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  • Writer's picturePhilip Drucker

Communique "Greed Never Sleeps" 6-12-2021

Greed Never Sleeps

“If you don't find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

― Warren Buffett

I must admit when I recently stumbled across this quote I didn’t take much mind of it. I wrote it off as yet another super rich guy’s way of explaining the economic miracle of compound interest compounding the compounded and possibly turning a small fortune into a large fortune through no additional labor or other expenditures on the part of the holder.

Yet as the days went by I couldn’t quite get the words of Warren Buffett, certainly a man of wealth and taste out of my head. And then it hit me. This is only a true statement if, while you sleep, someone else is doing the work you should be up and awake and doing yourself. Isn’t that true? And we, as a society think this is a good thing?

Let’s take a look at some basic economics. Something along the lines of we make it and advertise it for less than it costs to produce, and you, wanting better products for less money (if not free) buy it and we make money, so when demand rises, in order to make more we hire more workers to fulfill the need with the best-case scenario our own workers being paid enough of a wage to purchase the very products they themselves had a direct hand in producing. That’s pretty American, right?

For this reason, re-investment in raw materials, goods and labor was thought to be the surest way to get rich and help keep the overall economy humming along at a healthy clip. But today? It would appear our nation’s opinion of capital outlays and additional hiring as models for success has fallen away to the degree that if you can’t make money in your sleep, well, you have been given the alternative. A lifetime of work. As if gainful employment, honest labor, virtually anything that does not require ownership in and of itself is a bad thing.

And so, as we delve and disappear deeper and deeper into an economy based on paper, on electronic figures in an electronic bank account with no actual collateral, gold and silver standards be damned, is it truly any wonder that the manufacturing sector in the United States is taking a beating of unprecedented proportions? The result being the rise of a “service” economy (the poor servicing the “needs” of the rich?) for next to slave wages as the value of skill and expertise, the result of education and experience going to waste?

I mean, if every job regardless of the title or responsibilities starts (and stays) at minimum wage, well, why go through the trouble of getting a degree or any other such elitist, egg-headed, socialist or communist, propaganda as a way to earn a living, and hopefully attain a higher standard for you and your family than your parents ever experienced, when society is telling you all you are good for is slapping meat paddies on a grill and remembering to ask “would you like fries with that” with your order?

This is not to say there is no dignity in doing what you, as an employee have to do. In America, you are not guaranteed gainful employment or even a job. However, when we look at the recent dynamics caused in great part by the cheap global labor market, and yes, if you are a capitalist, it does make a great deal of monetary sense to cut labor expenses, the cost to the average family in America, here, at home, cannot be understated, and yet, it constantly is. Why?

I would argue it is in great measure about stifling voices. The voices of labor in general are directly in the cross hairs of greed hidden as “business” unions. My take? In the interest of nothing more than obscene profits made with not even the hint of a social conscience (heaven forbid we lower our dividends to the shareholders) the silent majority has become those who have been displaced from having a say in the marketplace to the status of you are lucky to even have any job, if not three, at all.

The result of this being the three richest individuals on the planet, make nothing of egalitarian value (this is my code for producing toys for the rich), game the social safety net through part-time and temporary labor designations that we the public pick up the tab for and well, let the “marketplace” sort it out, while they through their “lobbyists” buying tax cut after tax cut for the top percent of “earners” (note, not producers or contributors) and there you have it. An economy one step away from returning to feudal times of feoffs and serfs who know their place. This is the new aristocracy and yes, it is as ugly as it sounds.

Why, throw in a little religion, you know the type where you can buy your way to heaven by donating to your nearest televangelist’s fourth Lear jet so he/she can continue to spread the gospel to those who still have money in their retirement accounts, and there you have it. I have to admit getting people to give up on living a good life in this life for the promise of a better afterlife is pure, unadulterated, evil genius.

Is it just me? Or has anyone else noticed the sudden connection between being poor, or even not rich equaling lazy or some other nonsense as if people who work hard aren’t indigent and let’s call it celestially approved. Broke and out of favor with the Creator? Ooops, there goes the afterlife! Now what?

Why, the blame game of course. How many times have you heard simultaneously mind you, that immigrants, POC, anyone and everyone but us, have taken all the jobs and do not pay taxes. Unfortunately, it is not the poorest of us who are doing this, meaning for the most part, the next economic generation of immigrants coming to America and taking the jobs no one else wants, when in fact, the cause and effect instigators, highlighted by the three richest men in the world, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have all lent their best efforts to devastate the labor market and yes, they pay no taxes.

And such is the modern miracle of devaluing the dignity and importance of labor in our country and if you think you are immune from the creeping kudzu effects of our current carnivorous raptoresque (eat or be eaten) economy, you are wildly mistaken.

For in a late term predatory capitalist society, there is always a “next” in line for vilification in the all but holy names of market share, corporate efficiency and profit. Consider yourself warned.

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