Saturday, August 6, 2011

Collected Rants About The Economy

By Ennealogic

Inflation chart, showing relative gold pricing
Inflation - Keeping prices from going up is supposed to be a good thing. That means that costs have to be held in check. Wages are part of costs. That means wages have to remain stagnant, doesn't it? Or fewer people have to produce what more did before, which causes unemployment. So, is inflation good or bad? Which reminds me, those who most wanted us to default on our US debt payments are pretty much the same people who have been recommending purchasing gold. I wonder why?

Bills and coins, representations of wealth
Money - Bills and coins by themselves are only representations of wealth. Where does wealth come from? Boiling it down to the raw ingredients, I get earth's resources plus human effort. The basic resources on which everything else depends are minerals and water. It takes minerals and water for all organisms, plants and trees to grow. Harvesting raw materials and turning them into products like food and building materials takes human effort. But are raw materials infinite? I don't think so. That means we will run out of them eventually. That also means that wealth is not infinite. Some will suck the wealth out of the earth and out of human effort. The trouble begins when those doing the most sucking think, "It's MY money and nobody can force me to share it!" when in fact, all they really did was finagle their way into usurping finite raw materials and cheap human labor.

Unemployment levels are devastating
Unemployment - If people can't get jobs, it's because employers aren't hiring. If employers are not hiring, it's because they don't need the workers to provide the goods and services. If companies are not providing goods and services, it's because not enough people are buying them. If not enough people are buying what companies are selling, it's probably because they don't have enough money to spend. People probably don't have enough money to spend because not enough people have good-paying jobs. This also means that tax revenues decrease because not enough people are earning and having deductions taken out. And when that happens, government doesn't have much money to spend on stimulus, but then nobody else will either. And there you have, in a nutshell, why cutting expenses in a broadly-based economic slowdown is insane. Or, my opinion of insanity anyway!

Growth of population courtesy Al Gore
Population - As more and more people are born on the planet, resources get spread thinner and thinner. Can everyone on earth have a bagful of diamonds? Or a Lexus? Probably not, because there wouldn't be enough raw materials to go around. When fewer resources are available, prices go up, leaving more people having to make do with less. Al Gore's population chart, the one that spans eons, is illustrative of the real crisis we face. How to feed and take care of billions upon billions of people? How to compensate for all that human activity? How to begin to address this problem that almost nobody ever talks about?

Stock market or gambling?

Stock Market - I've wondered where the money is coming from when a stock rises and where it goes when a stock falls. The stock market is like a giant game of chance, a lottery game. Except in this game the savvy people, the ones with inside information, prey upon the less educated and less connected. 'Playing the market' lets those who have take from those who want to have. It's like a big recycling scheme where the 'wealth' sifts to the top. The image that comes to mind is when you shake a bucket that has sand, pebbles, and stones in it. The largest stones will end up on top, always. Who ends up losing? The billion grains of sand at the bottom…

For-profit health care killing us all
Health Care - It seems to me that if people are making profits, over and above salary and costs, for helping sick people, that we have ourselves a system ripe for abuse, corruption, and basic greed. How could health care costs NOT go up when the companies who provide the services are in it for the profit? Even small town country doctors are being absorbed into health care collectives, who have their own rules about which insurances they'll accept, and whether or not you can still visit them, and whether or not they are associated with local hospitals who now also have to belong to a collective. One more scary thing -- what incentives are there for helping people get well if every office visit and lab test and drug purchase yields a profit? Who wants to send a paying customer right out of the door?

Teaching has been amputated in favor of testing
Education - If those in power want to stay in power (and we know who they are), it makes sense they would not want well-educated, honest and ideologically progressive young people rising up to challenge that power. We still do have public schools, but for the last 10 years (a long time in a child's life) teachers and schools have been stymied by having to make sure their kids pass rote tests thanks to GW Bush's NCLB (may he rot in texas) instead of experiencing the absolute JOY of learning how to learn. Memorizing things is not even close to learning things. In fact, I would argue that having to memorize things puts a damper on curiosity and invention and love of learning for its own sake. Demoralized teachers equals lackadaisical students equals brain-challenged citizens. Just the way some at the top may like it, eh? And if the dominionists have their way, education will become even more retarded and focused on a religious framework.

I guess all this is to say, we face a boatload of ultra-serious problems, far more devastating in the long term than defaulting on a payment to KBR, or even our Social Security recipients.

In order that this post not be a complete downer, here's a video I found a while back that just blew my mind, and pumps up my hope in the human spirit (remember the need in Africa).



Our reader Azure Ghost created another one of her smart compositions concerning Sarah Palin - this one should be spread wide as well (click to enlarge):

"Because actual fighting is so passé."

You can re-tweet this picture HERE.

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