Category Archives: Economics

A Home on the Beach

As the popular sport of denigrating Christianity has flourished, the new religion of “climate change” has gained thousands of new acolytes. Of course, “climate change” is science as opposed to faith-based mumbo-jumbo. You religious nuts have to come in to the 21st Century. Maybe. Hold the door, please.

Climate change is one of the few constants in the life of the earth. Ice ages, warming periods, volcanoes, comets, tides, gravity, planetary magnetic fields – these things have been present quite variably for billions of years. Well, yeah, but… but pollution, man… pollution has been present for like, since the atom bomb, man. What about that, dude?

Valid point, but pollution, too, has come and gone many times. We are considering only pollution that affects things WE have experienced. We, in our hubris, see this brief period since Biblical times or, more pointedly, since Columbus, say, as what is normal and the only way the world should be forever. Maybe, but an impossibility with or without the befouling presence of humans, especially white ones; they are the worst.

Earth changes in ways and for reasons we cannot affect, effect or fully understand. We may have some ephemeral effects right now, but they get taken care of through cyclical processes fairly well, although not perfectly, God knows… except for jet aircraft and a handful of other egregious assaults on the biosphere that we can fix if we develop a mind to. Surface weather cleans up a lot of our sloppiness, and we are technologically obviating some of our worst ideas. Economics helps.

Self-driving cars are a good example. Again, hubris and greed are driving current approaches, but we’ll get it right without too many deaths, one hopes. Once a standard is set requiring cars to “talk” to each other, real progress will be made. The problem with “autonomous” vehicles is autonomy: attempting to have every car have all the abilities to detect, control or react to every variable in traffic, pedestrians and weather – and weird roads. Can’t be done. However, if every car knew what every other vehicle within, say 100 yards were doing – direction, speed, acceleration – then traffic could automatically adjust itself so that it would never have to stop, including at intersections! Add a few sensors at intersections, on-ramps and the like, and “self-driving” cars will begin to resolve one of the worst pollution generators on the planet: personal, independent, ready-at-a-whim, expensive, heavy, inefficient cars.

And save lives. Imagine commuting without driving your own car. An electric “AV” (autonomous vehicle) or “SDC” picks you up along with 3 others going to the same concentrated economic zone, all independently arranged with phone apps. You work on your laptop, play cards, text or eat breakfast perfectly safely. Your SDC moves steadily forward cutting commuting time by a third or a half, then drops each “ride-pooler” at his or her work and goes off for the rest of the day to do some other tasks, including plugging itself in for an hour or so. At the prescribed times it picks up its riders (who may or may not be the same 4 based on workday schedules) and takes them home. Highways are less congested, traffic flow is uninterrupted (thanks to MDV’s [manually driven vehicles] also communicating with vehicles within that 100 yards), and billions of gallons of gas are left unburned. Cool.

Plus, thousands of acres of parking lots are made superfluous and may be “de-paved” and otherwise made better use of. Public transportation, that perennial, government, unionized cesspool of constant losses and shortfalls, will finally be in a form that works and a lot of crappy trains, trolleys and buses can be eliminated. SDC’s can go where people need to go when they need to go there, resulting in actual use. A lot of people will simply stop owning personal cars that sit idle 93% of the time.

As for jet travel, that’s different. Still, large fractions of it can be obviated with superior “ground” transport systems. Monorail transports in busy corridors, even up to 1,000 miles, can eliminate thousands of short-haul jet flights. Jets, after all, dump their exhaust at 35,000 feet, beyond where normal weather will help remove it. Surface transit at 300 miles an hour, or close to it, will compete effectively on trips up to 3 hours or so – possible up to 1000 miles. Trips from 150 to 500 miles would be a breeze, and more comfortable… and electric. Clean.

Elon Musk’s batteries are going to help, but we’ll have to resolve our UN-scientific fears of nuclear power to finally clean up our planet. It’ll happen… has to. Neither solar nor wind can carry the load in the next couple of generations and we seem to want to clean things up right now – nuclear.

At the same time, maybe we can devise solar-powered robot vessels to clean up our preposterous gyre of garbage in the pacific. Container-ship companies can pay for them. We have to become serious about not despoiling our home. Clean air, clean land, clean water – all valid and viable goals. Climate change will slowly correct to the only extent that it can. What does that mean?

To whatever, unquantifiable degree that human activity has caused a change in Earth’s average temperature, it has taken a long time. This is not to discount variations in solar output, sunspot cycles, variations and weakening of the magnetic field and so forth, but let those go. We may have an impact, no matter how arrogant we sound in saying so. Still, it’s fairly small and slow to make a difference. There isn’t any treaty or legislation that is going to make a rapid reversal. Decades, generations.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start as soon as possible… and we have. But, increasingly, the choice that true believers offer is stark destruction of our ecology and mass starvations and all they imply; OR, VOLUNTARY population reduction. The possibility that Humanity might resolve pollution by dint of invention and technology or even good motives, is never proffered. According to the Church of Inevitable Death, mankind will either kill itself out of stupidity and greed or thanks to enlightened leadership from government members of the new religion.

