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Not many Americans may have heard of it, but Kaubajama is one of the largest department stores in Talinn, Estonia. It could be compared to our own Macy’s. Or Nordstrom. Or Meir and Frank. Or Barney’s… The list goes on and on, because in America, we have a variety to choose from. To me, it’s fascinating to think that capitalism is still a relatively new idea in some European countries. And that for them, the concept of capitalism is still a vague notion compared to what they have experienced.

Having just learned about the existence of Kaubamaja, I myself was intrigued at how their department store promotes itself as modelled by western standards. Their progressive philosophy is described on their website, in terms that I thought were slightly ironic, coming from a country in the former communist block.

“Kaubamaja Values”

We value Creativity
There is always somebody with better ideas than we have. We help people give birth to ideas and realise them.
Every new solution that helps us better serve our customers is worth being considered.
Every member of our staff who is willing to seek and find new solutions deserves to be met with appreciation.
Every business partner who is willing to seek and find new solutions along with us is of interest to us.

We value Will
Only those who strive to be the best are truly good.
The willingness to serve our customers and help them fulfill their wishes is characteristic to every staff member of Kaubamaja.
The willingness to set and achive higher objectives is the issue that denotes our contribution to the development of Kaubamaja and society.
Being the best does not necessarily mean being number 1 in a competition, but may also mean being among the best.

We value Cooperation
Cooperation in customer relations is not merely an empty phase – it means a relationship in which customers will get the best offers and service and will keep coming back to us.
Cooperation is also the key word in work relations.
We do not want to win on the account of our people, but with them.
Cooperation in business relations means acting together for sake of common long-term goals that will benefit both parties.

We value Honesty
We communicate in an honest and open way. Honesty creates the basis for long-term relationships, saves emotions and time.
We act honestly towards our customers and partners by saying what we can offer them and what we expect of them in return.

Wow. “We value Creativity, Will, Cooperation, and Honesty”. What American company would list these as its core values? It’s unusual, if you break it down.

“Only those who strive to be the best are truly good.” Kind of strange actually, that you might label individuals ‘good’ or ‘bad’ like this.

“The willingness to set and achive higher objectives is the issue that denotes our contribution to the development of Kaubamaja and society.”

Interesting to extend a store’s values into it’s contributions to ‘society’…I wonder if Nordstroms thinks about this factor in its sales of mini-skirts and high heel shoes (although perhaps Nike does demonstrate such an ethic).

But I really like this one. “Honesty creates the basis for long-term relationships, saves emotions and time.”

If only more American companies valued a long-term relationship with their customers and less of the desire to make a quick buck by short-changing them. If only Enron had valued its employees and treated them with respect and honesty instead of kyping their retirement savings. If only capitalism behaved more ethically, citizens such as Michael Moore wouldn’t have such widespread popular support and the economy might be more robust. If only capitalism realized you don’t get ahead by short term profiting by cheating; selling inferior items, providing inferior service at least cost. I think people would be prouder to be Americans.

Instead, we can look to the idealism of a budding post-communist type capitalism to contrast with our jaded realism.

Kaubamaja has locations in Talinn and Tartu, Estonia.

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A corporation having the right to vote as a person? Why not just let CITIES vote, too??? They are INcorporated entities. Should these “people”, get a representative quantity in legislature too? Senators for the corporations of Indiana….Senators for the corporations of California…??? On the other hand, if corporations had their own senators, it might mean that the citizen’s senators would be less influenced by corruption.

http://www.scotusblog.com/2010/01/analysis-the-personhood-of-corporations/

Allright, correction needed. Corporations were not given the right to vote as individuals in today’s Supreme Court decision in “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.” They were only to be counted as persons who have the right to exercize freedom of speech through contributing as much as they like to political campaigns. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/21/the-supreme-courts-citize_n_432127.html .

But I’m not sure now, which is worse. To let businesses buy influence through campaign contributions, or to give them an honest chance to vote outright as individuals. Businesses and corporations have expression through political lobbies now, but this is indirectly influential. Financial influence through large donations is too easily corruptible, and is why limits have been legalized in the past. Perhaps businesses should be able to vote, as they are currently to be taxed as individual ‘persons.’

Why does giving corporations a legitimate representative voice in Congress, smack of the same complexities as legalizing marijuana..? As always, it seems as though the best choices are merely choosing between the better of two evils. At least America isn’t socialist yet, though.

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I think movies these days are ALL about effects or costuming…they rarely have any “meaningful content”…(which is all some people want, considering it’s “entertainment”.) To me, entertainment doesn’t mean its necesarily ‘mindless’ though. But i hate to have paid to see something I’d rather forget. i think that’s why foreign films have such appeal–the moviemaking process is less Hollywood, less mindlessly commercial.

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