Monday, August 20, 2012

Mish and other such

Mike Shedlock has always been a sort of bete noir for your humble correspondent.  I read his blog every day and use it to simultaneously increase my knowledge of the world around me and to replenish my overstock of bile.

Recently, the lovely and talented Russell**, reviewed an article written by Mr. Shedlock, and the article got me to thinking about the way that things are looked at in this country.

Mish in the article bemoans the lack of manufacturing jobs and the surfeit of government jobs.  First and foremost, this country is absolutely awash in manufactured shit.  A trip to the dump lets one see firsthand the amount of shit that we throw away.   A trip to the store lets us see all of the manufactured shit we have available to buy. 

My feeling is that adding more manufacturing jobs will just add to the pile of unnecessary that currently defines our lives.  Yes, we can bring back the manufacturing jobs of iPads and salad shooters from China.  We can bring back the call center jobs from India.  But what precisely will this do?

All of the jobs that we want to bring back are the jobs that no one here really wanted in the first place.  I have worked in factories in China and those folks put up with crap like you haven't seen.  They are aid squat wages and are treated like crap.  Assembling your iPad or iPhone is not a job that anyone in America will do for the pay required to adequately pad Apple’s bottom line.  The pollution and environmental damage that China willingly imported from us would have to come back here to your hometown.

So, really what we have here is a decision tree.  If we want full employment in the manufacturing sector, we have to bring back with the manufacturing a whole plethora of environmental and societal issues brought about by environmental degradation and low wages.  If we keep the current structure, we will have to keep a high ratio of government employment to fend off unacceptable rates of overall unemployment.

Really, what Mr. Shedlock, and his market-based panacea offers us is a return to the age of the robber barons.  Low wages, small government services, grinding poverty and the rise of the new plutocrats.
What the current model offers us is a steady decline into a banana republic, with crippled manufacturing, overweening government controls, and steady erosion of living standards among the general populace.

I am hoping that we will manage to come up with another alternative, but the political setting seems to be headed to a showdown between these two equally distasteful alternatives.  I wish that it wasn't so, but it sure looks like that is the way that it is going to roll.

It is important to remember that Mr. Shedlock writes to a defined market segment.  He speaks openly of returns on investment, stock purchasing strategies, and the nature of the current economic structure.   His blog is written for the rentier class and those who aspire to it.  The needs and desires of the people for whom the blog is written for are not coincident with those of the greater majority of people who inhabit this country.

** the picture is a tribute to one of Russell’s endearing habits


NoHype said...

I'm not sure you're going far enough down your decision tree. GDP is a macro measurement of churn -- that is, how fast we can turn over our capital base. This measurement system rewards those who can figure out how to create the shortest possible product lifecycles with the lowest input costs (i.e.: maximum externalization of costs).

If we measured actual standing wealth, the entire paradigm might shift. Durable goods might actually become durable. As such, the economy would be based on servicing and maintaining existing capital, rather than churning it as fast as possible in to landfills.

Degringolade said...

Yes, you are absolutely right....But that is another post that is harder to write than I first thought