Re: Free Markets: Extro-Nazi's or Extro-Saints

James Rogers (
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 23:35:13 -0700

At 08:51 PM 9/10/97, Holly Pearson wrote:
>Eric: Yes. And for much of those 25 years, the public sector's share
>of the economy has been increasing. Could there be a connection?
>Me: Yes, that public share you speak of is that small minority who
>has in one way or another scored it big over the last 10 years. The
>remaining vast majority have no share in it. Please, lets get back to the
>~80% I'm speaking of.

Why shouldn't we include the 20% who "scored it big"? Such designations
are arbitrary and, quite frankly, insulting to the people who busted their
ass to achieve financial success. I am quite sure that most of the people
in the top 20% are not the under-motivated couch potatoes that make up a
non-trivial percentage of the people in the lower 80%.

I might also add that (according to Money magazine and other sources),
something like *half* of all millionaires in the US are essentially blue
collar workers who worked really hard to achieve their goals of financial
success. And this despite the supposed lack of opportunity to achieve such
goals as an "ordinary person". I have an uncle who is an absurdly rich
mega-millionaire that started as a construction worker with a high school
diploma and perpetually drive to succeed.

The only difference I see between my uncle and most everyone else is the
perpetual drive to succeed.

>Eric: Okay, but when they leave benefited jobs to go to temp work, are
>they getting enough of a pay increase to more than compensate for the
>loss of benefits and "job security"?
>Me: Absolutely not. That's why most families need 2 breadwinners

Many families have 2 breadwinners because they enjoy the benefits, not
because it is necessary. The vast majority of Americans can comfortably
live a lifestyle far below the one they actually pay for. As for the temp
workers, I am a temp worker that makes enough to support a few families
although I don't have one. My success hasn't kept other people from
achieving theirs,though. Rather quite the opposite. I am putting both my
brother AND my sister through medical school despite no obligation to do so.

I also think people should be more concerned with *employment* security
than job security. Employment security doesn't depend on the company you
work for, but rather it depends on YOU. I don't have job security. But I
spend a lot of time making sure that I have excellent employment security.
People don't like employment security as much as job security because it
puts the responsibility on them. People who don't take this responsibility
are the architects of their own demise.

>Eric: Who conducted the poll? What was the methodology of the poll?
>Certainly I have less job security than ever before... I planned it
>that way. Job security isn't something I find
>Me: USA Today. Job insecurity might be okay for you when you have an
>IQ over 140 and computer skills to equip an army. But what about the
>rest of the country who have kids to raise, let alone having even touched
>a computer?

I hate to sound cliche, but where there is a will there is a way.

I am one of the computer professionals you mention above. However, I am
completely self-taught (my formal education has never appeared on my
resume) and I essentially lived in poverty most of my life until relatively
recently. That I am successful now has more to do with me working
perpetual 80 hour weeks and the motivation to improve myself more than any
other factor.

>Eric: Um, what is wrong with working 50 and 60 hour workweeks if that
>is what you want to do? My own work pattern has been lately developing
>into working for several months, and then not working at all for
>six weeks or so. Ideally I'd like to have a pattern of six months on,
>six months off. None of the figures you present indicate that this
>couldn't be happening with most of the people you are worrying about.
>Me: Nothing is wrong with working 60 hours/wk if thats what *you want
>to do*. Most people hate their jobs - they do it because they have to
>survive. Again, I'm glad you have the luxury, high IQ and skills to
>design your own flex-schedule - most do not have that option. Where have
>you been? Obviously you've spent way to long in your cybernetic ivory
>tower to notice (I hear Marie Antoinette again).

Again, people are largely responsible for their own demise, one way or
another. I, too, hate my job despite the fact that I get payed more than
what most average people dare to hope for. However, I *designed* my life
to include the long, well-paid hours with the option of long vacations. It
is not accidental. It requires conscious effort.

>Eric: Job security is not an objectively good thing.
>Me: Don't tell that to the average working family or they'll likely
>draw and quarter you.

That they would have such a negative reaction indicates that there is a
measure of truth in such a statement.
Not wanting to believe something doesn't mean it isn't so.

>Eric: Also, your "increasingly unnecessary" claim is totally
>Me: Tell that to the people who have been automated out of a job.
>All I'm asking is for you to tell me what people of average IQ, little
>money and little skill are going to do when the majority of the economy has
>been automated? Most of these people are not collected money from
>mutual funds even if they knew how. Are you saying invest money or die?

The problem has less to do with skill and IQ than in the lack of desire to
Yes, I know, everyone *claims* they want to be successful. But success
requires work as well as will, and this is where most people fall short.

The people who are left behind are those who either refuse to adapt (the
majority), or those that cannot adapt (the minority). Such a distribution
will occur in any society, due mostly to natural selection more than
anything. As much as I have a distaste for unnecessary human suffering, I
also realize that this is in many ways a necessary (perhaps unavoidable)
part of the process.

> After all, we can't have 80%+ of the population lying
>around watching TV, having sex and smoking pot, can we?

80%? Correlation? Causation perhaps? Hmmmm...

I wonder if this is the same 80% that complains they don't succeed...;^)

But seriously, what most people don't realize is that if they applied
themselves more *efficiently* (you know, work smarter, not harder) they
would not only make more money, but have more time to watch TV, have sex,
and smoke pot.

-James Rogers