Little more than a gaggle of hacks and geeks.

Economic Eugenics

with 18 comments

By Paleocrat
Dec. 27, 2008

Miss American Pie bids farewell to the Working Class Jack as companies downsize, outsource, and offshore those jobs once proudly (and efficiently) done by American men and women.

This once great nation of producers has run out of steam somewhere between Pauperism and the ghost town of the eternal Proletariat. Our microchips are now potato chips, while our manufactured goods have been traded in for Big Macs.

All the while our politicians and economists, market mystics through and through,  whistle away the day, trusting  that their prophecies of a glorious era ushered in by classical liberalism will come to pass. They can only cross their fingers in hope that the increasing amount of evidence against them is nothing more than a mirage or mere bump in the road to Utopia.

It is rather unfortunate that these mirages, these mere bumps in the road, happen to be known by neighbor and foreigner alike as American citizens. The young, the poor, and those without a college education, these are hit the worst. But so be it! Survival of the richest is the way of the day, and economic eugenics is en vogue.

In days gone by, young Americans performed these jobs. They did for years. Many of them treated these jobs as stepping stones to something better. Some found them to took them as career-worthy vocations. While many of these jobs may be tedious and redundant, they didn’t look half bad on a resume. And with wages superior to Taco Bell, these young ones were able to save up for a home, a higher education, or even retirement.

Tough luck, kiddos. These jobs are going the way of the dinosaur, and their tales will only be told by those begin their sentences with “back in the day.”

Then there are those “down and outs,” the American poor. These men and women are hit especially hard. Many of these people are willing to work long hours on a line, if for no other reasons than paying the bills and supplying basic needs for them and their children.

While these jobs don’t require the skill level of a doctor or a lawyer, they meet many people right where they are. Truth be told, not everyone has the skill level of a doctor or lawyer. And many of these Americans have no ability or opportunity to further their eduction. All they want is some food, clothing, shelter, and enough money to make sure the bills get paid.

Sorry, folks, the rich and famous care little about you. Out of mind, and definitely out of sight, save for the burdensome fly-by during an election year or photo shoot. Place your bets on the lottery. The odds are in its favor on this one.

Take as another example the rest of those without a great deal of formal education. Jobs of this nature were a way to feel the pride that accompanies work and private ownership. And this could be done without having a degree (or even diploma) on the wall. They may have gotten married right out of high school. Maybe there were difficulties they were unable to overcome in a high school or college setting. They may have come from a family without sufficient funds to send them to college. Maybe they simply wanted to dodge the bullet of student loans that so many of their peers spend years trying to pay off. Whatever the case may be, they had their reasons, good or bad, and now their hopes have been dashed to pieces by belligerent ideologues and fideistic advocates of the Austrian school.

And let us not forget the elderly. While I failed to mention them at the beginning of this piece, it would be foolish to ignore the impact downsizing, offshoring, and outsourcing has on many of them.

This age group has really hit hard times. Social Security just isn’t what it used to be. Health risks continually increase, adequate insurance becomes harder to find, and the money simply isn’t there. In many cases it is nothing other than the death of a loved one, leaving them with less money and mess of bills.

Unfortunately, many of these people find themselves back on the line, working tough hours. That is, if they haven’t found a comfortable place as a Walmart greeter or McDonald’s cashier. Any way we go with the scenario, it feels like a lose-lose to those who’ve already lived a life of hard work.

The young, the poor, the less educated, and the elderly. Each of these lack the fitness needed to survive the rough ad tumble of a global economy. So let them rot in the cesspool of a service economy.

This wouldn’t be so sick were it not for the fact that market mystics treat the situation as inevitable, as a sort of social determinism or economic fatalism. These people were just dealt a rough hand. Better luck next time, right?

Lost livelihoods are nothing more than collateral damage in the cut-throat pursuit of efficiency (i.e. the cheapest labor the world has to offer) and never-ending capital surplus. It’s only too bad that the financial fanatics and their political tools have such a difficult time putting a name, a face, and a sense of personhood with the laborers they are tossing to the wind.

Or maybe I am giving them too much credit? Maybe they know, but simply don’t care…


18 Responses

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  1. Totus Tuus ad Jesum per Mariam

    Well, you have succeeded in really ticking me off, but in a good way. Let’s start driving the thieves out of the temple and restore peace once again to our fore Fathers house.

    The question is what can I, as “John Q American”, do to bring about reform and restoration? How can I better spend my money to “keep American jobs; support American businesses”? Is there a list of companies to sell only American made products, only manufacture in America, et cetera?

