December 12, 2009

Ruminations on Labor

I had the pleasure these past two weeks of about twenty hours of driving with only myself, the cell phone and the mp3 player for company. It is in these times when my barely conscious mind is hard at the task of driving that the really curious part of my brain takes it's own road trips. If any of you were forced, as I was, in school or college to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance you learned that it is nigh impossible to define or quantify "Quality". Quality, or Value, is really a personal measure. A Gucci handbag is worth a lot of money to a certain type of woman. It is worth less than a craftsman toolbag to me and vice versa. My grandpa taught me this years ago and yet sometimes we have to relearn things in a way that makes sense to us as we mature. Someone would say to Pa that such and such antique or piece of property or doodad was "worth" x amount of money, to which my Pa, as he is so good at doing, would smartly reply that it was worth that only if "you can get the money". What he meant was exactly what I have been saying. The only way that antique piece of furniture was worth x was if someone ELSE not only thought it was worth that, but was actually willing to pay for it. I am getting long winded before I even make my point. My "day" job is basically that of an internal consultant. Consulting is by definition when you pay someone else to tell you something you should have already known, and that is what I have been doing for the past two weeks four hundred miles from home. As I began to leave the place I have been visiting I told them I hoped the past two weeks were value added. And I really do; I hope that my efforts were not in vain and they will take my recommendations to heart and become more prosperous. Bear with me, I am getting closer to my point. What if my two weeks worth of work was not vauluable to them? I get paid the same. But what if what I said and did does not sink in? Does that make my efforts worth anything? Not to them, and if it doesn't help them them how can I take satisfaction in that? Did I work less; did I put out less LABOR?

We do not call it such but that is what the democrat party is now; the labor party. Social democrats. Socialists.
Socialist theory was the brainchild of Karl Marx. The most basic premise is that wealth belongs to the worker; or value is added only in labor and therefore the wealthy owe their wealth to labor. That is the central premise to wealth redisribution, or as like Obama likes to say "spreading the wealth around", and socialist theory; that wealth must be taken away from the wealthy and given back to the worker. I have written before about how giving something back is a fallacy and this is a natural progression of that.

Let me put it in the form of a parable. Two men set out to be farmers, they each have the same amount of land and the correct equipment and materials. They each toil day after day in the fields under the burning sun raising a crop. At the end of the season, one has a bountiful harvest and the other has a bunch of broken equipment and torn up ground and nothing to show for it. The difference is that one man had the knowledge and skills to be a farmer and the other did not. But they both LABORED equally. This to me is the root fallacy of socialism. What profit is there in hard work or being able to toil endlessly without the guidance to make something of value; to make something others see as desireable? I do not mean to lessen the contribution of people who work in manufacturing or other trades as labor, but without direction and innovation their work would have little value. That is the truth of capitalism. Which is more rare, the ability to work hard and sweat, or the ability to innovate? Any draft animal can work, but it takes direction, design, and a little vision to make something of value.

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