PhDs @ Micky Ds

The Need for “Birth Control” within America’s Socioeconomic System

The modern American economy is sick, ill and diseased…or is it? The divide between the Haves and the Have Nots is a reoccurring issue in most discussions involving America’s socioeconomic demise. But, is American society in fact ailing, and if so, what (or who) is culpable? If only America had a “troubleshoot” option or the ability to “scan for viruses.”

A discussion concerning the Haves versus the Have Nots is essential to troubleshooting the American economy. Although these two classifications are real and distinct, they are merely symptoms of a greater disease and not the disease itself. In fact, there are also the Can Dos versus the Can’t Dos, the Ables versus the Unables and the Want to Dos versus the Don’t Want to Dos.

In discussing the Haves, consideration must be given to why there is a class of people who have plenty and a class which has less. Also, why are the Have Nots increasing? Could it have something (or a lot) to do with the Cans and Can’ts of American society?

There will always be individuals who are more valuable to a society than others. While legislators feel that they can increase a person’s value to society through welfare payments and minimum wage laws, this is an erroneous belief. Only society can determine the worth and value of functions and professions, then levy an individual’s worth by them. If a job or vocation is a result of or becomes more valuable because of legislation, it will only end in failure if that society no longer appreciates that particular job. These jobs will inevitably evaporate. How many typewriter repairmen or chimney sweepers are there today? How many lawn cutters do we actually need? How many window washers? Only society, working through the economy, can make these decisions – not the government. Society judges through its choices what it finds valuable and what it does not.

Most people assume that they get paid for putting in the hours for their labor. Only 100 years ago, there was a mass of farm laborers in the United States; this is no longer the case. In actuality, individuals draw a salary from a combination of four basic principles: labor, creativity, knowledge/skill, and risk-taking. However, the introduction of the machine age has replaced much of the need for human labor, which has propagated an increase in the need for knowledge and creativity. Of course, this creates a predicament: what do we do with people in a society who aren’t creative, don’t have any specialized knowledge and are only capable of physical labor and, to a lesser degree, people who cannot contribute any of these principals at all? While technology has changed the relationships between labor, creativity, knowledge and risk, it has done little to change the capabilities of the general population.

Some say the answer is more education, thus making the population more knowledgeable. The PhDs who are flipping burgers at Mickey D’s will tell you that there is a limited demand for knowledge, and simply possessing a degree will not guarantee that the beneficiary of such education will have any more actual value to society. In fact, more education will create a dichotomy: the more education you have in a specific area, the fewer chances of actually being employed in that area. A simple glance at Monster.com will satisfy the case-in-point: how many job openings are there for psychiatrists, philosophers, or chemists compared to the size of the population?  Not very many.

Suppose everyone in America earned a bachelor’s degree. Would this create additional jobs, or even increase the value of those jobs to society? Doubtful. It would only engender disappointment in undergraduates, since this paradigm shift will cause an increase in the need for advanced education. A bachelor’s degree will be less desired within the job market versus post graduate study. Then of course, there is a significant amount of the population who are simply incapable of higher education endeavors even if required of them. The majority of the United States population reads and writes at the eighth grade level.

This leaves creativity. Can an individual learn to be creative? Possibly, with the right techniques being developed and utilized; an individual may be able to learn how to be innovative.

The American government has attempted to oblige the segment of the population who believe they are entitled to unwarranted (or warranted) assistance, by mandating welfare and minimum wage standards. This has resulted in the Can Do class of people who are capable of and engaged in supplying the wealth of the country becoming potentially disheartened and angry. The Doers of society rightly feel that they should not be required to support everyone else. In fact, they have become a somewhat unwilling ‘foster parent’ to the Can’t Dos and Don’t Want to Dos. What often happens is that the Doers just decide not to DO as much as they potentially could, as they see little point in doing it. Consequently, the Doers use their creativity to find alternative ways to avoid having to support the Can’t Dos and Don’t Want to Dos. Creative citizens are quite adept at discovering unique ways to foil the system.

In its proper role, the point of economy is to assist the continued existence of its participants by allowing them to contribute to others in their own way and, in so doing, earn their rite of passage. Hunters hunt, gatherers gather, farmers farm, and each trades a portion of their work for what they cannot do for themselves. It allows for an economy where contribution to the whole is conducive through specialization. But what do we do with people who have nothing valuable to contribute? This is the real Have Not and Can’t Do crisis. Moreover, technology has increased the productivity of the Doers so efficiently that fewer of them are required to supply what is essential.

Fundamentally, a large portion of Americans are inadequate and deficient to meet the demand(s) of the current American workforce. How do we retrofit tens of millions of our citizenry that have become miscarried?

In order to build a stronger socioeconomic platform in America this problem must be solved, not by mandate and most certainly not by legislation. This disease cannot be cured by ignoring the main symptom: a class of abortive Americans.

Our society must be inoculated before it becomes sterile.

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About Steven Phipps

"I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." -Bishop Desmond Tutu
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