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Subject: Corporate Parentage rss

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Kelsey Rinella
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I recently learned that Stanley, Black & Decker, DeWalt, Porter Cable, and a few other names you may have seen at your local home center are all made by the same company. Does anyone know of a good source for information about which apparent competition is fake, and what corporate connections exist?

It's crap like this which makes the contention of free marketeers that consumers will reliably punish companies which behave badly seem so bizarrely naïve.
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rinelk wrote:
Does anyone know of a good source for information about which apparent competition is fake, and what corporate connections exist?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Black_%26_Decker
 
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Ben Stanley
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If you are talking about public companies, their securities filings will tell you the real story. If it helps, know that when major competitors are merging, there is an anti-trust evaluation prior to government approval of the merger, just in case it would put too much of the market into the hands of one player.
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rinelk wrote:
I recently learned that Stanley, Black & Decker, DeWalt, Porter Cable, and a few other names you may have seen at your local home center are all made by the same company. Does anyone know of a good source for information about which apparent competition is fake, and what corporate connections exist?

It's crap like this which makes the contention of free marketeers that consumers will reliably punish companies which behave badly seem so bizarrely naïve.


I understand you point, but sometimes these "mergers" still leave companies with functionally different managements that produce different quality products and have different working ethics.

Sometimes the merger does obliterate the difference. But not always.
 
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Kelsey;

If a corporation wishes to hide its ownership, you'll never know unless you hire a lawyer to track it down.
 
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I don't know of a good source, but this graphic is fun.

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Chris White
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she2 wrote:
I don't know of a good source, but this graphic is fun.



Wow, Coca-Cola looks really small and restrained here. They're still just peddling beverages!

Also, give it some time:

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That doesn't even include all the tobacco brands that Kraft owns via Altria.
 
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SpaceGhost wrote:
That doesn't even include all the tobacco brands that Kraft owns via Altria.

Altria owned Kraft, and they spun them off years ago.
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damiangerous wrote:
SpaceGhost wrote:
That doesn't even include all the tobacco brands that Kraft owns via Altria.

Altria owned Kraft, and they spun them off years ago.


Maybe I shouldn't have quit paying attention to this in 2006.
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Kelsey Rinella
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she2 wrote:
I don't know of a good source, but this graphic is fun.



This is the kind of thing I'm looking for--relatively easily-accessible information about corporate ownership in general, such that I as a consumer have the power to financially impact shareholders. While it's true that different brands may well be produced by different factories and have different support (such that there's still an important different between a Porter-Cable Router and a DeWalt one, for example), and that my purchases thus send some sort of message, it doesn't do the one thing free marketeers so laud, which is actually allow me to exercise some degree of power over the shareholders of Porter-Cable by choosing to instead buy DeWalt. Now that I have this information, of course, I do have that power, but my point is that it's not generally well-known.

Even worse, insofar as I'm trying to send a message about which sorts of manufacturing I prefer, it's also possible for a brands to cross-cut factories. For example, it might well be the case, so far as I or most consumers know, that both the Porter-Cable and DeWalt fixed router bases are made in one factory, while their plunge router bases are both made in another. If I've had a good experience with a DeWalt plunge base, I might choose to buy the DeWalt fixed base as well in order to help send the message that I approve of the manufacture of the DeWalt plunge base. Yet this would send exactly the opposite message, to the extent that it sends any message at all, because it would increase demand for the products from the wrong factory.

As a consumer, I feel as though my only defense against such confusion would be the sort of consumer-support information source I have in mind. It seems to me somewhat telling against that pro-free-market argument I've seen on several occasions that no one happens to know of one (and, if you did, how confident could you ever really be that it wasn't somewhat corrupted?).
 
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J J
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she2 wrote:
I don't know of a good source, but this graphic is fun.


So... who else thinks that the mega-corps are a bit wussier than cyberpunk said they'd be? Where's all the spiky/lasery nastiness they're supposed to peddle?
 
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Dave G
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I'm a little confused by where you're going with this, Kelsey. It's not like this is hidden information or a carefully protected corporate secret. Like almost any product line, companies want to offer their products in different price points for different consumers, the "good, better, best" branding model. There are basically two big players in power tools. The Black & Decker/Stanley group you mentioned, and the Ryobi/Rigid/Milwaukee nameplates owned by Techtronic. Both companies manufacture tools for Craftsman, coincidentally.

This isn't uncommon in any industry, though. I used to have a customer who "made" bottled water. The only change between their premium brand bottled water and the various generic brands they made at the same plant was loading a different roll of labels into the machine and changing the color of the caps.
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Kelsey Rinella
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
I'm a little confused by where you're going with this, Kelsey. It's not like this is hidden information or a carefully protected corporate secret. Like almost any product line, companies want to offer their products in different price points for different consumers, the "good, better, best" branding model. There are basically two big players in power tools. The Black & Decker/Stanley group you mentioned, and the Ryobi/Rigid/Milwaukee nameplates owned by Techtronic. Both companies manufacture tools for Craftsman, coincidentally.

This isn't uncommon in any industry, though. I used to have a customer who "made" bottled water. The only change between their premium brand bottled water and the various generic brands they made at the same plant was loading a different roll of labels into the machine and changing the color of the caps.


