Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Education and the State of The Union

Obama made another one of his eloquent speeches last night. One of the themes was about education and how America is falling behind other nations and how Americans need to look for college educations in order to compete. And how we needed a "Sputnik moment".

Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started to educate their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They're investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became the home of the world largest private solar research facility, and the world's fastest computer...We're home to the world's best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than anyplace else on Earth...America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree...

Let's take a look at these statements, particularly in reference to yesterday's post (Sell me what?) Firstly let's look at world history. Historically neither China or India were educational or economic competitors to the US. China was effectively under colonial control by the British and so was India. These countries did not become competitors to the US until their independence. Thus historically the US (and Europe) has not had any competition from "colored folk" for most of it's existence.

The second important thing is that the US military and space programs were directly affected by the importation of Nazi scientists after WW2. Those familiar with the Nazi regime know full well that the Nazis had some serious scientists and had very bright rocket scientists. These persons were allowed to avoid prosecution and were given express entry into the US so that their knowledge could be used. I suppose this fact was somewhat inconvenient for a State of the Union speech.

So that countries are hell bent to educate their populations after being under the heel of exploitative colonialism, which had left the vast majority of the population illiterate, should come as no surprise at all. However; there is a bad side to the mass education of the population.

In China there is a growing number of college grads who are unemployed or employed in jobs they are grossly overqualified for. This of course is what happens when there is a gross mismatch of available jobs and education levels of job seekers. Here's the rub with a highly educated population in a country that has a low wages: they cost corporations less than the ones in the "first world". That is a direct threat to college grads in the US. All manner of "college required" jobs can be done by cheaper labour overseas: accounting, programming, some medical, architecture, etc.

In the 90's corps began to see how they could move low skilled labour out of the US due to the lower costs of labour in those countries as well as a more compliant (read: desperate) government. They soon discovered that this could also be done with people with higher levels of education. It is not an accident that the huge increases in corporate profits have been accompanied by the shrinking of the US workforce which is usually covered up by hailing the " high productivity of the American worker."

Paul Craig Roberts, often seen on the Counterpunch website has repeatedly shown that much of the jobs that have been created even before the crash are those in the service industries and generally pay significantly less than the jobs that have disappeared. In many cases people who have high qualifications simply do not have the employment opportunities that match their skills.

Thus looking at the situation in China, and my discussion of the employment matrix it is clear that attempting to educate the US population into full employment is not going to work. Significant manufacturing must return to the US for this to happen. Exactly how many degreed administrative assistants are we going to have?

Also while technology is a great thing, I am concerned with the increasing "dehumanization" of work. I discussed this back in 2004 using I Robot as an example:

Therefore there still must be some means of making money. As we know, all throughout human history, where there is class there are those who are deprived. Clearly, everyone cannot be an Accountant or a Programmer and clearly even if they could, there would not be enough jobs to go around. So where are these people in this 2035 Chicago? Is there some huge welfare state going on? I'm not sure, but the absence of regular people doing regular things just bothered me. Currently (Aug 2004)...So if it is true that high wage/low education jobs are not being created (or worse yet disappearing) then how does the future presented in I Robot even exist? very few people would be able to afford a robot much less the 1 robot to every 5 humans spoken of in the movie. I know, I know, this is science fiction and none of this is real. But i think that the movie presents a very very real spectacle as to how the elite in the US view the masses, People without "ends" are expendable and replaceable and hopefully we can make them just disappear.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sell me what?

I saw a piece of the news conference that Obama had while Hu Jintao was in the States. During that clip I saw Obama state that America would like to sell the Chinese things. When he attempted to list what Americans would like to sell he paused for a moment and then listed cars and ..uh.. software. The clip ended there but I think it would be instructive to think of what exactly the US has to offer the Chinese.

We could sell the Chinese cars and apparently they do like some American brands such as Buick and GM is reportedly selling more cars in China than in the US. However; slowly but surely they are building up their own auto industry and one of them, Geely bought one of Ford's brands.

But what won't we be selling to the Chinese?
TV's? We don't make those anymore.

Clothes? Check the labels, Not happening.

Cell phones? Ah no. Cause even though Apple's an American company the phone is manufactured in China, so really that's a local product. This either phones, Taiwan, Korea or China. Not selling them that stuff.

Tools? I'm not sure how popular Craftman tools are over there but from the things I see in Home Depot, The Chinese have plenty of their own.

