The Palimpsest of Sawbones Surio

Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will

“Worker-Bees” of the world, unite? Part-I

with 20 comments

Don’t be alarmed by the title, I am more Groucho Marx (Hurray for Captain Spaulding!) than Karl Marx! Now take a brief look at this embedded video below from The Story of Stuff Project. It is a simple video, depicting trade as practiced today, and IMO, is very skewed. The references for her video can be accessed at her website.

(Pay close attention at 4 minutes and at 7 minutes into the narrative).

So, if you have watched it (at least to 8 mins), and are continuing to read on, I would now submit my polemical thought that for most nations, modern trade is nothing but some form of “slavery”. Usually, when I make or endorse statements like that, I run into a few well-meaning arguments countering my POV. Let’s lay them out here.

  1. Trade is a great thing. You can get the best product at the best price from the most efficient producers in the world.
  2. Look at Hans Gosling’s TED talk and you’ll see an amazing progress in the 20th century as both income and life expectancy increase dramatically for many developing nations. If not trade, what else is causing it? Would you rather be “insert some Asian country here” or would you rather be “North Korea” (that last bastion of self-sufficiency, but with other ideological issues)?
  3. Trade between nations is very good. It is vital to the interests and progress of the entire world
  4. So, you spend considerable effort arguing that trade is bad and like slavery, yet you go ahead and engage in it. E.g., The PC you are typing this blog from was probably “Made in China” employing ‘slave labour’ as you submitted up there?

I hear them, because, in the past, I was told exactly those very things and I did believe in them. But now I see them to be fallacious arguments. I will address them all, one by one. As the posts got a little involved, I have split the posts into many parts, based on the questions. But first, let us see, what is the meaning of the word “trade”, as in a dictionary? (Thanks to DW for suggesting this)

Trade (n):
1. The commercial exchange (buying and selling on domestic or international markets) of goods and services
2. […]
5. An equal exchange
7. [….]

Perhaps, I am biased by my own history of the famous “Silk Road” in which India was an equal (dominant even, maybe?) and an important player. So, (5) was always my first thought when someone suggests the word “trade” to me. So, it won’t take a rocket science degree to see straight away that modern trade immediately loses (a little?) ground by means of just the definition.

Trade is a great thing. You can get the best product at the best price from the most efficient producers in the world.

Let’s begin with a small thought experiment:

Close your eyes. Imagine there are huge factories in many states in some part of the World, and each of them that are manufacturing these specific items: Conical hats, dhoti, Kimono, Saree, Sarong, Rickshaw (older varieties), tanga, Cart, equipment such as Water wheels, etc…….

So far, so good. Now imagine these factories are located in the West (USA, Germany, etc…), and the goods are in turn supplied to the East. Whatever surplus produced in these factories due to productivity improvements in “Taylorism”, can be used to supply the local populace (American, German, British…etc…).
RMB 500, Rs. 250….etc are going the prices for them too. Very reasonable and lots of deals in “Cart-Mart”, “Tanga-Land”, “Sashes-R-Us” and “Gimee-Kimono” outlets!

Now, all those in favour of “free trade” ideas mentioned above, please raise your hands? Are you still with me? Or have I offended every one of you? If I have, I am truly sorry. Those above mentioned items in that thought experiment were every bit part of those colonised/recently liberalised Eastern civilisations’ sociocultural fabric (as American as Apple pie comes to mind) and had enabled them to engage in a quality of life, leisure and enjoyment that the West is now increasingly wanting to escape to all the time. (Backpacker/Tourism stats, anyone?). But that is unfortunately how it reads if you’re not from the West. Dmitri Orlov puts it scathingly in his longnow foundation talk:

Professor Fukuyama told us that history had ended, and so we were building a brave new world where the Chinese made things out of plastic for us, the Indians provided customer support when these Chinese-made things broke, and we paid for it all just by flipping houses, pretending that they were worth a lot of money whereas they are really just useless bits of ticky-tacky.

