From the archive
>Glen Tomkins 09.14.11 at 6:35 pm
Comment 36 said:
You can at least make a case that the miseries associated with enclosure and the creation of the surplus labor army were a necessary precondition to the huge increase in productivity that resulted from modern agriculture and industrialization. If there is any plausible tale to tell of the benefits of increasing poverty now, I haven’t heard it.
You’re looking for plausible tales about what’s good for society as a whole, but the austerity people would say that that perspective is somewhere between socialist and naive. We all seem to know these days that, of course, what’s good for large enterprises is good for society, is the only possible good for society, and no one but the people who run large enterprises could possibly know how to get us to large enterprise job creation nirvana.
What’s clearly very good for individual enterprises is indeed the further and continuing pauperization of labor. We can’t compete with Myanmar on job creation, you know, until and unless we get some Myanmar wage levels accepted here in the US, and that won’t happen as long as labor has higher wages available.
No doubt getting us back to Myanmar wage levels would involve an absolutely socially devastating contraction, as our consumer society is deleveraged and deflates to nothing. No doubt the ebbing tide would ground all sorts of boats. But if you believe that we’re headed there anyway, because that’s the only conclusion that serious people can draw about where we are and should be headed, even if you do have some faint stirrings of regard for the common wheal, those aren’t going to overcome your overriding fiduciary responsibility to your shareholders to make damn sure that your enterprise is ahead of the rest in beating your workers down to Myanmar levels. Even if, at the end of the deflation, there’s only going to be 500 families left in the US that can buy your goods or services, well, that just means you need to be awesomely ruthless to insure that your enterprise is one of the two or three that survive to meet the demands of these 500 families. That will be the only demand left for anything but the gruel and hovels and rags that the rest of us will have to get by on.
MPA Victoria 09.14.11 at 6:50 pm
Glen you are making me depressed. I would subscribe to your newsletter but I have lost the will to do anything but sit here gently sobbing and rocking slowly back and forth.