Capitalism is wasteful

So many people believe that all of the improvements in life are because of capitalism. They think progress would not happen if there was no profit motive. Yet how many times do people do good things just for the sake of doing good?

As a mechanic, there is something inherently wrong with throwing away ANYTHING that is brand new and/or still in perfect working condition. Today I participated in something that really irked me to my core beliefs – I helped load up a 20 yard scrap bin; 1/2 of which was new parts. My boss said we were having an audit at the beginning of the new year and we needed to clean up the shop by getting rid of everything that wasn’t on the inventory list. The warehouse guys had already taken numerous pallets & boxes down from the racks so we could all sift through them. Lots of brand new parts still in original packaging as well as new “take off” parts from other jobs, parts that we thought we might use on other (future) projects, but never did.

I tried arguing the point that these parts, especially the brand new ones, could be sold for 100% profit. The parts guy shot that idea down because it screws up his numbers for other parts that he sells. (profit margin divided by zero??) My boss said that this type of “purge” happens all the time in the business world because it’s a write-off for their books. To me, it’s completely mind-boggling to think anything new and perfectly good would be tossed aside so easily.

I asked if me & the other guys could take some parts and we were told we could, BUT if any of them appeared on Ebay, Craigslist, etc, we would be fired immediately. It’s the company’s parts and they want them gone. Period.

So I started wondering – how much time, effort & resources are required to make any particular product? Let’s take a metal panel enclosure, for example:

  • The ore has to be mined and processed into the actual metal
  • The metal has to be stamped into the proper shape
  • The newly shaped part has to be prepped, primed, and painted
  • It has to be wrapped and boxed, to be shipped to the store
  • It gets checked into their computer system, tagged and placed on a shelf; ready to sell to a customer.

Now let’s say that instead of selling that part, it sits on the shelf for some time, let’s say a few years. The company now considers this item to be unsalable; writes it off their books, and removes it from inventory. Employees are directed to dump the part into a scrap bin, and when the bin is full, it’s taken away, the company pays for this service and possibly makes a little bit of spare cash for the metal scrap.

Everything that went into making that product is now reduced to a small fraction of the total value (time, effort, money, resources) that went into making it.

How the hell can capitalism continue to “make a profit” when there is so much waste involved?


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Here’s a dose of reality

Why does it seem that humans go through the vast majority of their life trying to AVOID reality? I was reminded of this while I was hanging my usual (sparse) Christmas lights this year:

A few years ago I stumbled upon the web site Church of Reality (www.churchofreality.org) and instantly I knew I had found a home, a place where my own (religious?) thoughts were shared with other like-minded people. The web site was run by a guy named Marc Perkel, and though I’ve never met him, he seems like a kindred spirit to me. His personal blog (http://www.perkel.com/) contains many of the same thoughts that my own blog has. He has published an amazing 50,000+ pages which makes my own blogs and writings pale in comparison.

But it was soon after subscribing to his newsletter that I received an update on his health – he was battling cancer. I only got a few messages over the next 2 years, but they were upbeat. He had designed his own treatment regime and it seemed to be working! Down with big pharma! A win for the little guys! Good for Marc!

Reality should not include drug manufacturers getting rich off the sick, hypocrite priests taking advantage of children, bankers charging interest on imaginary money, corporations giving their CEOs huge bonuses while laying off thousands of workers, or corrupt politicians pimping fear through TV’s manufactured drama. But currently, reality does include these; and only We The People can cause the necessary shift in reality to get humanity back to where we should be. We fight the fight because it is right; yet so many have their eyes firmly clamped shut, ignoring the reality that takes advantage of them on a daily basis. It can be quite disheartening at times.

Then last week I got a message through the newsletter, but it was from Marc’s sister. Marc had lost his battle against cancer and had passed away.  Much like Bill Hicks, George Carlin, and Michael C. Ruppert, another hero was gone from reality. Once again my life seemed to have an empty spot, a blank piece much like others had torn before.

It’s tough to accept, but death is a natural part of life. That’s reality. And life should be lived every day, on real terms.  That’s the way Marc would want it

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How obvious does it have to be?

This post could also be titled “How oblivious are you?

Certain problems seem quite obvious to some, while not apparent to others. Take for example, myself. One time I diagnosed a broken timing belt just by hearing the engine cranking over as I walked by the car in a parking lot. Simply hearing the engine was a clear indicator because I had fixed so many in the past. I was 100% certain and I offered to help the motorists by demonstrating why I was correct in my assessment. I’m sure many mechanics would have been able to diagnose this problem the same way I had and many more could also diagnose it using tried & true methods of testing the systems that the engine relies on for proper operation. The only difference is how obvious it was.

