spreadsheets and hamburgers…

Posted on Friday 29 October 2010

Carl was having a particular eloquent day when he commented:
In my (then teenaged) mind, I wondered whether it was a good thing that “we” weren’t making stuff – even then – that you could pick up and carry to a nearby port and send if off into the world and have cash money come back to you for the effort. I don’t share all of Thomas Friedman’s enthusiasm for the “Flat World” and still wonder how it is that we can have an economy based on spreadsheets and serving hamburgers to each other.
It’s such an obvious point, but rarely made so clearly. We are the world’s consumers, but we’ve stopped having anything to trade except money – which isn’t going to work much longer. If we don’t revise our economy to become producers, we will go the way of the British Empire [if we’re not already there]. "Outsourcing" will simple kill us, that’s all. Buy American needs to no longer be optional.

I can’t help but point out an extreme irony in Carl’s comment, which begins with his flirtation with Ayn Rand as a teenager – one that I also went though. In her Magnum Opus, Atlas Shrugged, the hero is John Galt, the leader of her rugged industrialists who "drop out" to protest being "used" by the lesser beings like you and me. Her hero Industrialists go to the West where they live in a Republitopia and let they rest of us miss them a lot. Then John Galt gives an endless speech on the joys of Capitalism. Well, it’s backwards. One irony: without we "ordinaries," they’re the ones out of work – which wouldn’t be a bad idea. But the real irony is: What did John Galt do when he "dropped out?"

He cooked hamburgers – "perfect hamburgers"…

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