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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Monday, November 27, 2017

Thought For the Day!

“Out of every hundred new ideas ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for those are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history.”Will and Ariel Durant

“We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”C.S. Lewis

I think it's a good thing to remember the graduating class of every profession has a top half, and a bottom half.  Which means fifty percent of all professionals are in the bottom half of their profession.  Now if the top half all score 100 on all their tests, and the bottom half all score 99 on all their tests, then it's not big deal.  But if the top half score 100 and the bottom half score 70, then that matters.  

But now that all these professions are being scored on their DEI/ESG value, and since it appears that now outweighs any scores dealing with professional merit, does it matter what any of them score?

I often talk about the limitations of economic data. That’s not the only problem. Even if we all agree on the data, we disagree on what to do with it because we all (or at least most of us) have different desired outcomes. Furthermore, even if we agree on the validity of the data, we don't agree on what it means or what we should do with it. From there, wishful thinking takes over. Wishful thinking is benign compared to political agendas, which can be terribly destructive. Forecasts become less objective and more extreme.

Politicians tend to choose economists who tell them what they want to hear. This seems to have gotten worse this last decade. The pandemic doubled down on bad forecasting and governance.  In reality, though, extreme events are rare. That’s why they’re called “extreme.” The most likely economic outcome is that we just muddle through. No one gets everything they wanted, nor everything they feared.

 I think of myself as an optimist. In spite of all the bad decisions (I will let you decide which are the bad and/or good decisions), the free market, often referred to as Adam Smith's invisible hand, keeps moving humanity in the direction of economic growth. Yes, there are the occasional bumps that we call recessions, but we get through those.

Interesting piece to which I would like to make some observations.
First, the problem of disagreement with those who agree on the data. I was an exterminator for 40 years, and the owner of pest control company for 30 years, who was heavily involved in my industry’s affairs. The man who was the executive director of our national association was as far left as I was far right, but we always agreed on the facts. We just didn’t agree on what to do with them. 
I wanted to attack the green left and their catspaws at EPA, and he wanted to find harmony, and that was the direction the board members generally wanted to go. Now, what's the end result of all this compromise/capitulation to leftist cognitive dissonance?   Our national association is neck deep in the DEI/ESG mentality.   Those who stood against all that are now retired, there’s not one active member willing to be the rock in the current and stand against insanity.  I’ve often said heterodoxy isn’t for the faint of heart.  I've yet to see anything that disputes that.
Second, demographics, which will also play into by first point. I’m 77, the beginning of the Baby Boomers, and I remember the Era of Easy Hiring, and the era of manufacturing plant closings, all over the nation, many of which moved to foreign countries. I explained why that was happening, which was a direct result of two things. WWII, and unions. That post WWII period was a 25-year economic and demographic anomaly in world history.
After WWII the only industrial base left in the world of any size was here in the United States, so if people wanted manufactured goods, they bought them from us. But during the war something happened that clearly must have rattled manufacturers. The coal miners went on strike.  
The message that sent was if the unions will go on strike in the midst of the war, the unions will be out of control after the war was over. And they were! So, while I can’t prove it, they clearly must have started planning their closings even then. Why I’m I so sure of that? Because that’s what I would have done. So, they gave the unions what they wanted to just keep those plants up and running until they could shut them down and move on.
They didn’t upgrade or modernize the plants here in America, and that alone is telling, and started opening plants overseas, or created mergers with foreign companies. Also, the FDR administration is largely responsible for these long-term negative consequence with passage, of among the many other destructive things that heavily communist infested administration promulgated, the Wagner Act.
Finally, there’s one thing I think is being largely ignored about the current generation of young American workers. They’re losers. I have a young man who owns a company that comes every year and edges my flower gardens and puts down mulch. He and his crew do a wonderful job.  I told him he was fortunate because he’s part of a generation of losers, and will have no competition from his peers, assuring success. He agreed.
Owners of pest control companies have a substantial problem getting help, especially competent hard-working help. One owner friend of mine said he hired two last year, and after all the back ground checks and all the stuff owners do, neither of them showed up for even the first day.  Another who is the owner of a 120 year family company is looking to sell for that reason.  And I’m hearing similar stories around the industry.  And pest control companies are paying a lot more than they did five years ago.
There's another subtle aspect to this that might just be exclusive to pest control, I don't know.  The pest control industry has traditionally made up of a lot of companies with ten employees or less, and a handful of large regional and national companies.  The smaller company owners were the foundation for all the local, state and national trade associations. With current demographics, that's changing and the large regional and national companies are dominating everything at the national level,  ignoring, and even undermining the local and state associations, and because of the demographics they're dying.  That's leading to troubling times for the pest control industry, and for the nation's economic sanity.
I consider myself a pessimistic optimist. I hope for the best, but the underlying realities suggest the worst. I do believe the EU is doomed, demographically, economically, philosophically, and morally.   Europe has a moral compass that has no idea which way is north, and that’s becoming stunningly obvious for America’s leaders, and I include both Republican and Democrats.    
Despite the recent hype about Robert Kennedy Jr., it’s clear his moral compass doesn’t have a clue which way is north, and his hiring of Dennis Kucinich as his campaign manager is more than telling, since both of them are moral opportunists. America has done nothing to deserve another Kennedy President.

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