business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding my continuing criticism of Facebook, one MNB reader wrote:

Facebook was founded on the premise of rating girls looks at various universities. What would we expect the outcome of this business model to be? Social media has built its reputation on verbal / video assault on every move every person makes. 

Facebook lives and dies but what it created.

What is amazing to me is that the Mark Zuckerberg portrayed so vividly in Aaron Sorkin's "The Social Network" seems more accurate with every passing day.

I expressed a certain skepticism last week that retailers will be able to make slower delivery a virtue in the eyes of consumers, prompting MNB reader Howard Schneider to write:

I share your skepticism about making slower delivery a virtue. But I have seen one current marketing message turning a negative into a positive: The leading Ford dealer here in Portland is addressing the shortage of vehicles in stock by telling – and incentivizing – potential buyers to order their Fords with colors and options they want, which obviously entails waiting some time for delivery. Some of us are old enough to remember when ordering a vehicle customized to your liking was a standard way to buy a car. Sometimes innovation requires looking to the past for inspiration.

In response to our story about unionization efforts by Amazon employees in New York, one MNB reader wrote:

Unions add nothing but cost into a system.  See auto workers, Teachers, construction, government workers, truckers,  on and on.  The unions say they want more for their members but in reality, it cost jobs, increases costs of finished products, and in a lot of instances allows for inferior workers to stay on the job because they know the firing process is heavily weighted in favor of the employee.  In Amazon’s instance, I am sure that the union has promised many benefits, let’s see what the workers really get for the dues they will be paying, and how quickly Amazon will move to automate further which will cost additional jobs.

I disagree with the "unions add nothing."  I've never belonged to a union, but I recognize that union membership was highly beneficial to my father and my wife.  My daughter now belongs to one, and we'll have to see how that plays out …

There are plenty of places in which unions have protected workers who have been exploited.  Have there been times when they've been counter-productive?  Sure.  No argument there.  Can unions add greater costs into systems?  Sure, especially if those costs are related to wages and benefits … but that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially in companies where employees are treated like costs, not assets.

I just disagree with the absolute nature of your statement.