05 September 2013

A Blit's Tale

Whilst working for Dr. McElhone, he of the sugar cone quote, I learned yet another, somewhat scatological, observation. Do you know what a blit is? Five pounds of shit in a four pound sack. I was reminded of this observation whilst reading two, again threaded, pieces today.

First, we have the India mess. And, of course, a quote (which has been added to the quote pile):
"There is a fear, and the fear is the labor laws," said Mr. Bandukwala, who is also a regional leader in the Confederation of Indian Industry.

If you read the piece, Mr. Bandukwala is a minor league capitalist, and Darwinist.

Thus, second, food stamps, aka SNAP, and, of course, yet another quote:
"The role of citizens, of Christianity, of humanity, is to take care of each other, not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country," Mr. Fincher, whose office did not respond to interview requests, said after his vote in May.

Fincher is a farmer, of unknown acreage, but nice subsidies, which he also voted to increase.

What both men, and the articles, have in common: Darwin must be served.

The India issue is more interesting, if only because it is more recent. Food is an issue in India, of course,
Arun Prajapati, 21, a migrant worker at a fabric fusing machine at Challenge, said that he earned about $100 a month, just a fifth of what Chinese workers earn these days.

He pays $9 a month for rent and electricity for his sleeping space on the floor of a 10-foot-by-10-foot room that he shares with five other migrant workers in a nearby shanty. He spends $38 a month for a subsistence diet of roti bread, lentils and, once a week, some chicken or eggs. He sends his meager savings to his widowed mother in their home village in central India.
[my emphasis]

What's a blit got to do with these two articles? India and China, though the former less than the latter by most accounts, are both trying to harness huge populations to 19th century western capitalist practices in order to steal markets in the USofA. Cheap, perhaps slave and certainly indentured, labor tied to minimalist machinery. Not much different from the New England mill towns of the 19th century. Products sent elsewhere. It's a blit; there's five pounds of IC population fighting over four pounds of US real demand. Again, historically it's the smaller countries with excess production, above and beyond what can be consumed domestically, that export to large countries. The Brits up to the end of the 19th century, were the archetype. They also went the extra mile, so to speak, to invade many of the countries to which they sold. Now, in the days of specie currencies, mercantilism (the economist's term for capitalists economies taking advantage of lesser economies) would sort of work because the exploited countries had no real control over their currencies. An ounce of gold was worth the same the world around. The Brits ran the global monetary system much as the USofA did in the heyday of Bretton-Woods.

Today, the rupee is crashing. For Greece, it's essentially in the position of 19th century India, tied to the currency of a far more powerful adversary. Wars have been fought over this sort of behavior.

So, the BRICs keep trying to fill the four pound sack with more shit (exports to the West). It's not working anymore. Apple is said (as I type, the story isn't told yet) to be going down-market with cheaper iStuff, what with having saturated the market of the 1%. Henry Ford figured out the answer to the problem more than 100 years ago. But, there weren't 7 billion humans on the globe, and there was still lots of iron ore, coal, and little environmental pollution.

On the last point: the BRICs complain that they're being held hostage to environmentalism, but the West wasn't. And that's, on the whole, true. But it's not the West's fault (well, may be a tad) that we got to fill the shitter first. And we've got the A-bombs and drones and New Gold to enforce cleaner behavior the world over. Well, may be the rest of the world. Not 90210, of course.

It's not possible for all countries to export xStuff to the USofA (and the EU) in hopes of snagging valuable New Gold ($$$). In due time, and since the world is not linear (according to Dr. McElhone), sooner than one may think, only the .1% will be able to afford the fruits of cheap labor. As the US/EU middle classes fade into the lime pit, and the .1% cohort gets ever more exclusive, real demand vanishes. Labor become subsistence, and capital earns virtually nothing. Have a happy day.

No comments: