Monthly Archives: February 2012

Mason Baveux Explains–The Economy

Forgive me, but he’s been pestering me to write some more since I’m up to my eyelids at work.  Then I asked him what he wanted to write about.

Thanks lad for the bloggery keys again.  Ise seen you’re up to yer arse in that computer stuff at work, so’s I figgered I’d step up like a friend and do one of the bloggerys for you. 

Everybody what’s got an opinion and an arsehole says the same thing: It’s the Economy Stupid.  Now I’ll tell you straight, she matters where you put the comma.  If’n someone says “It’s the Economy (comma here) Stupid”, they be callin you out and your right snappy riposte would be to say “Learn how to punctuate, arsehole!”  I’s expressing a preference for “It’s the Economy and she’s Pooched!” as theres less chance someone could mistake what you be sayin. 

What I mean by Pooched is:  In the Ditch.  Upside Down, Gone Cattywampus.  Taken a vacation to the Idiot Mansion.  Dumber Than A Box of Hammers.  Or to be impolite:  Fooked.

Here’s what I got to say:  There was a time when countries made stuff and sold it to other countries at a profit.  That’s what you call bein in business.  That lad Gupta what runs the Quicke down the ways sells milk and bread and smokes and about nine hundred other things.  He puts a price tag on’em.  Since Gupta’s a smart lad, the price tag he puts on the stuff is less than he pays to buy them from Quickie, or National Grocers, or where ever the hell he buys his stuff from.  When he sells somethin, let’s say she’s a magazine, he makes 30 cents or a half-dollar.  That’s whats called profit and that’s what Gupta’s in business for.  Sell enough soda, magazines or bread and soon enough you’ve made a couple of bucks.  From that couple of bucks, you can buy your own groceries for home, pay the rent, keep the lights on plus keep body and soul together.  Gupta’s just an example here, a small one what I know about.  Countries do the same thing. 

Canada, for the longest time was known as “Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water”  What they mean was our country was where the Brits got the wood for the fleet, our wheat, and even back in the Voyeurs Day, beaver pelts, what got made into hats for all the swells in London.  They’d send over a big sailin ship to Montreal or Quebec City and all the Voyeurs would sell their beaver pelts to the Hudson’s Bay Company, who would sell’em to the Brits, who would sail’em back to Britain, then sell’em again to a hatter who would make hats.  Every step along the way, somebody make a couple of pences on each beaver.  That, again is what you call business, or to go all political, capitalism. 

Canada was where folks came to get our resources.  We’d get a bit from diggin the stuff out of the ground, like coal, or cuttin up the trees, but eventually whatever we dug up or grew, would come back at us as something more expensive that somebody else, someplace else made into something. 

We got a little smarter around the 50’s, when we started makin stuff, like the Avro Arrow, the St, Lawrence Seaway, or great whacks of electricity.  We made it into somethin more useful and made more profit.  Like televisions, there used to be a company called Electrohome down towards London, what made tv’s and stereos and radios.  They build the cabinets, made the tubes, did the wiring and all the other things what go into a tv, then they sold them to people so’s they could watch the Leafs actually win a friggin game. 

Electrohome has been gone for years, as well as Admiral and RCA.  TV was invented on both side of the border, what with Reginald Fessenden here and Philo Farnsworth down the US, more or less inventin the whole thing.  But we don’t make tv’s here any more.  Nor does the US.  People are watchin more tv than ever, but not on something made here by us.

Used to be Grand Rapids Michigan was the Office Equipment Capital of the World.  My great uncle Duke used to drive truck, takin furniture grade veneer to Grand Rapids every day, for them to make into desks and bookcases.  Later he took steel coil there to be stamped into filing cabinets, chairs and whatnot that was sold around the whole world.  Today?  About all you can get in Grand Rapids is cold.  They don’t make things there anymore.  Sure they’res jobs, if all you want to do is work at a department store, sellin stuff from somewhers else, to someone what also has a job at a restaurant that you go to once a week and leave a tip so’s in a couple of months time they’ve saved up enough to buy a clock radio from your store, what was made somewhere else. 

