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Friday, 21 June 2013

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What do we do with the simpletons? Three basic government ploys. First, let them fester in inner cities or council estates, giving them enough money to live on and keep out of other people's way. Second, provide lots of fun electronic gadgetry and status symbols to keep them occupied in meaningless occupations. Third (the one that pays my salary!) get them doing futile mental gymnastics and call it "education".

It's 5.30 a.m. and that makes my head hurt.

Neatly sums up the limitations of comparative advantage - just buy a pin making machine. Or a pin-making machine making machine (I could go on) and sell pin-making machine making machines to all the world. The Sorcerer's Apprentice or a mad treadmill?

Perhaps the horsemeat scandal was just a trial run. A sad old thing the human condition, with the seeds of our own destruction built in. I wonder who will inherit this earth?

"What do we do with the simpletons?". The question, and answers to it: social, economic and political, define the new era we are entering.

Redistribution of wealth, and how that is handled, is key. The one "pin making machine" designer won't do very well if the rest of us haven't got any pin buying power.

The same old forms will present: The Statists will say nationalize the pin making machine, hire the pin making machine designer into the public sector and create a load of false jobs in the pin making department for the simpletons. This will work better than 20th century Socialism because the sheer productivity of the pin making machine and designer will carry the near zero productivity of the simpletons. But the obvious falseness of the jobs for the simpletons will grate somewhat (Diversity Manager in the NHS on £40k, anyone?). The neo-Libs will say "laissez-faire" as usual, but that won't work as well as the previous two centuries because, as said, the simpletons won't have the buying power to keep the pin making machine and designer in business.

The answer is to accept that most of us are destined to become Chavs. Here's your benefits for: food, clothing, shelter, health, education and energy (the necessities without which harm will come to you - courtesy John Stuart Mill) and here's some spunk it up the wall money to get yourself 10 pints of lager on a Saturday night (courtesy Karl Marx, et al). And don't bother showing up at the pin making department on Monday because you're fucking useless. Take the rest of your life off.

Is it really that bad to be a chav? The youth of Southern Europe doesn't seem to be that disappointed to be sitting in the sun sipping lattes (instead of 10 pints of lager) with John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx beaming down in a "we got there in the end" sort of way.

SoD

By "redistribution of wealth" I meant "income", btw.

SoD

Oh what's this world coming to?

SoD it would appear, has the answer - short article here David - longish comment thread - and really neat, rather than "logarithms" - charts.

(h/t Mangan's)

http://m.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/06/will-the-robots-steal-your-paycheck-breaking-they-already-have/276935/

Per annum benefit vouchers per simpleton / chav -

Food £1500 (£5 a day-ish)
Clothing £500
Shelter £4000 (£300 a month to rent a room)
Health £2000 (NHS cost per annum)
Education £2000 (£10,000 a year from age 5 to 20 spread over 80 years)
Energy £1500 (gas and electricity plus green tax)
Spunk It Money £2500 (10 pints of lager per week)
Total £14k per annum
Never works a day and enjoys life to the full.

Same person employed as an NHS Diversity Manager: -
£40k per annum
Spends entire life disturbing healthcare pin-makers (aka Doctors and nurses) while producing reams of useless crap about multiculturalism.

Net saving: £26k per annum. Multiplied by the total number of similar "hidden Chavs" working in the public and large corporate sectors equals enough to wipe out the deficit into the bargain.

What shall we call this post-Marxist, post-neo-Liberal ism?

DUFFISM!

SoD

By Jove, 'SoD', you're in fine literary voice today - where did you get all that talent from I wonder?!

'JK', good article, thanks. Needless to say our politicians will not be thinking about what to do - until it's too late.

Duffism. ... Duffism. ... Duffism.

Now where's my Glenfiddich? ... (sounds of scroungings around) [WTF! Who's been into my bottle?!!!] ... Duffism.

Duffism?

DUFFISM! DUFFISM!

Rest easy David (but remember to mow the churchyard) you've achieved immortality.

The steam tractor, the mechanical loom, industrial automation, computers in the office, ... the 'sky is falling' has happened too many times to be taken seriously, hasn't it?

