Saturday, October 31, 2009

Productivity Dividends Permanently Denied

Don't like it? Move! That's the legacy of your 19th century industrial era capitalism. The U.S. is not and has not been the Supreme Society for some time now. Today, the Emperor is finally realizing that he's wearing no clothes.

Take vacation time as just one example of resolutely denial-bound and unevolved U.S. culture; and remember, if you get sick, be sure to enjoy your vacation, puking your guts out, because that sick time is taken out of your paid time off (PTO), too. We don't even call it "vacation" any more because you're not entitled to any, whatsoever.

Productivity Dividends: DENIED.

If you're in the bottom 90% ... and, um, 90% of us ARE, we are to be grateful for our ever dwindling little pot of PTO. Vacation? Don't make me laugh. You want to become like those LAZY FRENCH people, I suppose. Yep, they look pretty LAZY to me.

For centuries we've been taught in Economics 101 that technology improves efficiencies which yield ever increasing productivity and productivity dividends. Labor saving after labor saving devices and methods have accrued for hundreds of years, yet, there is no saving of labor's fate. Ever.

We're not talking about people getting something for nothing, for heaven knows the permanent heirs of the American aristocracy will have none of that, we're talking about the people who created the dividends, sharing proportionately in the dividends.

No labor saving productivity dividend is ever declared and distributed to shareholders: you and me. Such dividends are only ever hoarded and squandered by the top 5%, 2%, 1%. The smaller the percentage, the more pathological the hoarding. It is, ipso facto, clinically pathological, even functionally sociopathic when one measures the dire fate of so many as the direct consequence of the behavior of so few. A sociopath is a person, a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

This will sound all too familiar to today's prevalent American 19th Century Industrial Capitalist Culture, which obliviously shrugs and says, "so?"

Sociopathological cultures kill through the Invisible Hand of a twisted and brutal wage slave tyrant. Today the brutality is reaching all new extremes, but because it is the Invisible Hand of the almighty market at work, there is no one to blame when high school children in Palo Alto are killing themselves in packs, jumping in front of trains, as the pressures of conformity to this pathological culture of hoarding and false scarcity mount to all time highs. What more evidence do you need, America?

You are literally killing your best and brightest youth. They know that they can't exist in such a soulless society. So they choose their only out. If they could move, they probably would; but their tragically heartbroken parents have become analogies for you, America. You probably truly do love your children. You probably have done your best. However, the Entire Environment in which you've been operating is Terminally Toxic.

If the entire culture is not changed, nothing you do or could have done, will ever save yourselves or your children. I share the devastation of your loss.

For those not so compassionate, no, the infinite iPods and PSP's were not enough to "satisfy the little spoiled brats" if that's the unconscionably cruel path of reasoning you'd like to take in response to this terrible situation; and I know you are out there, I've heard your conversations. You are poor and disenfranchised and bitter; told you are in the "middle class" even as you are numbered among the bottom 80% of Americans who scramble and claw to share just 8% of the economic pie in this country.

Yet, those children are human beings, random victims of the fate of their births just, as are you. No one deserve such a fate. So while I identify with the bitterness of the bottom 80%, I do not condone twisted and cruel interpretations of such unthinkable human tragedy.

There is, however, an abiding and ascendant message in the growing numbers of these situations: if we don't find a path to sustainable postscarcity, all the manufactured crap in the world will never save us. All of the hoarded and accrued wealth will never save us.
We are literally crushing ourselves and our children under the weight of our own avaricious abundance.
With nothing but the most crushing pain for those families in my own heart of hearts, I must honor the sanctity of those magnificent lives by stating that:
Those trains are the very embodiment of the culture that created them, a nineteenth century culture that we continue to cling to with all the fervent faith of the most sincere Stockholm Syndrome devotee.

SOURCE: MarketWatch.

Perhaps this is just one empirical consequence of your pathological inbred hoarding of your mythological Productivity Dividend, America. Yet, when canonical publications like MarketWatch write that "Vacation-day allotment varies widely by country" and that "some workers enjoy eight weeks off per year; U.S. near bottom of list" the message in the title tag text is:

"Want more time off? Move ..."

That derisive, arrogant, corrosive credo is a hallmark of a McCarthy era religious fervor that still has it's grimy, oil-and-blood stained hands firmly on the levers of U.S. domestic policy and corporate culture. Those same hands are presently strangling the last gasps of life out of health care reform while whispering silently, the last words you'll ever hear:

"If you don't like it, move."