    During my Christmas shopping I did my best to by from “Mom and Pop” stores whenever I could, especially those owned by Christians and under the Christian name. I’m doing my best to avoid anything that is corporate or “made in China”, (although nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a gift in poor working conditions for slave wages!), but what else can I do?

    It is an interesting thing that whenever a “Mom and Pop” store happened to not have something they would refer me not to another small shop but to “Best Buy”. Only upon after I asked them specifically if there was another local “Mom and Pop” store that might carry what I am looking for did they make a recommendation. It seems to me that those stores need to stick together if they are to survive. And that we must insist on supporting them at all costs.

    So how can we take our energy and passion and help the American worker?

    By Thy Holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, deliver us from evil!


    Apostle of Mary

    December 28, 2008 at 12:40 am

  2. Velleitaire- you have presented a nearly complete summary of the current state of economic affairs of this nation. There is nothing that needs ‘correction.’

    The only additions to your post that I would suggest are the cause of the mess as well as the possible remedies.

    Have you any thoughts about this?


    December 28, 2008 at 10:22 am

  3. Mud_Rake,

    Velleitaire posted this for me, as she is an administrator, but I am its author. It is an adaptation of something I had written on another site over a year ago. Sadly, my ability to post a revision of this entry goes to show that we haven’t changed much over the span of a year.

    What is the problem? A religious zeal for laissez faire and zealotry for capitalism. Private property, the pursuit of increased profit, solidarity, and the proper treatment of people and the environment should not be at odds. Unfortunately, they are. The current philosophy driving the American spirit is a radical form of individualism that sacrifices the collective for the individual rather than finding that harmony where the two function side by side.

    I have written and spoken about what I believe ought to be done in hope of changing the tide here. Here are a few of the things I have listed:

    1. A fair tax system.
    2. Cut off tax havens
    3. Provide incentives for stateside businesses
    4. Protect unions and expand their accessibility
    5. Create Just Wage laws (state or local preferrable)
    6. Restructure our healthcare and insurance system
    7. Utilize the land in welfare reform
    8. Deconstruct corporate farming
    9. Revise monopoly laws to include Big Business
    10. Stricter immigration laws
    11. Prosecute businesses that hire immigrants at slave-like wages and poor working conditions.
    12. Invest in infrastructure, creating jobs.
    13. A balance of localism with economic nationalism.

    These are just a few of the measures we could take. Are they perfect? No. Would many disagree? Sure. But these are a few of the things that could, and should, be done in hope of getting ourselves out of this vicious cycle.


    December 29, 2008 at 12:16 pm

  4. Excellent list! Indeed many would disagree, especially those who screwed our environment, our workers, and our middle class. There are many in Congress who sat by and allowed this fiasco to unfold. Why? Because they were the beneficiaries of the special interest money. Our government has become so corrupt that perhaps we ought to dissolve it and begin anew.

    Thanks for your reply and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.


    December 29, 2008 at 9:46 pm

  5. Totus Tuus ad Jesum per Mariam

    The only two things in that list that would modify/inquire how such a system would work are numbers 4 and 5. Those being; 4. Protect unions and expand their accessibility, and 5. Create Just Wage laws (state or local preferrable))

    “There is a good deal of evidence in favor of the opinion that many of these societies are in the hands of secret leaders, and are managed on principles ill – according with Christianity and the public well-being; and that they do their utmost to get within their grasp the whole field of labor, and force working men either to join them or to starve. Under these circumstances Christian working men must do one of two things: either join associations in which their religion will be exposed to peril, or form associations among themselves and unite their forces so as to shake off courageously the yoke of so unrighteous and intolerable an oppression. No one who does not wish to expose man’s chief good to extreme risk will for a moment hesitate to say that the second alternative should by all means be adopted.”
    (Rerum Navarum 54)

    As far as unions, I would like to see a protection and expansion of Christian, and especially, Catholic unions which would follow the guidelines set forth by the Popes, especially those of Singulari Quadam (On Labor Unions).

    I can remember my Father, who owned his own business, bemoaning the locksmith union that he was forced to join by state law. They were bickering amongst themselves so much all the jobs of the locksmith were slowly being taken up by the other trades.

    Another story that comes to mind is of Glenn Beck. While he was going across the country performing his story “The Christmas Sweater” he was forced by the union to reprint all of the guides to the play. The only thing that was wrong with it was that one of the union members middle initial wasn’t found in his name. He needed to reprint all of them because the union demanded it.

    We must forget about union dues going to such things as Planned Parenthood or to support political candidates that Church would have us oppose.