Here’s another “thought” question: Would Thomas Friedman have gone all fruit-cake over “Flat” world (I cringe every time I hear that phrase!) if the tables were turned the other way? What I intend to convey is best illustrated by this:

Some of them, eager to land one of the customer service jobs from India, are attending special training sessions in New York City, led by language specialist Dave Ramsey, who goes by a simpler name for his Indian clients: Devendra Ramaswaminathan.

Professor: “Okay, Gary, Randy and Jane, first we need to give you Indian names. Gary, from now on, you’ll be known to your customers as Gaurav. Randy, you’ll be Ranjit. And Jane, you’ll be Jagadamba. Now imagine you just received a call from Delhi. What do you say?”

Gary: “Name as tea?”

Jane: “How can I be helping you?”

Professor: “Good try! You’re using the correct tense, but it’s not quite right. Anyone else?”

Randy: “How I can be helping you?”

If you are interested, read the rest of the blog post in full here. Now imagine if this is NOT a satire (either on call centres, nor on the stupid fixation of Indians with English), but this IS the reality. Would it have been so “welcome”? That is why I wanted you to go through these thought experiments, to see how it feels when the shoe is on the other foot.

The reality is, before globalisation was forced into many of these so-called “developing nations”, all the people from these places, had “their place” under the Sun, not as in a 2-bedroom-house-for-every-family, but as in “a sense of belonging”! Think I am making it up? This is Bill Watterson reminding us that uncomfortable truth in this comic strip.

I am significant, like everyone else.

I am also significant, like everyone else.

If you had read my detailed review of Blue Zones, you will have noticed that jobs-or-no-jobs, being part of a close-knit family unit clearly helps in maintaining one’s health, well-being and overall happiness. Now, you can put a price on your job, but can you put a value to those three things mentioned? As Oscar Wilde summed it so long ago: “What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

The real problem is, these aspects are rarely if ever honestly discussed, before considering the need to “open up”. Anyone who mentions these is a “nostalgic”, “romantic-head-in-clouds” type, or worse, an “enemy-of-progress”.

Elsewhere, H.H the Dalai Lama says in one of his talks:

No matter how attractive a traditional rural society may seem, its people cannot be denied the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of modern development. However, as this book suggests, development and learning should not take place in one direction only. Amongst the people of traditional societies such as Tibet or Ladakh there is often an inner development, a sense of warm-heartedness and contentment, that we would all do well to emulate.

And this, in my view, has been the biggest failure of modern “trade policies” practised. More and more of “this is how you all ought to live, because we live like this, and so it MUST be good for you too, deadly no?” is thrown at the rest of the World and less and less of “that sounds like another good way of doing things” (based on my own experience). Indeed, most off-shoring operations are beset with back-biting, unnecessary nitpicking, rubbing about “lack of English” when it is not at all needed, putting down offshore centres’ work quality, even when the original blueprint used in the execution originally came from the mothership. There has to be a different way, plain and simple. This is the first of the many times I will be quoting this passage from Ivan Illich, since it is relevant in many places:

By now it should be evident to all America that the U.S. is engaged in a tremendous struggle to survive. The U.S. cannot survive if the rest of the world is not convinced that here we have Heaven-on-Earth. The survival of the U.S. depends on the acceptance by all so-called “free” men that the U.S. middle class has “made it”. The U.S. way of life has become a religion which must be accepted by all those who do not want to die by the sword – or napalm. All over the globe the U.S. is fighting to protect and develop at least a minority who consume what the U.S. majority can afford.

Here’s the irony of it. This speech was made in 1968 in Mexico! And the writing hasn’t changed at all, simply Vietnam has been replaced by Venezuela or Afghanistan, or some other place I’ve forgotten (Bolivia happens to come up as the bad guys, on and off!). And dare I say it, the American dream itself has soured as we write in 2011, so why persist in this notion of “trade” between the World? Why not, let’s all become self-sufficient as it was, just 4 generations ago.