Knowledge and skill can make all the difference and some people already have these while others don’t. Also some people actually want to improve themselves, by gaining more knowledge and skills; but some people simply don’t want to learn or improve upon themselves. They want the answers handed to them, in simple, easy to digest words.

I’ve written many posts about what is wrong with this world, and this one is going to try and summarize some of these issues (not in any particular order). Yes, I’m going to ruffle a few feathers and yes, this post is aimed at *YOU*, the reader that wants everything handed to them. Here you go…..

The federal government is completely corrupt – Whether you vote D or R, none of them give a damn about you. Our entire election cycle is designed to make you think you have a choice. You don’t. They spend millions of dollars to get elected to a job that pays (proportionally) very little. They give political favors to their friends and the corporations that pay them and in return the politicians get to pat themselves on the back, thinking they have “helped” in some way. They are not. Corruption is the norm and voting won’t change it.

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Money no longer represents anything of tangible value – Our financial system used to back its currency with precious metals, such as silver and gold. But after we were taken off “the gold standard”, what asset is in place to give money it’s (perceived) value? Nothing. Only the overall agreement between all people involved to continue accepting our currency to pay for debts gives it any potential value. And when you loan out fake money with interest added on, there is no mathematical way to ever pay off that debt.

Taxation is theft – Back when taxes were first invented, they paid for the infrastructure of a new country. Now it’s just a way to enforce servitude upon the people. Every year the federal budget allocates piles of money to all sorts of projects; most of which are futile. Did you get to vote on where your money goes? Is there any way to opt-out of the insanity? Of course not.

Your “God” is imaginary and religion does harm others – Man created the god character to try and invoke something greater than what his own brain could comprehend (at that time). There is zero tangible proof for your deity actually existing. “Faith” is a lie and perpetuating this is brainwashing other people. Making decisions based on your religious views is not always the best way to handle the situation. We are smarter now and we need to act that way.

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Some doctors are paid for their loyalty by drug companies – Much like the relationship between a politician and the corporations that give them money, some doctors push drugs because the drug manufacturers give them money. Is that pill really the best way to treat your ailment? Or are you simply a guinea pig so they can get rich?

Our military does not “protect and serve” our country – Since when did our country become the world police? Why do we have military bases all over the planet? Why does our military help protect our business interests in other countries? And the last time our military was actually needed to protect our country (the 9/11 attacks), they were purposefully called back, distracted, and told to stand down. That’s not how any of this is supposed to work.

Capitalism is not the best way to run a country’s economy – We must stop measuring how well the economy is doing by how well rich people are doing. Capitalism *depends* on people working hard and being able to buy stuff, but automation and robots are putting people out of work. If you can’t afford to buy stuff, the economy shrinks. It’s an ever tightening, downward spiral.

Knowledge is power, but cognitive dissonance is king – Whether you are a politician, a clergy member, a doctor, a military leader, an advertiser, or even a mechanic, everyone depends on the other people to NOT know sufficient, critical information about a given subject. Call it “fake news”, call it brainwashing, call it savvy marketing; sometimes people actually work to instill opposing and incorrect ideals in other people. Psychological stress caused by trying to hold 2 or more contradicting ideals makes the brain shut down and many people will make rash decisions just to avoid this stress.

 

And yet, despite all of these things, here we are. Just think where we (humanity as a whole) could actually be by now if we respected each other and worked together to improve life for all.

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OPM

A few years ago, I was at a “real estate seminar” and I was introduced to the term “Other People’s Money”. As much as I’ve railed in the past regarding money matters, I’ll admit that I was naive when it came to finances in this respect. I had never expected that financial “investors” would be willing to loan *their* money to other people just for the sake of earning a return. But that’s how you get ahead of “the game”, right? You turn yourself into *the bank*, thus YOU control where and how your money works.

Most people work at a job and get paid for their time (hourly employee). The pay schedule is very simple and finite. Pretty straight forward and if you’re lucky, you’ll get some other benefits like health insurance. It’s also very difficult to get ahead.

Some folks have elevated themselves to being paid a salary, which is not tied directly to the number of hours you work. It’s a good deal if you can get all of your tasks done in less than the typical 40 hours per week that most of us work. It’s not so great of a deal if you have more work than time available.

