- the chinese stock-market crashing on the first trading-day of the year
- Nassim Taleb (of Black Swan fame) stating that banks will be generally okay, but watch out for commodities slumping and taking down businesses and economies
- lots of hedge funds are closing up shop after being hammered in 2015
- apparently Puerto Rico is basically like Greece in America - plus Illinois, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Kentucky are also in big trouble (their debt, pension, and retiree healthcare payments are way way way more'n they bring in in revenue)
- Income $1000 - spending $900 = saving $100 and happiness
- Income $1000 - spending $1100 = debt $100 and getting deeper until going bankrupt, ending in misery
Those states are of course getting deeper in debt and going bankrupt, and are gonna end in misery. Like Greece, things might seem swimmingly awesome until they hit the wall and smash and someone has to think about picking up the pieces. (Those pieces might include your suddenly-divorced and starving ass, if you live there.)
So why's this happening? It's most likely because of all those lefties, wimminz, and assorted other assholes wanting a free ride and voting accordingly. So das guberment who has been voted into the feed-trough obliges with a few crumbs - after all, they already got their snout deep into the gravy. Might as well keep it going as long as possible.
I don't think this is what's going to cause the collapse though. While it's bad, it's not enough. It'll go *splat* and the government will bail them out, all your sins are forgiven, etc. You don't need to eat cardboard any more, we'll put you on a steady diet of government cheese. Too bad about your bennies, they're now wiped clean, gone for good, even though you actually paid for them in advance.
Yes, we robbed you.
So over the weeks and months and years, my brother and I talk about lots of things. Usually about stupid government, stupid business, stupid wimminz, stupid business, stupid people, stupid business...there seems to be a lot of stupid in business these days...
Many years ago the arse fell out of the timber market. The big boys in forestry shitcanned a whole bunch of their forestry workers, drivers and loggers and sawmill workers and the like. No work for you boys, down the road. We don't care if you starve. So those guys had to find other work, got family and all to feed.
Of course, the downturn ended and the big boys in forestry went looking for their forestry workers and couldn't find anyone who wanted to work for them. They'd all found other employment, and if they hadn't, would you want to go back to working for a bunch of wankers who shafted you like that? Fuck off mate...
They were stuck with finding new, younger workers and training them. Okay, that hurts, but what the hell. Then a few years ago the arse falls out of the timber market, the Chinese have millions of cubic meters of NZ wood sitting around on their wharves, nobody wants any more. No work for you boys, down the road, etc...
A while back, a lot of forests were sold outright to overseas consortiums (probably including the Chinese, the NZ government loves-loves-loves asia). What do they do? Come in and clear-fell everything in sight, bugger off with all the wood, creaming themselves at the massive profits. Former forestry land, which used to get replanted for the next generation of sustainable trees, was suddenly an eyesore.
Erosion, runoff, rotting pine branches in piles, all that sorta thing. What's gonna happen to NZ when the next generation of goodness-knows-what needs wood? God alone knows, 'cause none has been planted, plus the ground that was held together by trees is getting washed down the rivers into the sea...buggering up the arable land, fisheries, less forestable land, and anyway the tree takes 30 years to grow which time we won't have when we need it next...
A while back, Fischer and Paykel (they make whiteware) shifted over to Malaysia because it was cheaper to make the whiteware there. Effectively they became a multinational, creaming themselves at the massive profits they were making off slave labor. Until all of a sudden there's a downturn and they come to the NZ Government cap-in-hand for a handout so that they can cope until the next upturn.
This is a fucking multinational company, turned their backs on NZ and NZers, yanking money in from all directions, suddenly trying to act as if a bailout would be of benefit to NZ. No, it'd be of benefit to your stockholders and the Malaysian's you assholes employ, not the NZers you used to employ...and fired so you could make vastly more money with slave-labor...
So yeah, stupid in business.
A couple days ago, my brother and I got to talking about how stupid businesses are. In this case, his particular employer. An engineering works, they've been trying to get new people 'cause they've been short-staffed and overworked for quite a while (there was a downturn, you see, and they fired a bunch of engineering staff...)
So they've been trying and trying to hire people, often out of polytech's, who have the basic theory but their practical is as useless as tits on a bull. So my brother has to train them to do the job properly, give them the experience, which takes time plus watching over them to answer questions and correct mistakes, which means that less product is getting made by said brother and newbie here isn't making up the slack yet let alone more...
So things are getting behind and they're screaming at him, and he's saying: Look, do you want this new guy trained? 'Cause I can train and do partial work, or do full work, but not both train and do full work, something's gotta give. And this lot of business-owners are too stupid to understand that, they want the new guy to magically have all the skills that are needed but they'll still pay a pittance because he's new, and they don't want production to fall off, and they're wondering why they're not able to cream it as they've been expecting, etc.