So, before you praise trade for all its “greatness”, “convenience”, “efficiency”, etc… Think about it once again. Is it all that and more simply because it is a replica of what “you” are used to living, doing and dealing with, or will you still think it is great, if reality was as mentioned in those thought experiments above? I leave you with that thought. And I will take up the next question in Part II.

Read Part II here.

Written by Surio

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20 Responses

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  1. > depicting trade as practiced today, and IMO, is very skewed

    Did you mean the video is from a skewed perspective, of that trade is skewed 😉

    Obviously TSOS is from a somewhat left-wing perspective, but you build on the arguments set out there, and it’s hard to disagree with them though the presentation is polemical.

    Part of the question has to be is it trade per se, or is it the concentration of power than goes with it which is the problem. Perhaps it is because production and efficiency can be quantified and measured in monetary units, whereas quality of life and happiness are not so amenable to measurement. You get what you measure, not what you want 😉


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    • @ermine,
      You know, I had never attached any politics to that video, in fact it used to remind me of YMOYL (|:work-shop-TV:|) and ERE in parts. But agreed, TSOS can be read as having left-wing slant – Annie’s a former Greenpeace activist too. You may already know this now, the video was a major hit in US schools with children, who’ve put the brakes on their and their families’ spending based on the gleaned message!

      Also, to be honest with you, from what little I’ve seen, White-Collar offshoring is perhaps slightly egalitarian/protected (but that doesn’t mean all is well), but conditions in other areas of global “flat”tening (manufacturing, call centres, etc.), things are pretty grim for the outsourcees and the outsourcee country. You may remember my sharing a lot of links about mfg related problems in India in another post (Yahoo: “foxconn chennai labour problems”). You might also recall the widespread strikes around the world in 2010 (Chinese strikes! Shocking!) – You know the proverb: “there is no smoke without fire” 😉

      So, one of the main reason for using TSOS was that of convenience. Political slant aside, it breezes through all the “big” issues in a brief span, and time is of the essence, for a blog ;-).

      P.S: I’ve addressed some common points raised in a separate comment below:


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  2. “Part of the question has to be is it trade per se, or is it the concentration of power than goes with it which is the problem.” To borrow a quote from ermine.

    Yes, that’s a great point as I see things. Let’s just simply discuss the Diamond industry. We are talking the Oppenheimer’s and de Beers empire in So Africa.

    Actually, diamonds are pretty plentiful in reality, which if realized by many, would make them akin to a piece of shattered car windshield. If you will search the truth about diamonds, you will see that the supply of that gemstone is closely controlled and carefully released to market. They are actually a dime a dozen in their natural habitat, and the Oppenheimers severely limit those that get to market.
    This is an actual conspiracy in the highest order of things.
    I do own a diamond ring, inherited from my father. Most current valuation of this ring would be $5,000.00 in it’s gold settings. Actually, the ring is no more than a shiny bauble on my finger. The marketing “expert” does the value, and if the actual qualities of this gem were made available, the price of my ring would drop to naught. The supply is carefully controlled, so the demand goes into orbit on precious gems. (Precious?) To whom? More marketing, and wealth made off overseas goods? This is where ermine says the “concentration of power comes in”. It is, in fact, a concentration of hoax in all counts!!!
    Incidentally, I did my homework, studied all your links, and watched the video. I may need to drop out of this course of posts as I seem to be already aware of the knowledge of the points you are making.
    However, me being me, I will follow along and most likely do a jump in here and there. I had already seen “The story of stuff” but enjoyed it again all the same.
    We have had this conversation briefly before, but don’t you think we (you, as it is your blog) will have to at some point bring in the Hapsburgs, the Oppenheimers, Astors, Bundys, Collins, Rockefeller, Rothschilds into this subject? You have already brought in the oppression of the British Crown (Rothschilds) and the Germans (Rothchilds). France, Spain, and the Netherlands not escaping a Rothschild or two either.
    I had spoken about some of your other points in my last post on the ERE thread, whereby I agreed on the West’s heavy handed approaches, so I have nothing new to add to that at the present, but will reserve my time, and yield to the gentleman from India. Also, being a novice history buff, I am quite aware of the British Empire’s brutal colonizations.
    I will close by suggesting you may be headed toward a point in which you will present the ideas you have outlined, and you will then acknowledge the “corporate” mingling, but may accuse the general population of doing nothing to repair the damage? While this may very well be the situation in a nutshell, I am then, interested in your solutions if any. At present, I can think of none that would have much immediate impact.
    Very interesting so far!!! Keep up the good work.


