Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stoking the fires of optimism.

It is a tough situation to be in. We are approaching a fiscal cliff. We want to give money to everybody, we want to save everybody. But in the end we’re not going to save ourselves. There seems to be no opening, no passage, through which we can escape the consequences of our decadence. As Gustave Le Bon explained over a hundred years ago: “[A person of superior intelligence knows] that those nations which are on the slope of decadence will continue to descend. He knows that institutions cannot be changed at the will of legislators, and seeing that the Socialists desire entirely to overthrow the institutions on which our civilizations repose, he can readily predict the catastrophe which will follow such events.”
"Falling Down." By J.R. Nyquist, Financial Sense Online, 12/10/12.

More optimism here: Charles Hugh Smith.


Xealot said...

It's a tough situation we're in. The second article linked here is actually the more interesting one, as it posits that technology is a job-eliminator and that part of our problem is that labor-intensive work is decreasing. What do we do with the unemployed? Increasingly we staff them into service-oriented jobs, or government. In other words, we hire more bureaucrats and more people to tell us what aisle the milk is on in the grocery store. But many are simply on the government tit instead.

This is -partly- a false argument. There are jobs in a technological society. I am in one, I build websites for a living. But my job requires a lot of intellectual knowledge and experience. You can't even really go to college to get that experience, either. It changes too fast, by the time a textbook is printed, the technology has moved on. You have to be self-motivated to keep pace with an ever-changing industry. It's this way with many industries today.

That is the real problem with our society. There is no self-motivation to think. A man learns how to make widgets, and that's all he knows. When the world says it doesn't need widgets anymore, because the newly-invented whoozits are better, the man then complains, asks for an industry bailout, or goes on welfare. Many stop even looking for work, and aren't counted on unemployment rolls anymore. They don't pay taxes, they don't do anything productive, but they still vote and feel like the world has somehow wronged them.

Technology doesn't eliminate jobs, it changes them. And the faster technology changes, the more you have to change with it in order to remain useful and productive.

But nobody wants to face that truth anymore, and so the fiscal cliff approaches. And when society starts to fall apart, our technology will regress, and the apes who can't think and adapt will win. Humanity will devolve and a second Dark Age will come our way.

Col. B. Bunny said...

Charles Smith has written other essays on the job killing aspects of technology. It's counterintuitive and I don't think it's true across the board. Robotic manufacturing is a good example of job killing but is that the definitive example?

Artificially inflated wages (minimum wage), crushing employment litigation (esp. with minority employees itching for a chance to win the lawsuit lottery for "discrimination"), crushing taxes and regulation, and abysmal public education seem to me to be far better examples of things that are keeping people unemployed.

As you indicate, you have to be nimble in a high-tech environment but that's a problem only after you're employed. Community colleges abound where it's possible for people of modest means to retrain themselves to get a foot in the door somewhere.

Basic rationality does not appear to be important to the reigning liberal elite. That more than anything will lead to the dire result you describe.

Please excuse my delay in responding to your comment.