Tom Friedman has moved beyond self-parody into something… weirder and more clinical:
… DiNunzio is one in a wave of entrepreneurs who’ve been buoying our economy from below, at a time when so much national economic policy has been paralyzed. These risk-takers never got the word that China will eat our lunch or Germany will eat our breakfast, so they just go out and start stuff, and build stuff, and invent stuff — and create 20 jobs here and 30 jobs there. Specifically, DiNunzio is part of a budding new economic activity called the “sharing economy” or “collaborative economy,” which offers a new avenue for the middle class to create wealth and savings. These entrepreneurs are not the only answer for our economic woes — they create jobs, destroy jobs and create big efficiency savings all at once — but they are surely part of the answer, and it’s a shame that we don’t spend more time thinking about how to multiply them.
Like all good entrepreneurs, DiNunzio, 35, got her start by paying attention. In her case, it was paying attention to her rapid-fire wedding and then divorce to start a company in 2009, called Recycled Bride, which enabled couples to, as Forbes put it, sell “their wedding finery and excess sundries so they could ride off in the sunset without staggering under the weight of debt.” She expanded that into Tradesy, which enables women to monetize the used or unused clothing and accessories in their closets by creating a peer-to-peer marketplace in which pricing, listing, buying, selling, shipping and returning goods is seamlessly easy — and with Tradesy taking a 9 percent commission. She is not alone in that space, but it’s working.
“We have a section on the site for wedding attire,” she explained. “We have seen three brides wear the same dress.” The first bought a Vera Wang wedding dress for $8,000 and then sold it on Tradesy for $3,000. The second wore it and resold it for $3,000. “So the bride in the middle of that trade wore her $8,000 Vera Wang wedding dress for free.”…
Yeah, finding an opportunity to ‘monetize’ a eight-thousand-dollar dress (for a wedding that didn’t even last!) is the very definition of First World Problems…
Back before washing machines and public laundromats, one of the bottom-entry entrepreneurial task sets was “taking in wash”. Going from door to door, picking up heavy baskets of other peoples’ soiled undergarments and sheets, heating water (over a fire, or on a hand-fed wood- or coal-burning stove), dealing with the caustic chemicals involved, hand-washing endless pounds of wet yardage, wrestling the end results up to hang dry — plus ironing, and mending, before lugging the heavy baskets back to those fortunate enough to outsource all this labor in return for a miserable pittance. It didn’t require much of a fiduciary investment, nor training that any woman wasn’t expected to have acquired before puberty, but it was such a burdensome and unpleasant task-series that any housewife with even a little ‘discretionary’ income would pay to have it taken, literally, off her hands. The unlucky widow or elderly spinster ‘taking in washing’ was such a cultural standby that economists joked about theoretical societies where the medium of exchange was every individual taking in someone else’s laundry. (Fred Pohl wrote an sf story where far-future anthropologists thought that the national legislators of the once-powerful Nacirema survived that way, thus the name of their capital, “Washing Done”. He may not have invented that joke.)
But today “we” — meaning Tom ‘I Married A Billionaire’s Daughter” Friedman and the people who pay him to write this crap — don’t even consider the possibility that labor might have value. What they have — what they value — is tons of expensive, logo’d “inventory”. Worse comes to worse and Tom’s father-in-law cuts him off, Tom is not gonna roll up his french-cuffed monogrammed sleeves; he’s gonna wander around his mansion and dig out some of last season’s Coach bags to sell to the middle-manager Aspirationals who pay his speaker fees.
Friedman: "Reinventing the consignment shop on the web will save the U.S. economy. Also, PR pitches work with me." http://t.co/9Nq06LLVhs
— billmon (@billmon1) December 22, 2013
@douglasstruth Friedman is such a perfect parody of himself, it's a recursive loop. Someday he's going to disappear up his own belly button.
— billmon (@billmon1) December 22, 2013