Monday, September 22, 2008

In Designing Their New Economic Ship Of State, Corporations Forgot What Fuels Economies - The Gas Tank Is Dry

In Designing Their New Economic Ship Of State, Corporations Forgot What Fuels Economies - The Gas Tank Is Dry

Dan Stafford - 09/22/2008

No economy works if the majority of the populace can't afford to buy anything.

This should be simple and basic. If wages are too low, and costs too high, across a broad spectrum of the population , economic activity stops. The rich will only buy so many items, being one % of the population, or so, they are not enough to "fuel" a global economy.

Right now, housing prices, fuel prices, insurance prices, and myriad other prices have risen continuously while wages have stagnated or even fallen precipitously across the USA.

The true numbers are completely unreflected in government statistics which either use outdated or arbitrary numbers designed to minimize the scope of the problem.

The world wonders at the precipitous use of credit cards and large mortgages in the USA and fails to understand why this has happened, because only so-called "fringe" voices haved dared to speak the truth; wages in the USA are worth half what they were in the 1950's and Americans have been buying NECESSITIES on credit because of it.

In the 1950's, one person in the family worked, and one person stayed home to take card of the children and the home, yet credit use was low and the bills were generally paid with a little left over for savings. Now, in many US families, BOTH parents work, often multiple jobs, and there is still not enough money coming in to meet expenses. Or, more properly, that was the case up until the past few years. Now, at this moment, many are unable to find jobs either at all, or jobs that pay anything near what they used to.

Americans are forced to commute great distances for work, as offices and jobs are in the city, and housing that is even close to being affordable is far out in the suburbs. Add to this companies constantly laying people off, while forcing the remaining employees to take on ever greater responsibilities. The vast majority of Americans work long hours, commute at least an hour and more often two, and are stressed at work by the sheer load on their shoulders and at home by the financial burden on their shoulders. They face endemic chronic sleep shortages, most average six hours a day.

Between the stress and the unhealthy lack of sleep, combined with junk additives to almost all food, obesity has become rampant. Stress and sleeplessness messes badly with the human metabolism and increases appetite. In addition, most US workers see the shortest vacation times in the "First World."

The average American is exhausted physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This is true of a very large swath of the US population. They come home from work and drop into a chair and watch TV because they are too broke and tired to do much else. They get no time for creativity or play or in-depth relationships. They have no energy left for "bad news" because they are worn out and bombarded with it on TV.

The scale of this is vast - and by the great majority un-admitted. Being a "hard worker" has become so over-valued at the expense of feeding anything that truly recharges the soul, that people have come to see anyone gone from the office for more than two weeks at a time as a "slacker" and eccentric.

Is this any state of mind or soul to be in to make sound financial decisions, to make in-depth discussions of difficult or complex topics, or anything else of value? I don't believe so. We have become a nation of workaholics, and worse, no one could - until now at the card house's collapse - admit that we couldn't afford even all the necessities, let alone the luxuries.

Materialism then becomes the easy way for a brief emotional high. The new TV or car or clothes or whatever. "We can afford it, we have a great credit rating! Let's get out and have a nice dinner, I'm starving [stress-induced hunger pangs] and too tired to cook!"


If you want people to continue purchasing goods and services at a sustainable rate and an economy that hums along fairly smoothly, people need to be fairly well-rested and happy, and have a bit of money left over after basic expenses across the majority of the population.

If you want to make a few hundred million before the crash, or the next crash, or the next, give them lots of credit and not enough money, with plenty of stress and just enough sleep to stay alive but not truly live. They won't be thinking straight and impulse buying is pitifully easy to encourage. They certainly won't tell their friends and family that they can't afford the wedding/anniversary/graduation/birthday/holiday/ insert event that you can't avoid without appearing not to care about someone.

Economically speaking, do you drive a fuel-efficient car across the country, or do you run a dragster with a tiny gas tank and a big engine until you're on the side of the road on empty?

Maybe we should all sleep on it.

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