- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Let them eat anecdotes

Posted by: Stoller on October 06, 1999 at 12:12:13:

In Reply to: Manipulating stats posted by Stuart Gort on October 05, 1999 at 18:57:48:

I have to say that my response to you---Better living through anecdotes---could have been better.

I think my problem was debating on your terms---some of which are fairly confused. For example, you claim that you owe your success to 'talent from God, a work ethic from [your] parents, and a job from [your] previous employers.' Then you go on to mention some pyramid scheme in which all a person has to do is simply invest $40 a week at an interest rate of 10.5% (for 50 years!). Now which it? Hard work or the 'leverage' of finance capital?

My other problem was discussing incomes. Screw incomes!

I cannot emphasize enough that the quality of work is equally important as the standard of living. Perhaps all a person really needs to do is simply invest a fourth of their wages in the 'Vanguard Program' (whatever the hell that may be) to get rich. Very well. But what about the jobs of the nation? Jobs like cooking hamburgers, assembling Milton-Bradley game pieces, ringing innumerable cash registers? Won't those mindless, degrading jobs still exist? Doesn’t our 'way of life' demand that type of work?

Which brings up the topic of education again.

I believe the bourgeoisie ration education because it is imperative to smash skills in order to make labor cheap. This process is known as the Babbage Principle: split a job into many, simple operations so that any idiot can do any one of them; have each worker learn only one of these; pay commensurate to ability. Although I object to the fact that skilled workers, on the average, receive twice the income as unskilled (a prize for being able to afford education), what I most object to is the fact that only 25% of the jobs available to Americans require much skill.

Anecdotes about exceptions---and there are exceptions (someone does occasion to win the lottery)---only feed the ignorance of the many.

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