Witnessing Donald Trump tweet bully American and foreign businesses is inspiring.
Four years from now the net result might be zero but he’s the 1st president in my memory who actually relishes scaring/humiliating corporate CEOs publicly.
Since our CEOs are primarily lickspittles and bootlicks (to shareholders, Wall Street, money, power, etc) some are trying to be apple-polishers already. They wish to get ahead of the game. ‘[Many] companies fear being lashed by Trump,” reads Fortune today. “Everyone is trying to curry favor with the new administration,” parrots someone at the LA Times.
Take Walmart, which today announced it’s going to create “10,000 new jobs” this year after decimating American employment and communities to China for profit in the last three decades. Of course it’s nonsense.
Just like the company’s assertions that it sells more stuff from America these days.
Reports Reuters: “Walmart’s job announcement follows the retailer’s decision in January 2016 to announce the closing of 154 poor-performing U.S. stores, which affected 10,000 U.S. workers.” That’s what you call a zero-sum game. Literally.
Walmart also is promising to open “training Academies around the country” to provide “specialty training” to its employees because everyone knows the real reason they’re been cut loose from the economy in the last decade is their LACK OF TRAINING, particularly the kind you need to work in retail!
Training academies! It sounds so special.
Americans always need more training! And over the last 20 years the training and retraining has worked so well, now we have Donald Trump!
And here’s a skit/song about American training. It’s funny, vile and so apropos! As you know I’ve had it up to here with the Americans and their need for training meme.
The rewards of retraining are highest for computing skills, but there is no natural pathway from trucker to coder. And even if there were, many of those already in the workforce lack both the confidence and the capability to make the switch …
There is much talk about lifelong learning, though few countries are doing much about it. The Nordics fall into this less populated camp. But it is Singapore [the wart on the tip of Malaya] that can lay claim to the most joined-up approach with its SkillsFuture initiative.
Given Singapore’s size and political system, this approach is not easily replicated in many other countries … —the Economist
“Regardless of what Trump says, coal and oil are not the future. Mining and drilling operations will shut down in the coming decades. A plan to educate or retrain those who will undoubtedly be out of jobs will be necessary in future.” — some letter-writer
But in an economy in which automation and globalization are rapidly changing and even eliminating certain jobs, American workers and companies might come to see education not as a life-stage, but as a way of living …
When The Atlantic’s Alana Semuels investigated ways for Democrats to help the Rust Belt economy, she reported that almost every economist she spoke with mentioned the same thing: worker training program.
But as Semuels pointed out, there’s just one problem with government retraining programs. They don’t really work. Workers are reluctant to attend them for fear that they’re crummy … — the Atlantic
Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind the slime of a new bureaucracy. — Kafka
The heroism of the 1%: The NY Times reports that “one of the most popular events” at Davos is “a simulation of a refugee’s experience, where Davos attendees crawl on their hands and knees and pretend to flee from advancing armies.” — Barbara Ehrenreich, today
It is this group of so-called plutocrats that largely failed to anticipate — and may have even unconsciously generated — the seeping anti-establishment movement across the globe …
“Success,” [Naomi Klein] wrote, continuing to describe the middle class, “is a party to which they were not invited, and they know in their hearts that this rising wealth and power is somehow directly connected to their growing debts and powerlessness.”
The United States ranked 23rd out of 30 advanced economies. In terms of wage and nonwage compensation, it ranked last; in social protection, it came in 25th. It also came in 25th on “intermediation of business investment” — in other words, the amount of money that goes into productive investments, such as research and development and infrastructure as opposed to share buybacks. (Norway ranked No. 1. Living standards there rose by 10.6 percent from 2008 to 2013 while the economy grew only 0.5 percent.)
A Davos forum executive, Adrian Monck, trots out the favorite globalist’s tale: Their work has lifted “billions” out of poverty:
“The benefits of globalization are there to see, in jobs in China, India and many emerging markets” …
Dean Baker, economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, as well as Bernie Sanders, have taken aim at this glib dismissal of the cost to Americans over the past 40 years.
