©2003-2011 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing.com Party, Harvard Square POBox 117, Cambridge MA 02238 USA (617) 623-8080
Contradictions in Economic "Science" in the Early 2100s
For more details, our laypersons' handbook Timesizing, Not Downsizing is available from *Amazon.com online or from this website.
- We say we want growth, but our kneejerk response to technology is downsizing (trimming jobs-wages-sales)
instead of timesizing (trimming workhours and keeping everyone employed & spending). And our investors, who supposedly want growth aka upsizing, support downsizing by buying the spin and the stock of companies that downsize, "leansize," "rightsize," "get more efficient," etc.
Growth is UPsizing, not DOWNsizing, no matter how much we dress it up as rightsizing, smartsizing, "creative destruction"=Schumpeter's offering on the altar of management testosterone, collateral damage (recession) notwithstanding...
and there's NO WAY to get UPsizIng (growth/more $ circulation) out of DOWNsizing (layoffs/less $ circulation).
We can, however, get UPsizing out of TIMEsizing,
because timesizing maintains or increases the number of potential consumer-spenders who are getting funded by job-earnings
and timesizing maintains or increases pay levels by avoiding today's flood of resumes for every job opening, each resume underbidding the other. Spoiled employers perceive this jobseeker-jobopening balance as terrible "shortages" of labor but while loudly complaining, they're bidding against one another for good help and raising wage levels and preventing the national income from defaulting into the fatal upward funnel to The One Percent who have far more than they care (or are even able) to spend and eventually more than they can even invest.
Thus they begin functioning solely as suicidal money coagulants and the whole system goes into recession and depression.
The lengthening time that The One Percent is taking to find attractive (or ANY) investments corelates to (or bolder, causes)
the lengthening time that the ninety-nine percent is taking to find attractive (or ANY) employment.
- We say technology creates more jobs than it destroys, but at the same time we say it should take over more & more jobs (especially now we're going from automation to robotization). Maybe we better figure out who's going to buy all the stuff the robots are producing before we take downsizing to its logical conclusion (Sismondi's image of one person producing the entire output of Britain via technology), eradicate our consumer base and ruin our economy. As Walter Reuther answered to Henry Ford's taunt, "Let's see you unionize these robots!" - "Let's see you sell them cars."
- We say we want growth, but our method of controlling inflation is raising interest rates which discourages business borrowing and expansion - and growth. (Timesizing has a more natural and growth-compatible method - see Phase 3.)
- We say believe in Milton Friedman and his observation that you get less of what you tax and more of what you subsidize. And we say we want growth in terms of more spending and purchases and sales, that achieve the maximum acceleration in the velocity of currency circulation. However,
merely in order to enhance the otherwise functionless pecking order of the brackets that spend the smallest percentage of their money, the wealthy,
we're constantly transfering the tax burden to sales taxes = taxes on the lower income and wealth brackets who spend higher percentages of their money, from graduated income and estate taxes on the higher income and wealth brackets who spend the smaller percentages of their money.
So sales taxes give us less sales, decelerate our currency circulation, and decrease the marketable productivity we need for sustainable investments. Thus self-deluding "conservative" Republicans are contradicting their major prophet, Milton Friedman, and creating a silly "Leona Helmsley" society with an economy where
"taxes are just for the little people" - but big people like her(?) don't spend nearly as high percentages of their money, so spending (economese: "consumption") declines, marketable productivity declines, sustainable investment declines and...the economy declines.
Basically, the more sales taxes, the less sales, the more deceleration of the currency and deactivation of the money supply leading to recession, whereas the more graduated income and estate taxes, the more sales, and the more acceleration of the currency and activation of the money supply leading to steady and sustainable prosperity.
- We say we believe in equal opportunity and, with the Declaration of Independence, that "all men are created equal." But by running a Helmsley economy and a Cheney society where the topmost brackets are exempt from taxes and above the law (eg: laws against torture, against the awarding of unbid contracts, against untaxed personal income), we are creating ever greater inequality, opening up a wider and wider "income gap." "Income gap" is still a safely unactionable term, implying an unsolvable Act of God, and few are yet calling it by its actionable name, "over-concentration of income" (and wealth, and credit).
These remnants of old pecking orders resurface and hamstring their respective societies, dragging them downward and backward. It's like in each social-science era, a new value-centrifuge elicits another human hierarchy. Rome was ahead of the Sumerian citystate because at least the Roman temple and palace were two separate buildings with two separate hierarchies aka pecking orders, while Sumer (and the Incas too?) had only the priest-king. Rome had grades of priests and grades of administrators, such as governors and procurators, etc.
