If I had to guess who Charlie Ergen, the founder of Dish Network, favorite economist was it would be easy- Milton Friedman. Friedman once said, “There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits…” This Business Week profile shows that Ergen embraced this mindset but alludes to a bigger issue. What happens when morality is replaced with rational self interest? In the case of Dish Network, it means beating the estimates five out of the last eight quarters. and a miserable work environment.
In July of this year a news story broke that sounded straight out of The Onion. The Canadian maple syrup reserve was robbed for nearly $30 million worth of syrup. Who knew that maple syrup was worth $1,800 a barrel, and that Canada has a national reserve of it? This great profile by Business Week perfectly illustrates the reward of trying to build a cartel (inflated and stable prices), and the risk (members violating the restrictions.)