Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2012 February 4

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February 4[edit]

Where does Apple have its cash?[edit]

According to this article, Apple has about $97.6 billion. I didn't see in the article in exactly what format those holdings are. Is it most likely a corporate money market account? A business savings account? Bars of gold in a heavily-guarded underground fortress in a classified location? :) 69.243.220.115 (talk) 00:50, 4 February 2012 (UTC) .

According to [[1]]: that's all cash reserved. The market capitalization is way above that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.8.70.5 (talk) 01:50, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Companies usually talk about "cash and cash equivalents". You wouldn't hold billions of dollars in cash, it will be in cash equivalents - lots of short-term treasury bonds, that sort of thing (read the article I linked to for more examples). --Tango (talk) 01:58, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
It might be helpful to note, in this sense, what it cash "is not." Realestate (value of office buildings), patents, in some cases the "value" of the employees, etc.. These are examples of things you cannot readily "cash out" at the bank, and often comprise the majority of "value" of a company like Apple. Quinn BEAUTIFUL DAY 03:25, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
But as to specifically "where" Apple keeps their cash, I'd guess the closest answer is on spreadsheets in their accounting office. Quinn BEAUTIFUL DAY 03:33, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Most of this amount (about two thirds) is in offshore accounts and can't be transferred stateside without having to pay corporate tax on it. (Multinationals like Apple strongly dislike paying taxes to Uncle Sam. They prefer keeping foreign profits parked in offshore accounts and waiting for a corporate tax reform, or at least the day when Washington, DC swings strongly pro-ultrarichconservative and congressmen can be bribedlobbied to pass a tax holiday, thus allowing the multinational to repatriate profits without any tax liability.) Specifics, like where exactly these offshore accounts are or what is in them, are unavailable. Of the remaining one third, most is in short-term bonds. About 5% of the total is in accounts receivable, that is, in the form of yet-unpaid customer invoices.--Itinerant1 (talk) 12:27, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
So if the form of the money in the Caymans is bits on a server there, why are physical servers in that part of the world 1) believed to be safe from physical harm by hurricanes or humans who would come and physically harm them (does the Caymans have a strong and well-funded military and police infrastructure I don't know about?) and 2) believed (they're pretty much black boxes to outsiders both technically and as far as accountwise because of their laws) to be safe from corruption within their organization? 68.10.241.59(talk) 12:31, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that Apple keeps its money in the Caymans. That's what regular people think when they hear "offshore", yes, but, in the case of Apple, money is simply in countries where it does a lot of business, like China or Ireland.--Itinerant1 (talk) 20:33, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I read what 68 said as wondering about the Caymans in general as being a place many have billions stored, not specifically Apple. Why is that little nation so physically safe for the servers and how are extremely high power bankers and techies that maintain the servers safe there, especially when many, many billions are involved? 69.243.220.115 (talk) 23:01, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Even that which if held offshore won't be in conventional cash, it will be in short-term bonds, etc., too. --Tango (talk) 13:31, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Apple certainly engages professional money managers, either in house or more likely outside, to aggressively manage its cash, based on its corporate plans which are not known to us. Obviously we can get some sense of this by viewing their current assets on their balance sheets, but if they know they are not likely to need money soon, they can let it out a little longer. Or a lot longer. Suffice it to say they hire only the best, whether in Cupertino or New York.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:52, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Patel as a common name for hotel owners[edit]

I am involved in the hotel industry. As such, I know and am friendly with quite a lot of Indian fellows with the surname "Patel." Is there some reason this name is so common in the industry? I feel uncomfortable broaching the subject with my Patel friends, but I am also extremely curious about the common-place of the name. One note: I have, on a couple of out-of-work occasions, heard it mentioned in casual conversation such statements like, " I wasn't 'always' a Patel, you know?" or (in mentioning a third party) "He's now part of the Patel family." So I don't know if these are just jests based on the commonplace of the name, or are true indications that the name itself has some sort of status quality (hotelier?) unlike traditional Eruopean surnames, which really hold no meaning anymore. (Like "Smith" I mean how many "Smiths" do you know that are really blacksmiths.") So, in short: Patel = hotel? What's up with that? Insights appreciated. Quinn BEAUTIFUL DAY 04:14, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Where? A little reading and guessing suggests you're in the USA. Is it only there you're talking about, because I've never met a hotel owner called Patel in Australia. HiLo48 (talk) 04:59, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, sorry. I am in the U.S. southeast, but from attending hotel conventions, I think this is a pretty widespread occurence in the U.S. Or maybe it's just a big coincindence. The article Patel makes mentions of the Pate/Motel connection, but does not really offer much of a reason why except that the caste established a niche in the U.S. hotel community 50 years (or more ago). I'm looking for more info on the persistence of this pehnomena (in the U.S.). Quinn BEAUTIFUL DAY 05:10, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I think it's mainly because the sort of hotels that are primarily owned by Gujuratis have such low profit margins that only people who run businesses using Gururati methods can make any money off them. Looie496 (talk) 05:16, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
That reads like a racist comment, Looie496. I would like to see some serious citations, or a deletion. Bielle (talk) 05:22, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Um, most of the Patel's I know are extremely successful in the industry. But the above comment by Looie is a good example of why I mentioned that I was uncomfortable broaching the subject with my Patel friends...it is a loaded question if the context is not correct. I was hoping for more of an academic response. Quinn RAIN 05:35, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