I’ll take door number 3, Winky.

Climate acolytes are currently very upset about “…the four inches of sea-level rise that has already happened!” Well that’s serious, especially if you’ve been living within two inches of the mean sea level in 1940. It’s also extremely difficult to determine with any precision. But if the seas have risen a couple of inches, their worry and over-concern has to ignore the 400 FEET of sea-level change since the beginning of the reversal of the last ice age. Of course, there was a lot more ice available for melting in the good old days, so small global changes could cause massive meltwater volumes. We’re relatively safe from those kinds of effects, today.
A large part of our ostensible sea-level problem is our own damn fault, since we do enjoy living right on the waters’ edges. I expect we’ll deduce how to avoid drowning slowly, most of us, anyway.

If the entire atmosphere could be liquefied it would be about 33 feet deep, or 393.7 inches. Well great… so what? Well, in fact, CO-2 comprises about .0397% of the total. Let’s see what this means:
1% of 393.7 inches is just 3.937 inches – out of 33 feet. But, CO-2 is less than 4/10ths of that percent, or slightly deeper than 1.57 inches. Around the year 1800 (pre-industry), we’re told, CO-2 was only 3/10ths of a percent of the total, or what would have been 1.18 inches. Now we are told, it is the added .39 inches of the 33-foot total that has caused nearly every problem we face today, hot or cold, wet or dry, cloudy or sunny.

It is a big deal because people literally breath out CO-2, as do our cars and trucks and planes and things. Better, it’s a trace gas that we can BLAME on humans! We can TAX it and buy votes with it and be superior about it. Ohh, Heaven!

Worse, it is swamping tiny atolls in the Solomon Islands and the handfuls of people who like living there (who wouldn’t?) need some of everyone’s money to compensate their moving costs. At least, that’s the trumpeted theory. Still, it fits with the trends of the past 100 centuries or so, which ought to be comforting. Our anxiety derives from changes that have affected things we know from the past couple of hundred years… things that, in our arrogant view, should have remained static once we decided we liked them.

Right? Of course, right!
Since so many factors we have nothing to do with have maintained the direction of change, we are now adopting an amazing attitude that it is within our politics, economics and powers, that we can steer change in a different direction. This is far more remarkable than divinity, but a lot of people have bought it.

When Robots are Rights

We must, as thinking, contemplative beings at least somewhat concerned about the future, consider the implications of robotics and so-called artificial intelligence: machines that learn. It’s all a matter of large-enough databases and rapid-enough retrieval. So what? you might ask.

Civilization came to be built as it is through an economic reality that forces individual humans to strive for improvement – both personal and financial. That is, at one level or another, life has been tough for most of us, causing each to become stronger in order to be able to adjust one’s surroundings to greater comfort or safety… or both.

In the past century or so we have managed to elevate enough of ourselves to support elaborate industries designed only to entertain us due to growing levels of “leisure” time. That is, modern life for a large fraction of humankind (but not all, certainly) permits complete creation of safe and comfortable living conditions (standards) with about 40 hours of “labor” of very specialized kinds per week, or about 25% of available time.

In fact not even 25% is needed, as many forms of labor provide for weeks of non-work time each year in addition to “holidays,” storm-days, “personal” days, sick days and, increasingly, family and maternity “leave” periods. Politicians and other panderers – advocates and socialists of various stripes – are constant in their demands for more time off for ostensibly “civilized” and crucial purposes. Employers are, after all, mere thieves of workers time and comfort and must not be allowed to earn a profit from their labor, if such dis-allowance is at all possible.

In any case and by whatever fraction of productive employees’ time, businesses must find ways to produce the millions of products and services that they and others need or want in order to create and maintain the kind of safe, comfortable living conditions each desires. And those products must be profitable enough to justify all the investment, risk, work and education that goes in to producing them, delivering them and warranting their quality and usefulness, AND to permit sufficient taxation of both profits and of labor itself, to pay for all of the “public” works and subsidies that politicians think we need – including those that we truly do.

Together we, many of us, understand the multiple contracts and assumptions and personal costs that are enabling lives we like; and we understand, largely, the changes we must each choose to make to have “better” lives and proportions of leisure time. Robots are changing the “contracts” we have made between individuals, companies, governments and ourselves – and we are largely unprepared for the future that they are creating.

