Friday, January 20, 2012

Economic Policy

So, after reading this article yesterday  'If You Are A Blue Collar Worker In America You Are An Endangered Species' I began to ponder where the trends of the global economy are leading us and what kind of future we can expect for ourselves and, more importantly, our children and their children. The article's author mentioned that businesses would continue to replace people with machines and that's okay. But is it okay? In times past when machines made our work easier and made us therefore more productive that was one thing. Usually when jobs were replaced by machines new jobs were created and people who wanted to work found work of some sort. But in the past decade or more the so called recoveries from the economic recessions have been jobless ones as more and more people are outright replaced by machines and anemic job growth provides few opportunities for new jobs to move into. Remember the futuristic world portrayed by The Jetsons cartoon of the 1960s that depicted a world in which machines and automation would give us a future of 4 hour work days and more leisure time with friends and family? Yeahhhhhh, that didn't happen. Well, for most of us at least. Why not? Hmmm, that might be a topic to look into. ;-) Speaking of, I once again, highly recommend everyone read Marshall Brain's (the founder of How Stuff Works) story Manna at least once in their lives.

But, anyway,  when is the last time you saw a machine pay taxes to a government to fund government programs? Human beings with jobs do that, not machines! When is the last time you saw a machine buy a product or use a service from a business? I don't think my truck has ever rented a movie or bought a six pack of beer! By the same token, can the U.S. government collect taxes from workers in China or India? How long can the mega-corporation formula of build it cheap somewhere else and bring it back to the U.S. to sell at a hefty profit work until there are no longer enough gainfully employed people in the U.S. to buy their widgets? At some time or another a tipping point will have to be reached. Where will that point be and how prepared will you be to weather the storm? Can you compete with a worker who lives on 70 cents per hour working 16 hours per day and expect to keep a roof over your head and food on the table? I'm all for free trade as long as it's fair trade. But who benefits from the economic policies our leaders, both political and industrial, have been pursuing?

In the short term the big shot, fat cats at the mega-corporations might benefit but when those machines aren't buying their stuff, because, well, machines don't much give a rats ass about buying stuff and things,  and those low wage workers can't afford their stuff and most of the once mighty American middle class has been rendered unemployed or under-employed then whose left to sell to?

By the way, you might want to start growing some of your own food. You'll be glad you did some day. Just sayin'. 

1 comment:

  1. It is sometimes said that we get the kind of government we deserve and I think it goes further than that, we get the kind of world we deserve. It's also often said that most American's don't vote but I submit that even when we're not going to the polls to vote we do cast votes every day in the choices we make and where and on what we choose to spend our dollars. What will you vote for today?