Population grew, partly due to more and better availability of food, health care and public health decisions, but primarily because the 'bodies' were needed for the jobs. Our society was already adjusting to the lesser requirements for 'grunt' labour with lower birth rates and increased education.

Problems have only, and will only, occur due to 'meddling' and 'intransigence' (North Wales was populated by a few tiny agricultural villages until coal was discovered. Mass migration and population boom occurred to supply the needed labour -cities exploded into being. Now? The coal is long gone [1948 in reality] but the people wouldn't move to where the new jobs were and benefits made it possible to live there comfortably).

There are jobs, and more will develop assuming all the wealth these industriousness develops doesn't get wasted on paying people not to work. The matter has been made worse by the mass importation of unskilled workers to take the fewer jobs in that sector (thanks Labour!).

Also, you seem to be equating (provocatively?) a lack of academic ability (and a limited mathematical one at that) with stupidity? I work with some of the most highly respected and qualified medical personages in the country - and the vast majority can barely do more than add and subtract without a calculator. Technology, especially, is interesting since every one of those 'uneducated' chav 'simpletons' can work computers, iPhones, InstaFaceTwit thingies, better than we, can they not?

Personally I suspect the drive towards prioritising (and subsidising - why employ a man when you can get two women and pay substantially less, since they can 'top-up' their income with benefits) women in the workforce has had more of an impact on employment in this country. (NB. not a misogynist, but having just read the excellent book by Dr Helen Smith - Men On Strike.. I have to reassess my own behaviour ;-) ).

JK, have a care, sir, 'Duffism' is the new religion and we have ways of dealing with infidels! And don't try and kid me you've got Glenfiddich in the ice-box under your hammock, we all know it's 'Ol' Jake's Special Brew'!

Able, I think you are mistaken in your opinions concerning birth rates. High birth rates are a property of *poor* societies in which parents produce as many children as possible in order to have carers available for their old age. Low birth rates, as per the West these days, is a sign of prosperity in which kids are an optional, and very expensive, extra!

As a man who never grasped mathematics myself I can tell you that I would never equate such ignorance with stupidity. Of course, I take your point that experts in this or that field are not necessarily expert in anything else. However, I would ask you where these clever doctors are going to be when you can plug yourself into a machine which will accurately diagnose any faults within your system?

You are right to point out that all sorts of sophisticated skills can be quickly acquired if there is an over-riding necessity. Thus, once upon a time I could work a mobile phone with dexterity, now I can barely switch mine on!

I share your knowledge that *to date* new technology has produced new jobs but I don't think that will follow in the future. If that makes me sound like an old-style, trade union Marxist, then so be it, Brother!

I urge you to check JK's link, it is very instructive.

There's birth rates and then there's birth rates.

Poor societies did, and do, have higher birth rates but also higher infant mortality and drastically shorter life expectancy. A population can have a high birth rate and yet be numerically stable or even declining. So what prompts/allows, and supports a massive population growth? (carrying capacity and demand)

I agree about the cost of having children but find it less than amusing that the only people who can afford to raise large families are those on benefits, with predictable results on the countries demographics.

We already have 'expert systems', phone NHS Direct and you'll be talking to somebody who isn't making a clinical judgement, they're typing in a list of symptoms and reading the answer, but ... who designed the system? Whose knowledge is incorporated, hopefully appropriately? Who, when it indicates a possible problem (it errs on the side of caution so > 90% of calls get told to consult their GP) do you see? Until a computer can do all that, I think they're safe. Looking at the automotive industry, almost everything that it is even vaguely possible to automate has already been automated. To do those jobs currently performed by humans would require a quantum leap in robotics and computing (R2D2 on the lines?). Even those produced by 3D printing require human manufactured upholstery, fittings and construction - producing a single part solid item is easy, multi-part, multi-material complex machines? Not for a long time I think (I really want a Star-Trek 'Replicator').


I do expect new jobs, but many fewer and specialised.

Interesting link, but how can the 'workers share of the economy' be universally declining in as diverse economies as those listed? Unless more of the economy is being spent on .... what? Manufacturing is hardly the major percentage of the economy of even China is it? (finance? Here it would be that and health and welfare).

I remain vaguely optimistic for the future - assuming the politicians stop meddling, of course.

You almost had me convinced, Able, right up to the very last clause of your last sentence!

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