    Certainly bickering and greed isn’t the idea of a good union. Nor are petty demands. Or support of those things which are evil. Thus the need is for Christian unions, not purely secular unions.

    “Concerning workingmen’s associations, even though their purpose is to obtain earthly advantages for their members, nonetheless those associations are to be most approved and considered as most useful for the genuine and permanent advantage of their members which are established chiefly on the foundation of the Catholic religion and openly follow the directives of the Church.” (Singulari Quadam 4)

    We must also defend the right to work outside unions, a right my Father didn’t have. As Quadragesimo Anno said in section 92, anyone is “free to join a syndicate or not, and only within these limits can this kind of syndicate be called free”.

    “To sum up, then, We may lay it down as a general and lasting law that working men’s associations should be so organized and governed as to furnish the best and most suitable means for attaining what is aimed at, that is to say, for helping each individual member to better his condition to the utmost in body, soul, and property. It is clear that they must pay special and chief attention to the duties of religion and morality, and that social betterment should have this chiefly in view; otherwise they would lose wholly their special character, and end by becoming little better than those societies which take no account whatever of religion.” (Rerum Navarum 57)

    As far as Just Wage laws, how would you propose that those laws operate? Would you advocate for a minimum wage, an appeal to the state for an increase in salary, or some other system? I don’t disagree with Just Wage laws at all, but am curious as to how you would design them.

    “Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages; nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice. In these and similar questions, however – such as, for example, the hours of labor in different trades, the sanitary precautions to be observed in factories and workshops, etc. – in order to supersede undue interference on the part of the State, especially as circumstances, times, and localities differ so widely, it is advisable that recourse be had to societies or boards such as We shall mention presently, or to some other mode of safeguarding the interests of the wage-earners; the State being appealed to, should circumstances require, for its sanction and protection.” (Rerum Navarum 45)


    Apostle of Mary

    December 30, 2008 at 12:39 pm

  6. 4 and 5 are definitely advantageous, but I believe that all of them would help resolve the problem, to a greater or less extent.

    1. A fair tax system.

    This would minimize the crunch on the vast majority of working Americans, allowing those working to take more of their money home. This could go towards many things, if used wisely.

    2. Cut off tax havens

    This would most certainly assist Americans, making it difficult for Big Business to fire Americans, build oversees, ship products back without the inherent cost of taxation and/or tariffs, only then to try selling them to the very people they fired.

    3. Provide incentives for stateside businesses

    How this wouldn’t help the situation is beyond me. This is a no-brainer. The more jobs staying stateside, the fewer people in the unemployment line.

    6. Restructure our healthcare and insurance system

    This would take alleviate the overwhelming burden currently resting on the shoulders of American employers and laborers.

    7. Utilize the land in welfare reform
    8. Deconstruct corporate farming

    These two go together, really. As Chesterton, Belloc and other distributists have rightly noted, the land is too often overlooked by those formulating welfare policies. Why not have the unemployed work on the land under various forms of contract? Their food could be used for the community, creating a bond with their fellow citizens as well as a familiarity with nature and hard work.

    9. Revise monopoly laws to include Big Business

    Big Business is a bust for healthy economies. The centralization of ownership is contrary to the ownership society promoted within Catholic Social Doctrine. These business put the specialists and the locals out of business. This is at the heart of not only Chesterton’s “Outline of Sanity” but of Fr. McNabb’s “The Church and the Land.”

    10. Stricter immigration laws
    11. Prosecute businesses that hire immigrants at slave-like wages and poor working conditions.

    These two go together. I am not wishing for a complete closure of immigration, but making sure that American workers are not being deprived of what were once decent paying jobs by a workforce willing to work for pennies on the dollar and a business apparatus preferring illegal aliens over against their fellow Americans.

    12. Invest in infrastructure, creating jobs.

    With the amount of road, rail, and bridge work needed in this country, from local to federal, this seems (at least to me) to be a no-brainer.

    13. A balance of localism with economic nationalism.

    Localism would call for a decentralization of economic power, providing more jobs in areas where specialists are in demand rather than megastores filled with people who have no clue about the product or craft merely selling the product for an hourly wage. Economic nationalism would place a greater emphasis on trade policies that have American interests in mind. These two, when put together would help protect American economic success without destroying local cultures or international trade.

    In all, I think the list is well done. Is it complete? Probably not. But it is certainly something to work with.


    December 30, 2008 at 8:07 pm

  7. I’m not sure what Apostle of Mary was suggesting about unions and just wages. What does the Pope and/or being Catholic have to do with these issues?

    What are you suggesting? Seems to me that ‘religion’ has little to do with either of these issues unless one refers to the Beatitudes.

