Thursday, July 30, 2015

Let’s Talk About . . . Retirement, III: The Jobs Market

Go to college, get good grades, graduate, get a good job.  That’s been the “Middle Class Mantra” for more than half a century.  The rising cost of education, grade inflation, low graduation rates, and lack of employment opportunities are, consequently, blamed for the decline of the “Middle Class.”  As a result, there are increasing demands that “the government do something.”

Only one class: Plain Old Americans
Let’s take the easy one first.  “Middle Class”?  This suggests that society is divided into three “classes” generally known as “the poor,” “whatshisnames,” and “the rich.”  Economically, this translates into “slaves of the government” (the poor owned by the State), “slaves of private employers” (the whatshisnames owned by the private sector), and “owners” (rich possessors of capital and controllers of the State).

The “decline of the Middle Class” therefore translates into more people becoming slaves of the government instead of slaves of some rich capitalist.  This has its pluses and minuses, of course.  The capitalists don’t have to take care of the government’s slaves directly, but they do have to pay taxes (sometimes) and can’t control the whatshisnames.

Dan'l Webster: "Power follows property."
Of course, since “power naturally and necessarily follows property,” the rich can take advantage of the hidden tax of inflation that shifts purchasing power from consumers to producers (i.e., from the slaves to the masters) when the government finances by emitting bills of credit (issuing debt) instead of taxing directly, and control the government, so it all works out in the end.

The bottom line?  What’s all this “class” jazz?  We’re all human beings.  Admittedly, there are an increasing number like school in summer — no class — but members of a class?  That’s imposing an abstraction on actual human beings, and we’ve had enough of that already, no thank you.  Abstractions are human intellectual generalized constructs to assist us in grasping an idea, not empirical facts.  People are facts, they’re real, not abstract concepts, folks.

Going to college to get a job?  What happened to going to college to become educated and thereby develop more fully as a person?

Okay, let’s not waste any more time, but get straight to “the Jobs Market.”  “Okay, Midge, gimme two factory positions, a dozen clerical spots, and throw in a physician and an attorney slot.  I can sell that many at the Job Fair on Saturday.  Lemme have some catalogs, too, just in case I run out.”

“Jobs Market”?  Are you serious?  People can actually go and buy a job or two, and jobs are a commodity that people transfer in commerce?

The best officers money can buy.
Well . . . they can be.  The British Army used to sell officers’ commissions, and in many countries you have to bribe someone to get a government or even private sector job — and then collect enough graft yourself to cover the cost of getting the job and keep on making payoffs.  Now, that’s a “Jobs Market.”  Free enterprise at its finest.

Okay, if you have to pay for it, it’s not free in that sense, and if having a job depends on being able to come up with the bucks to pay for it, it’s not free in any sense.  And, believe it or not, that includes spending money to “create jobs,” whether done by the government or by private interests.

And just what the heck does “job creation” mean?  If you need to eat, you figure out how to produce something to eat, or produce something you can trade for something to eat.  That’s real Economics In a Nutshell.  “Doing your job” in real economics means producing a marketable good or service that you either consume yourself, or trade to others for something you consume.

Modern economics, however, has taken this “Economics In a Nutshell,” and transformed it into “Economics In a Nut’s Hell.”  Believing that only labor produces marketable goods and services, the Nut’s Hell of modern economics ignores the trillions of dollars worth of capital instruments and declares that to have income, you don’t need to produce anything.  No, you just need a “job” that provides you with an income so you can consume without necessarily producing anything for consumption.

In fact, in Keynesian economics, it’s better if you produce something completely useless, like (in Keynes’s opinion) a pyramid or cathedral.  After all, who needs to show respect for the dead or worship a deity when there is no afterlife and God doesn’t exist . . . according to Keynes. 

G.F. Knapp: Chartalism
Ideally, of course, in Krazy Keynes Kountry, the government would just create money and hand it out (a variation on Georg Friedrich Knapp’s Chartalism), but people need to “feel” productive, especially when they aren’t.  That’s why the politicians (who, in the Keynesian world, run every aspect of life) have to “create jobs” producing nothing useful in order to give the illusion that people have dignity.  (For an example of where this kind of Nut’s Hell thinking leads you, see “Justice without Rights?” that was just published on Tuesday.)  This, of course, screws up the entire system, and runs up trillions of dollars worth of debt that can never be repaid, at least under Nut’s Hell Economics assumptions.

What happens when the government inflates the currency to the point that it becomes worthless, and it can no longer “create jobs” to keep the non-productive consumption economy running?  If you’re Greece, you make all kinds of promises that you can’t possibly keep to get bailed out.  If you’re the United States. . . .

According to Nut’s Hell Economics, this couldn’t possibly happen.  According to the pie plate wearers, superior alien beings are going to come to Earth and save us.

In other words, we can ignore the fact that a problem exists, or hope for a miracle.  Neither is a viable solution.

We’ll end this soap opera on Monday, and leave you with that cliffhanger until then.  There is a solution, however, if a leader with vision (i.e., who can see beyond the end of his or her nose) can be identified and word gotten to him or her.


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