Right now the contracts of the economy depend upon parties who have striven to be part of the economy and who have striven to be “good” and “useful” people – most of us, anyway. What each has attained-to is the basis on which each of us judges the other as a qualified member of our society and culture, evaluates him or her as to qualities of charity, kindness and “fairness,” or lacks thereof, and on what his or her productive value is determined.

It is very important to us whether the person we are considering is one who “pulls his or her weight” or, barring genuine disability, “coasts on the work of others.” Is he or she “pulling the wagon” or just “riding?” Like it or not, every one of us needs to grasp these values for the current system to “work.” We understand and agree to abide by the hundreds and thousands of “contracts” that cause society, products, services, profit and pay to function with a net gain of living standards over time for the largest number of our fellow society members.

Are you with me so far?

Here and there, and in growing numbers, people who are employers, which is to say, producers in our economy (“job-creation” being simply a result of profitable productivity), are squeezed by governments – including their legal systems – through taxation and liabilities of increasing types. Customers demand redress and compensation from producers’ profits if anything goes wrong with a product, its delivery or its use, almost regardless of “fault.” Governments need more and more revenue to perform vital deeds and to buy votes from constituents.

To compensate for growing assaults on profits producers must steadily become more productive without raising costs… and this means reducing labor costs – employee costs. Given myriad labor laws protecting workers, insuring them, insuring their families and paying them at certain rates, producers are turning toward automating as many procedures as possible: ie. robots.

Robots don’t have to look like manufactured humanoids. They can be as unassuming as ATM machines and self-check-out lanes at Home Depot and a thousand other retailers. “Robots” can dispense prescriptions, take orders at fast-food restaurants and, soon, custom-tailor suits with nary a sales-clerk or store-manager needed. What do YOU do? What function are you compensated for? Maybe you build houses.

Robots make it possible to factory-manufacture modular homes that come with wiring, piping and alarm and computer circuits already in place. They’re delivered by truck and bolted together on site. Altogether there can be barely 20% as much labor needed to produce a single-family home. For modular multi-family buildings, there is even less per housing unit. What will all the tradesmen be doing?

Or, the counter workers, potato-fryers, and on, and on, and on… what will they be doing? Retailing is disappearing before our eyes, along with its jobs and buildings, janitors and re-decorators, security guards and on, and on, and on. There are very, very few jobs that are not threatened, except, temporarily, robot-maker.

Will this happen overnight? Not yet, but overnight began about 30 years ago and is accelerating as rapidly today, tomorrow and next week, as computing power and miniaturization permit. So what are the political and human consequences of the robotic devouring of what we now call “jobs?”

First, people who now control productive enterprises, from small to large, will be controlling larger and larger fractions of production generally, whether of precision-engineered parts or of sandwiches, and with fewer and fewer employees. This will concentrate productive surplus – which is to say: profits – and wealth as well, in those same hands or corporations. How, under the U. S. Constitution, will this wealth be “shared” among the soon-to-be jobless citizens? (“Soon” being in 20 years?)

Shall we raise taxes much, much higher? Should laws be passed that require producers to share remaining jobs among 4, 5 or 6 individuals (however inefficient that will be)? What happens to the essential right of private property? Will all hiring and profits become the purview of the least-efficient institutions on the planet: federal bureaucracies?

And how will individuals prove their worth? Not only to their friends, wives and children… but to themselves? If lots of humans don’t need to be very smart to survive, will more than the owners of production and the builders and programmers of robots, bother to become so? What happens to politics, then?

The stratification we have acquiesced to so far – stratification in which those elected deem themselves superior and entitled to office, ideas they have “sold” to relatively ignorant constituents – will become stricter and more calcified, virtually unassailable by the welfare-supported masses of citizens. Those will be they who never vote against wealth-sharing and at ever greater sharing rates. How will democracy or a republic or religiosity survive?

Just as large fractions of us, now, can’t find our ways without “GPS,” or feed ourselves without welfare, what will we become when there is no need to strive… and dependence upon robots approaches totality? What will civilization be? Constant leisure? A complete absence of sacrifice? SHALL WE ALL BECOME ENTERTAINERS? Shouldn’t we be thinking about these things?

Do you think of them? Fear them?

Borrowing for Welfare?

Nearly every day there is some article or letter in the newspapers that decries the fact that the United States’ “defense” budget is larger than the next 7 nations’ defense budgets, combined. Moreover, that “bloated” defense budget could be reduced significantly so that the “savings” can be used to feed the hungry and house the homeless right here in our own country, for Heaven’s sake.

None of these heartfelt concerns is based on the right perspectives or even the right data. That’s the trouble with statistics.

For example, 65% of fiscal 2017’s Federal Budget is committed to entitlements, pensions, health-care and education. From a Constitutional standpoint, most of that 65% is not the business of the federal government, whereas defense, now 16% of the budget, categorically IS.