    Can you explain, please?


    December 30, 2008 at 10:25 pm

  8. Unions (and/or Guilds) and Just Wages are key elements within Catholic Social Doctrine, also known as CSD or CST. CSD is what guides the Catholic, at least the ones who take the Church’s teaching serious, in his or her socio-economic positions. Thus, at least to a Catholic, religion has much to do with these matters.

    On a side note: I would prefer that wages be fixed by unions or guilds, particularly those closest to the town under consideration. This takes into account regional cost of living.

    If the state must get involved, I prefer it be local, regional, or state. The closer to home the better.


    December 31, 2008 at 1:34 pm

  9. Totus Tuus ad Jesum per Mariam

    Paleo articulated my position pretty clearly. I would add a little to it though.

    As far as the need for Catholic Unions I guess it comes from my purely Catholic belief that “in everything you must do you must do it for Christ”. I believe with the Pope that unions should work not only for the temporal benefit of their members, but even more for the spiritual benefit. One task is for this passing world, the other is for the eternal world.

    On a more practical and worldly level I like Catholic unions for proper moral instruction and less shenanigans like those I mentioned in the previous post. If the union is truly Catholic then it will teach its members frugality of spending their just wage, it will preserve them from vices, promote and defend their family, work toward justice for all members of society, not just those in the union, and other such things that Catholic have an obligation to do.

    It is because of that obligation that I bring up the Popes and Catholic unions. Non-Catholics can reach the same conclusions that Catholic can, can work toward justice in the same way, and be great and noble people all through their life. But Catholics don’t have a choice in the matter. The Church demands just wages, good working conditions, the protection of the family, care for the environment, et cetera, and if we want to be Catholic, and in the words of Peter, “to whom else shall we go, it has the words of eternal life”, then we must obey and fight for its beliefs. Whereas a purely secular or Christian union has no such obligations.

    The Catholic Church’s eternal stand on issues, being unable to change its opinion but firmly grounded in the truth, also assures me that the union will never change in time. It won’t be for the environment one day, and then the next say its okay to destroy the environment. At least not without withdrawing itself from the Church.

    There is always the factor of a person being forced to do things that are morally reprehensible. A man may have to choose between joining a union which uses his union dues to destroy his Church, kill the unborn, sponsor the abomination of homosexual marriage, or other such things, or being unable to support himself or his family. With a Catholic union that wouldn’t ever happen. Union dues couldn’t be used in evil ways.

    Just wage follows the same path. Catholics are obligated to pay it, workers are obligated to defend it for themselves and their co-workers, et cetera. Here the Catholic Church is a strong defense.

    Now as far as just wage laws, I would be more in favor of the state being the final appeal of those who don’t receive a just wage from their employer. Perhaps they would take the case before the judge, provide evidence for their need of a higher wage, safer conditions, whatever the complaint may be, and the judge would decide upon the case and set the wages. That would allow for as much freedom between the union and the employer as possible to determine what would work out best for both of them, limiting injustices against the worker, employer, and society. (A wage to high could force downsizing, which would lead to unemployment, and damage a society. (Quadragesimo Anno 74)) It would also give a last recourse to those poor and oppressed, and would prevent strikes and walk-outs. I believe a system like this was mentioned in Quadragesimo Anno in numbers 91-96, in which “the civil authority itself constitutes the syndicate as a juridical personality in such a manner as to confer on it simultaneously a certain monopoly-privilege, since only such a syndicate, when thus approved, can maintain the rights (according to the type of syndicate) of workers or employers, and since it alone can arrange for the placement of labor and conclude so-termed labor agreements.” (92)


    Apostle of Mary

    January 2, 2009 at 2:44 pm

  10. Agreed. Catholic Unions are most certainly preferable. Unfortunately, so many Catholics have read more Friedman, Hayek, and Mises than they have the popes or Catholic social theorists. An unfortunate reality.

    I am glad you continue to post here. Your insight is quite valuable. And your love for Catholic Social Doctrine is very encouraging.



    January 2, 2009 at 3:00 pm

  11. woods i can understand, but i am curious as to why rockwell, mises, and rothbard would be listed for this post, especially when considering the recommendations listed above??

    take the first idea for instance: a fair tax system?
    as in “fair tax”, or “fair” tax?

    and on top of that: cut off tax havens?

    neither of these sound like a great first step towards reliving the pressures on the poor and fixed income citizenry.

    tax “relief” at least sounds a lot better, even if it wouldn’t satisfy my desire of no taxes.