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    • @Spencer,
      Agreed about diamonds. In Belgium, the Punjabi community dethroned the original diamond cutters/polishers (amidst rumoured bloodletting), and the Sindhi/Gujarathi community from Surat have muscled into the Punjabi turf (yes, more rumoured bloodletting!) in Belgium recently. All because of the premiums that come tagged with the “scarcity” tag. Oh, and in an uncanny way, the diamond in my family is my grandmother’s (pretty much the same generation) :-D.
      Yes again, and, as @ermine also points out rightly, corporations are the larger djinns, and as documentaries such as “Money Masters” point out, the line of separation between Governments and Corporates has blurred so much, you just don’t know who’s responsible for moving the pawns anymore :-(.

      But, as I pointed in our earlier discussion too, I don’t want to go there. Sadly, due to the media white-wash of these topics, even well-meaning messages can be easily hijacked as “nut-case” if these matters are even alluded to! What a sap!

      But, as I recall, ermine and yourself did do a good job in that previous pensions vs. retirement post of mine, by highlighting that *we the people* are responsible for the actions we take and the consequences of those actions. And that is a valid point here too. If you had read my last response to that unfortunate manner of closure on that ERE thread, you might get a hint on how I might choose to close the loop. 😉

      Oh, and might I add, my respect for you went up by several notches when you came forward and wrote that reply about the West’s combined heavy-handedness and “egg walk” post.


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  3. Back again briefly. Something bothered me in the post so I will ask. Let me set the stage, speaking as an average American consumer:

    Most likely one of the last things I would want to happen is to have trouble with my computer, call “the” 800 number for tech support, and be linked to someone speaking words I can’t readily follow (remember, an additional handicap for me is my senior citizen status).
    You will find as you age, as the years tick away, you will find a close resemblance to the depletion of your patience in the same degree as your sex drive.)
    OK–Both parties are at a loss as to understanding dialect. I say “My *@!!*@@’n keys stick on my @@@****!!’n keyboard”!”. “How the @1**! can I fix it?”.
    The other end says “Sir, hold on sir, hold on I am going to put you on hold sir”. At this point I slam down the phone.
    Point is: I don’t want this to happen. I want to call someone and they are in Dallas. I want an understanding dialect to speak with me. I actually want the deflections in my voice to key the person on what is wrong. Say there are six things wrong with computers that people screw up themselves. I want that person to hear my voice and know which thing I screwed up, and tell me to reboot and everything will be alright. I am aware the foreigner will be just as competent as someone in Dallas. I want someone who hears what I say, and also hears what I don’t say.
    No bias or asides to anyone. It is just the way it is.
    I have NO idea who put call centers in India or anywhere else. I can, however, with some degree of accuracy, tell you it was not the intention of the rank and file consumer.


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    • ROFL!
      We were also forced into this kicking-and-screaming. Calling 1800-MADNESS-SUPPORT is a truly miserable experience and has known to reduce grown-up men into quivering jellies. In India, we all have different mother tongues (which we are all justifiably proud of) and so our accents are fairly foreign to someone from another state who didn’t grow up hearing that “dialect” of English (such as “How I can be helping” bit!). Reading your experience there was doubly funny because it reminded me of my father’s response to banking support (he is used to speaking to a human cashier all his life, and ATMs/1800/etc are a real nightmare for him). My mother has to pacify his jangling nerves each time after such experience!


