I have been doing what I do to earn my keep for the past 23 years. Before that, since age 14, I went to school and did labor-intensive jobs. This blog is my personal bitching-post about the macro, and the tone is perforce negative. Personally however, I still manage to string some victories together, like those few shots out of 18 holes that keep you coming back to golf. That's life.

Thanks be to God, I have a comfortable existence, good health and the love of good people. I also have appalling stress levels and can only watch numbly as the world marches from idiocy to idiocy. (Exhibit A.) I cannot believe, at the tender age of 50, how much error and shortsightedness is mechanically repeated, over and over. My esteemed father, age 70, assures me that nothing changes in two decades' lead time.

There are a lot of us of my ideological stripe and time in life from the tail end of the Boom, and I hope we all hang on for the next few decades. I have been at several funerals of those who did not. Anyway, al-hamdal'Allah, I have managed to carve out a position a little above the fray of naïve youngsters brought in and told to work harder for that brass ring which is kept perennially dangling out there, and devil take the hindmost.

Obviously, a business can't carry sloth, and God has commanded His creatures to work. (Note that this is not part of the Woman's curse.) This implies a duty on employers to make that work dignified and remunerative. Otherwise, it is probably not work that a human being should be doing.

Resources should instead flow toward more capital-intensive models.

To put it another way, if the marginal product is so low that the producer can't pay more than the cost to keep somebody alive, with the difference to be made up by the taxpayers, then the employer needs to change his business model, or go out of business.

Of course, if I'm so smart, I should be implementing these models and raking it in.


Your Kakistocracy said…
A possibly amusing anecdote on youthful toils: as a boy I went to work for a closed shop business. Joining the union was mandatory as were, obviously, its dues. Though these didn't commence for some period of probationary employment.

So I scrambled about in a state of semi-utility making very close to nothing on a net basis. There was basically enough only to fill-up my car upon great pains to keep it within a 10 mile radius, and a few ragged dollar bills with which to entertain the few ragged girls I could entice to dates.

At some point I was advised that the probationary period was over and that extraction of union dues would commence. I thought nothing of it. I ran very lean.

And so on the next payday, I was strangely summoned to the manager's throne. Normally imperious, he was instead a bit sheepish regarding me.

"As you know, this is payday and I feel a bit embarrassed to say this...but, well, you owe us $13.47."

I looked at him blankly, uncomprehending.

"You didn't make enough to cover your Union dues. That's the amount left over that you owe."

"What? I'm supposed to pay you to let me work here now?"

"Those are the rules."

"I'm not doing it." A real rebel.

"Then you don't have a job."

"You're firing me for not paying you to work here? I guess I can't ask for a better offer than that."

And so ended my budding career in that industry.
A friend who worked his way through an MBA at Wharton told me about being on a loading dock one day when somebody tapped him between the shoulder blades. He got told, "You need to slow down."
August said…
Capital intensive, as long as the creative fiction of the modern financial system isn't defining capital for you.
Make capital improvements that result in lower costs over time, versus what is going on now, where 'improvements' are made such that now we change the genetic structure of corn so that it can sit in a pesticide/weed killer bath all day.
A well built perennial system could survive indefinitely with no more than rain, sunlight, and air. We can make it produce more, and harvest, if we labor in it, but if we go away it still produces, at least until the glacier comes, or some similar true climate change event happens.
Capital intensive, as long as the creative fiction of the modern financial system isn't defining capital for you.

Excellent point. Fiat money replaces real savings with fake savings, and the distortions just pile up from there.
patrick kelly said…
"But if I'm so smart, I should be implementing those models and raking it in."

Yeah, but you have good intentions, and it's the thought that counts......hah....

I'm a running case study in underachieving lost potential.....
Tut, tut old boy. We can all say we should have turned out better, from the great to the small. If I had been smart, instead of being an idiot, I wouldn't even need to work by now.

You can't think about it--who knows how things might have turned out? There are lots of smart, ambitious people who earn money, pursue exotic hobbies, get killed or paralyzed doing them.

Mike Tyson pissed away more money than most men will see in 5 lifetimes. The great Iron Mike Webster, could have paved his way thru retirement with O-L clinics. Instead he died alone in a parking lot. Robin Williams fucked up his personal life. Twice. And even at age 63, he could have downsized, continue to seek out work, engage with family members, live out his life with honor.

David Carradine, Buddhist monk-warrior (well, he played one on TV) died about the most ignominious death one can arrange at one's own hand. Holy shit, the bum on the sidewalk can hoist his MD 20/20 and proudly declare, "At least I'm not going like David Carradine!"

Regret will consume your psyche and destroy your health. It's demonic attack.
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
patrick kelly said…
Yes, it is a constant struggle with regret.

In the mix is hopefully some genuine, sorrowful repentance.

There is a difference. One weighs you down toward despair, the other cleanses and energizes you. My experience anyway.

Sifting chaff from the wheat, purging dross from the gold and silver....
Trifon, that comment was fantastic. Put it back.
Unknown said…
At least I'm not going like David Carradine!

There's something to remember daily, perhaps at the end of a morning/evening prayer ritual.

It's these kinds of comments that make me think I should adopt a pseudonym, but that might be too little, too late.
Added you to my blog roll, as well as Kakistocracy. Very nice website and perspective. Good cheer!
A.B. Prosper said…
Paying people a decent wage is a mandate of the Faith actually.

Muzzle Not the OX that Treads the Corn appears 3 times (Timothy 5:18, Deuteronomy 25:4 and Corinthians 9:9) more than Thou Shall Not Murder

That aside, our economic system while it constantly pushes for more efficiency can't actually cope with it. In a maximally efficient economy, you'd have low to no wages and corresponding low to no demand issues. Or a huge bloated state like we have now.

Best case scenario? Japan with permanent below replacement fertility.

This is not entirely a new problem either.

Back in the Middle Ages the church mandated a lot of holidays, social custom and laws set work conditions and guilds controlled access to skills and wages.

This was to prevent absolute poverty and social collapse. People assume peasants were all downtrodden slaves and this is not really true. Revolts, riots and movements abounded and had they not served well, such movements rendered even the Catholic Church vulnerable.

How we as a modern society will cope with the extreme levels of efficiency won't be pleasant, either life draining socialism, mass slaughter or most probably collapse
Anonymous said…
Roissy/Chateau Heartiste is quoting you today.
I checked Hearty's site from the comment above, and read Bean Boy's linked thread. That was some good work there, my friend.

I'm starting to really miss the comment wars.