I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll sell for $315 million

You know capitalism must be working when a media outlet set up to complain day and night about the evils of capitalism is able to turn a $1 million investment into a $315 million sale – a profit that would make Goldman Sachs blush.    I read the Huffington Post a fair amount – mostly from my keyword alerts hitting on stories in the HP but I couldn’t help smiling when I read about this early this morning.  Ariana Huffington is the new CEO of a number of divisions including MapQuest.

I’ve said in a number of blogs that I see real value in media that digs out and reports on corporate malfeasance.   I think the bad apples tarnish the good ones – and they need to be called out.

But old Ariana has been a leading critic of capitalism and greed writ large.  And now she joins the club.

Maybe she will give it all away – like Buffet and Gates.

9 thoughts on “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll sell for $315 million

  1. Huffington Post had more like $37million invested in it, the vast majority from SoftBank who had installed one of their own partners as HuffingtonPost’s CEO.

  2. I suspected there were more investors there but my point – lightheartedly – was that someone who eschews the evils of profit seems to have made out quite well by it.

  3. I’ll be up front and say that I’ve NEVER read the Huffington Post, ironically for opposite reasons. Huffington went to Cambridge and married a republican oil rich billionaire. She herself was a dedicated conservative in the eighties so I’d suspect the complaints about ‘capitalism’ were certainly not her idea. On the Daily Show years ago she came across pretty much like Jon Stewart-against general government stupidity, but a democrat at heart, and certainly not anti capitalist.

    That goes back to the other blog about capitalism, Ralph Nader is my idea of a REAL capitalist, but in todays world he’s almost considered a communist. This is also meant lightheartedly, because its always been almost a given that millionaires often make the best socialists (as Goldman Sachs proves quite distinctly), and even many union organizers often make out pretty well. I remember the british joke about the upper class twit who said “I’ve made out pretty well, for my birthday my dad gave me the Socialist Workers Party”.

    There are many aspects that make this ‘anti capitalist’. Namely, further restricting media doesn’t encourage economic growth, something that is considered a mainstay of capitalism. And ownership by a ‘public’ corporation is not ‘private enterprise’ in the strict sense-which is why early capitalists opposed the idea of ‘incorporating’ or ‘joint stock enterprises’.

    But Ralph Nader is certainly not poor, Noam Chomsky is supposedly worth millions, and Naomi Klein has never wanted for a paycheque. The lesson there is that standing up for your beliefs-when done through media, is not a bad way to make a living. And as one worker for one of Ralph Nader’s organizations pointed out “its one of the few occupations where you can take your conscience to work with you”.

  4. I think it’s pretty ridiculous to characterize someone from the left so simplistically (and incorrectly) as “one who eschews profit”.

    As somebody who is even more to the left than Arianna Huffington, let me set you straight about this: nobody thinks there’s anything wrong with investing your money, working hard to build a business, and then selling it at a profit.

    For that matter, leftists also support the idea that people should be paid for the work that they do, that they should profit from their endeavours, and that they have the right to peaceful and quiet enjoyment of what they have earned.

    Leftists are not anti-business. Let me be more specific about what they oppose:

    – businesses that earn their profit by the mistreatment and abuse of employees, including businesses that push down wages through monopolistic practices, union bashing and thuggery, etc.

    – businesses that earn their profit by offloading costs at the expense of the environment or some other public trust

    – businesses that earn their profit by lobbying for a tax regime that eliminates public and social spending and reduces their taxes to almost nothing, while increasing their benefit from public expenditures in the form of free use of infrastructure, grants and disbursements, and other advantageous legislation

    I think that if you go back and read Arianna Huffington, you’ll see the more nuanced view presented here, rather than the anti-profit line peddled as though it were fact.

  5. He DID say ‘lighthearted’! I’d like to point out that ‘leftists’ can no more be categorized as one group than ‘rightists’. However, marxists and socialists are generally considered ‘left’ and MANY of their tenets oppose ANY kind of profit motive. While trade unionism is ‘to the left’, if you go further to the left you have NO unions, because workers OWN the means of production. The ‘public trust’ becomes all inclusive in something like libertarian socialism-which actually is the most equitable form of ‘democracy’ because everybody is truly equal in both ownership and labour. In such systems the whole notion of ‘businesses’ and ‘private enterprise’ become obsolete. I’m not saying how common this is, but only that they ARE views that are condsidered ‘left’.

  6. I’d also like to point out that there are PLENTY on the ‘right’ who believe those exact same tenets Mr. Downes mentions. Don’t believe what you see on US TV, the ‘smaller government’ Tea Party movement in the states began with Obama’s buyout of the financial sector which caused all their problems in the first place. If you want to see why it becomes more and more prevalant, go take a look at who Obama has appointed to almost every high ranking administrative position-thats right, all those same guys from Goldman Sachs.

    Thats WHY that definition can’t be used to differentiate ‘left’ from ‘right’.

  7. Sorry, but this is an interesting topic-while ‘capitalism’ is basically the Catholic Church of our time, I just have a question as to how long it will be before its ‘ideology’ becomes as non invasive as ‘most’ of the doctrines of the middle age church. Something to think about.

  8. The use of ‘lighthearted’ isn’t a license to turn around and propagate some false and harmful stereotypes. And the use of the term ‘lighthearted’ occurs only in a comment after the column was written, not as a caveat in the main entry.

  9. Also: “However, marxists and socialists are generally considered ‘left’ and MANY of their tenets oppose ANY kind of profit motive.”

    Simply not true. That’s my point. This is simply not true.

    “If you go further to the left you have NO unions, because workers OWN the means of production.” Right. And they PROFIT from it.

    The point of leftist politics is not that there should be no profits, but rather, that these profits should not accrue to those who do nothing but wield the capital.

    The whole ‘no profits’ line is a lie propagated by the right intended to convince the lower and middle working classes that the leftists will prevent them from ever getting ahead in life.

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