See our article Patel, and [2] which has "The name has become so ingrained in the hotel industry that many people believe Patel is an Indian word meaning "hotel." In fact, Patel evolved from ancient India, where record keepers were appointed to keep track of crops planted on a parcel of land, or a pat. Many Patels were literally born to sell under the Indian caste system that was designed to allow people to work according to their natural tendencies. Patels fall into the Vaishya or Vaisya, a merchant caste." I had heard before that "Patel" meant "Innkeeper" but I guess that is urban legend, lol. Heiro 05:44, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I have read/heard all of that before asking here. But nothing addresses the "why". For example, if a group of Patels got in to the industry back in the 60s and their succesive family members grew into a hotel empire....then GREAT, that would answer my question. Or if the name has become so synonymous with hotel operation, that Indian owners adopt the name as a status symbol....then that would be a great answer too. But that is what I am looking for: the "why." Quinn RAIN 05:54, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Interesting phenomenon. I think your first guess is right. The wikipedia article says "A sizable number of Indian immigrants to the United States came in the 1960s and 1970s, when the motel industry was booming. Many of them bought up undervalued and dilapidated properties and turned them into businesses. As many as 60% of mid-sized motels and hotel properties, all over the US, are owned by the people of Indian origin. Of this nearly one-third have the surname Patel - a popular one among Indian Gujaratis(those that came from Gujarat)." I think this answers your question. According to this [3] article, first generation Patels left Gujarat to work as servants in African British Colonies, then immigrated due to political factors. 40% of Patels immigrated to London after leaving Africa, then came back to US for hotel business. So the present-day Patels are just descendants of the 1960s-70s Patel immigrants. --SupernovaExplosion (talk) 06:18, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Hallelujah! Here is a BBC article which has a "Roots and riches" section that perfectly answers your question. --SupernovaExplosion (talk) 06:21, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
And another BBC article Kiss and Patel which says: "The Patel diaspora is not only found in the UK, where they are traditionally linked with corner shops, but also the US where they tend to be associated with the motel business. In both cases it meant they had a business and a home combined." Apparently, Patel is the 24th most common surname in England & Wales[4]. Alansplodge (talk) 17:05, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Try this A Patel Motel Cartel? It postulates 2 convergent factors, loosening of American immigration laws in the 1960s and 70s and a retiring crop of post WW2 era hotel owners, which is also something I read elsewhere, but it was rather forumy so I didn't bother including it here. Heiro 06:24, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Maybe someone would like to take the 2 or 4 decent sources we've produced here and flesh out our article? It could use some sources, I noticed a lot of cite needed tags, especially the section dealing with this subject. Heiro 06:26, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

War of the Austrian Succession and France[edit]

During the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession, what or who influenced France to join in war with Prussia against Austria? Was it mostly Frederick the Great? Thanks! 64.229.180.189 (talk) 06:13, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

This page says .."The French entered into the war between Austria and Prussia as an opportunistic venture. She was the largest European rival of the Hapsburg empire, and had opposed Austria in every war for the last century." Our article on the Silesian Wars (the opening hostilities of the War of Austrian Succession) agrees: "The shared objective within the alliance was the destruction or at least the diminution of the Habsburg Monarchy and of its dominant influence over the other German states." Alansplodge (talk) 13:12, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

What do you need to be a CEO[edit]

Hi, what skills do you need to be a CEO? I know there was a similar question at the Miscellaneous desk a couple of years back, but it isn't the same. I want to know if they are more skilful than the rest of us, or if it's just a case of, well, someone has to do it. IBE (talk) 19:12, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

