Monday, July 13, 2009

Where do we go from here?

A thought had occured to me many years ago. I think I was discussing this with one of my college profs and that was some time ago. What happens when robots and automation take up the lions share of the work force? What will the rest of the population do to make the money to buy food clothing and housing? An interesting situation to say the least.
What's happened in the last thirty or forty years with our workforce and company philosophy to get to where we are right now? At one time it was a rare thing to change jobs even once during a working lifetime. Now it seems that people change jobs as often as they change socks. That in itself created a stalmate for moving forward. People moved sideways in their careers never being in one place long enough to gain much of a pension. So while the top 1% had their income surge ahead the middle and lower class lost about $2000 and that was just in the last 8 years. Employers focused more on answering to shareholders than they did to their workers or customers. As a result jobs moved overseas to cheap labor and higher profits. By chasing cheap labor and costs they effectively cut out the American market. It's rare that you'll see a building built these days made from American steel. Why should it when we loaded up entire steel mills and shipped them to Korea where labor is cheap and the environmental laws lax. With less costs companies made tons of money for their shareholders and execs looked like heros and were well rewarded. In fact the boards of directors saw to it that they are now rewarded to the tune of several thousand times what any CEO in any other nation earns. All of this at a great cost to the worker. GM is now a shell of it's former self. And where will the workers go who spent the better part of their lives finally making a living wage after working their way up the pay scale? For many this was the only way to get to the American dream of owning a home and raising kids. One could with a basic high school education make a comfortable living and retire knowing that you'd be cared for in old age. That's nearly all gone now. It went with steel in the 80s and textiles about the same time.
Then there's agriculture. Once there were thousands of family farms. But with the start of factory farms the old family farms were bought up and turned into production jugernauts. Colombines are now huge beasts that can do in a few hours what used to take days. And to think that we only produce about 25% of the crops that we consume. The rest is imported from around the world. Produced by cheap labor and no regard for the environment. DDT is still used in most other countries even if it is banned here.
This reminds me of an old Pogo comic strip. Two characters are standing by farm fields and in the bubble it says "this is where I don't grow corn and that field over there is where I don't grow beans" All of that was under the heading of farm subcities. It almost seems the same with American industry only there's no subcities only empty factories and closed businesses.
No, if management doesn't change it's thinking then there will be no choice but to turn America into something communist. They will get exactly what they hate the most because there will be no other choice.

As I recall FDR spent quit a bit of money building this country and we didn't go broke. He rebuilt farming by changing methods. When the cattlemen faced disaster he bought their cattle and let them keep their herds. He built dams, roads and our present day electrical system. All of these things need replacing now but the republicans are worried about debt. Well I don't seem to recall getting a bill for what FDR did when I was growing up.
Congress (McCain in particular) is worried about earmarks. I'll tell you what the biggest earmarks is. That would be war. Where else can you spend trillions of dollars and get absolutely nothing in return other than some families who won't be seeing their sons and daughters again?

Yes I'd say a second stimilus package is in order only this time don't bother with the unemployment extentions. Use the money to actually provide jobs. There's a ton of work that needs to be done. It'll just take a bunch more money to get it going. We will come back. Maybe not the same but it can be done if we put our minds to it.


Joe the Homeless said...

The corporate bastards who run this country create the schema and the stupid fuckin masses mold themselves to it. Which is how they pull-off scams like our for- profit health care delivery, Wall Street, energy industries, and election of greedy politicians.

Ha! The other day I heard, "OK, I'm livin in my car, but it's still the best goddam country to live in."

Demeur said...

That is until somebody steals his car.

an average patriot said...

Reading that it all adds up to what we know. We're screwed! obama could fix our problems but FDR had the cooperation of both Party's. Both party's now do their own thing and Obama is on his own, Under those conditions to Republicans fault and pleasure that is great!

BBC said...

This is not the America of FDR's time, and Obama is not FDR.

Why would anyone steal Joe's car? I can't think of anyone that wants a rusty 1984 Chev station wagon. He he he.