The worst is yet to come – and bring it on

Most of us looking on at the ‘Euro-antics’ and OccupyX probably have some disdain for the lot if it.  How long before a police officer is badly hurt trying to do his or her best over protests that are probably necessary because our democratic centre is collapsing?  Most of us are getting round to knowing the ‘bimbo BBC‘ type of coverage offers no real analysis.  Over the last few months they have been catching on very slowly but are still trapped in the idea that this is some kind of liquidity crisis in banking.

I’m reminded of my old work in chemistry – banking looking like endothermic reactions that suck energy in, a control system that uses up all the resources with only tiny returns.  It’s as though we are watching a game of Monopoly expecting this to produce a real economy. BBC Bimboistas tell us money is being pumped into the economy, but QE and such are no such thing and build no factories and provide no cash (wages, partial debt jubilee) that might keep restaurants and pubs open.

No jobs are being created (beyond churning) and the old attitudes pervade – we talk of education and training – but seriously go to your local job centre and look what turns up on their machines – take a serious look at how limited many jobs are, requiring few skills and a decent attitude to hygiene and punctuality.  There is no structural analysis and yet there is scary talk about making sackings easier – scary not because some shirkers might get the push but because it reeks of indenture to ‘work correctness’.  Most of us know to say we are hard workers, relish challenge and so on – but the reality is something else entirely – we’re waiting to win the lottery and escape.

The further up the greasy pole I slid, the less work I found being done, and less talent.  Essentially, I hate politics and want as little of it and government as possible.  I’d say the same of economics.  I want enough of both for street protests to be marginal, not mainstream.  Our problems are that we have too much of the damned stuff and what there is works only in the interests of a tiny minority.  It’s enough to turn a non-believer like me onto the street – and this is what I think the problem will become, writ large. Newsnight’s solution tonight is eating insects.  This is the only part of the programme with any intellectual validity.  It’s about farting, with insects 8 times less flatulent than pigs.

My guess is our problems are to do with work-shyness.  We have created non-job after non-job whilst degrading the rewards of real hard graft, instead of organising worthwhile work around vast improvements in technology and productivity.  And we are about to ‘discover’ this as surely as any of the ‘economic bubbles’ that have been pricked from dotcon to ghost city building.  This is being left out of ‘analysis’ and is what will eventually spill onto our streets.  Our problem is efficiency in production and waste in neurosis all around it.  My students are always visibly shocked by real work seen and heard in factory and mine visits – and look at what happens when the BBC takes our callow youth to do work in the far east.  I feel I teach little more than how to idle in bureaucracies in my classrooms..  They are content there, knowing I have to set them something easy enough to pass.  They study so little, most don’t even realise inflation will ensure their loan repayments kick in at half the real pay they think it will.  A vague memory of phrases such as debt peonage may ring in the future we are killing off for them, keeping quiet to ensure mortgage payments.  A few – those who grasp that the single Gaussian copula isn’t a cooking implement – might get in on the right bets in what follows the shock to come.

We are close now to the shock promised in the last days of my youth – that of computerised expert knowledge catching up with other embodied knowledge in production that has robots doing what was once skilled work.  My lectures have long been obsolete, but ‘death by Powerpoint’ continues for now.  Accountants continue even though software does a better job – the ‘reason’ in both cases is fraud and being able to sign off (pass) what our VCs or CEOs want.  This is OK as long as ‘good times’ eventually roll but they look to have stopped.  There is no real market for university graduates and the times in which the off-balance-sheet could be lost in a good year are catching up on us as the ‘holes’ brim over.

The answer is to slay the Jabberwock.  Instead, politicians who would be mediocre students pretend they know what they are doing and feed our virgin daughters to it.

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