Like I said to my brother: They won't be getting anyone with skills because the apprenticeship system which trained people with skills was shitcanned by business about 30-40 years ago. In the meantime they've been working with the oldies who are now retiring, so everything's falling apart business-wise thanks to their prior stupidity, and they're too damn stupid to see that.
Which of course, is one of the reasons that poverty has gone from 15% to 29% in the past 30 fuckin' years ay...no training and skills and therefore cannot work, etc...and the rise in deadbeat women who are fuckin' deadbeat guys and becoming single mommies over the last 30 years which has gone from "stoning offense" to become the "socially acceptable" norm, in fact they praise her to the skies now.
Because after all she's not really finding anyone with even a basic wage, let alone some guy who hasn't been turned into a pathetic SNAG. And she's wondering where the guys like daddy are, only daddy just got fired too, and mom's losing her mind and divorcing daddy, and her frenemies are driving her nuts, and she's nuts and manipulative anyway, and her standards are both shithole low and sky-fuckin'-high, and...
Yes, I know, it's way more complicated than that. It's a bit of the puzzle though, slapped into place. A contributor to the mess.
So what's the mentality behind this situation? In a word: cheapness.
Business wants everyone and everything interchangeable. Because interchangeable is easily replaced, therefore they can pay peanuts, and hey if you don't like it fuck off and we'll import some slave-labor from India to do your job via a mysteriously higher allocation of H-1B visa's that magically came into existence this year just for us. Or we'll outsource your job to slave-labor in China, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan...lobbying, what d'you mean lobbying...
Which is why, as Uncle Bob and Captain Capitalism and others have noted many times, real wages have been static - and in many cases have been going backwards - for the last 30-40 years. Join the dots there yourselves.
So of course, with everyone effectively being interchangeable with anyone else in management's mind, then nobody's job is safe. Which is why Mr Cunt from the last post has his frantic death-grip on the network, making everyone's life hell, and he's so determinedly happy-dappy and smiling all the time while he kisses management's ass. He's deadly afraid and wants to be indispensable.
As Anonymous noted, yes, sometimes the bile must be expressed. It's that or explode and punch someone's lights out - an instant dismissal offense. While technically I'm living in a house worth close to a half-million, easily $300k left over if I sell up and pay the mortgage off, at 50 I don't feel like jacking around trying to find other work or trying to live off that $300k for the rest of my natural. Especially given the stealthy inflation rate going on at the moment, something like 7% as a minimum.
Another symptom of this mindset of cheapness in business: just-in-time. Just in time manufacturing, most specifically. Also "just in time" getting something working again before you start having to pay penalty rates, which explains the craze for outsourcing IT work. Sign this SLA, right, now get us working within x hours or you start paying us a million bucks a day which is what we're losing if we ain't up and working...
It's like all the Telecom linesmen are suddenly not employees, they're individuals contracting out. Which makes the Telecom management cream themselves because suddenly those contractors have to provide their own tools instead of us providing them. Plus we don't need no emergency gear laying around gathering dust...they now have to keep them on-hand...cheap cheap cheap...
The just in time mindset manifests in other ways too. Just barely having the staff required to do the regular day-to-day stuff. Pushing off maintenance on plant (equipment like trucks and forklifts and machine tools etc) because hey that shit never breaks down in the beancounter's mind...no fat in the system...no time for staff to get desperately-needed training, we can't be arsed hiring someone new with the skills, so we'll outsource to another company to provide necessary skills...
Then suddenly *splat* and they're spreadeagled like a bug on a windscreen wondering what the fuck just happened. Hey, that was a "perfect storm" event! Our risk assessments said the chances of that were like 0.0001% chance that a gnat will go supersonic and take out your left nut, and we had the bad luck to hit it right when there was no slack in the system at all...
Cheapness. Nickel-and-dime cheapness. Run everything on the ragged edge, seeing how close they can go and still cream as much as they can outta the business. Engines, people, screaming along at 120% maximum safe load for weeks, months, years on end.
This is not a case of Captain Kirk taking a risk because he knows that the engines have a safety-margin built-in: "All ahead Warp Factor 9!" and Scotty screaming: "Captain, ye canna do that, the engine's'll blow!" This is Warp Factor 11 all day, every day, 24/7/365 as a matter of course and Scotty is sighing and sitting on a stool in the engine room and squirting oil on the engines to try and cool them down. While gloomily looking at the warp core and the anti-matter tubes and wondering vaguely if the wire and bubblegum will hold the shit together for just one more day.
We were running at 80%, now we need to go to 90% for a couple of months and so-and-so will have to do without training this quarter. Wait. We actually need to go to 130% for a couple of months?
