Sunday, December 9, 2012

"The Long Con" by the Anonymous Howard Beale

As usual, my personal friend whom I've dubbed the Anonymous Howard Beale (AHB) has some excellent commentary to make about American society.  (And, he has enabled me to be lazy by not writing my own material.



Have you ever wondered why we are divided as a society yet united as a people? From my perspective it really is a confidence game. You see you have our country which is dominated and controlled by the corporations and the wealthy, yet they actively tell people to hate corporations and the like. It is in their best interests to support democratic and left-wing ideologies in the media and in entertainment because it gives that side of the field traction and stability they otherwise would never have. The majority of people are either a Neo-Con nazi, or a bleeding heart Liberal... either way they got ya striker, and they are gonna get ya down, and down safe.

You may be thinking "Howie, if what you say is true, how can you claim that it is in the corporate interests to support the left?" It is really simple: Unless you work for yourself or have absolute control over what you earn and are valued at, you are a slave. You may not think you are a slave, but you are indeed a slave in a loose translation of the term, admittedly. Value of your dollars is determined by the market, and they control the market. So in essence you are playing a game of football where the refs are all paid off. Clearly that was a holding, clearly that was roughing the passer, clearly that was pass interference, clearly we need to reset the playclock to 2 minutes 1 second.

When people say "Quit sending jobs overseas" they don't realize that our way of life is dependent on the cheap labor of the 2nd and 3rd world. China in particular has paid a considerable amount of our debt. When the occupy hipsters had their cool Ipads, smartphones, and other gadgets they were slamming our government from, I got the sense their heart couldn't really have been in it, after all that ipad that costs 500 bucks by today's money would be more like 5,000 if it was made in this country. Don't believe me? look back to the 80s when a loaded IBM or Laser 386 cost 10,000 without breaking a sweat and was obsoleted within 18 months. First world labor, First world prices.

Also, when people bring up canada and their healthcare system, I start to get sleepy. Canada has the luxury of being the wife of the United States, if some misguided country dared to attack Canada they would get smacked so hard by the hammer of doom. Don't believe me again? Look no further than NORAD. NORAD's 2nd in command is always Canadian. So essentially your tax dollars go to protect Canada too. I bet if we didn't waste so much money on war, and instead focused on healthcare, we could do what Canada does no problem... but then how would we keep our fighting force fit and ready? Fighting wars and having an enemy is only boosting the military power of the United States, the more we fight, the stronger we get.

What can you do against this two-faced tyranny? Educate yourself. Educate yourself about the world. Take whatever bias you have and throw it away at the threshold of the door, then open your eyes to logic and reality. One of the easiest ways to get a true perspective of the world is get a shortwave radio, and listen to what people in Russia, Germany, France, Brazil, Iraq, etc really think about the united states. You might be surprised.


jez said...

Beale is mistaken about the main reason for computers getting cheaper. Many of the interesting bits (eg. intel's processors) are fabricated in America or other 1st world locations, before we even start to talk about intellectual property. China does make the simpler components and final assembly, but that has limited impact on the total costs.
Technology has made this sector genuinely more efficient. You can't decades of continually lowering costs and improving performance just by whipping slaves -- that's at best a one-time win.

Anonymous said...

Jez, I have an inkling about what you are talking about, but you are contradicting yourself.

The reason Technology in general is cheaper is because it is mass produced- by countries like china.

If there was any way to make the majority of the units here cheaper and save on shipping, don't you think they would have figured it out?

There hasn't been an Intel Assembly plant built in the states since sometime around 96 or 97. Look at any processor for a computer, without exception they all say "Costa Rica" "Malaysia" or the dreaded "Vietnam"

Yes, the photo reduction and such other techniques used to make processors originate mainly in Oregon, call it the R&D however... that is not where the bulk of the grunt work takes place. The Meat and Potatoes of actually cranking out these processors, or main boards, or IC's are all done out of country, and for good business reasons.

Do you recall this time last year when a flood wiped out all the spindle and servo assembly (Hard Drive) plants in Thailand?

Now why would a natural disaster in Thailand effect the prices of hard drives in the states? Bingo... Yahtzee... because they rely on those plants to supply the world.

Interestingly enough, while it is companies like Intel or IBM making large advancements in processor design, the mass majority of their think tanks are made up of foreign born engineers and programmers. They come over here on an H-1B to work with the advanced proprietary technology... because the reality is our colleges are churning out around 70 Humanities graduates per Engineer. You don't make a processor by writing about it and asking it how it feels about it's mother, or if it appreciates it's car today.

So yes, other countries are the reason it is cheap... they may not make the machines that they operate, but they are giving the companies leverage they couldn't get away with over here.

jez said...

I didn't contradict myself, I said "fabricated", not "assembled". Fabrication is part of manufacture, it's not just R&D. I completely agree that the grunt work (which includes packaging the precious wafers into complete chip components) happens in other countries.

Processor designers are often foreign: well, design is hard! Most people are foreign, you should expect a lot of the best people to be foreign! :)

But in general, why care about Americans not assembling servo motors? It's grunt work. You'd be better off finding better things to do. Developed economies want to find high-value manufacturing niches, not the high-volume cost dominated markets. We don't want to enter that fight, because you can't compete with China without insulting human dignity (at least); China's proper competition is ever-more versatile robots. Better to compete on quality, craftsmanship (America is correct not to bother making cheap guitars) and high value manufacturing (like the fab plants).

Silverfiddle said...

The irascible Mr. Beale has hit the bulls-eye.

My only minor quibble is "what the rest of the world thinks of us."

Much dislike is of our own doing, but much more is due to the pop culture zeitgeist.

We are Gary Cooper in High Noon.

Personally, I think we hang the guns up and let the townspeople fend for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Why care about american workers not making slider assemblies?

Because that is lost work? Any manufacturing we do is a good thing. The supply lines for SMT components and PCBs are flush over near the pacific rim.

While I understand the idea that mechanization has erased a lot of these jobs, the fact still is that our economy is resting largely on a house of cards. I could take one industry away and collapse our society within a month, that's not a good report card any way you slice it.

As for what the world thinks of us, obviously that is subjective. However after you distill it down the same theme emerges- that we are viewed as false overlords.

We still dominate areas of high science and technology for the time being, and if we have any hope in staying in the lead we have to purge certain toxic elements out of our psyche. We cannot continue consuming and consuming world without end. Eventually we are going to have to pick up the shovels and get to work again.

When I was working part-time as an auto mechanic and doing body work a professor from a local university was in the shop with his daughter watching me mix up some clear and hardener. He asked me why I was wearing gloves and I said "have you ever heard of osmosis?" He looked shocked and taken aback. As if "How does a simple grease monkey doing menial work know about osmosis, and how dare he lecture me about this."

Truth is, people have no issue making fun of plumbers, electricians, and every other tradesmen that seems to be "minimally educated." The instant you suggest that perhaps a college education was wasted it is an affront to all college everywhere.