Years ago welfare was strictly local… and recipients were a little ashamed of having to ask for it. Many, your grandparents or great-grandparents, and many of your parents, would do the most menial jobs to AVOID being on welfare and to get “off” of it as quickly as possible. Children learned this reaction and revulsion. Welfare was a handout when you needed it, as temporarily as possible.

Soon after World War II, though, states took over welfare from cities and towns, mainly under pressure from cities, which were buckling under the northward migration of blacks from the deep south. Almost immediately, states began prevailing on Washington to take the burden off of their backs. After all, weren’t the new Northerners crossing state lines because of “national” conditions in the economy?

After 13 years of the “New Deal,” we could have seen where this was going. There were votes to be gained in the impassioned cries for better – federal – welfare: codified compassion.

Truman blazed integration trails, Eisenhower enforced anti-segregation in schools, Kennedy hemmed and hawed but crawled toward full integration and voting rights legislation, Johnson, riding a wave of sympathy for his murdered predecessor, got civil rights legislation done, and then carried on further to create some wildly expensive – reckless – new “rights”: federal, unaccountable, politically charged, easily defrauded, vote-attractive welfare.

Smartly, though, Johnson couched the new largesse to which people were now entitled – not ashamed-of, in wonderfully sympathetic terms and names. Names like: Aid for Dependent Children (AFDC), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, ie. Food Stamps), Pell Grants (free college), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Rental Voucher Program (Section 8), Federal National Mortgage Administration (“Fannie-Mae”), Child Nutrition (School lunch, breakfast, dinner!), Head Start (very, very expensive day-care), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and, the granddaddy of them all: MEDICAID.

Current spending on these and more than ONE HUNDRED other federal “anti-poverty” programs (who could be PRO-poverty?) is nearly 900 BILLION dollars. That means that our virtually bankrupt federal government is BORROWING money to provide welfare.
Well, say unionized federal social workers and sympathizers, our defense budget is larger than the next 7 nations’ combined, let’s cut that, first!

Except… it isn’t.

When China, for example, builds sand islands in the South China Sea, and puts military airstrips and naval “bases” on them, and claims 200-mile territorial waters around these extensions of “China,” it’s not a military expenditure, but something else. For example.

When Russia directs a manufacturer to produce engines for new IRBM’s and ICBM’s, they aren’t military expenditures – they’re developments in space exploration. All peaceful. And subterranean military bunkers for both armament manufacture and survival are certainly construction projects… and expensive, but military? Not so you’d know.

And no other country carries the degree of personnel costs and benefits that are packed into the “Defense” budget of the United States. Simple ledger numbers are not comparable with other nations’ budgets.

Actually, under the Obama administration, defense has been cut a few times. One of his first steps was to fold tens of billions of retirement costs into the Defense Department budget. Logically, the cost of military retirements should not be measured as part of the Pentagon’s war-fighting / force-projection budget, should they? They certainly don’t threaten anyone but us.

Next, Obama forced the Congress into the “sequester” process, of which a large fraction of restrictions were imposed on defense – to be “fair.” Big cuts.

Finally, he walked out of Iraq, abandoning the very bloody, very costly gains we had made there. We are now paying to regain what had been won. His frothy, fraudulent Iran anti-nuclear “agreement” (cunningly not a treaty), will cost us many billions going forward – billions that need not have been spent had there been a different foreign policy.

The new president sees significant weakness that exists now or very shortly will, as normal refitting and reconditioning of hardware takes larger and larger fractions of critical military systems out of service. Warplanes are becoming antiques as our most experienced pilots are retiring; it is our phenomenal pilots who keep last-generation fighters useful in their 30th year of service. Now our latest fighter platform is too expensive to buy enough of!

If anyone thinks that McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried chicken are going to convince our potential enemies to not work – and fight – to destroy us, it is time for him or her to wake up. Maybe unrestricted immigration will make everybody love one another, but so far it is weakening the “West” and confusing our Constitutional rights with national suicide.

HOW MANY DIVISIONS…?

The seeds of division in our beautiful nation were planted in the Revolutionary War. You are wondering how could that be so when we all know they sprouted in just the past 8 years? How simple would be the solution if that were so.

The intention toward one-world government was already formed in the late 18th century and it was the birth of American constitutional republicanism that reversed the momentum toward ever-greater authoritarianism. But it was a momentum, yielding Hegel’s Dialecticism, Karl Marx, Otto von Bismark, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler and Mao Tse Tung. Along the way authoritarianism cost nearly 200 Million lives, each belonging to a human being person.

