Unlike a good, properly assimilated up-and-comer, but pretty much like everyone else, I spend a lot of my time here reading stuff on the Net, rather than "Growing the Business" by formulating a variety of useless consumer goods. Even "goods" is misleading — how about consumer "okays". After all, 99%+ of the crap we make here doesn't fulfill an actual need, it fulfills a need that, with painstaking effort, we have managed to create in your, the consumer's, mind. And luckily, we have just the thing to fill that monstrous void in your person where you worry about just how comfortably your current feminine hygiene product fits between your labia. (Actually, I have been assured this is a realistic worry, though no woman outside the industry in the history of the world has expressed it in those particular clinical terms.) But you see my point — we have here these high-minded ideals about "Delighting the consumer," as if the consumer is going to say "By Hera, this DOES fit comfortably between my labia/condition my hair like never before/provide new-to-the-world skin benefits from an in-shower cleanser while making my underarm smoother!"
I could bitch about my job for more than just an intro-rant, but the reason I've called you all here is to point out the flaws in capitalist dogma. There's a connection. Wait for it. Wait for it. Ok, here it is.
According to a webpage I just found using Google ("SSCal.com", whatever that may stand for) US teachers average from $28,000 — $52,000/year in salary. I'm presently remunerated at $60,000/year. To make: bodywash. That's right, bodywash. This is after a year and a half on the job. Not that I'm complaining about my salary, it just begs the question: under what possible system of thought would it be desirous for a shaper of a nation's youth, our en loco parentis, to make on average a lot less than the one who adds ancillary benefits to personal cleansing products? (All bodywash benefits are ancillary at this point: we figured out long ago people wouldn't pay to feel "more clean," hence moisturizing-revitalizing-sun-blocking-chaueffering-will-take-your-phone-messages-and-edit-out-the-solicitors bodywashes.) Yet free market advocates and capitalists and economists and dinks like Richard Posner always seem to say, or at least imply, that all things would be right in a free market, where goods and services can flow unencumbered and be given their proper value, as determined by the omniscient, well-oiled laissez-faire machine. It's like a "Star Trek" future with secular humanism replaced by conspicuous consumption as a guiding light. These are the same people who have unflinchingly brought us a standard monetary compensation for the death of a loved one.
I'm not saying that communism or something else wacky would be better, or even that capitalism is all bad. All things considered, I'm pretty happy with our current system. But every other day, one (one being me) reads an article by an economist, perplexed by why sporting events don't follow market law, or scoffing at some government policy that will obviously thwart the proper desires of a capitalist society, just to do something silly like help the poor. What these fops want is a system of absolute right — if The Market says teachers should be paid less than "cosmetic engineers," and teachers with the hardest jobs in the most thankless places get paid the least of all, well, by gaw, that's how it should be — it's democracy, it's freedom, it's sanctified free market bliss. So what if it leads to spiraling declines in urban quality-of-life for the poor. (Please ignore here the fact that teachers are not in the private sector.)
Being outside of an organized religion, I can assert that no system yet devised by (or, if you insist, revealed to) man has found absolute truth, absolute logic, absolute good. But we get politician after politician after economist after (impartial?) business guru arguing for the free-market, as if that were the end of the discussion. Like asserting that whatever your particular holy book may say is not a debatable mandate for relegating homosexuals to second class, or a questionable reason to burn anything a woman sits on during her proscribed "unclean" time. Wake up and listen to Homer Simpson, economic wonks! When someone asks you what kind of system capitalism is, the answer is not "the ideal one", but like Christianity, "You know, the one with all the well-meaning rules that don't work in real life."
I leave you with this simple rule: if you become irked that your pet field of study hasn't been able to create the ultimate system of good that has escaped human spirituality and science to this day, you're being obnoxious. I'd pay good money if you'd stop it.
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