And then you have some jobs that pay an hourly wage, plus a “per diem”, which is a payment that is intended to offset the additional costs involved while living away from your normal home. Sounds like a great way to pay off a new travel camper.

A business owner can write off all sorts of regular expenses as part of his business. He can set his prices at a point that his customers can afford, yet also net him a decent profit. His employees make his money as well as the portion they are paid.

Politicians get paid a salary, plus benefits, plus they can get legal bribes paid to their “campaign fund”. How better to advance one’s life then to have everyone else pay your way?

“Consultant” is a fancy term for someone who is working as a independent provider of a service that they used to do as an employee. Their pay rates are generally higher than a regular employee and somehow they can justify their perceived value to the people/company that hires their “expertise”.

I used to think that the term “non-profit charity” meant that company did not use money. I thought they made an impact through their actions and deeds. But a “non-profit” simply means that after they pay their employees, there is nothing left over. And the easiest way to guarantee that is to pay the top employee (the CEO) a hefty bonus at the end of the year; one lump sum equal to whatever was left in surplus. Ta-Da! No “profit” remaining!

Charities

Every government employee is paid with tax money. That’s money that used to belong to someone else until a politician found a way to take it from the citizens and put it in their pockets.

Big businesses pass out money as a way to gain political favors; usually they get a law passed in their favor. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

It’s easy to spend money when it’s not yours. It’s like gambling with the casino’s money; you play big and hope to win even bigger.

Years ago our money system was backed by the value of precious metals, such as gold and silver. The government started to separate our currency as a way to fight off “The Great Depression”, and the separation was completed in 1971 by president Nixon.

So what is our money backed by? Only the promise of our future labor. This means it’s not back by anything tangible. It’s worthless, it’s fake, and it’s value is completely imaginary. Once the people figure this out, they will revolt and the unavoidable financial collapse will arrive. Until then we are all just rolling the dice…..

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Never Forget

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

Today is the 17th anniversary of one of the darkest days in our country’s history and many people say “Never Forget”, meaning that we should never forget this terrible day in history. Most of them concentrate on the twin towers and the people who died that day, which is a noble cause and a poignant thought.

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We also need to remember that there are so many more points and issues that need to be examined, so that we never get in this situation again….

NEVER FORGET:

  • That 3 buildings fell that day, though only 2 of them received national news coverage.
  • WTC 7 was not hit by an airplane and suffered only typical “office fires”, making it the first steel frame building to ever be demolished only by fire.
  • WTC 7 is not mentioned in the “official” report.
  • BBC news announced that WTC 7 had collapsed 5 minutes before it actually happened.
  • No damaged plane debris was recovered from the Pentagon.  Neither were any bodies.41458866_2410450625639282_511342214803095552_n
  • The damage to the Pentagon does not match the shape & size of the airplane that supposedly hit it.
  • All of the sensors and cameras at the Pentagon were turned off that day, except one camera next to a parking lot. One frame shows an explosion, but no airplane.
  • The day before (September 10th), Donald Rumsfeld went on on TV and announced that there was $2.3 Trillion dollars missing from the Pentagon.
  • The evidence for this corruption was conveniently lost when the accounting office at the Pentagon was destroyed.
  • No response from the FAA and no military planes were sent to intercept the 4 hijacked planes. 14212212_858096854289743_3642114624714258980_n
  • More than one “war game” was being run that same day, thus there was confusion as to whether the attack was real or part of the war game.  rubicon
  • President Bush continued to visit an elementary school even after the attacks started. He seemed to act like he was following a planned script.
  • The 4th plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania was not recovered at the crash site. Neither were any bodies.
  • Some passengers on board the hijacked airplanes made cell phone calls to their families, even though cell phones do not work at high altitudes and at least one of the hijacked planes was not equipped with on board cell phones.
  • 15 of the 19 hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia, 2 were from the United Arab Emirates, 1 from Egypt, and 1 from Lebanon; though the attacks were used to justify the USA starting a war against Iraq.
  • The first 8 chapters of the “official” report read like an advertisement for “Why they hate our freedom”.
  • WTC 2 started to tilt as it began to collapse, yet the top portion did not topple over as one would expect an irregular object to fall.
  • Architects and Engineers for 9/11 have done extensive scientific research into the collapse of WTC 1, 2 and 7 and they don’t agree with the “official” report.

And the list goes on……

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The great debate continues

Women base their arguments on tone and inflection. “It’s not what you said, it’s HOW you said it“.