America, founded on religious freedom in more ways than one, including the inherent freedom of will that makes right action truly right, was not immune to the desire for ever greater centralization. So-called Progressivism, particularly since the Civil War, following which social problems and care for disabled veterans, for the first time in large numbers, became Federalized.

It is often said that “power corrupts.” But it should also be noted that “power justifies…” itself. Government attracts governing types who quickly find that even soft police powers lend a sort of antiseptic clarity to their decisions. Government decisions gain an aura of purity, especially in comparison to the chaos of freedom – that messy, disorganized, self-serving and selfish jambalaya of individual sovereignty with which our Constitution saddles the nation.

As giants of industry developed their monopolies and industrial efficiencies, there developed a view of government as becoming the ultimate efficient industry, led by a college-educated priesthood of good intentions and of higher thoughts than common people. “Wilson-ism.” A classless society, indeed.

Damn the laws of economics. Socialists of all stripes seem to think that by their super-clarifying adjustment of society and the physical (non-spiritual world), they can cause humans to be more perfect, more docile, more willing to accept average uniformity, and therefore happy to allow the ruling classes to enjoy their extra rewards for having done all the needful thinking for the whole group. Whew! It never works.

Oh, it might continue for quite a while – longer with a police state that is able to weed out cancerous individualists – but it eventually goes broke. Humans will be humans. Rulers might think they can get everyone to share and to accept their share, but they can’t destroy the human spirit: the inherently human desire to perfect oneself, to grow closer to God, or to improve one’s earthly condition. Damn humans. This would be a great place to live if it weren’t for most of the humans. The rich have obviously proven their greater value.

ARE WE DONE HERE?

riot-3If you are rescuing a family, maybe several families from, say, a flood, and to do so you are wading through the flood waters, pulling the boat carrying those you are rescuing (you also brought warm food, hot chocolate and dry clothes for everyone), should the people in the boat be whipping you to get the rescue done more quickly?

I can hear sensible people saying “No, how could they?” But, when the process is not taking place in a boat but in our income-redistributing welfare morass, then the rescued can vote their rescuers into greater hustle. Suggesting that they should not be voting is seen as extreme cruelty. Hmmnnh.

Ostensibly smart professors are attempting to “teach” student snowflakes about “white privilege.” Apparently, in their history-debasing opinions, being white means being guilty of… well, everything. Surely there cannot be any differences in productivity, inventiveness or innovation between peoples, groups, races, tribes or religions – those differences that we white people are supposed to celebrate… those differences? When seen in a macro view, “white privilege” is the politically (corrupt) correct way to undermine Judeo-Christian heritage, ethics, beliefs and the enlightened philosophies that underpin the United States.

Law originated among small populations based on self-interest of protecting oneself and one’s family. That meant protecting food sources, safe shelter, wives and children. Very soon it became clear that groups (tribes) of families were a source of safety and better food security. Agreements were made as to what land “belonged” to one group and where the boundaries were. The “laws” between groups or tribes were laws only because of the ability to enforce them.

Within groups natural differences manifested. Some worked harder or smarter than others. Some cheated or stole; some sacrificed to help others; some were better boundary protectors; some were better hunters; some, better gatherers. Economics developed not by theory, but practicality.

“Treaties” were negotiated with other tribes, bound in fact by military power. Wars were prosecuted over various encroachments including of land, of resources and even of women. Slavery of the defeated generally resulted. Still, there was progress, spurred by conflict and deprivation… and shared beliefs, ethics and morals. Groups comprised of members who shared concepts of “right” and “wrong” were stronger. Inevitably, rebellion against those concepts resulted in punishment, death or banishment.

With closer-knit communities of central buildings and surrounding farm or grazing lands, ever more rules of behavior were required and codified. Outside of each “city,” however, military strength made the “laws.” Slavery was common, especially of subjugated peoples, and of them, especially of those who had resisted subjugation the most or who had attacked the victors. Competing religions accentuated conflict and subjugation.

Still, economics spurred trade over greater and greater distances – economics spurred by envy and deprivation. Some tribes or, whole kingdoms, were better at producing certain goods. They may have had the good fortune of possessing lands with suitable ores, or which grew coveted spices or which had good salt. Trade and economics had their own rules and ethics. Soon there were contracts.

Two areas of Earth saw great invention and innovation: China, basically, and Europe from south to north. One, the far East, remained insular and severely hierarchical; the other, the “West,” based in small, competing nations, fought through serfdom and developed democracy, economic freedom and a remarkable urge to explore and colonize. From competition came freedom and the great sciences and mental explorations.

It is all rooted in the sweep of Judeo-Christian philosophy – the heritage the “West” is squandering, undermining and cheapening in a headlong rush to out-think God. Sadly, our federal government – and many states’ governments – have devised new “rights” and sanctions that reach directly to from-the-pulpit homilies and even scriptural readings. This in the one nation founded upon religious freedom.