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    • > I can, however, with some degree of accuracy, tell you it was not the intention of the rank and file consumer.

      But was it a byproduct of basing your collective purchasing decisions on price. In the value for money equation, ‘value’ is a multi-variable quantity, whereas ‘for money’ has but a single dimension.

      A computer is far cheaper now than it was ten years ago, indeed it is often cheaper in dollar terms as well as being far more capable. Something had to give in getting from then to now, and support is probably one of those things


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      • In a way, I am glad I am writing this post…. There is getting to be so much food for thought from the comments!
        By “suppport”, did you mean the progression of support as seen from
        Burroughs Corp. > UNISYS > IBM > Dell > Microsoft (3rd party development ecosystem)?

        This view is mostly correct (I’ve consulted on UNISYS repositories for a while in UK ;-), so I understand the “level of support” directly favouring “lowering the cost” argument). But, until the recent past, that support was grounded to the customer’s geo-socio-conditions, so to speak (“m’kay?”, ;-)) But when that is pulled out, pandemonium reigns supreme. Here’s a joke for you (but the joke “was on me”).

        Me: Hello, IT support, I want to register a S/w instllation request please.
        Support: Good morning sir, Happy to help you etc etc….., Please state your need, sir…etc…etc….
        Me: Blah Blah Blah…. And also I need the application “KeePass”, blah blah….
        Support: ……..[Pin drop silence, followed by] Sir, you have to maintain the decorum here please, or I’ll call my supervisor!
        Me: [Shocked beyond words] What’d I do? What’d I say?
        Support: “Keep Ass” does not sound like a legal application, sir! And I feel you are using it simply to offend me!
        Me: [Choking back my tears of laughter]. Ah.. you “misunderstandificate” me….. “KeePass” is a company approved software. Let me spell it for you: “K-E-E-P-A-S-S”. Look it up.
        Support: [Shuffling of hands…..Silence, followed by a very embarrassed tone] Sorry Sir, it appears to be here, Sir. I’m very sorry sir. Please don’t escalate this “misunderstandification” sir….
        Me: I won’t…….ever! [and I signed off post-haste with all those “Have a good day”, and all those revolting support centre phrases]!

        Mothership: India
        Customer Support: Philippines
        We’ve had the boot on a lot of other feet too….. China, Japan, Germany, USA, etc…… Another day, another time.

        The point of this anecdote is not to assert Indian vs. Filipino Anglic proficiency! I don’t see why they have to give up “Tagalog” to speak in another language, in order to offer support to someone else, who also had to learn this other language over their own native language in order to “bring the cost down” in a macro-global-economic scale. Phew, what a mouthful! But this trade-off can be a tricky beast… I am typing this in English to make that point…. That irony is definitely not lost on me ;-)! Hoo Boy!


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  4. @ermine/Spencer,
    Thanks for the feedback.
    This post grew as part of my last week’s misanthropic post! It was effectively a 5000+ words braindump into notepad2!
    It would be too much to ask of people to plough through that, so I’ve split it into parts. Spencer may have a slight edge, for I posted parts of the overall post in the ERE site whenever the pre-empted questions came up. ermine, even the measurable parts that you mentioned will get covered in other parts. It’s a sort of a “hanging” post at this point. Bear with me, while the others start to come about it will fall into place.

    > Part of the question has to be is it trade per se, or is it the
    > concentration of power than goes with it which is the problem

    Yes agreed! While writing on this topic, I did have a “Oh dear” moment when I realised that the term “trade” is really a misnomer. That these days, *nobody* really does “trade”, but indulge in any one of the following: Mercantilism, crony capitalism, Kleptocracy or Plutocracy.

    Sadly, “trade” it its true form stopped with the Silk Route (IMHO). Thanks to concerted “Newspeak” and “Spin doctoring”, those above words have been replaced with a safer, more sterile word called “trade” for all purposes. I continue to use it in the same way as well 😦

    The part about “happiness”, “well-being”, etc was from another part of my braindump, dealing with another question. After some deliberation, I felt I had to place it here. If it jars the coherency of this narrative, I could move it back to its original place? Your thoughts, gentlemen?

