Tuesday, March 21, 2017

210317 BLOK

210317 BLOK
THE HISTORY OF CAPITALISM (actually of people) IN MY LIFE TIME (some 60 years)… How we have degraded the economic system created by Adam Smith, David Ricardo, James Steuart. Of course, it existed long before Adam Smith (late 18th C.).
I first realized what´s called Capitalism, slowly, growing up.  First beginning to work at age 14, then getting a degree in Economics, by the time I was 22.  But, it was taught as a science, when should be taught as a philosophy… PEOPLE ACT TO BETTER THEIR SITUATION.   Not, `The Marginal Propensity to Consume!´ 
Currently the Fed (2017) has run out of macro and micro options to stimulate the U.S. economy, so they´re considering changing the currency from paper to digital coins called FEDCOINS.  
What to do?  It´s us that need to change, not the system.  But, of course, this an almost impossible task, as WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US!
Way back when, in my teens (the 1950s) there was real Customer Service.  If you had a problem with a product or service, you contacted a real live person in the company or bank, had a meeting, and they helped you solve whatever.  This has completely disappeared from commerce, except for online `Help,´ which rarely lives up to what the word means.  And it´s usually communicating with a man or woman sitting in front of a computer in India.  Usually, they bend over backwards BEING SORRY!  We now live in a sorry world!  Everybody is sorry!
What happened is this… When profits began to decline owners, companies, corpos., etc. knew there are only two ways to solve:  increase revenue and/or reduce costs.  Usually, they instituted both simultaneously, in order to satisfy stockholders.  But, in highly competitive industries, like air travel, they really have only one option and that is cut costs.  If you´ve being flying for years, like me, you have noticed the decline in service!  Only millionaires can afford First Class. I call tourist or coach class, `cattle car class!´   Eventually, airlines will be selling standing-room, and you´ll hang on to a strap for so many hours.  I read recently where an airline had come up with a design, that had seats crammed up in the walking space (for the larger jets) — more revenue.  Maybe they´ll develop a plane that flies with only one engine (to reduce fuel costs)! 
Bill Gates got rich (and mentally poor) by exploiting the stupidity of young men who knew computer code.  He got geeks to perfect his software for just a credit.  This was the beginning of externalizing the costs of doing business:  getting others to do, what in the past, employees were paid to do. 
This idea caught on, by getting the customer to do more and more.  You not only purchase the product, but put it together.  Recently, I purchased a fan, and spent hours assembling it.  How much is my time worth?  The last consulting job I had in the U.S., I got paid $200U.S. PER HOUR.  I would have rather paid more money for the fan assemblied, than spending my precious time trying to assemble it. 
I purchase many books from www.amazon.com  Now, they´re asking me to review them.  I tell them gladly, if they pay me.  They have no doubt laughed about this, the temerity of this guy!  Pay you?  Pay you for what?  My time for one thing, maybe my 50 year´s experience as a writer, reviewer, as well. 
Now, when you have a problem purchasing something via the Net, you, the buying customer, helps solve the problem.  If the website form doesn´t work, your financial information is somehow rejected, etc., the `Help´ people, want you to identify the specific problem, explain it better (as they don´t understand English), maybe send them a screenshot.  All of this takes our time, not theirs (and      they´re getting paid).  Maybe you don´t mind, and think your time is worthless but I do, and know how much my time is worth!  Recently I wrote website helper a message that essentially said, if you want me to purchase the item, spending money with you, YOU SOLVE THE PROBLEM!   Most of these people, are young, nice, just doing what they´re told, so I don´t fault them,  but the owners.  People like Bill Gates, Tim Cook (Apple charges for air!), Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt, etc., they´re all billionaires now and busy flying off to Mars!   They figured out how to externalize the costs, by making us do more and more of their employees´s work.   BOHICA TIME!!
Lastly,  another experience of mine recently, this time with a government (they´ve caught the disease as well)… I applied for an eResidency card from the country of Estonia.  Longer story why… Has to do with a EU residence visa.  I applied, paid the 100€, got investigated by Interpol, waited, but finally picked up the physical card at their Embassy in Madrid, Spain.  But, activating it, has become a nightmare.  And when I ask for help, all I get are automated responses, suggesing more links, one even to purchase some App from the Apple store.  After much trying I have finally given up, and requested my 100€ back.  Of course, not possible, because once an entitly has your money, well, you know!   What Estonia should have done is help me, they would have made a friend.  But, they´re too busy getting ready for an Russian invasion!  I wish Russia well! 
Capitalism, when it began, way back when, wasn´t as rapacious as it is today, but again it isn´t the system, it´s us!  In the 1950s it was a kinder, gentler world.  People were generally more honest, helpful, had time for you.  
Guess what has happened?  Money has become God!  This is what we have created by the year, 2017. 
Me, how to deal with… I´m easing out of modern life slowly but surely, little by little.  There must be better people (world) somewhere else!

H. 

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