America was founded by, in effect, Hebrews! That is, as the tribes of Israel and Judah were scattered by the Egyptians, Assyrians and Babylonians, ultimately migrating into Europe and forming the royal houses of virtually every nation there, out of those nations came very strong people who sacrificed everything to get to the “New Jerusalem.” We are fools to deny the history of, well… white, Judeo-Christian peoples.

Is our success due to the “choosing” of the Israelites? Let’s leave that to religious scholars and recognize what may be proven: that Judeo-Christian mores include intellectual strength and education, strong moral strictures… and sacrifice – for family, for others, for the future. This is not in defense of churches, but of history. The economics derived from that belief-structure produced the greatest personal freedoms, scientific advancement and standards of living. Now we are running away from it, scorching the Earth as we go.

Is the new hatred of whites, Jews and Christians most particularly, rational? We are not perfect and do not claim to be. Neither are those who would destroy us. Will our haters willingly destroy this nation in order to make whites pay a price for imperfection?

Evidently.

FAIRNESS and TRUTH

clouds_above_10_by_skybaseTruth applies to things both transient and permanent… like clouds, for example. Obviously they are a true thing, but the truth of how they appear was not known for most of history. It was still true.
SUN, SON
The Sun truly exists. Exactly how it came to be is only well-theorized. (Did you know that ‘theory’ means “words about what God is thinking?”) It is impossible to truly know until we can re-create its formation, and until that day we accept the words of scientists and their wonderful mathematics – a great source of truths all its own.
POLITICAL SCIENCE
Politicians love “science,” but not math so much. They like ‘agreement’ more. As science reveals truths or, better, evidence of truths, the opportunities for more laws and taxes multiply. But when a majority of people agree that something is true politicians can immediately step in front of that large group and claim to have always known the truth of that something in their electable hearts.
Absolute truths make these types very wary, unless, joy of joys, their absoluteness creates unfairness. Agreeable people will always vote to end unfairness wherever it lurks, or to create fairness. Fairness, as opposed to truth, is a poor basis for law. Some will look at a truth that affects everyone equally – as does a law based upon it – as completely “fair.” Equality is a good thing, no?
PRICE OF TRUTH
Money interferes with truth, for some people. If one has less money than some other person, then absolute truth/law can feel unfair, and those feelings build up and up, especially if one is reminded of them daily – or hourly. This is painfully true if the one with more money appears to be having more fun in life despite the absolute truth and the laws it spurs. Then politicians are called upon to level a playing field and eliminate unfairness. This is accomplished by penalizing those with more money and “fairer” taxation is the tool.
Fairness, in a political sense, is inseparable from truth and, like so many issues today, is best described as attempts to deny, or manipulate truth – also known as ‘reality.’
LIARS AND FAIRNESS
Harry Truman described three kinds of liars: “liars, damn liars, and statisticians.” Statistics are, ostensibly, evidences of truths. When certain statistics are used but not all, or if statistics that aren’t really related are placed together, patterns of “unfairness” can be discerned, especially by those who are looking for them. This affects tax theories and governance.
When Barack Hussein Obama was running for president, he stated that he would raise corporate taxes on the basis of simple “fairness.” The consequences to corporations, or to the economy, as well as considerations about whether the federal government “needed” those new revenues, were not part of his thinking. His statement was pure politics, based on perceptions of unfairness that were derived from the belief that corporations had too many tax advantages – or “loopholes” – while poor people (who largely paid no tax) didn’t have those “advantages.”
CAREER FAIRNESS
Obama’s entire career has been based on defining unfairness and getting people organized to put an end to it. It has not been because he cares about any particular social construct’s impact on people’s lives. It has been based, as many liberals’ views are, on the perception of unfairness that may be tapped into and used to incite radical change. Very little “fairness” is ever achieved. And if it is, it comes at a severe cost, often to those whose unfair situations were the spur to identifying the unfairness. Fairness, unlike truth, is malleable, and a destructive basis for laws.
SOCIAL JUSTICE
“Social Justice” has been the motivating buzz-word in the 21st century, and Obama has capitalized on its amorphous unfairness – if socialists can capitalize. Essentially, social justice takes over where “reparations” for the sin of slavery, falter. The concept of reparations disintegrates as the details are examined. Hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers, and millions of dollars (back when a million dollars was a lot of money) were expended to defeat the Confederacy – many thousands of black soldiers included. Millions of people sacrificed to fight to total victory. Who owes who what?
Most claims center on corporations that existed before the Civil War, especially those that existed in the 18th century. The condemnation is that they profited from slavery and that it’s time to “own up” to that tainted past. Apparently, the only way to set things right is to give money to brown-skinned people who were never slaves, themselves.

