Laugh Line of the Week

From Lingering Job Insecurity of Silicon Valley:

“Assuming that the American work force can upgrade skills and, where necessary, move to new jobs, according to many economists, most people are likely to benefit. And so far, these economists argue, the effect of offshore outsourcing on American jobs and wages in general has not been great.

HA HA HA HA HA !!!! An article about engineers and programmers with Masters degrees not being able to find work. But to get jobs they need to “upgrade their skills.” And “move to new jobs.”

Now, I do agree with this line, to a point:

” ‘The impact of outsourcing is overblown,’ Professor Brynjolfsson said. ‘The far larger factor is substituting technology for labor.’ “

It’s both. Outsourcing AND replacing people with machines. But if we’re replacing people with machines, and replacing people with highly-educated but low-paid people in other countries, how is getting another Masters degree going to help? And what about the people who only have ONE Masters degree? Not to mention the rest of us.

American society is taking a turn toward a three-tier structure. Those at the bottom, who have lost their jobs and have lost or are in the process of losing everything else. Then there are those who still have jobs and are in the grind – doing the work formerly done by two, losing health care and pensions, running up their credit cards, seeing income barely rise while housing and other costs go up. Finally, those few at the top who “own” everything, “own” the companies where we work, “own” the government, “own” the hospitals, “own” the chain stores, “own” the banks, “own” the mortgages and credit card companies and mines and forests and factories where we make things, etc.

The problem is WHO is getting the benefits of all of this. Concentration of wealth has accelerated. All the moolah is flowing to the very top, because they “own” the stocks and the land and the patents. AND those at the top are using the political influence that money is allowed to buy to skew the policies of the society AWAY from providing assistance to those people most affected by this. Imagine if we were taxing the wealth and profits that are coming in from these cost savings, and using that revenue to benefit ALL OF US, maybe it would be a different story. But instead we are using the job pressures to cut wages, destroy unions, decrease health benefits and pensions, etc.

Who IS our economy for? What does it mean to “own” land, or a company, or other huge shares of the society & planet’s resources? Do the rest of us starve if it comes to that, because someone “owns” the land for growing food and others don’t have enough “money” to pay? Do we just die because some people “own” pharmaceutical companies and others don’t have enough “money” to buy the drugs? This is what IS happening in the world today.

Think about the concept of “ownership.” What does it mean? Society — and in America that is still supposed to mean you and me, the people — decides what someone can “own.” People used to be able to “own” other people, then society decided they can’t do that anymore. Today people are allowed to “own” land or companies or patents or other resources that might otherwise be used to benefit more of us. Think about this. These are powerful, dangerous questions.

Who IS our economy for, anyway? Who ARE our laws about ownership FOR, anyway?