I have heard repeatedly that genuinely free markets punish bad behavior (this is usually undefined, but the natural way to fill it in would be to recruit the consumer's definition). Anything which demonstrates that it's difficult for consumers to wield this market power in an informed manner diminishes the plausibility of that claim. So my goal is to either help demonstrate that free markets lack the properties their proponents claim, or become well-informed enough that I actually am able to wield such power in my own limited way.

I didn't know about Techtronic--thanks for that. Looks like Craftsman is an example of just what I was talking about in my made-up example (and adds the wrinkle that the service of the support system may well matter more than the tool's quality).

The pervasiveness of this sort of obfuscation doesn't seem to make it less concerning to me.
 
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Dave G
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rinelk wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
I'm a little confused by where you're going with this, Kelsey. It's not like this is hidden information or a carefully protected corporate secret. Like almost any product line, companies want to offer their products in different price points for different consumers, the "good, better, best" branding model. There are basically two big players in power tools. The Black & Decker/Stanley group you mentioned, and the Ryobi/Rigid/Milwaukee nameplates owned by Techtronic. Both companies manufacture tools for Craftsman, coincidentally.

This isn't uncommon in any industry, though. I used to have a customer who "made" bottled water. The only change between their premium brand bottled water and the various generic brands they made at the same plant was loading a different roll of labels into the machine and changing the color of the caps.


I have heard repeatedly that genuinely free markets punish bad behavior (this is usually undefined, but the natural way to fill it in would be to recruit the consumer's definition). Anything which demonstrates that it's difficult for consumers to wield this market power in an informed manner diminishes the plausibility of that claim. So my goal is to either help demonstrate that free markets lack the properties their proponents claim, or become well-informed enough that I actually am able to wield such power in my own limited way.

I didn't know about Techtronic--thanks for that. Looks like Craftsman is an example of just what I was talking about in my made-up example (and adds the wrinkle that the service of the support system may well matter more than the tool's quality).

The pervasiveness of this sort of obfuscation doesn't seem to make it less concerning to me.


One, I don't think there's any obfuscation. Two, I don't understand what, in your mind, prevents customers from wielding their market power here. I would posit that any customer so ill-informed as to believe that buying DeWalt would punish Porter Cable isn't really that concerned about punishing some mythical bad behavior. If you care enough to dissociate yourself from a company as a consumer, you ought to care enough to actually know who that company is.
 
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http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html
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Kelsey Rinella
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
One, I don't think there's any obfuscation. Two, I don't understand what, in your mind, prevents customers from wielding their market power here. I would posit that any customer so ill-informed as to believe that buying DeWalt would punish Porter Cable isn't really that concerned about punishing some mythical bad behavior. If you care enough to dissociate yourself from a company as a consumer, you ought to care enough to actually know who that company is.


The problem is that apathy isn't absolute, it's relative to the availability of reliable information. A person might well act apathetic about the behavior of the companies which make products they buy when they expect that the companies are all basically the same and it would be prohibitively difficult to find out about all of the aspects of their behavior which might be relevant to the consumer's decision. If there were easily discoverable meaningful differences between companies, those same people who seemed so apathetic might behave very differently.

As it stands, it seems to me that we lack the sort of culture necessary to make capitalism work the way it's supposed to. Okay, that's an obvious understatement, but the particular regard I have in mind is that people generally don't take any responsibility for the enabling nature of their purchases. With the exception of "Made in America" (which seems to matter at least a little to a lot of people), there isn't much which has really sunk in in a durable way. Gay marriage seems to be a fading issue already, people still buy gas from BP, and Greenpeace targets Apple, not because they're an unusually bad environmental offender, but because that accusation gets more attention.
 
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Dave G
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Kelsey, I think you greatly underestimate people's capacity for apathy.
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Kelsey Rinella
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berserkley wrote:


I'm not saying that much of this information isn't available, I'm suggesting that it not only isn't easy enough to use that most people would use it, but also that, as a society, we don't seem to care about that.

In other news, Dave, I started a Siren and brought her up to level 6 or so (just finished the mission to kill Flynt). So that's another option available to us in our explorations of Pandora.
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Dave G
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rinelk wrote:
berserkley wrote:


I'm not saying that much of this information isn't available, I'm suggesting that it not only isn't easy enough to use that most people would use it, but also that, as a society, we don't seem to care about that.

In other news, Dave, I started a Siren and brought her up to level 6 or so (just finished the mission to kill Flynt). So that's another option available to us in our explorations of Pandora.


Dan just picked up the game this afternoon after lunch, or at least that's where he was headed when last I saw him. I'll try to be on around the usual time this evening.
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
rinelk wrote:
berserkley wrote:


I'm not saying that much of this information isn't available, I'm suggesting that it not only isn't easy enough to use that most people would use it, but also that, as a society, we don't seem to care about that.

In other news, Dave, I started a Siren and brought her up to level 6 or so (just finished the mission to kill Flynt). So that's another option available to us in our explorations of Pandora.


Dan just picked up the game this afternoon after lunch, or at least that's where he was headed when last I saw him. I'll try to be on around the usual time this evening.


Yep, I got it. Probably not on until the kids are abed, but I'll be there.

Also, I bought a new headset so Josh can quit whining about it.
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