The New Collectivization

There doesn’t appear anywhere in history to be an instance of “collectivization” that was not / is not done for the purpose of centralizing power. It is always sold to the downtrodden as the way to take power away from evil masters. “Rise up for Freedom!”

It’s always “freedom” from tyranny. Recognize and celebrate your membership in thus and such “group” (collective)… identify your brethren and sistren. Once part of the group you will have the power that used to be wielded against you by the King / Czar / Lord / Boss / Unfairness / System / Establishment / Church / God. All that’s needed, today, is a compliant, sans-perspective media and groups can be created and joined in no-time; there’s even a name for it; flash-mob.

The media consists of a half-dozen instant messaging sites that reward speed and not intelligence. Suddenly some affront becomes a cause and the next morning, “real” media starts politicizing it, asking first this supposed “leader,” then that one, how he or she feels about this brewing controversy. Few if any of these professionals has the wisdom or spine to question the entire premise or point out the idiocy of the idea, the anger or the demands. Nor will they find it in college or among the power elite.

Very, very few “millennials” grasp economics, although they are certain they grasp “unfairness” and “social justice.” To most – and shame on you teachers – there is only evil in capitalism and aught but light in socialism. Shame, shame, shame on you, educators, but, then, you know no more than your students, do you?

Everything teachers, administrators, teachers’ unions, janitors, municipal governments, D.P.W.’s, police and fire departments (might as well throw in nurses, doctors, hospitals, clinics, ambulance companies, and the contractors who maintain them all) enjoy in resources, facilities and payrolls, comes from (block your eyes, ears and mouth) capitalism. And, when I say “capitalism,” I mean free-enterprise, independent business and enterprise. Unfortunately, “capitalism” is all mucked up (primarily due to socialism and dirty politics) in the U. S. and around the world.

However, capitalism, private property and profits comprise the only system ever devised that can lift literally everyone out of poverty. There are no laws than can make capitalism work – it is innate in humans. There is great need for laws that allow capitalism to work, because humans are innately selfish and even greedy… some even lust for power and control over the lives of others.

The highest expression of law that allows capitalism, freedom and charity to co-exist is the U. S. Constitution – thanks in no small part to our extraordinary religious freedoms. Constructed by the great minds of the late 1700’s, its principles are truer – and better stated following needed refinements – today than when written. Somehow (shame on you, educators) we have lately decided that since Thomas Jefferson or James Madison may have picked their nose in public, the workings of their brains and hearts count for nothing.

We govern… no, that’s no longer true. We ARE governed, now, under a nearly complete perversion of the Constitution (shame on you educators and politicians) where government types create new rights to fit social whims, often in answer to newly articulated “un-fairnesses” that take root in minds that have little or no training in the realities of life.

The younger generations believe that the “government,” or, at least, the president, can make a law preventing difficulties and uncomfortability. Given that “the government” has been willing to borrow without restriction or logic to attempt to do just that, great hatred emerges for anyone who says we must be responsible, even if that responsibility is merely personal. Is this our future?

When Work Is a Spectator Sport

06062011_McD_Robot_2_cropped_articleThe lack of knowledge, especially skilled knowledge, is forcing production managers, from McDonald’s to General Motors, to automate. This isn’t new. Until quite recently there was value added to both products and services by the presence of a competent human. Such beings are becoming rarer. Whether one wishes to blame education – and not just public – or welfare and dissolution of the “family,” America is turning out relatively fewer highly competent, decision-capable graduates than in the first 175 years of our constitutional history. Such a societal change has severe consequences. We can see it reflected in our latest choice of president and other elected leaders. It is an outgrowth of essential socialism: the dissipation of responsibility, specifically, personal responsibility.

So far we have limited our concentrations of incompetent adults to inner cities, and built a sloppy welfare industry to keep them from causing too much trouble. No one running for president in 2016 is talking about how the next 50 years of public policy will significantly change that pattern. The current president, Obama, has been struggling against laws at every level to… well, make it worse. Our nation’s future will be that much more painful.

One approach has been to inject “federal” dollars into college tuitions through ridiculous loan obligations that some pandering politician will forgive someday. The problems, of course, come from wrong attitudes, and those come from wrong governing. We have taught our least responsible residents to hate their masters (who hand out the sustenance). Education is to blame for a lot of this, too, which is to say, government, again.

Now this is translating into demands for higher wages for very low-skilled, entry-level jobs. Those jobs are relatively low-paying because they are tied to selling relatively inexpensive products and services in a marketplace that demands those low costs. As the cost of, say, frying prepared french-fries and filling paper containers with them, increases by 40% or 50% with artificially high wages, the owners of the french-fries, Frialators, electric bills, buildings, uniforms, liability insurances, payroll benefit obligations, training costs, supervisory costs, advertising expenses, franchise fee obligations, parking lots, snow-removal charges and sundry materials, rags, grease trap cleanouts and so much more, will have to find a way to CUT that arbitrary cost increase. Believe it or not, the preparation and dispensing of french-fries was automated – or robotized, if you will – over 44 years ago.

