(This one’s a little loopy. I’ve had the flu.)
Greetings, Comrades! The capitalists are now so entangled in their own greed that the end of the corporatist, globalist world order can be clearly seen. The means of production will be freed from theownership classes and their running-dog lackeys, and given to the people. They will be equitably used by all, and for the good of all. And soon!
How do I know this? Because today’s capitalists, most of them, won’t make a microwave oven that lasts five years. Not can’t do it — won’t do it. At least that’s what it looks like from where I sit. We got our first microwave in the mid-80s: an Amana of moderate size and feature set. Even in those days microwaves had a million modes — of which we used maybe three or four, as most do today. Fast-forward 25 years.
The Amana finally died. It didn’t really have to — we had a decent appliance repair shop back then, and the techs found the problem. But the (inexpensive) part that we needed was no longer available. The faithful Amana went to recycling.
And in the seven years since, we’ve bought three more microwaves. They die in two to four years. We just got our latest. They all look like the Amana; they all have the same feature set. Their magnetron tubes are a little more powerful,
But they don’t last.
They all cost about $140; pay more, and you get power and features and size that we don’t need. The Amana cost about $260 back in the ‘80s — I remember this, because I was and am cheap. Inflation-adjusted, in 2018 dollars, it cost us around $550. So you get what you pay for,right? In 1986, sure. But not now.
If you spread that $550 across 25 years, the distributed capital cost is about $22 bucks per year. If you spread the $280 we’ve spent for two ‘waves that died in the seven years since, the distributed cost is $40 annually. We’re paying more for microwaves now — not less.
It wouldn’t cost much to make microwaves last longer; somewhat better parts, slightly better engineering. If they’d lasted even seven years each at $140 a unit, the cost per year would match the old Amana’s. But then the corporations wouldn’t sell as many microwaves. They wouldn’t keep the factories humming — factories sited in the cheapest possible labor markets. And people who buy microwaves would hang onto money that they could be giving to the stockholders of the world.
So: thirty years of technological advancement have NOT been applied to make microwaves cheaper and better. In fact, they are now expensive and worse. And more waste is produced: the endless stream of shoddy microwaves has to be recycled.
Intentionally inferior goods, waste of resources, regulation flight, the decline of first-world manufacturing, and higher prices: this is what globalism has brought us. While it has created and fattened a surfeit of billionaires who want to buy the governments of the world, and are doing a good job at least at that.
So I’ve got this new, really cool-looking stainless-steel Panasonic microwave that will probably be dead in just over four years. I know this because the retailer offered to sell us a “free return” insurance policy on the oven — for up to four years. Everybody knows.
Your mileage may vary, but if a modestl microwave can’t last last at least seven years, after decades of microwave production, somebody’s doing it wrong. On purpose.
And the world can’t take it forever. It can’t waste the resources. The people can’t continue to be paid less for their labor but pay more for the goods that they must buy. The swelling billionaires cannot hoard the wealth of the world at a time when we’ll need that wealth to save the world.
Left to itself, it will all collapse. But people are starting to catch on. This past Year of Trump has mobilized progressives and Democrats (there is some overlap, he said with a bit of sarcasm). And it has caused honest conservatives to consider the difference between true conservatism and a shameless, honorless kleptocracy which has stolen conservatism’s name.
Let’s hope this year’s elections at least kill the momentum of the kleptocrats and rock them back on their heels. It’s for their own good, after all. Because if the people aren’t taken care of by the system, they will eventually take down the system itself.
All it would take is for Americans to start asking themselves: “If somebody works hard all their life, or as hard as they can, isn’t that enough? Should their worthiness to survive depend on knowing how to invest?” Americans believe in “fair;” if things get bad enough, we have the mindset to act on that.
And the Glorious People’s Revolution will come at last! I remember a quote attributed to hero socialist Eugene Debbs: essentially, that the United States will be the last advanced country to go socialist, but the first to go communist.
We do tend to get overenthusiastic when we buy into something new. I see a wondrous wave of all-American communists spilling across America in red electric SUVs with gun racks, wearing t-shirts of Karl Marx hoisting a beer glass and shouting, “To each according to his needs!”
It’s so American. And the capitalists and their lackeys will be issued blue uniforms and s be put to work building low-income housing or teaching underprivileged children to read.
Believe me: it’s much, much better than the tumbrils.