Framing the Dialogue

Not For Profit

Arthur Amolpid got out of high school in 1950.  While his grades weren’t that great his job prospects were even worse.  Art, however, was an entrepreneur before the term was commonly used and looked for a way to make it on his own.  Fortunately his folks didn’t mind that he stayed with them while he pursued his dream.  He just needed to figure out what that dream was.  His parents were not that well to do and lived within their modest means, but Arthur felt comfortable with the wealthy and frequently socialized with the more affluent crowd. 

He was also a student of people and closely watched them as if doing research.  He noticed that a lot of the wealthier men and even some women acquired something called an “eerged.”  Most flaunted their eergeds and some had better eergeds than others.  It seemed that the pricier the eerged the more stature the owner had as if there was a hierarchy of eergeds.  Eergeds were very uncommon in hte world in which Arthur was raised, but his urge to get a eerged and fit in with this upper crust crowd made him think that he could somehow market eergeds to everyone and create an industry with him as the captain.

Folks who came out of the Great Depression were very practical and probably could never be convinced that they needed a eerged, however, they also were very cognizant about making things better for their children and grandchildren.  If he could market the eerged just right it might catch on.  People of that era also had a healthy mistrust of large corporations so he needed a “safe” way to set up his corporation.  Like I said earlier Arthur was an entrepreneur and figured out a way to market eergeds yet maintain the perception that his company was doing good; his company was a “not-for-profit” company.  As long as his company made no profit he could make as much money as the market would support and this market was just developing.

As word got out about the rich and their eergeds, more and more parents ordinary citizens wanted them for their children.  At that time eergeds were little more than just status symbols and many wanted that for their family.  It was not uncommon for a father to proclaim that one of his children just got the first eerged in their family.  They were still mostly given to the men, but women were getting them too.  As the industry took off, Arthur had done his homework, borrowed some money from his parents, bought some land, and started his first corporate campus to offer eergeds.  Profits were not good, but Arthur made a decent amount of money and eergeds became more and more popular. 

As the sixties roared into the seventies and then the eighties the desire for eergeds exploded.  Rather than a child with an eerdeg being the exception it was the rule.  Even families who were poor insisted that their children have them.  There were still distinctions between the cost of eergeds and the rich still got the best of the best.  This only fueled the desire of the more common folk to reach that plateau.  As you might expect eergeds got more and more expensive even though Arthur had loads of competition.  It didn’t seem to matter how many corporate campuses were built; more were needed. 

Arthur had several eergeds by this time and was rich beyond all measure even though his “company” made no money.  He hired the best employees, or at least the ones with the best eergeds thus building the status of his company.  In order to keep them he gave them “no cut” contracts, lots of money and benefits and required less and less work of them.  He noticed that the status of his eergeds mattered more than their actually quality.  He found that very interesting and decided to fiddle with his company to see what people would put up with to get one of his eergeds.  He began to raise the price on his eergeds every year regardless of whether his costs increased.  Astoundingly people still paid so he kept raising and raising and raising the price and again people seems to want his eergeds even more.  This made no economic sense to him.

He started to offer eergeds that were somewhat inferior yet charged the same price.  Eergeds, at least at the beginning, had some value if you needed to use them for more than a wall decoration.  These new ones, however, were virtually worthless.  He was astonished to find that young folks still clamored for them and parents actually borrowed money, lots of money, to get these for their children.  Even more astounding was when “poor” people threatened the peace because their children could not afford the eergeds.  This is when the federal government stepped in and gave money to Arthur and his competitors to “allocated” a certain number of eergeds for these children.  He figured it was alright, but because he was a non-profit he really didn’t need any more money and it was getting harder and harder to not make money.   Arthur, remember that he was an entrepreneur, started to buy more property and build bigger and bigger facilities and offer his employees higher and higher salaries.  Even the custodians had good salaries and generous benefits.  Then time got tough!  The economy got really bad and many workers lost their jobs.  The odd thing was that the demand for eergeds remained strong.  Even though the government gave him more money Arthur was still able to raise the price of his eergeds and few customers complained. 


Of course this is a fictional tale.  There is no business that can be run that way and still survive let alone thrive…

Unless the eerged is a college DEGREE.  Read the story again and substitute “degree” for “eerged.”

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