And to add to that, do you generally need business contacts to get such a position at a large company ? (Obviously anybody can set up their own pretzel stand and declare themself CEO.) StuRat (talk) 19:17, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I think the business contacts make up a very large part of it. To begin with, to become a CEO you have to convince a company board that you have what's needed. That isn't achieved in a job interview. It's achieved over a whole career. It's quite likely that there's many equally or more talented people out there, but they won't get the gig because the board has never heard of them. One has to already be part of the system. HiLo48 (talk) 19:22, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, this is the "old boys network" that keeps women and minorities out. StuRat (talk) 19:24, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

I wrote a lot that was apparently lost in an edit conflict (maybe someone can find it?) Then I wanted to add just this:

Also note that the CEO ultimately answers to the board who have a 'fiduciary responsibility' to maximize shareholder value. So although the CEO can do anything, and anything that is done is with the CEO at its head (much as the President is at the head of the chain of command of all of the armed forces of the United States), is their responsibility, as most people understand it today that responsibility is "to maximize shareholder value". 188.156.228.116 (talk) 19:27, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
When I get an edit conflict, I hit the "Back" button on the browser, cut the text I just typed, pick "Project page" at the top to load the latest version of the page, pick section "Edit" again, then paste the old text back in. StuRat (talk) 19:33, 4 February 2012 (UTC)


CEOs are supposed to have managerial experience, business connections, and a 5000-mile view of the industry. A CEO of a large company is supposed to have a good understanding of all intricacies of managing a hierarchy with large numbers of people under him, the kind that usually can't be taught in school and comes from experience in upper management. An important part of it is being able to delegate skills, that is to hire the right kinds of people to do lower-level jobs and to evaluate their performance.
It is common for CEOs of large companies to come from the background that has absolutely no relation to their industry. (Unless the CEO is one of the founders or he raises through the ranks within his own company, that's practically the norm.) That's because their skills are managerial rather than practical, and thus easily transferrable between companies. Significant numbers have college degrees in economics or humanities. --Itinerant1 (talk) 19:34, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Interesting, but then where do they get the 5000-mile wide view from, if they are from outside the industry? Is it assumed to be the long range view, at the expense of the short range view? i.e. they know enough if they know how the big picture is looking? IBE (talk) 20:16, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
It's not so much the long range at the expense of the short range, as the broad strategic view of the company role in the economy, with emphasis on all things financial - where are the suppliers, where are the consumers, what makes money and what doesn't, and hopefully some idea of where the things will be 5 years from now. Some of it should be general knowledge in CEO-world, and, if you focus on a specific company, with the right mindset and you know how to ask the right questions, you can fill in the gaps fairly quickly.
The role of a CEO may be compared with the role of a field marshal (in the U.S., a five-star general) in an army. A private is expected to be skilled with a handgun, an M-16, and in hand-to-hand combat. A lower-ranking officer is expected to manage his subordinates, to know their strengths and weaknesses, to keep them busy without making them exhausted, and to make sure that they get their jobs done. A marshal is also responsible for the strategy: he makes decisions that determine the overall direction of a war (which cities are taken, which battles are fought, where to move troops and supplies for their optimal immediate or future use), and he relies on feedback from his subordinates to do his job. A randomly-picked private would probably make a bad marshal, and most marshals are bad with M-16's.
Of course, this is mostly an idealized picture, many CEOs and many field marshals turn out to be quite bad at what they are supposed to do. These jobs are not straightforward and they are not easily scripted.--Itinerant1 (talk) 21:23, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Most CEO's need (or have) only 5% competence 95% Gift of the gab. No Harvard education would be complete, without a trip over to kiss the Blarney Stone. --Aspro (talk) 20:25, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
A CEO has to be willing to be really mean at times, throwing employees out of their jobs, then putting up with heaps of criticism from the media and public for doing this and for outsourcing operations to the third world. That's all part of maximising return to shareholders. Oh, some of the criticism will also be for the massive salaries and bonuses they receive while hurting so many other people. But that's their job. HiLo48 (talk) 22:12, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
You really see that on the show Shark Tank, where the hopeful inventor comes before the successful CEOs, who often then humiliate the inventor and/or try to get him to fire all his American workers and move the jobs to China. If this is what it takes to succeed in America, that's truly depressing. StuRat (talk) 22:17, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh, it must be really Lonely at the Top. They deserve every cent. Maybe we ought to pass-the-hat-round as well.</sarcasm> --Aspro (talk) 22:26, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
A manager I reported to in a large corporation once said he had gone to a testing session to see if he had the stuff CEOs and Vice Presidents are made of. The outside testing organization had a simulation of being an executive, in which participants were given fictional role-playing assignments. They had to deal with urgent deadlines, with negotiations, with a massive information input, demands for decisions without adequate information, an overflowing email inbox full of demands for replies which would have taken more hours than there are in a day. He said it was like old-time circus acts where a performer had to spin plates on sticks, with the plate smashing if it were let go too long. Personally, I would have been a tech nerd, and had "paralysis by analysis," wanting to get enough data to generate a least-squares solution to a problem, and been an Emperor Claudius when an Emperor Julius was required. Edison (talk) 02:28, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