Toys? That is the sound of me laughing.

Computers? Yeah, I'm having another laugh.

Solar Panels? China's making their own.

Windmills? You did catch the controversy surrounding the use of Reinvestment Act funds to buy Chinese made windmills right?

I'm sure if I thought about it hard enough I could come up with a lot of things that we won't be selling the Chinese anytime soon. This brings us to the larger problem. Having exported so many manufacturing jobs and so much industry off shore, millions have been left unemployed and with little prospects. Let me explain.

I supported the auto bailout and not the bank/wall street bailout for the following reasons:

1) Automobile production necessitates manufacturing which employs a great deal of people, particularly those who are what we'd consider "under-educated". These persons make up the majority of the people I the US and a large percentage of the unemployed.

2) manufacturing also employs the tradesmen and those who we'd call semi-skilled.

3) above these are a lesser number of managers who either worked themselves up the ladder or had some college experience to justify such positions.

4) Suppliers who employ people in specific areas. As they are not directly tied to automaker they are another level of employment of semi-skilled and skilled tradesmen.

5) higher up in the automaker are the engineers, accountants and other various white collar employees (ignoring admin assistants). They are relatively few relative to the line workers

6) Outside advertisers. Anyone in the magazine industry can tell you that the auto industry represents a large portion of advertising and thus the auto industry is responsible for A lot of jobs for artists, web site designers, etc.

I'm going to leave out the dealerships, the auto parts supply stores and independent garages, but the point is clear, that manufacturing businesses are the engine of employment in an industrialized country. So called "high finance" cannot begin to compete with the level of job creation that manufacturing does and is why the FIRE (Finance-Insurance-Real Estate) sectors are essentially a vampire class. The entire point of that class is to place themselves between the consumer and the products they wish to obtain. They add no value to the product. they don't even produce a product which should be very clear now after the housing market crash.

You will note that though unemployment is still at it's highest rate in years, the stock market has recovered quite nicely (almost 12000 as of this writing). If you are of the investor class (that is you create nothing) you are making a killing.

The Chinese are making so much stuff that I understand that there are traffic jams that last for days. Delivery truck a actually sit on highways for days waiting to deliver goods. Have you heard of any such thing in the US?


To be sure there are serious environmental consequences to all of this. If the Chinese are bright they will see these challenges as opportunities to develop cleaner manufacturing, patent the he'll out of it and then charge the rest of the world if they try to use those innovations. Kinda like how corporations are going after each other in the mobile phone/computer space.

I'm old enough to remember when Ross Perot was running for president and talked about the "sucking sounds" of jobs being lost to Mexico due to NAFTA. It may not be Mexico but it's still a sucking sound and it has happened.

If manufacturing does not pick up in the US, the. Unemployment is going to stay high. If decent paying jobs that do NOT require a college degree are not created, then unemployment is going to stay high. It is these jobs that enable the US to sell stuff to other countries other than cars and software ( intellectual property).

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

3 point condemnation

“First, China does not export revolution; second, it does not export famine and poverty; and third, it does not mess around with you. So what else is there to say?”

From the NY Times

Friday, January 21, 2011

Baby Doc's Plan

Swiss officials, eager to clean up the country’s image as a depository for dictators, responded to the uproar by quickly passing what is known as the Duvalier Law, giving them more discretion to return ill-gotten gains to the countries they were stolen from.

But the new law does not go into effect until Feb. 1, which may explain the timing of Mr. Duvalier’s bold move. Under the current rules, states making claims to money in Switzerland must show that they have begun a criminal investigation against the suspected offender before any funds can be returned.

So if Mr. Duvalier had been able to slip into the country and then quietly leave without incident, as he was originally scheduled to do on Thursday, he may have been able to argue that Haiti was no longer interested in prosecuting him — and that the money should be his.

I was so surprised by this move by "baby"that I couldn't even write about it. It was such a bizarre move. The above makes sense though.

NY Times

Monday, January 10, 2011

At Stake in Southern Sudan

ndependence for the South will unleash its vast untapped potential. Apart from having some of the largest oil reserves in Africa outside Nigeria and Angola, Southern Sudan has the capacity to feed most of the region.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says 90 per cent of the land in Southern Sudan is arable, representing 12 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa's total arable land. Currently, only 16 per cent of this land is under cultivation.

All Africa

Dap to Kwame Zulu Shabazz for the notice

Garvey's Ghost TV 1-10-2010