Where Do We Go From Here? (Part II)

In my previous article on this topic, I  looked at the changing face of commerce and the frightening economic landscape that we see evolving in Australia.  Its a landscape populated by ever decreasing numbers of ever larger corporate entities .. and a constantly swelling population of persons who are ‘economically dispossessed’.  This is being driven by the mechanization and automation of industry and agriculture …. and by the relocation of labour intensive manufacturing and processing operations to countries that can provide labour more cheaply.

I talked too about how the long-term consequences of these strategies are being masked by the short term increase in living standards, provided by both of these strategies.

However, the chilling reality is that the wheels must eventually fall off the bus and, when they do, the entire economy must inevitably suffer.  Why?   Simply because, with every job that disappears overseas and every position that becomes redundant due to automation, there is one less person in our economy who has a meaningful, productive job …. who can earn a meaningful, productive income and who can afford to spend that income to support productive businesses within our economy.

You could be excused for imagining that, with the reduction of labour required to carry out menial primary production and manufacturing processes, there would be a large portion of the labour force freed up to pursue alternative production …. i.e. new industries and the production of new commodities which could further enrich society and even provide much needed export income..  Society, after all, has a long history of adapting to new circumstances, going back to the days when metal plows were new and fencing was an entirely novel and high tech farming solution.  That innovation threw thousands of shepherds out of work in England and Europe and visited destitution upon their communities.  Then too, the rich were getting richer and the poor were getting poorer!

Society did eventually ‘adjust’ to these innovations and to the massive changes wrought by the early industrial revolution.But those adjustments were achieved against a background of incredible social upheaval, economic adversity (for ordinary people), mass migration and immeasurable human suffering …. and even war and economic depression.

So here we stand, poised between a (brief) age of full employment, relative job security, increasing living standards, improved access to education, health and welfare services …………… and a brave new world of decreasing employment opportunities, new monopolistic commerce, increasing world demand for consumer goods and a world that is already struggling to provide enough raw materials to provide them.  A world where manufacturing and production are largely being provided by nations other than our own and where the commodities which we can still provide (raw materials and primary production) are owned and controlled by a tiny portion of our society … and getting more so, every day.

Retailing monopolies are now dictating prices that they will pay for primary production, as well as what they will charge consumers.  And in the absence of someone else to sell to (from the point of view of producers) and someone else to buy from (from the point of view of consumers), these new monopolies are the new Goliaths, who will control what you can buy and what you will pay.

You might be excused for thinking that society will find ways around this situation.  Farmers markets and roadside marketing, where fresh produce can be sold directly to consumers by suppliers seem like an obvious, post-monopoly strategy that could provide a partial solution.  But strategies of that kind aren’t going to work for you either.  Why?

As society is changing and jobs in productive enterprises are disappearing, we are seeing a steady and frightening increase in so-called administration jobs.  One of the great growth industries that exist today, is that of manufacturing … manufacturing of rules, regulations and legislation.  And we have an ever growing army of quasi police, charged with ensuring compliance with endlessly increasing controls on your every commercially relevant activity!  And they are always paid for by your tax dollars.

The burden upon what is left of productive business renders their operating costs unworkable and every day sees more and more small businesses closed down … collapsed under an intolerable bureaucratic weight.  And your little roadside stall or on-farm business?  Forget that.  We now have a whole raft of rules and regulations to ensure that the movement, sale and purchase of pretty much any kind of farm produce is tightly controlled and rigidly policed.  Every egg must bear a little stamp of (administrative) approval, every animal must be tagged and catalogued, every tonne of grain must be quality tested and sold through a registered outlet.

Food production and labelling standards ensure that small producers of such stuffs cannot hope to comply.  Even that jar of home made jam that you bought at the church fete will soon be a dim memory.  There are health inspectors, Occupational Health And Safety Inspectors, Trades Inspectors, Tax inspectors, Standards Inspectors … in fact, for any productive activity that you can think of, I guarantee there will be, at the very least, a couple of ‘inspectors’ who’s job it is to ensure compliance with all that output from the rules and regulations industry!  And who do all these rules and regulations serve?  You are always told that they are there for the benefit of consumers.  But the people who benefit, by far the most from the endless controls … are big business.  What a surprise!  And the people who pay for them?   You, my friend.  Always you.

You pay in so many ways.  In the increased prices that you must pay for products where producers must factor in the price of compliance into what they charge, in  paying (via your taxes) for the ever growing army of inspectors of all kinds ….. and in having any possible private income producing activity, prevented by the myriad restrictions and regulations that make it all too expensive or all too hard to meet compliance requirements.

Stay tuned for the next uplifting installment!

And in News Just to hand, two  notorious felons, “little Aussie Battler” and his accomplice “True Blue” were today aprehended in a daring raid, carried out by undercover inspectors from the newly-formed Department Of You Can’t Do That.  In a press statement, the Minister For Prevention And Compliance is quoted as saying, “Its been a long and difficult road to finally bringing under control, these two insidious leeches. They have made a career out of denying a proper living for all members of our decent controlled society.  They have habitually avoided making proper contributions to the retail and trades sectors by doing with less and by pursuing selfish policies of repair before replace. Business can breathe easier tonight, knowing that finally, the evil spirit of makingdo is safely under our control.”  During the raid, officers confiscated a massive stash of contraband, including home-grown, un-permitted vegetables, a quantity of unstamped eggs, home processed foodstuffs and several tanks of rain water that were collected illegally.

p.s Its only fanciful today!

Andrew Caddle 2013-11-21


*** To view Part III of this article, please see:   http://andrewcaddle.com/wordpress/?p=348



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