    January 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm

  12. Woods economic philosophy rests upon that commonly identified with those men. Nothing more.

    I am not an advocate of Bortz’s Fair Tax. A tax structure that takes into account one’s ability to secure a humane livelihood is, at least in my estimation, honorable and fair.

    Yes, cut off tax havens. It is a rather vicious cycle, really.

    A company hires American workers at decent wages, often with benefits. This company decides to offshore in order to secure their location in a tax haven. The American workers are now out of work. Consequently, money is short. So the company that left the US ships cheap goods back into the country. These cheap goods are now the most cost effective option for those who once made, and often purchased, the goods prior to offshoring.

    As I said, a vicious (and embarrassing) circle.


    January 3, 2009 at 5:13 pm

  13. so why not just reduce or abolish taxes here?

    “A tax structure that takes into account one’s ability to secure a humane livelihood”

    again, this may sound good, but your idea of a tax structure will be different than others’. why not allow people to retain the money they keep?


    January 4, 2009 at 10:11 am

  14. “why not allow people to retain the money they keep?”


    i.e.: keep the fruits of one’s labor.

    this would allow you, and others who agree with your idea of an ‘economic infrastructure’, to invest your money how you see fit. and it also ensures freedom for future generations instead of institutionalizing these tax systems for newer generations to deal with.

    i have to deal with social security. what a pain. if i could opt out i would have no beef. and that’s the most obvious example…. there are many.


    January 4, 2009 at 10:15 am

  15. “why not allow people to retain the money they make?”

    If I were to be an anarchist, or even one who believed the civil government ought to be on a volunteer basis (something I considered years ago), then citizens keeping the entirety of their money they earn would be my answer. But I am not an adherent to either of these philosophies.


    January 4, 2009 at 10:34 am

  16. well, what is “poor”? how is this defined? would they have to pay taxes?


    January 5, 2009 at 10:14 pm

  17. The poor would typically constitute a person or family unable to meet the requirements of a meager life. This would most importantly concern food, clothing, and shelter. I know of no distributist, though there may be some, who would tax those within this category.

    I am also unaware of any who would tax those who, while having sufficient funds to meet such bare requirements, would then be unable to do so.


    January 5, 2009 at 10:56 pm

  18. Totus Tuus ad Jesum per Mariam

    It seems to me that having those who are “unable to be the requirements of a meager life” taxed is not only contrary to justice, (sort of a stealing from the poor to give to the rich), but contrary to the very purpose of society; “the very chief end of man’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government is the preservation of their property”, which was defined earlier as “the life, liberty, and estate, of a man”. (John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government sections 87, 123, and 124)

    A society not only doesn’t help a man achieve those three great ends, (by not protecting his life, liberty, and estate), but hurts his life by taking things necessary for his very life, causes great discomfort and difficulty and forces the poor man to work even harder and possibly for slave wages, and thus limits and fails to defend his liberty, and clearly hurts his estate. Of course a government has a right to tax and take from a mans estate, in order to properly defend “life, liberty and estate”. But to take from a man such a necessary portion of his estate in order to defend his estate is silly at best.

    All this becomes even more ridiculous when we look to the Church for guidance and see that the purpose of the State isn’t only to defend the property of its members, (though that certainly is an important function, and large part of what a state is supposed to do), but the State’s primary role is the promotion of the common good of all its members. The proposition of taking away even the little that the poor have isn’t in the interest of the common good.

    Reading classical authors with Catholic eyes I would add something to the words of Locke. I would say that it is the duty of a state not only to protect the property of the individual members of the state, (property being defined as life, liberty, and estate), but also to insure or uphold a certain basic property for its members.

    In other words to make sure that each member has a full and healthy life, whether that be by paying for their health care when necessary, providing meals and shelter at poor houses, or some other thing necessary for life.

    True liberty, which consists in providing a basic education (for man is primarily a rational creature), religious freedom and toleration (for he is a religious creature with obligations toward his Creator), protection against slavery of man kinds, (whether that be the protection against vice, or against overwhelm debt, or physical slavery), or some other offense against liberty), and other such protections against the enemies of liberty.

    And so on with estate.

    To tax ‘any who, while having sufficient funds to meet such bare requirements, would then be unable to do so (after taxation)’, is again contrary to the principles discussed above. If a government is instituted to defend the property of its citizens, and even more for the promotion of the common good, then a tax system must only effect those whose life, liberty or estate is not threatened by those taxes, and that wouldn’t do greater harm then good to that individual, (as the first would be an offense against the first stated reason for government, the protection of property; and the second would be an offense against the overall purpose of government, the common good.)


    Apostle of Mary

    January 6, 2009 at 12:18 am

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