Saturday, January 8, 2011

So forget all your duties, oh yeah

  1. It seems like I read on the internet every month or so that people should not be jealous of the rich, or about how tax cuts favour them.
  2. However, trickle-down economics? Really? We're riding that old horse again? I thought that the lack of general evidence in support of that set of theories might've killed the beast, but it has risen again and taken the form of that nice bloke who lives round the corner whom you'd just love to have a beer with.
  3. I just don't fathom the logic: investment/saving is better than consumption (or at least all the literature says so), except from the view of the businesses, who are completely fucked if people stop buying their crap. Investment (unless it's totally bullshitted financial derivitaves completely unconnected from any real product or service) is entirely worthless if you don't have a consumer base. But we get told we need to spend less money! Except then we need to support New Zealand industry! What the fuck?
  4. Semi-relatedly, there's no real correlation between "amount of effort/skill/knowledge it takes to do a task" and "amount one gets paid for it": which we know because, for example, parents don't get paid; there's also less correlation between "rarity of skillset" and "amount one gets paid" than you might expect.
  5. The whole "poor people just need to work harder" wank falls down pretty much as soon as the point above is acknowledged.
  6. So right-wingers turn to "working smarter" instead. Which, yes: it is a much better life choice to be an executive than a professional cleaner; the latter is not an easy job. But there are very few executive positions compared to low-wage positions: even if every person in the latter category applied themselves, most would still miss out.
  7. And then we turn to "most important to the economy", which is allegedly the reason why John Key doesn't want us to be jealous.
  8. Respectfully I submit that "most important to the economy" has very little correlation to "amount one gets paid"—
    1. 1. economies are founded on the people within them:
    2. these people need to, at a minimum, survive, and probably also need to be able to earn enough to feed and clothe themselves and get shelter and have enough left over to buy some luxuries:
    3. so the most important functions in society are the ones that provide these things; and by any reasonable analysis these things are provided at the level of the actual exchange of money for goods or services—the Board of Directors or executive floor has very little to do with whether one can buy bread at a supermarket. And they probably have very little to do, actually, with how the bread got to the supermarket and how much it costs; these decisions are made lower-down in the chain of command:
    4. I don't think that professional work is utterly unnecessary, or even mostly unnecessary. Executives do sometimes make good choices, and they probably have a better success rate (or at least are better at creating a profit) than people without that particular skillset.
    5. but business continues even in the absence of contemporary corporate management, and we know this because the contemporary corporation grew out of small businesses, in much the same way as the common law grew out of individual policy decisions (or judgements, if you like) made by individual judges in a court of law:
    6. business does not, however, continue without its workforce. The pretence that it does: that people who wear nametags are replaceable units of economic productivity to be discarded at will, whereas people who have their names on buildings are all honourable and hardworking [men]—well.
  9. Maybe I'm just jealous because my name isn't on a building.
[The first bunch of posts will be material I posted some time ago on my access-controlled Other Blog, for those of you who read that Other Blog (which I'm assuming is everyone who reads this one, at the moment). Sorry you're seeing it again!]

    1 comment:

    1. no no, you do have a new reader. Thanks for going public; I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.