Men base their arguments on facts and logic. “I didn’t say that. Why are you even thinking that??

It’s impossible to match these up. Neither of these equate each other and they never will. Yet even today, arguments are based on unequal points of view. It’s like one person saying “The sky is blue” and the other replying “It’s NOT orange!!“.

It’s one thing for children to argue this way, but it’s a completely different thing for grown adults to argue this way.

Facts can be tested, by anyone, and shown to be valid or untrue. Everything else is open to interpretation and can be affected by a person’s feelings, attitude, and environment.

How are we (as a humanity) supposed to solve problems and advance ourselves as a species if we can’t sort out the simple differences in the way we converse?

It’s frustrating, it’s maddening, and it’s the #1 reason why people communicate less and less every day…….

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Book report – “Future Shock”

I think I’ve mentioned it before; I’m not an avid reader. In fact, reading usually makes me quite sleepy, something that I attribute to my parents, who only read to me when it was bed time. I have, however, found a way to get a few pages read while I’m otherwise occupied – I read while I’m on the toilet. I used to use that time for Sudoku puzzles or word-finds, but I figured I’m my own captive audience, so I might as well utilize this time for something that is actually productive.

The book I just finished is “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler and it was originally published in 1970. The opening page touts it as “The most important study of change and adaptation in our time“.

The book attempts to define what many of the changes in the near future will be and how they will affect humanity. Reading this book now, I can see many ideas that have come true as well as some that have not. The book also talks about controlling the amount of “shock” that future changes can bring, because controlling this can keep society from spiraling further out of control (further than we already are).

Of course it’s highly improbable to accurately predict which way society will go 10, 20, 30, or 50 years down the road, unless you plan for and work towards a given outcome.  This book highly recommends future planning because it assumes our society will become one of “Super-Industrialism”, a state where our current industrial society is accelerated exponentially which in turn requires society to adapt at an accelerated pace, something that mankind is not good at doing (in general).

With all of the predictions included in this book, it misses foreseeing one major shift that has already changed the present for so many – the shift to an small elite group of capitalists taking over the government, the media, and the military-industrial complex that president Eisenhower tried to warn us of.

Overall, this was a very good book, both on content and for giving us a peek into the past’s look at the present. I highly recommend that you read it, if you actually want to improve the future.

In the end, the book does define one of the greatest points for humanity, one that has not been addressed in the near-half-a-century since it was first published. The need for the future to be defined, planned and worked towards; instead of just allowing it to happen hap-haphazardly. I’ll copy portions of last chapter here, because it defines the problem and the solution quite succinctly:

“For technocrats suffer from more than eco-think and myopia; they suffer, too, from the virus of elitism. To capture control of change, we shall, therefore, require a final, even more radical breakaway from technocratic tradition: we shall need a revolution in the very way we formulate our social goals.”

“Rising novelty renders irrelevant the traditional goals of our chief institutions – state, church, corporation, army and university. Acceleration produces a faster turnover of goals, a greater transience of purpose. Diversity or fragmentation leads to a relentless multiplication of goals. Caught in this churning, goal cluttered environment, we stagger, future shocked, from crisis to crisis, pursuing a welter of conflicting and self-cancelling purposes.”

“Nowhere is this more starkly evident than in our pathetic attempts to govern our cities.” …… “as in a thousand city halls all over the high-technology nations, technocrats dash, fire bucket in fist, from one conflagration to another without the least semblance of a coherent plan or policy for the urban future.”

“This is not to say that no one is planning. On the contrary; in this seething social brew, technocrat plans, sub-plans and counter-plans pour forth.” …….. “But the plans cancel, contradict, and reinforce one another by accident. Few are logically related to one another, and none to any overall image of the preferred city of the future. No vision – utopian or otherwise – energizes our efforts. No rationally integrated goals bring order to the chaos. And at the national and international levels, the absence of coherent policy is equally marked and doubly dangerous.”

“It is  not simply that we do not know which goals to pursue, as a city or as a nation. The trouble lies deeper. For accelerating change has made obsolete the methods by which we arrive at social goals. The technocrats do not yet understand this, and, reacting to the goals crisis in knee-jerk fashion, they reach for the tried and true methods of the past.” …. “The juggernaut of change continued to roll through America untouched, as it were, by managerial intelligence.”

“The introduction of a systems approach is a major governmental achievement.” …. “But it leaves entirely untouched the profoundly political question of how the overall goals of a government or society are to be chosen in the first place.”

