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JOBS JOBS JOBS. PERHAPS WE SHOULD TAKE A SECOND LOOK AND TALK ABOUT WAGES! WORK, HARD LABOUR, BUT HOW ABOUT WAGES FIRST! 0nly an uneducated person would actually agree that the rich create the jobs of hundreds of millions of people in the developed world. The truth is that the rich don’t, actually. They create…
JOBS JOBS JOBS. PERHAPS WE SHOULD TAKE A SECOND LOOK AND TALK ABOUT WAGES!
WORK, HARD LABOUR, BUT HOW ABOUT WAGES FIRST!
0nly an uneducated person would actually agree that the rich create the jobs of hundreds of millions of people in the developed world. The truth is that the rich don’t, actually. They create few jobs, and most of them temporary. The middle class create jobs. They do it by spending their money. Money only comes into existence we could say, only if it is spent. So, all those rich people boasting hundreds of millions or billions of dollars (and other currencies) don’t actually create much.
A middle class, well paid and with disposable income, spend their money on day to day goods and services. They pay more tax by far than those ultra rich, who pay little if anything, and corporate taxes are at a very low point even given the increases they may have “suffer”.
Most of the jobs lost have been lost not to companies moving away, or closing down, but to technology. A brand new car plant utilizes robots, with a few humans to monitor them, and a few more humans to do the stuff the robots are not built for. The modern car factory is an amazing sight to behold. But when politicians say that these big manufacturers will create lots of jobs, they are either lying, or misinformed.
Manufacturing increasingly uses technology, and decreasingly uses people.
I wrote a piece back in the eighties, told to me by my business partner. This is Barry’s story.
“My father made shoes in South Africa. He employed 100 people in his little factory, turning out 500 pairs of shoes each day. One day a salesman came. “I have a machine” the salesman said, “that will turn out up to 100 pairs of shoes each day with just one operator.”
Dad was impressed. He bought the machine, sadly laid off 5 workers with a nice severance package, and continued to produce 500 pairs of shoes each day with less employees. This went on with every upgrade to the machine until dad was making over 2000 pairs of shoes each day, and with only 20 employees.
But things were changing. The economy was failing and no one was spending money on shoes, or much else for that matter. It seemed that times were tough, and dad often saw his ex employees trudging down their street looking less and less happy.
It was time to cut down the number of shoes dad was making. He reduced the quantity from 2000 to 1500, but as time went by there were more cuts to be made, and money had become tight. So dad looked overseas. He stopped making shoes and found it cheaper to have them made in China. The quality was good, and the Chinese used lots of cheap labour. They did not need machines. People were cheaper. It was possible to cut the price of the finished product. But still, few people were buying new shoes.
Eventually, after almost a lifetime of making shoes, dad closed up shop, wondering if he had failed at being an astute businessman. After 40 years, he considered himself a failure.
But what he did not consider, being of a certain generation, was that while he was purchasing machines to take over from people, so were a lot of other companies.
The middle class, once the spenders of disposable income, were no longer able to spend on shoes every year. Instead, they bought only every two years.
Now I am going to become controversial. As an author and journalist, in the ’80’s I was making a good living. I took home over $750 a week. Today, as an old retired man, I see people making much less than that, trying to hold a family together, paying off a mortgage or a car loan. Their debt is no longer a worry to them. They just keep on borrowing, and no longer care so long as they can pay the interest. They tread water, and some drown. Money is simply not there to spend on ‘things’. In the 1970’s and 1980’s I was paid $10 for a ‘letter to the editor’, between $20 and $150 for a poem, up to $500 for an article. My books sold quite well, without being ‘bestsellers’.
Today all that money has gone. No one pays for anything, and that includes all the people who feel that it is fine and OK to download music and books for free. Writers no longer get paid any kind of worthy income. It’s not just the idea that everything should be free, but that technology has replaced income generating jobs. Here is the controversial bit. Forget about ‘welfare’. To make people look for 30 jobs a month when everyone including the people who set the rules know full well that there are simply not the number of jobs to go around, is ridiculous. It costs the job-seeker hundreds of dollars they simply don’t have, to fuel and maintain the car that takes them to look for jobs that don’t exist. Those hundreds of dollars, instead of going into the fuel tank and to maintain the car in a reasonable condition, could be spent on ‘things’. Petroleum companies do well out of it. But they too are mostly automated. The rich like technology. They love it! The money gets around to them, what there is of it.
What’s actually funny (not ha ha!) is that the very people who have been kicked out of work by technology, are the biggest users of it. There is nothing better to do than sit at home on the internet, posting on facebook, and texting ‘friends’. (And downloading hundreds of pirated books, articles, music, and games. With no real concern for those who created the words or the music, or gave their imagination and expertise to that creation.)
But what if we said ‘to hell with welfare’. Just give people a living wage without them having to worry about spending a lot of money doled out by welfare agencies.