Employee #1: heart-attack, dead.
Employee #2: stroke, in hospital.
Employee #3 (so-and-so): fuck you, I'm gone.
That business, that was screaming along full-tilt, just barely skirting the edge...slowly and gracefully teeters...and goes over the edge...
...down, down, down...
And another business, also screaming along full-tilt on the edge...goes over with it.
And another. And another. And another. Ad infinitum.
There's your collapse.
Not some fuckin' raghead screaming "Allah Akba!" and going kaboom like Achmed the Suicide Bomber. Not at all. Though the prick will certainly contribute to the shit state of affairs currently going on.
In reality it's a whole bunch of cheapass nickel-and-dime businesses, advised or run by beancounters who don't have a clue that their risk models are up the shit. We've got too much free cash on hand, our balance sheet is "lazy", lets leverage things a bit...and a bit more...and just a hair more...a gnat's whisker...
Riding the edge, going down like a house of cards in a concertina of catastrophe.
One after the other, daisy-chain, dragging each other down.
That's the real collapse.
"They won't be getting anyone with skills because the apprenticeship system which trained people with skills was shitcanned by business about 30-40 years ago." This so much here, no joke man. Those trade businesses only hire out to friends and family. Even at the damn trade schools, they openly tell all the students there is no guarantee of job/apprenticeship placement. Then there is all these maniacal jackoffs in the cult of technology telling us everything is awesome and the future is brighter and better, all while the infrastructure is falling apart everywhere from neglect in always having to do more with less. Fuck this gay earth. I just wanna watch the world burn.ReplyDelete
cult of eternally progressing technology; much like those cargo cults in South America and Africa.Delete
Bright-sparks, aren't they. The basic infrastructure is still needed, and needs to be solid: you can't run squat without, for eg, 240-volts 3-phase coming into the business. And that's got bottlenecks and all, needs a thorough networking revamp and the control-technology needs its security tightened up considerably. There's an amazing amount of stuff that gets damaged, because some jackoff is *shooting* at it.Delete
What I didn't mention in this was the H-1B Visa's in the USA - a great way to siphon labor from other countries educational systems. While of course *our* educational systems are churning out liberal arts and fuck-knows-what studies majors. (Assuming that those coming in via an H-1B aren't from some internet diploma-mill university.)
Why do the owners do this?ReplyDelete
Because if quarterly returns drop for one quarter, Gordon Gecko will swoop in and *everyone* loses their jobs. Oh, he's still around.
How can Gordon Gecko do this?
Free money off the banking and investment system.
Where do the banks and investment system get their money?
Mandatory retirement savings. 9% of every dollar that everyone makes gets fed into this monster of irresponsibility.
How did this state of affairs come about?
In a sane society, the young provide for the old, and rely on being provided for in turn. But the family unit has been destroyed. An alternative is a fair and livable government pension, but the well-off loathe the idea of getting the same money as everyone else, and the governments of the past 30 years hate doing their jobs and would rather outsource the business of running the country.
Have a look at my blog post
I remember a professor on college (only a couple of short years ago) lamenting about the Amerikan emphasis on this quarter's profits. Nothing else matters. Not 6 months, not two years, just this quarter. Maximize this quarter. At. All. Costs. Another problem is the Harvard MBA boys getting their business strategy from Michael Porter: Mr. If You're Not Growing You're Dying. Amerikan business is real fucked up, and it starts in B-school.Delete
An excellent illustration. The interesting scam about superannuation and all is: If people weren't told they were going to get superannuation, they'd demand higher wages. Sure they might spend it, but that's on them.Delete
Of course, many superannuation schemes have been gutted or nationalized for some government's "emergency" situation. Plus of course inflation eats away at it.
In effect it's nothing more than another sign of cheapness. Promise something that you know damn well you'll never be paying off on. Saves business more, and it's another effective tax for the government coffers.
The Right should join forces with the left on this one point - that it's the money game by the bankers causing the problem. The debt held by banks is far higher than entitlements. Usury is a sin.ReplyDelete
I started to reply, then realized it deserves its own post. Stay tuned.Delete
In 2008 there was still enough real wealth in the "middle" for the banksters and their cronies to steal to bail themselves out of their gambling debts. Now that wealth has been tapped out, they are panicking as to where their future bailouts will come from.ReplyDelete
I live in the People's Republic of Connecticut where the state is so desperate they are leaving no stone unturned. Is it to maintain government programs and services? Don't be silly. It's to pay off the massive, gold plated pensions of legions of useless state retirees (who were useless even before they retired). Every single business owner I know (me included) can't wait to get out.ReplyDelete
@Robert What? - confirmed by someone on the ground. Screwball isn't it.ReplyDelete
They'll keep kicking the can down the road, though.