    P.S: I am very apolitical, in fact, a somewhat “qualified” libertarian (don’t buy the Calvinism ethos ;-)) There is no politics in the message (Marxism – nope, socialism – nope, doomism – nope) But am I talking about the “elephant in the room” that everyone tries to ignore? Yes I do!


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  5. Ummm, “happiness and well-being” are too important to exclude. After all, this is what we are all searching for. I think you are saying someone lived in a nice grass hut, in a beautiful setting, all needs were met, and then comes the “big ship”. Off the big ship comes a few boatloads of musket-bearing, triangle hat wearing, Englishmen to scope out the terrain and folks.
    This scene can be recounted in the movie “Munity on the Bounty”. They came after natural resources, and in some cases they came after human traffic (slaves).
    You said “Spence, Hopefully you’ve now realised that there’s “trade”, and then there’s “TRADE”….that’s another story for another day.”
    I believe your meaning of that comment deals with the “big ship”. Right?


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    • I appreciate it. Your reading on that remark is very correct. Imperialsim grew outdated, so the new model is (in a way)

      Imperialism 2.0 = Globalisation 1.0
      Yes, it is not funny at all and I do not like myself for writing it too, but it is somewhat true for the rest of them [those non-blogging souls]

      Men in pointy hats with muskets are now replaced by men in pinstripes with briefcases 😐

      Please, I don’t want people to think I am being ungrateful and bitter, but as I did point earlier, other than a few white-collar areas, the overall situation is very grim. HONDA’s plants took a leaf out of Henry Ford’s book by hiring thugs to beat up employees that tried to protest for fairer working conditions. Many plants are put up only after State Governments sign agreements that make unions or any employee associations illegal. Last year Foxconn plants in India were closed and entire area was evacuated because of poison gas leaking from the factory. A few dozen workers were in critical condition, but macroeconomically, all these don’t matter.


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  6. Just got back from the post office. Today’s mail included my March 2011 “American Legion Magazine”.
    Page 20, Entitled “Hearts and Minds”. Discusses how foreign aid can work in Afghanistan as long as the people have the freedom to accept it.
    Discusses the US funded solar panels bringing electricity to remote parts of the country. Discusses how the US had recently aided Pakistan’s Swat Valley during the floods. Discusses how the US has aided the Indonesian tsunami of 2004. Discusses how the US goes into Yemen, Somalia, etc and the provided aid does NOT have a label “From the American People” Great article, and ties to the other side of our discussion. No?–lol


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    • I would laugh too, but I am too busy crying for the pawns that sign up for this carnage, out or misplaced heroism/patriotism or their poverty!

      So, we mess it up first (Somalia, Sudan, etc…), then try fixing it next, and repeat this ad nauseaum

      As to that great Khyber campaign: I will simply say this, the West (first the British, next the Russians, and now the Yanks) will *never* be able to truly understand the Afghan psyche, so they must stop trying all this “Hearts and Minds” campaigns, and do something else more productive elsewhere.

      Also, for both the British and the Russians, the Afghan campaign was their last – their empires collapsed in the aftermath of the failures of the Afghan campaign! I hope History doesn’t invoke the nasty habit of repeating itself. :-(.

      A student counsellor thought I would make a good vet because of my misplaced compassion! I am very very unhappy about writing this post, I truly am. Because, deep within I do not wish ill for anyone or playing silly cassandra….

      P.S: – Keeping with the macho theme: “I will be back” on Tuesday.