Their argument was that Sanders, by pushing trade policies to help U.S. workers, specifically manufacturing workers, risked undermining the well-being of the world’s poor because exporting manufactured goods to the United States and other wealthy countries is their path out of poverty. The role model was China, which by exporting has largely eliminated extreme poverty and drastically reduced poverty among its population. Sanders and his supporters would block the rest of the developing world from following the same course …
The story made a nice contribution to preserving the status quo, but it was less valuable if you respect honesty in public debate.
The problem in the logic of this argument should be apparent to anyone who has taken an introductory economics course. It assumes that the basic problem of manufacturing workers in the developing world is the need for someone who will buy their stuff. If people in the United States don’t buy it, then the workers will be out on the street and growth in the developing world will grind to a halt …
Baker continues, arguing that what the globalists contend is good for everyone constitutes abnormal economics:
[The] United States, Japan, and the European Union should be running large trade surpluses, which is what an outflow of capital means. Rich countries like ours should be lending money to developing countries, providing them with the means to build up their capital stock and infrastructure while they use their own resources to meet their people’s basic needs.
This wasn’t just theory. That story accurately described much of the developing world, especially Asia, through the 1990s …
Instead, we have the reverse in which the United States runs a huge trade deficit and millions of jobs have been sacrificed to Asia.
“In short, there is no truth to the story that the job loss and wage stagnation faced by manufacturing workers in the United States and other wealthy countries was a necessary price for reducing poverty in the developing world,” writes Baker. “This is a fiction that is used to justify the upward redistribution of income in rich countries.”
It’s worth adding Americans were never asked whether they wanted to be a party to the process which started with the Clinton administration and continues to this day. They were just told to eat it, that there would be benefits, always vague, like better lives due to ubiquitous computing and always, cheaper stuff. You could go back to school or retrain and retrain again as you tumbled down your own personalized slope to total ruin.
But yes, indeed there is cheaper stuff, as a trip to a year or two shopping exclusively at any dollar store will show you. There has to be. Because the better jobs never arrived and dollar processed foodstuffs, candy, sundries, bathroom cleaners that don’t clean, plastic socks, tights and cowboy hats are all one can afford.
However, a referendum on the process, a rejection of the globalists’ Trade Treaty of US Versailles has come in. It’s the election of Donald Trump and the rejection of Clintonism. Whether this means anything other than a continued hardening of root hog or die as the prevailing system of all systems remains to be seen.
At Davos, they’re worried enough to come up witha new phrase — inclusive globalism. Like last year’s inclusive capitalism , it’s just pap.
. 02/09/15 Which brings us to inclusive capitalism, a cloud of foul air described as new economic perfume, emanating from the camp of Hillary Clinton and her coterie of millionaire groupie economic advisers …
With advice from more than 200 policy experts, Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to answer what has emerged as a central question of her early presidential campaign strategy: how to address the anger about income inequality without overly vilifying the wealthy [who are her major benefactors] …
Behind many of these proposals is a philosophy, endorsed by Mrs. Clinton’s closest economic advisers and often referred to as inclusive capitalism, that contends that a majority of Americans do not want to punish the rich; they just want to feel that they, too, have a chance to succeed.
They are part of a growing movement in rural America that immerses many young people in a culture — not just conservative news outlets but also home and church environments — that emphasizes contemporary conservative values. It views liberals as loathsome, misinformed and weak, even dangerous …
While many blame poor decisions by Mrs. Clinton for her loss, in an environment like this, the Democratic candidate probably didn’t matter. And the Democratic Party may not for generations to come. The Republican brand is strong in rural America — perhaps even strong enough to withstand a disastrous Trump presidency.
Rural conservatives feel that their world is under siege, and that Democrats are an enemy to be feared and loathed.
