Friday, February 16, 2024

The History of the World (condensed), Ch. 6

Colonel Cranky's history of the world resumes.
Image by JJ Jordan from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise 'em now, haunt them after I'm deleted.

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC-65: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring {Dana}Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device 

"History is a vast early warning system." -Norman Cousins

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),

Okay, where was I... Oh yeah, Crankysplaining (vastly oversimplifying) Adam Smith's three economic fundamentals that will enable any nation, and its citizens, to prosper: the pursuit of self-interest, the division of labor, and freedom of trade. 

The pursuit of self-interest simply means that every Tom, Thomasina, and T. has the right to figure out how they're gonna pay the cable bill without a dicktater, or a master of any sort, assigning them a role to play in the economy or determining how and how much they'll be rewarded for their labors. 

A free man/woman/person should be compensated based on what service/product/talent they provide their fellow H. sapiens. A reasonably free market will easily determine the financial value of a good doctor, a good housekeeper, and everyone else.

Pursuing your self-interest in a free market wherein everyone else is doing the same thing tends to result in a self-regulated market that allocates resources in a way that central planning simply can't match when everyone is competing with everyone else.

When regulation is kept to a necessary minimum and the playing field is level, consumers will rule and consumers will win.

As to the division of labor, this can be summed up in two words, modern civilization. Do/make something you're good at and trade it for things you aren't as good at doing/making and simplify things dramatically via a reliable system of reward certificates (money). The result? The most prosperous era in the history of H. sapiens. Consumers rule, consumers win.

Freedom to trade. If you’ve lost a good job because your job is now being done by someone in a foreign country, like Elbonia for example (H.T. Scott Adams) — crappy weather, chock full of primitive religious sects prone to killing each other, a corrupt government and/or any number of other possible combinations of factors that would keep you from vacationing there even if you had any damn money — odds are you might be a little cranky. 

One of the reasons I’m a little cranky is that I lost a fairly decent job, a job that I thought would be my last, due to the effects of (insert ominous musical fanfare) The Great Recession. When this happened I was almost a thousand years old (in American years) and had all the wrong skills. 

I was forced to take a crappy job, actually, several part-time crappy jobs that required me to work eight days a week just to get by. Unfortunately, it wasn't because I was a greedy workaholic who couldn't ever be rich/secure/powerful enough, it was because they didn't pay very well.

I had to work a lot of hours to get by; I literally limped my way, with what turned out to be a busted hip, to a forced early retirement because I needed the diminished dough to get by before the rest of my deteriorating joints (osteoarthritis, the adventure continues) got any worse.

But the reason I lost my job had nothing to do with free trade. It might have happened because the company I worked for managing a crew of 15 souls that kept a hooge Kmart warehouse clean, wasn’t competitive enough — or Kmart wasn’t competitive enough (hold your calls, I think we have a winner) and Wally World ate their lunch... and breakfast... and dinner.

I and a lot of other people lost our jobs but there's no shortage of stores still around selling merchandise at all price points. Consumers rule, consumers win.

{Wait-wait-wait. What about inflation?}

I lost my job because a variable, or a combination of variables, known or unknown, led to life jumping out from behind a tree and kicking me in the crotch. This is how life and the economy, despite our best efforts to generate a desired outcome, often works.

{And what about the popping, no exploding of the real estate bubble in 2008?}

Central planning, aka The Fedrl Gummit, that never met a program to encourage people to buy homes it didn't like (or was unwilling to subsidize) watched as the bubble expanded. After the explosion, it had to step in and spend (print) trillions to prevent another Great Depression.

And nobody went to jail. Not the big boys persons that ran/run the major financial institutions or the hustlers on the front lines handing out liar loans.

"When the tide goes out you discover who's been swimming naked." -Warren Buffett

After shutting down the country and the schools when the pandemic hit (a reverse quarantine) they printed roughly $5,000,000,000,000, so much dough they still haven't spent it all despite an obsession with creating a green economy out of thin air and caused the "transitory" inflation we're still dealing with.

Spending money that creates a problem and then spending more money to fix it ain't how a free market is supposed to work.

(To be continued...)

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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