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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Christopher Roach's response to the State of the Union

Real Industry Is Sometimes Dirty

From MansizedTarget.com

Liberals such as President Obama seem to live in a kind of fantasyland where we can have an economy built exclusively on the “knowledge jobs” like advertising, marketing, law, media, communications, programming iPad apps, consulting, etc. These jobs favor high IQ and not-so-high-IQ but highly credentialed people like the Obamas. They disfavor the working class. For example, Obama has shut down the Keystone pipeline. He has apparently by executive fiat banned all uranium mining on federal lands in northern Arizona. He has sent government money to money-losing enterprises like Solyndra while doing a great deal to hurt the old school, dirty industries of yesteryear like the oil business.

Hidden away from the urban knowledge economy is another world. It hasn’t gone away, but the knowledge class is increasingly ignorant of it. It’s a dirty, dangerous world of combines, mines, factories, sweat, industrial accidents, and tough men. Look around. The fruits of these jobs are everywhere. The plastic in your computer is from the petrochemical industry. The electricity, a result of the confluence of factories and coal mining for the most part. The gasoline that lets you get to work and take weekend roadtrips is the tail end of a long chain that may start at a wellhead in North Dakota or Texas or Nigeria for that matter.

Making these important foundational economic activities more expensive or completely prohibited will not help the country. It will not help the knowledge economy. These things will still get done, but they’ll done by others, overseas...

Like I say, the Left is for "the working man," but only so long as he's working in China or India, not that everybody's clamoring for living- wage, fair-trade iPads. The Left is pro-environment, or more accurately, pro-US national parks and pro-eco tourism in Costa Rica. The fact that now somebody else has to do something with industrial effluent from making stuff for knowledge-working Americans doesn't get a lot of mention. Incidentally, are any young, idealistic Americans aspiring to the STEM degrees that might give them expertise in these areas? Have any of the thousands of NGO's and their clueless volunteers in Haiti ever got to work on a sewage system for the place?

Leftists like Obama seem more about saying the right slogans and feeling the right feelings. They don't have much to offer for the dirty work of actually getting to advanced living standards. Obama makes speeches about everybody being healthy and having a not-too-hard job making disposable income doing...something. And he just assumes with this cargo-cult mentality that regulations and tax dollars will make it so. He doesn't grasp the whole historical process of capital accumulation, risk-taking and competing property rights that get us there, and require markets to sort out, and a net tax-paying sector to fund all his grand schemes.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm very enviro, but I've been trying to discuss with the birkenstock crowd about this topic. I feel that the great economic task of the day is to find a way to maintain our economic sovereignty in an environmentally sustainable matter. Enviros usually punt and let China and the third world have to deal with smokestacks, acid rain, heavy metal waste disposal, and the various warlord/corrupt govt. problems associated with resource extraction that manufacturing brings. They don't want to have to figure that all out, so let it happen far away where they have serf labor.

What the enviros don't get is that the hollowing out of the economy is unsustainable. I don't want filth in our rivers and the rape of our federal lands. At the same time, we will not maintain ourselves with a vast, low-skill service sector and a tiny R and D high skill sector (increasingly composed of foreigners with Davos-man instincts).

The left has what I call East Coast Brahminism: they don't want to get their hands dirty, literally or metaphorically. They don't want to deal with the messiness of tough decisions that come with a balanced economy. They like a weakened working class, as that class is the only mass group in this country that opposes them on cultural issues, and don't want to be "soiled" by them. They cheer the loss of vocational education, as they consider vocations and those who practice them to be beneath them. They'll never admit this of course.
It doesn't occur to them how much dysfunction all this promotes: for example, how are NAM's going to become part of civil society with no skilled jobs, even moderately skilled jobs, available to them? What do these libs want them to do, since there's only so many diversity jobs in govt and white collar sectors-pick cotton? Do they really think the boyz in the 'hood are all going to magically become lawyers, social workers, public relations people, or community activists? They won't (as if we needed any more of them), and with no job base to transition them out of ghetto culture, there will be no Flynn effect.
Like Brahmins, these progs can't bear to sully their minds, their bodies, or their surroundings. They don't want to have to make the tough decisions or do the tough work. Far from being the enlightened leaders of today, they shrink from the task.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

What the enviros don't get is that the hollowing out of the economy is unsustainable. I don't want filth in our rivers and the rape of our federal lands. At the same time, we will not maintain ourselves with a vast, low-skill service sector and a tiny R and D high skill sector (increasingly composed of foreigners with Davos-man instincts).

Excellent comment.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Ricardian premises don't hold in fiat money regimes, where pricing misalignment is the defining characteristic.

Hollowing-out to me is just mercantilism via currency mispricing, and so environmentalism should be primarily focussed on restoring monetary health, ie. complete liberalization of money production.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Vox Popoli says essentially the same thing: there can be no such thing as free trade so long as you have fiat currency.