But the integration of all the steps for the early machines to do that relatively simple, repetitive task, was not smooth and didn’t justify the added capital cost for the complex machinery. In part, this was because the designers were trying to mimic humans in the performance of those steps, and modern computerization wasn’t available. New designs, already in test, are not based on human workspace; they are smaller and designed from freezer to fryer to deliver bags of hot, salted fries when needed. The advantages – aside from almost no payroll costs, health insurance or withheld taxes – include better portion control, increased employee safety, reduced waste, fresher net product at point of sale, and reduced noise in the workplace.

And… lower cost-per-portion, enabling the restaurant owner to keep his or her prices lower than those available in traditional eateries. That is the business model, after all.

At one point in the late 1980’s, nearly 10% of all employed workers had once worked at a McDonald’s. There they had learned to keep schedules, serve real customers, show up on time, dress presentably, follow directions and respect managers. Those opportunities are now perceived as oppression. The claimed needs of low-skilled potato fryers threaten to drive costs for such employees sharply upwards with no possible way to increase production of fried potatoes more than a percent or two. Higher-paid workers will not increase demand for fried potatoes; higher resulting prices for fried potatoes will significantly reduce demand for them. This will reduce demand for potato-frying employees and all of their training and re-training and other costs, and hasten the installation of robotic frying systems. Those will be “trained” by the manufacturer through software and never complain about their low-paid jobs.

There will be employees in another place – or country – who will manufacture the robotized fryers. However many of those there are, will make possible the frying production of ten to twenty times as many on-site employees. The low, nearly UN-skilled people, who thought they could make $600 a week resentfully frying potatoes, will remain on welfare. It is not, and has never been the duty of a McDonald’s operator to correct the failings of families, schools and individuals. It is his or her job to earn a profit in the business. “Displaced” potato fryers will have to find a job that can’t be automated.

The example, above, will play out in literally hundreds of occupations in the next 20 to 30 years. This process may be more rapid, but not differ materially from the industrial changes that Luddites fought in the 18th and 19th centuries. Resisting it still draws the opprobrium of “Luddite.” However, in a mostly settled world, carrying 7+ Billion people who depend upon remote sources of critical materials and finished products, there are not the options to “check out” of the labor market and simply provide for oneself. The accelerating robotic upheaval in the means of production will displace a very large fraction of the least-skilled “workers” that we seem to be creating at an equal rate. This cannot go on for long.

Increasingly, a shrinking number of “producers” will own the production upon which we all depend.

Monopolization, always preferred by owners of production, will multiply by default. What will be the political response – indeed, international, GEO-political response?

Will governments appropriate profits to finance growing dependency? Will producers keep being productive if there are no rewards? History teaches ‘no.’ Will governments attempt to nationalize all production? History teaches us that such a reaction is almost instinctual among government-types. The past also shows that general living standards will decline under communism.

How can “we” maintain technological progress and living improvements, high efficiencies that make living costs decline, overall? Will governments force producers to break up their processes to maximize net jobs? Will work weeks decline to 32 hours? Twenty-four?

What will happen to quality if three people must be trained and maintained to accomplish what we consider one “job,” today?

If “products” like clothing, tools, appliances and even houses become much cheaper because of robot production, and fewer and fewer people have high-paying jobs, such that there are fewer people who can afford even those cheaper things, how will “we” make sure that everyone receives the essentials of life?

This looming, virtually unavoidable consequence of robotics, contains the seeds of the greatest political stresses and conflicts a republic might face. Unlike the generational traditions of public assistance for our official underclass, the need to “share” productive surplus with large populations of historically productive families will require better application of political / police force than we have experienced – and rewarded – to date.

Political power has been granted to people of varying honesty, indeed, for a lifetime, who can trick a majority of voters into paying and borrowing enough to pacify the underclass while guiding federal advantage to favored industries and institutions. It has been shamelessly dishonest and the reason we face many, many trillions of dollars in debt. That is, much of our economic “success” and relative luxury has been a hoax – a lie – and about to be stressed beyond reason. One path, likely to be recommended by controlling types, is for “government” to appropriate larger fractions of productive surplus. They always have the answers. The redistribution of those resources – assuming they continue to be produced – will generate fierce, possibly insurgent conflict. The stability of social function and public utilities, could devolve into police power: a police state, in other words. Culture and heritage be damned.

Yours in liberty, Prudence.