But sustainable societies all had their "resets" to restore balance and circulation of value. The Hebrews had their jubilees, the Haida had their potlatches, the Hopi have their katchina and social dances. And every sports league resets every team to zero games won at the start of every season so they all have an equal chance and there's some suspense rather than the boring foregone conclusion in our prevailing economic game.
Notice that by contradicting our own founding principle of equal opportunity and denying that everyone from starting with the same chances and allowing people to have more and more unequal chances, we have given up the struggle to lessen both the UPside AND THE DOWNSIDE of the accident of birth. That widening inequality within our species is therefore moving us toward subspeciation, the splitting of our species into rich and poor and even into workers and drones. In that direction lies unsustainability, as the banning of slavery globally and the fall of apartheid in South Africa testify, and also much science fiction (eg: the Eloi and the Morlocks). The two lethal flaws here: (1) The Morlocks consume their money-circulating consumers, as we do during war by killing chunks of our workforce = inefficient, wasteful. (2) By destabilizing our world with subspeciation, we contradict our ultimate human dream = secure, increasingly long life, and eventually, possibly, immortality.
- We say we believe in equal opportunity and a level playing field, but sports leagues that HAVE equal opportunity and a level playing field for all member teams at the beginning of every season RESET every team's score to zero at the beginning of every season; otherwise, they would have cumulatively UNequal opportunity and a increasingly steeply sloped and unfairly tilted playing field. And a totally boring game with no suspense whatsoever, like our present economy.
Only during the world wars have we had anything approaching an annual RESET of every market player's opportunity to a basic common level such as zero - because only during these wars have we had steeply graduated income and wealth (dba "estate") taxes. No war, no reset. No reset, no level playing field, no equal opportunity and no rapid currency circulation to create stability and prosperity.
- We say we want more population, but we don't want it where it counts - in high-wage-earning employment that would give us a stronger consumer base and a faster circulation of the money supply. Instead, we foster unmarketable productivity by downsizing jobs (and consumers) in response to worksaving technology instead of merely downsizing the workweek, whose brevity challenges nothing but management skills.
- We say we're for freedom and liberty, but we resist putting any limits on worktime per person, thus reversing over a century of advances in the most basic freedom, free time, without which the other freedoms are inaccessible and/or meaningless.
- We say we're for family values, but we make no effort to increase family time, and we support much rhetoric and many efforts to "work harder" - that is, longer, thus radically decreasing family time.
- We say we believe in marginalism, but we apply it only to prices and not to the more important areas of power, income and wealth. Basically, the "margin" is the point of diminishing returns, the line of satiation, the level where supply begins to overwhelm demand. Marginalism is about the diminishing utility of things in high concentrations, the fact that you can indeed get too much of a good thing. But the nearsighted among the power elite who don't know when enough's enough and don't want to brake their acquisitiveness, ever, have induced their key dependent-profession, economists, to completely ignore this aspect of marginalism and preach the opposite: you need (infinitely) high concentrations of capital to invest in large projects, never mind loss of control by local populations, never mind loss of human scale, never mind ecological impact and definitely never mind "small is beautiful."
- We can't lower the workweek because the devil finds work for idle hands to do. We need the discipline of the workforce by controlling more hours, not less, of people's lives.
Answer - How effective can this approach to discipline be if it has resulted in a prison population that has broken all our own historic records and is about to break records worldwide? The obvious alternative view states "the devil finds work for hungry idle hands to do a lot faster than well-fed leisurely hands."
- We need a wide disparity of wealth to incentivate the whole population -> we need the rich to model goals for the whole population.
Answer - How effective can this approach to incentive be when so many of the wealthy have not worked for their wealth, or have even been rewarded lavishly for screwing up, like Abraham Gossman's $25,000,000 golden parachute from MediTrust of Needham, Mass.? What this approach motivates is more and more flouting of the rules. Why? Because as demonstrated by people from OJ Simpson to Bush Jr. with his hundreds of self-exemptions from laws he signs, the wealthy have no rules and flout any laws they want. Result? No feedback loop at the highest levels in the control systems of our economy, and again, a record-breaking prison population. We have made it easier and more attractive - in a word, more incentivated - to make a dishonest living than an honest one, and that is a ticket to self-destruction.
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