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  7. I am anxious for your summary of Part I. I am tempted to write my own version, however I have a few “yes, buts” to get around.
    I agree the USA blows stuff up in other countries (for whatever reasons) and then pay to rebuild it all. Seemingly, we always have. I remember thinking about this when I was in college a lot. Later in my military career (In particular Desert Storm).
    So is it that we blow it up or that we rebuild it (in our own design)? AKA: Improved?
    Sticking point: Foreign aid! Not “Government” foreign aid, but aid funded and delivered by the people, ie: Missions, etc. “Feed starving African Children.
    (I don’t see the elite as “staging” a lot of African children on TV to exhort money from the public.) Or in another post “Why are the children starving to begin with”? Should no one come to their aid?
    What about drilling fresh and clean water wells in places ravaged by the weather, etc? Earthquakes? Staged? Plagues, etc.
    (I do think H1N1 is a staged event). Just pretend you did not read that, maybe. (Not going there, I believe you said)

    OK see you later in the week. I need a rest!!


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    • Well,
      Back on net, today! Hmm, Reminds me, I ought to put out the rest of the “doombat chronicles” of mine!

      There’s no “cut-and-dried” solution, to some of the larger points I address, I’m afraid. And here’s the worst part. I am aware of it too! Practically everyone who’s in the doom-and-gloom prognostication business are unanimous about one thing: “Only when the beast is going to turn around and bite our backsides will human being wake up to their predicament” (too late!). Oh, I am all for “guest posts”, even if you decided to disagree with me (ermine, that offer extends to you too). So, if you feel a song coming on, pen it. After all, that’s what weblogs are for, today’s equivalent of yesteryears’ soapbox.

      Ahh!… Regarding foreign aid and the rest, you’ve raised a conundrum. Simple and only answer, I don’t know what to say!

      We’ve lost whatever 4 readers this blog has, with that H1N1 remark :-D!


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  8. I would probably make a poor selection for a guest post.
    As you may have read some of my stuff, I am noted for driving the youngsters crazy on ERE! I tend to write in real life terms, without much “shielding” from the old Walter Cronkite theory of “Wednesday, February 23, that’s the way it is”. However, those kids on ERE are so much smarter and updated than I am, and that is why I tend to read their stuff every day. I have, in a word, become irrelevant. It’s a good thing I am mostly “done” with life, as I would be in need of “re-branding” into today’s social streams and social media stereotypes.
    All that said, there are indeed issues (I remember when we used to call “issues” as “problems”. It took my 4 point grade average grand daughter to shoulder me into that one!. “Papa, we don’t call it problems, we call it issues”. So much for my help with her homework!!).
    Additionally, I will tend to let it fly, writing on forums, (as no one really cares what someone else’s opinion is anyway), but prefer to write only material from well backed resources on a formal posting.
    Another problem (issue?–oops) is my ingrained training to “mind-map” whatever I write. (Military induced). Once a vogue in the 80’s and 90’s, it seems to drive the young people crazy. Also, as you can see in our current post, I tend to dominate, once the gate is opened on a subject that is near and dear.
    But let’s go forward, I am into this and need closure.
    I will ease up on the spin-off doom and gloom, but in those “cases” where certain points just cannot be ignored, hopefully you as well will feel there is “some” substance?


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  9. […] world. If you wish to refresh your memory, or you’ve joined me from here, you’ll find Part-I here. In Part-1, I placed a rather polemic argument, “trade is like slavery in its current […]

  10. […] is a great thing. You can get the best product at the best price from the most efficient producers (Part-I) in the […]

  11. […] for some of the prevalent opinions in the World regarding “Modern” Trade. Here’s Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of the series, addressing the other common myths on “trade’s […]

  12. Its interesting about the middle class American dream. Its disappearing. The only people really able to have a middle class lifestyle are business owners and professionals or people in high tech industry. The climate is hostile to small business. Most people work in the service sector. That doesn’t provide a middle class income. Everyone can’t be a doctor or a lawyer. The high tech industry is only a small sector as far as the jobs it provides.

    To top this off, the only people paying taxes are the middle class. The rich get around it. Soon most taxes will go to interest on the National Debt. So if people are getting on board with globalization to be part of the American middle class…..

    I think self sufficiency is a better option and that is where I think Americans are going.


    - at ....

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