This is "MARE-ick-uh" mister, we don't compare notes with other nations that might have one hundred times the broadband at one tenth the price; we don't compare notes with other cultures that have found sustainable work-life balances; we don't compare notes with NOBODY.

Don't like it? Move!

And that's precisely what America's best and brightest have been doing and continue to do.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How to Properly Manage Material Abundance: TEAR IT DOWN

Hilarious! This morning on CNBC Rick Santelli issued another famous parenthetical recommendation to restore the economy:
TEAR DOWN ALL UNOCCUPIED HOUSES so we can create jobs by building them all over again.
Wow, really?

I should really be a bigger fan of Mr. Santelli's because he continues to provide some of the most clear and compelling analogies that illustrate the sheer absurdity of the Job Trance gripping America. A Job Trance crippling progress, even as we hobble and wobble in our current self-inflicted state of socioeconomic anomie, the 100% accurately forecasted result of 19th century industrial era capitalism's centuries of success.

Such absurd suggestions to TEAR IT ALL DOWN should actually encourage us, for they provide additional empirical glimpses of a tragically misguided consensus reality crumbling before our very eyes. Crumbling, finally, despite the decades of institutional denial that refused to acknowledge the obvious manifestations of an emerging postscarcity society. Crumbling, despite the academic procrastination in noodling our way through sustainable new ways to circulate resources in a manner that continues to foster breakthrough innovation and sustainable technological progress.

The parenthetical Santelli Solution is to smash it all down so we can build it back up again. Wow. Really? Last I checked, most healthy children outgrew that stage of build it, smash it, build it, smash it, self-discovery and development by about age ten or twelve at the very latest. Grown ups realize that once you have built an asset, you employ and maintain that asset in a manner that maximizes its useful life.

As a society, if you've created so much abundance and surplus that all your old assumptions are proven wrong, the solution is not to DESTROY YOUR ENTIRE LIFE in order to prove you can build the same suboptimal life from scratch, all over again. Maybe that makes sense in some bizarre Any Rand fantasy where the hero architect turns noble ditch digger, but it's just plain ridiculous in the real world. Even the bible counsels that there is no nobility in a dog that repeatedly returns to it's own vomit.

As written here time and again, the problem is not that capitalism is evil or wrong or failed (in material terms). Rather, it's a victim of it's own one-trick pony variety of success and hobbled by genetic defects that include severely crash-prone short-sightedness and manufacturing myopia. It only knows it's own perspective. It only sees it's way to the next bend in the road. It's great at transporting societies from Point A to Point B -- agrarian to industrial -- with incomparable speed and efficiency; yet, then it stands utterly stunned and dumbfounded, paralyzed by the discovery of a Point C, beyond. "Now what?" panics capitalism. "Quick, back to Point A so we can show how awesome we are at getting to Point B!"

A to B, A to B, A to B. Boom, bust; Boom, Bust; boom, BUST. That's the best we can do with our best and brightest minds? Really? I don't buy it.

I don't buy it because I can't imagine a more pessimistic view of the world or of humanity, than one that believes that build it, smash it, build it, smash it, build it, smash it permanently manufactured scarcity industrial era capitalism is the permanent state for an ever accelerating technoprogressive society.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Meet your Closet Communist Central Planning Controllers?

Has the U.S. actually been a Closet Communist economy, all this time? Would implementation of Free Market Socialism actually be a conservative movement? Goldman Sachs PR effort begins:

"The danger is that it comes off like propaganda." -- Fierce Finance

Trust us, we've been centrally controlling things for decades. We decide the winners and losers. We Win. You Lose. We do this For Your Own Good, to make sure you have just enough gadgets to keep you sedated and just enough cash to keep you one month from homelessness. Slavery built American and wage slavery grows America. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Here's the full story from Fortune where, "Facing jeers over outlandish pay, the CEO of Goldman Sachs stresses the social goods of his firm's business."

My only question is, what do you call the third tranche on the second derivative of irony?

Monday, October 19, 2009

How Wall Street Makes Billions Kiting YOUR Cash

Philip Greenspun's Weblog:
So the money is just being shuffled from one Federal bank account to another, with each Wall Street bank skimming off $1 billion per month for itself? “Pretty much.”
It's OUR cash. YOUR cash. We own the treasury and WE print the paper. This is no different than if I loaned you 20 bucks for lunch and when we get back to the office you said, "Now just give me another $0.60 and I'll give you your $20 back." Do the same thing with a billion and you pocket $30,000,000.00 for nothing more than taking my own money from my left hand and passing it back to the right.

Complete System #FAIL.