Loathsome and loathed. There are no stronger words.
An interesting sidenote is that the column’s writer, Robert Leonard, references J. C. Watts, an exCongressman.
That’s Julius Ceasar Watts, an African American, who was a star football player for the Oklahoma Sooners.
There are two social tides running here, both bad for the Democratic Party.
But while Americans feel justifiably angry at alleged interference with their political process, they have also been handed a mirror, and the reflection should disturb them …
Yeltsin relied on US political strategists – including a former aide to Bill Clinton – who had a direct line back to the White House. When Yeltsin eventually won, the cover of Time magazine was “Yanks to the rescue: The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win”.
Without the chaos and deprivations of the US-backed Yeltsin era, Putinism would surely not have established itself.
Software, artificial intelligence and robots will never have what the Tin Man eventually got (or, rather, always had) in The Wizard of Oz. It’s Tom Friedman’s newest kick only he doesn’t have the Tin Man, he has a friend you’ve never heard of, “Dov Seidman, C.E.O. of LRN, which advises companies on leadership and how to build ethical cultures ..” That’s LRN, presumably pronounced learn, only like — shorter by two letters and in ALL CAPS.
“[What] will enable us to continue to create social and economic value?” asks Friedman. “The answer, [the LRNer told him], “is the one thing machines will never have: ‘a heart.’ ”
And the people who will win the jobs of today and tomorrow will be those who know science and math and who also have heart.
You see, I have science, math, and technology but no heart, presumably. Heart is rare and up until now thought not particulary necessary as a talent or skill. Right?
“I call these STEMpathy jobs,” continues Friedman in his dig for more of just the right nose gold. “[Jobs] that combine STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills with human empathy, like the doctor who can extract the best diagnosis from IBM’s Watson on cancer and then best relate it to a patient.”
STEMpathy doctor: “You have stage IV esophageal cancer, Mr. Schmidt. IBM’s Watson has poured over the result of our scans and the literature and the average prognosis is six to eight weeks. In that time we will first use whole brain radiation to slow the growth of metastatic tumors in your head so that they don’t interfere with two weeks of subsequent chemotherapy …”
All right, that example really isn’t a good illustration.
Perhaps Friedman has an even better one up his sleeve? Well, no.
The STEMpathy workers are represented as being about or in something called Paint Nite:
No wonder one of the fastest-growing U.S. franchises today is Paint Nite, which runs paint-while-drinking classes for adults. Bloomberg Businessweek explained in a 2015 story that Paint Nite “throws after-work parties for patrons who are largely lawyers, teachers and tech workers eager for a creative hobby.”
No modern writer has been lampooned more. Hundreds if not thousands of man-hours have been spent teaching robots to produce automated Friedman-prose, in what collectively is a half-vicious, half-loving tribute to a man who raised bad writing to the level of an art form … We will remember Friedman for interviewing 76 percent of the world’s taxi drivers … and for his unmatched, God-given ability to write nonsensical metaphors …”
“Leaders, businesses and communities will still leverage technology to gain advantage, but those that put human connection at the center of everything they do — and how they do it — will be the enduring winners …”
STEMpathy at drunk amateur painter parties, innovation near you. Boy howdy!
Tom Friedman, skating along on a slippery cream pie mess that represents the future.
Outline — to be pitched to Amazon/Hulu/Hollywood/Netflix
Episode 1: In which ULTOR, standing for Ultimate Mentor, a secret government artificial intelligence development project, goes operational. The President is given the opportunity to ask the first big question.
Episode 2 of Ultimate Mentor, A.I.: The President: “How do I end inequality & division in America?”
Episode 3 of Ultimate Mentor, A.I.: ULTOR: “Give Americans money to leave for better places. Pay better places to host.”
Episode 4 of Ultimate Mentor, A.I.: All transcripts classified. ULTOR code lobotomized and sold to Uber and Google to drive cars.