Mal-investment destroys worthy ventures.

A government subsidy can negate the influence of a real market loss and make an unprofitable venture last longer.  Subsidy can stand between a loss and a necessary change in strategy, preventing a necessary adjustment.  A loss ordinarily tells a producer that a product change is needed because his product isn’t making any money.  To preserve his business capital, a business person makes the changes that lead to profits.  To do that he has to know what the public wants and what they can afford to pay.  Prolonging the lifespan of an unprofitable venture might save a company from going out of business in the short term and therefore it might also keep some people employed who would otherwise lose their job.  But it also causes prices to be higher.  And it causes harms to the rest of the economy.  Why does it cause harms?

Because mal-investment wastes resources.  There’s only so much economic opportunity and putting money into unprofitable ventures keeps money out of profitable ones where money can circulate virtuously to benefit more people.  By putting money into unprofitable ventures, markets can become fantastically removed from real world feedback.  And a subsidy can make an unprofitable venture look profitable when it is failing to provide services or products that anyone wants.  That warps the market which is supposed to give everyone the opportunity to make mutually beneficial exchanges.  In fact it can undermine the benefit of exchange entirely.  The market should be respected as a negotiated space for free people to exchange products and services that provide real benefits.

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Miracle-employee needed!

I have noticed some strange developments in the job market.  The other day, I saw a job advertisement that said with only a high school diploma and a flexible work attitude, someone was needed who could fix a mechanical problem, repair an electrical problem, and do a landscaping job, keep up the budget and do the janitorial work.  I have to say that I think the job sounded like a person who could do the work of 5 employees.

Another job, asked for a person with only a high school diploma to help do all the paperwork on a deadline for a staff of five employees, go out to do field work in inclement weather (and carry up to 45 pounds), be familiar with all the basic anatomy parts of local fauna and take blood or other samples from the same creatures, all on a flexible schedule with extra weekend work-time as needed and while keeping peace in the department and with the public, while taking heed to supervisory advice and being self-motivated.  This job sounded like a person who was expected to do what the overworked staff couldn’t finish doing for themselves in a department strapped for resources.  Why didn’t management take steps to help people keep up with their workload?

Both of these jobs were advertisements along the line of “Need miracle.  Please come and save us.  Be our Miracle worker.”  While I was out shopping for groceries I came to a traffic stop when the light turned red.  I was waiting on the same corner where a veteran’s group often passes the can for donations.  I noticed multiple homemade signs on the grass advertising to fill healthcare positions.  The signs said “We Need RN’s, LPN’s, CMA’s.”  And then there were a couple of phone numbers.  It seemed a desperate move leaving signs like that around.  Apparently any warm bodied RN, LPN or CNA was being sought.  In the not too distant past, positions like these were filled through other means than street side signs.  It seems that either the resources that nurses need to do their job aren’t there, or the workload is too much.  The expectations for nurses are so impossible that they can’t keep going in their career.  Demand is high but the positions remain unfilled.

As our fiscal policies and monetary system has abused most Americans, and ruined some, as our economy has slowed down, as we keep hearing people say that robots are going to take all the jobs, it’s helpful to notice that something has gone wrong with the jobs marketplace and it isn’t robots.  Instead, it is lack of workplace incentive to support workplace excellence or even any kind of stable workplace performance.  It’s the substitution of half-way measures and half-way training for really great effort and ability that was never commonplace but that once could be found because it was once supported with rewards, resources and policies that encouraged solid performance.  Many jobs now have insufficient numbers of employees that can’t meet the demands of the workplace.  Today we see in practice the foolish notion that anyone can do any job, or even any five jobs.  The idea that a special person exists out there who needs no training, who can manage complicated jobs with only a high school education and a flexible work attitude  and do any kind of work is not realistic.   Employees need training, education, resources and support to work well in the complex jobs of today.

The job market has also been harmed low wages, in a rip off economic system of high taxes and expensive regulations.   An employee’s skill and positive attitude will go further in a supportive environment rather than a bullying or computer monitored one.  People can’t constantly improve productivity unless they get more resources like a new technology that really works to help them.  Some work environments have begun to be premised not just on miracles but on a magic technology (that is always just around the corner).  But where’s the magic that will really work?  How about the magic of reasonable rewards and adequate resources for good work?  That once worked for everyone.

If you want to understand how the United States moved from economic liberalism and individual freedom to a regulated and centralized economy with more than one million laws, read Political Catsup with Economy Fries available at Amazon.com.