Posted by: jackslife | April 22, 2009

This One’s For You Chad

Rod has a post up about the focus on bolstering knowledge jobs over our productive manufacturing jobs.  I think that Rod’s points are all very good, and I think that it’s foolishness that we have given so much priority to moving our economy away from real work and into brain jobs.  This is always argued as progress by globalization proponents, but I don’t think that this claim is obvious from the long view.  When the tangible economy is eliminated from this country, our vulnerability may come back to haunt us.

There was a comment on this post from Franklin Evans that made me think of some conversations that I have had recently with some of my friends.  Here’s most of it –

The primary issue is balance of wealth, in this case the dividing line between wages as a business expense and wages as a reinvestment in the community. Guess which one has long had the priority, and make a second guess how this translates into such a small percentage of Americans holding such a large percentage of wealth. And please, don’t spout at me about capitalism and the wealthy reinvesting or helping new companies start. The numbers prove that to be a lie, but let us skip over my ire and see the rhetoric for what it is: we do our damndest at the management level to minimize expenses — which means fighting against rising wages every step of the way — while the politicos babble on about living wages, cost of living, poor helpless shmoes being laid off… it makes me sick, not just for the shmoes getting screwed, but for the politicos helping the wealthy bend the shmoes over and pull their pants down.

I don’t cotton to the socialist rhetoric, nor do I find much intellectual honesty in the libertarian models. Free market capitalism, whatever that originally meant, is just a facade for “I have the gold so I make the rules.” I don’t really care what any ideology says, because the real solutions come from real people sitting at the same table and using compromise and consensus to find and implement methods and solutions, based on what is actually true on the ground and what things have the most important impact.

Take the co-op. Many knee-jerk their sight of it as a socialist model. I’m sure that’s true for co-ops in socialist economies. But every co-op I’ve encountered in the US — the ones that actually work, thrive and achieve longevity, mind you — finds the best aspects of socialism and compromises with capitalism wherever that’s necessary. The hybrids do very well, thank you very much, and the lessons they can provide (especially in the Crunchy Con context) are routinely ignored in corporate America because — survey says!! — it cuts down on profits for investors.

As an abstract, given a choice, a wealthy investor can be expected to invest in the choice with the best potential return. On the ground, when the choice is between affordable, quality products sold by people receiving living wages and cheap products sold by wage slaves resulting in boffo dividends for the shareholders, which company would you rather buy from, and why?

I think that Franklin is probably right about the free market libertarian ideas, especially in the time of globalization.  It seems that the US populace at large is benefiting less and less from the greed of those at the top of the food chain.  Trickle-down economics is nice in theory, and true to a point, but in these times it seems that there are increasing opportunities for corporations to avoid distributing wealth to the proles (joking with the Marxist jargon) in this country.



  1. Thank you! This is what I wish I were smart enought to be able to explain to people. I think Franklin is spot on here. Inversters/Business is only ever going to do what it can to increase profits and longterm this is bad for the average citizen…especially as the gap widens between the wealthy and the low or so-called middle classes in America.

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