About Adam Smith (16 June 1723 – 17 July 1790)[edit]

Is it correct to consider Adam Smith a Capitalist Theoritician? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Endmysteries (talkcontribs) 20:52, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Sure, why not... --Jayron32 21:59, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Our article, Adam Smith, describes him as: "... a Scottish social philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. ...Smith is widely cited as the father of modern economics and capitalism." See also Adam Smith By James R. Otteson, 2011: "Smith was in fact, an extremely subtle and sophisticated thinker who made important and lasting contributions to the disciplines of economics, politics, law, philosophy and ethics." So "yes" seems to be the answer to your question. Alansplodge (talk) 10:11, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Smith was a theoretician of capitalism rather than a capitalist theoretician. He was not personally a capitalist and his view of capitalism was optimistic but also very critical. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:41, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Capitalism vs. Free Market Economy[edit]

¿What is the difference between the Capitalist and Free Market Economy? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Endmysteries (talkcontribs) 20:53, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

I believe those mean the same thing. Note, however, that a completely free market/pure capitalism doesn't really exist, except perhaps in a place without any government, or with one too weak to enforce any regulations. StuRat (talk) 21:06, 4 February 2012 (UTC)


(ec) This is more a language question than anything else. If memory serves, the term capitalism itself was invented by an opponent, Karl Marx, and not all supporters of the free market are willing to buy into the assumptions inherent in the term. Also, much of the time the word capitalism is used to refer to things like banking, finance, and commodity and stock trading, much of which is done in markets that are not really all that free. --Trovatore (talk) 21:09, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
What a lot of modern writers mean by 'free market economy” is unbridled libertarianism. This is a good article. This bastardised libertarianism makes 'freedom' an instrument of oppression. Whilst the journalist is situated in the UK, it goes part way to explaining why half of America is approaching the bread line (if not already there), and also get persecuted or locked-up if they protest.--Aspro (talk) 21:12, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
What total crap. --Trovatore (talk) 21:14, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Explain.
Under capitalism in its original form, the local community got richer. Most notably amongst those industries run by the Quakers.[5] Many US companies went along the same lines. They also built many local amenities, If one's parents worked for the company, then one was almost guaranteed a job at the company as well. What has happened now? These jobs have been exported abroad, in the pursuit of maximum profit for the shareholders, so the best that many of their workers grandchildren can look forward to is scrapping a living hassling on the street. America is getting into the situation that China found itself in 200 years ago (due to their unbridled pursuit of silver coinage) when it found its markets in Europe and America where shrinking because Europe and the US could now manufacturer these exotic good themselves. Its not so much the crap but who is getting themselves in it, up to their necks. Those that complain get labelled as trouble makers and un-American. Those that forget history are doomed to re-visit it.--Aspro (talk) 22:06, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I'll try to keep that in mind the next time I consider invading Poland. :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:54, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
There is a lot of overlap, however, the principal feature of capitalism is private ownership of the means of production, and the principal feature of free-market economy is floating prices. It is uncommon, but you can have one without the other. For example, rent control is possible in a capitalist economy, but not in a truly free-market economy. In many petroleum-producing countries, petroleum is produced and sold by state-owned companies - OK in a free-market economy, not OK in a capitalist economy.--Itinerant1 (talk) 21:45, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
The problem with the free market economy is that success becomes a matter of size and might. OK for me to do it but if you do it then its NOT OK and I'll take you court and bankrupt you through litigation. Just look at what the mobile phone companies are up to right now and the computer/software industries before that. So 'free' is an internal contradiction. --Aspro (talk) 22:42, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
'Free Market' means a system in which the exchange of goods is solely determined by the interaction of producers and consumers; consumers want something, producers provide it, price is determined fluidly with consumers shifting freely among producers to get the best value. 'Capitalism' is an economic system in which individuals invest money (capital) in the creation of highly efficient workspaces (ones with high output-to-cost ratios), and earn back their investment by skimming from the differential. i.e., simplistically, if ten people individually could make 100 items, but ten people together in an efficient workspace can make 1000, a capitalist spends money to create the workspace, hires the ten people, and relies on the profits from that extra 900 items to make their profit. Free market capitalism exists, but it's generally only applicable to non-corporate, small business environments. Most large economies are controlled markets: either directly by the government, as in China or with US regulations, or by large-scale entities that can effectively supersede the movement of consumers so that price is determined by the producer(s). --Ludwigs2 22:45, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I followed you up to "or with US regulations" So Microsoft telling the courts how to interpret the anti-trust laws in its own anti-trust case is the government controlling the market? A quick google throws up lots of the opposite as well. [6]--Aspro (talk) 23:01, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Free market refers to the aggregation of voluntary economic exchanges of tangible goods and non-tangible services that take place between agents (individuals) in a free society or open society, where the price is determined by supply and demand. Capitalism refers to an economic system characterized by private property rights. It holds that the only economic system that is morally justifiable is a system that upholds self-interest and property rights. This theoretical form of capitalism is sometimes referred to as "pure capitalism", while an economic system build on a mutual relation between government and corporations, as exists in all contemporary nation-states to varying degrees, is sometimes called "crony capitalism". In crony capitalism, price is sometimes controlled, and exchange of tangible goods and non-tangible services is sometimes involuntary. --SupernovaExplosion (talk) 04:46, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
As said by Ludwigs2, the small business sector largely operate in a free market environment. Also, the underground economy is an example of free market/pure capitalism that exists in today's world. --SupernovaExplosion (talk) 04:54, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Even black-marketeers likely make some decisions based on the chance of being caught by authorities, so their decisions aren't all completely free. For example, drug dealers might avoid dealing hard drugs during a political convention, when the laws might actually be enforced for a few days. Conversely, the demand for prostitutes should go up during the convention, and enforcement loosened. StuRat (talk) 05:01, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Lawsuits for copyright infringement[edit]

