly than you."

Other people drive Smart cars rather than Honda Fit or Toyota Echo/Yaris cars (that are a better deal) for similar reasons. Still others push their kids into soccer and shun Little League (how 50's! how bourgeiois!) ditto, and send them to computer camps instead of letting them run wild and learn to be American kids.

As I said, it's a lifestyle "statement". Translated, it means "screw you, I win."

33 posted on 08/12/2012 1:26:54 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: Conservative4Ever

That will probably happen. Same thing as the coffee card.


34 posted on 08/12/2012 5:07:01 PM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: Kaslin

Soincidence? I am visiting family who watch NBC Today Show EVERY MORNING and the hosts were all having a large cup of Starbucks.
Actually, none of them actually took a sip.lol


35 posted on 11/02/2012 6:41:27 AM PDT by Leep (Are you smarter than a 7th grade math student and or Barack 0bama?)
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To: Kaslin

Coincidence? I am visiting family who watch NBC Today Show EVERY MORNING and the hosts were all having a large cup of Starbucks.
Actually, none of them actually took a sip.lol


36 posted on 11/02/2012 6:41:45 AM PDT by Leep (Are you smarter than a 7th grade math student and or Barack 0bama?)
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