Here Thar Be Monsters!

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6.12.13

Thowing Sabot At Windmills

Lately, folks around these parts (west Java) have been aggitating to raise the regional minimum wage (Indonesia doesn't have a national minimum - yet) to $500 per month.  Folks are complaining that they can't afford to live on the current wages, much like hte McWorkers in Detroit and elsewhere in the States.  Of course, without a little deep thought, and perhaps a degree in economics, those same folks don't realize that they are the ones creating the problem in the first place.

You see, when you increase the minimum wage, then employers have to increase the cost of their products, which ultimately gets passed on to the consumer, and the consumer is who?  Why the folks bemaning the higher wages.  It's an endless circle jerk in which the protesters ultimately are screwing themselves and thinking that things will get better with a little more money in the pocket.  A 20% wage increase=20% higher prices=back where you started.

A similar problem is automation.  Folks just love all those machines doing the hard work, not thinking that they are celebrating their own demise.  A labor-saving device is a human replacement, so while you have dreams of sitting on the beach while your personal robot does the job, the reality is that you are unemployed and can't afford to go to the beach, while your machine is doing fine work at little cost to the 'employer' - no sick leave, no hangovers, no bad hair days, no raises, no health care, etc.

A number of nations are in the midst of immigration 'reform', being sold as the humane thing to do for all those poor folks streaming across the borders.  What no one seems to realize is that those folks are taking all the jobs at half the price and they could care less about rights and benefits, as long as the money comes in. It all started in World War 2. With all the men off to war, the factories filled up with women. Aided by captialists whose only care was the bottom line, feminist organizations latched onto women in the workplace. Thus, the workforce doubled in one fell swoop. With the returning soldiers competing with career women, salaries dropped over time. Then lax immigration laws and enforcement tripled the workforce and salaries/bargaining power got cut again. Rising minimum wages meant that prices kept going up roughly equal to the rise in base pay, so even though everyone had more zeros in the bank, the buying power was the same. Then came robots and humans could be replaced altogether, so that there was no bargaining power left. Oh sure, it all sounded so reasonable. Everyone thought they were at the top of the feed pile. They were all for automation and immigration, because as managers they could show the bosses increased productivity, lower costs and higher profits. In the meantime, the water kept rising. First, the hourly workers, then the line managers, then middle managers. Now it's hitting upper managers, so that the only ones left standing will be the executives who are part of the Good Old Boy club. But that won't last either. Sooner than later, all the wealth will be in 10 hands while the rest of the world wonders what the hell happened. We'll all be standing around watching the wonderous machines scurry back and forth without complain or holiday or flex time. But, there's the rub. You see, without jobs, we won't have money. Without money, there'll be no one to buy all the products made by machines. Eventually, every warehouse in the world will be full, stores will be shut and the planet will grind to a halt because the unbridled greed of a handful of people brought the economic world to its knees. The next revolution won't be against governments, but corporations - the entities that really run the world. Like the Dutch workers of the Industrial Revolution, folks will start throwing the modern equivalent of sabot (wooden shoes) into the machinery and a new word for sabotage will be born. It's inevitable. The Big Question is where will the capitalists run to this time. Before, they ran from Venice to Amsterdam, then London, and finally to New York. Now, there is only one place for them to run, and that's into orbit, which may explain all the companies vying to become space jockeys. In any event, we are replaying history once again. We let the financial genie out of the bottle once again, after having stuffed them back into the bottle so many times throughout the past several thousand years. One day, we the people will have to learn that greed and the interests of human beings are incompatible. With the advent of 3D printing, the last of the real, productive jobs are about to get deep-sixed. Soon we'll all be McWorkers in Detroit. Even the gee-whizz stories about 3D printing don't mention that without income, you can't buy the printers or the materials needed to operate them, and if you had that kind of money, who would you sell the products to - seeing as how all the rest of us are broke too? Solution? All the women quit work and go back to being housewives. It's not a disgrace, its a huge shot into the heart of the vulture capitalists. Citizen patrols of borders is another step. When government fails to do the job that it was constituted to do, then it falls to the people to take back the reins and git 'er done. Third, apply all labor laws as they stand today to all labor-replacing machines: forced shut-downs for two weeks a year, benefit equivalents, tax equivalents, etc. If the machines cost the same as real live people, then there's no benefit to replacing people. Finally, simply refuse to buy anything produced by major multi-national corporations. Buy local produce and dairy. Buy products from cottage industries. Support mom-and-pop outfits. None of this will ever happen. People are too lazy and greedy themselves, and too spoiled by instant gratification, to actually take their self-interests to the next level. When you're playing the game, though, you should at least know where the boundaries are. Changing the world ain't easy, but the alternative is even more painful and with far greater hazards. If you have to suffer, it's much better to control as many of the variables as you can. It makes the pain you suffer much more bearable. Am I anti-woman? No, but I think women run households much better than men. The point is to voluntarily cut the workforce in half, thus increasing our bargaining power overnight. Am I anti-immigration? Not at all. I'm an expat. But giving away the store by falling for the heart-string tugging stories about poor folks serves no one's interests. You lose your job and the other guy is exploited. Am I anti-business? Hell no! Just anti-destructive captialism. Those organizations that are destructive of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness must be brought to heel, just as any individual would be. The key to utopia is education, and guess which part of life the vultures control the most?