  1. Has the English Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation ever been sued for "close paraphrase" copyright infringement?
  2. If so, can you tell me the names of some of the cases? (I already saw Sylvia Scott Gibson's complaint, thanks.) --Kenatipo speak! 21:42, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Re: "I already saw Sylvia Scott Gibson's complaint". I didn't, so a link would be appreciated. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 01:53, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Google is your friend, you know: Latawnya,_the_Naughty_Horse,_Learns_to_Say_"No"_to_Drugs#Legal_action. --Mr.98 (talk) 02:32, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
ASCII, here's a link to the Scribd copy of her legal complaint. Gibson-v-Amazon-Complaint (I shouldn't have even mentioned her because her complaint, as far as I can understand it, has nothing to do with "close paraphrase".) --Kenatipo speak! 04:21, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Here's an answer from Moonriddengirl (not acting in any official WMF capacity):

This is a quick reply, passing through. I'm afraid that, even if I'm an employee of the Wikimedia Foundation, I don't have their legal history at hand. :) I can tell you that the English Wikipedia is not a legal entity and cannot be sued. The Wikimedia Foundation is, but as an online service provider is shielded by the DMCA, with which it is fully compliant. When a copyright holder complains, we remove the content.
Beyond that, I'm afraid that your question doesn't really reflect the way copyright cases work. Copyright cases hinge on whether or not taking of creative content is substantial, not on whether taking is directly pasted or closely paraphrased or even completely reworded, as with translations from other languages. Of course, direct copying is bound to be easier to determine. :) But to quote from 1992's "Copy Wrong: Plagiarism, Process, Property and the Law" by Laurie Stearns, "By being expansive in its definition of copying, or perhaps in its definition of expression, copyright law has sensibly avoided one of the strictures of the idea/expression dichotomy: it has eliminated paraphrasing as a defense to a charge of infringement. To qualify as a copyright infringement, the copying of expression need not be exact. Judge Hand addressed the question of paraphrasing, observing that copyright protection 'cannot be limited literally to the text, else a plagiarist would escape by immaterial variations.'" (You can see Judge Hand in context at [7].) What constitutes sufficient rewrite or substantial similarity can be difficult to determine. Unfortunately, there is no concrete test. :/ --Moonriddengirl (talk) 19:37, 5 February 2012