So my thoughts are starting to coalesce into a semi-coherent plan. (If I said this to any of my friends they would, since they know my personality, undoubtably laugh, or at least chuckle… they would think, “Danger, danger Will Robinson!”) I have this concept, this thought, and it dwells in the shadows of my mind and takes over my thoughts in quiet times of contemplation, and I polish the concept.
The thought that occupies my mind is, in the simplest words, starting a business that starts businesses. Obviously, the thought is greatly polished by this point. It is fancy by now and I call it a concept, and I have many layers of thought attached to that concept. At the start is the reason why I want to do this. The reason is itself a many-layered story.
I was going to point out that these days it has become much more common for people to notice the corporate bias built in to modern reality, but it occurs to me I should start back even further in time, back before I had the thought that became a concept.
The thought grew from other thoughts, thoughts on interconnectivity and arrogance. That everything is so greatly interconnected and overlapped that none of us can truly perceive the extent, and that we are also all so arrogant that we are, to some extent, willfully refusing to perceive.
I’d like to say one word on arrogance here. I pointed out the wisdom within a line from a Who song: “Nobody knows what it’s like to be the bad man…” Of course my friend just said, “Yeah, it rhymes with ‘sad man’.” I went on to explain that nobody ever feels that they are the bad man; nobody. Everybody has a perfectly reasonable explanation for their actions, reasonable explanations we can all somewhat agree with, or at least have heard before and understand. From the person who is late for an appointment and leaves their fast food bag of trash in an inappropriate place as they rush off to an interview, to the executive making a cost/benefit analysis on a piece of [safety] equipment for the factory, or an oil rig.
Later, each decision might be called bad. Not just incorrect ‘bad’, but morally wrong ‘bad’. That’s human arrogance. Even though we have each done something bad at some point, something evil, none of us feels evil. That’s human arrogance. Nobody knows what it’s like to be the bad man…
Human arrogance leads us to feel that we are individual, independent. Yet we live in a society, with roads, and buildings, and laws, all built and erected by many other people.
So since we are all so arrogant, and “independent,” it is easy for us to gobble up the reasoning that we should get a job and take care of ourselves. And buy a house. That seems rational.
When I worked as a freelance lighting tech the company would pay me $12/hr and bill the client $36/hr. When I went to law school professors pointed out that you have to bill three times your wage; if you make $50,000/year you need to bill $150,00/year. That’s how capitalism works. One third to pay you, one third to pay for the building, the equipment, the electricity, whatever, and one third for the money men, the capitalists, profit. So, getting a job is getting exploited, getting taken advantage of, basically, for chumps. But thats what we [working class chumps] teach our kids.
And everyone knows that a house is “the average Americans largest investment, their largest asset” Yeah, the average chump. From the business perspective it is just a very big widget to sell the average consumer. I saw somebody in finance joke, “Yeah, in the office we say ‘it’s a wasting asset.’”
Obviously, instead of teaching our kids “to get a job” and “buy a house” we should be teaching our kids “start a business.” And now I’m gonna’ loop this around to American jobs getting shipped overseas: If you ran a restaurant/hardware store/flower shop/auto repair shop/beauty saloon/whatever, how quick would you ship that store overseas?
And, yes, I know that’s overly simplistic. Of course you can make a lot more money working as an engineer at Raytheon than running a flower shop. But, at Raytheon you are spending your time working to pay for your wage and then both to pay the owner’s electric bill and making the owner a profit, and, ultimately, the job isn’t very secure. (I’ll not talk about our ever-present fear right now, our fear that, hand-in-hand with our arrogance, drives us to always be “in control,” to always be right.”) (Nor do I have time or space to point out that by adding to Raytheon’s coffers you build Raytheon’s political clout, by working for a multi-national corporation you add to the lobbying efforts of a multi-national corporation.)
An acquaintance here in Florida works at a nearby Publix. Publix is an ESOP. After five years, he said, he’s got $5,000 in Publix stock. He gets an ownership stake in the company. (Yes, the largest corporation out of Florida is an ESOP. Eeks, they let the workers own the means of production! Don’t let the wage slaves over at Winn-Dixie know what those socialists are up to.) And I swear, and I realize this is just my anecdotal perception, but the employee-owners at Publix never seem as surly as the human resources at other supermarkets.
So that’s the twisted maze that leads me to my thought at the top of the page: I want to start a business to start businesses. But not just any businesses: ESOPs! I got this crazy thought that if the workers owned the factory they wouldn’t relocate to China. But, that’s just me.
And oh, there’s more, so much more …