“How are preferable futures to be defined? And by whom? Who is to set the goals for the future?”

“We can not hope to harness the runaway forces of change by assembling a kaffeeklatch of elders to set goals for us or by turning the task over to a “highly technical staff”. A revolutionary new approach of goal-setting is needed.”

“By calling attention to the growing ineptitude of the technocrats and by explicitly challenging not merely the means, but the very goals of industrial society, today’s young radicals do us all a great service. But they no more know how to cope with the goals crisis than the technocrats they scorn.”

“Yet systems of goal formulation based on elitist premises are simply no longer “efficient”. “

“In complex, differentiated societies, vast amounts of information must flow at even faster speeds between the formal organizations and the sub-cultures that make up the whole, and between the layers and sub-structures within these.”

“To assume control over accelerant change, we shall need still more advanced – and more democratic – feedback mechanisms. “

“This suggests that the best way to deal with angry or recalcitrant minorities is to open the system further, bringing them into it as full partners, permitting them to participate in goal-setting, rather than attempting to ostracize or isolate them. ” ….. “In short, in politics, in industry, in education, goals set without the participation of those affected will lead to greater and greater social instability, less and less control over the forces of change; an ever greater danger of cataclysmic, man destroying, upheaval.”

“To master change, we shall therefore need both a clarification of important long-range social goals and a democratization of the way in which we arrive at them. And this means nothing less than the next political revolution in the techno-societies – a breath-taking affirmation of popular democracy.”

“The time has come for a dramatic reassessment of the directions of change, a reassessment made not by the politicians or the sociologists or the clergy or the elitist revolutionaries, not by the technicians or college presidents, but by the people themselves. We need, quite literally, to “go to the people” with a question that is almost never asked of the: What kind of a world do you want in ten, twenty, or thirty years from now?” We need to initiate, in short, a continuing plebiscite on the future.”

“There are no sure-fire techniques for guaranteeing equal representation for all, or for eliciting the wishes of the poor, the inarticulate or the isolated. Yet once we recognize the need to include them, we shall find ways. ” ….. “Imagine the effect if at one level or another a place were provided where all those who will live in the future might voice their wishes about it. Imagine, in short, a global exercise in participatory democracy.”

“To some, this appeal for a form of neo-populism will not doubt seem naive. Yet nothing is more naive than the notion that we can continue politically to run the society the way we do at present. To some, it would appear impractical. Yet nothing is more impractical than the attempt to impose a humane form from above. What was naive under industrialism may be realistic under super-industrialism, what was practical may be absurd.”

“The encouraging fact is that we now have the potential for achieving tremendous breakthroughs in democratic decision-making if we make imaginative use of the new technologies, both “hard” and “soft” that bear on the problem. “

“Such techniques, still primitive today, will become fantastically more sophisticated in the years immediately ahead, providing us with a systematic way to collect and reconcile conflicting images of the preferable future, even from people unskilled in academic debate or parliamentary procedure.”

“Nevertheless, such future-oriented, future-forming events could have enormous political impact. Indeed, they could turn out to be the salvation of the entire system or representative politics -a system now in dire crisis.”

“Still more damaging to democracy is the time-bias of politics. The politician’s time horizon usually extends no further than the next election. “

“We are, for these and other reasons, rushing towards a fateful breakdown of the entire system of political representation. If legislatures are to survive at all, the will need new links with their constituencies, new ties with tomorrow.”

“Today unconscious adaptation is no longer adequate. Faced with the power to alter the gene, to create new species, to populate the planets or to depopulate the Earth, man must now assume conscious control of evolution itself. Avoiding future shock as he rides the waves of change, he must master evolution, shaping tomorrow to human need. Instead of rising in revolt against it, he must, from this historic moment on, anticipate and design the future. ” ….. “A challenge of such proportions demands of us a dramatically new, a more deeply rational response toward change. “

“Change is life itself. But change rampant, change unguided, and change unrestrained, accelerated change overwhelming not only man’s physical defenses but his decisional processes – such change is the enemy of life.”

“Our first and most pressing need, therefore, before we can begin to gently guide our evolutionary destiny, before we can build a humane future, is to halt the runaway acceleration that is subjecting multitudes to the threat of future shock while, at the very same moment, intensifying all problems they must deal with – war, ecological incursions, racism, the obscene contrast between the rich and the poor, the revolt of the young, and the rise of potentially deadly mass irrational-ism.”

 

 

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