All you see is a service sector economy, serving a service sector economy and nobody makes things or does things except what they’re told to do.  It’s like a snake eatin its tail.  Eventually the light comes on and we’ll figure out we’re chewin on our own arse.

Which comes back to why the economy is pooched.  Like Gupta, we’ve got to make a profit on things, or we might as well close it up and stay home.  The best way to make a profit on things is to make things better, or faster or with more nifty features on’em than anyone else and then sell’em for more than what it costs to make’em.

So’s this Alberta Oilsands thing got me thinkin.  We got about the other half of the world’s oil there, but she’s gummed up in sand.  We figured out how to get the sand out of the oil and now we’re talkin about sendin the oil down south on some pipeline they want to build to Texas, but Obama don’t want to let the pipeline go, as nobody has figured out if it’s a good thing for the environment.  That’s fine, as we only got one environment and we should take care of it, but what we’re talkin about shipping out is the crude.  Not the gasoline, Jet A, Sunoco 260 or stove oil.  Just the friggin crude, like when we sent wheat and beavers to England and got back hats and bread at fifty seven times the price of what we got paid in the first place. 

Screw that I say.  We got the knowhow and the people to make that Oilsands crude oil into stuff.  We can sell the finished product to whoever shows up at the door with the cash.  If the Yanks want to pay top dollar, then we sell it to the Yanks.  If the Chinese want to pay top dollar, then we’ll sell it to them too.  If none of them want to pay top dollar, then screw them both and we’ll build our own pipeline to tube it to Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City or Halifax.  There’s folks in all the cities what would want a good payin job workin on the pipeline, workin in a refinery or workin movin it around.  It’s our friggin oil and we should be makin a big buck on it what helps a lot of Canadians, not just some empty suit of clothes sittin in a boardroom in Houston.  Eff that noise.

Besides, there’s lots of other stuff you make from oil.  Like plastic pellets what they make into bags, or kids toys.  Use our own friggin oil to make that stuff and sell it to everyone else.  They need plastic bags in Ohio, and Ontario ain’t that far, so the bags would be cheaper than what someone could buy em for from China and everyone still makes a buck or two of profit.  And there’s nothin wrong with profit.  Ask Gupta.  He’s makin a go of it.

There’s a whole other side to this makin a profit and that the politics of her.  For instance, garlic.  We grow garlic here in Ontario and it’s good stuff.  I goes to the Loblaws and there’s Ontario Garlic, grown about fifty miles from the store.  She’s $4 for six heads.  Right next to it is some more garlic, $2 for six heads.  Where’s she grown?  It ain’t Ontario.  Which tells me someone’s playin fast and loose with what they got on offer.  Was that garlic grown on a field near Lambton Country, harvested by a family in the 519 and trucked for an hour or two to a terminal in Toronto?  If it’s the Ontario stuff, it sure was.

If the garlic is from somewhere else here’s where the math falls over.  They grew it on some field that used to be used for nuclear waste that the government gave them for free, along with the busload of political prisoners to plant and harvest the garlic, payin’em a dollar a month.  Then the government pays the shipping from the other side of the world, on their own ships, then sells it to a broker for half of what they charge in the Loblaws.  If you’re tellin me it costs a buck to grow and ship six heads of garlic from halfway around the world, then you’re either usin human slaves or you’ve found a way to break the rules of physics that none of us have ever found out about.

Or, your government is subsidizing you so much that you can afford to lose big money every time you plant some garlic.  Where’d they get all that money from?  The same holds true with shirts, or shrimp or electronics or furniture.  Someone is playin fast and loose to put us out of business, so’s they can jack the prices up later.  That’s one of the oldest tricks in the business book.  Once you’re the only place to get something, you can charge the moon. 

So’s maybe it’s time to stop bein cheap bastards.  Buy the local stuff, what was made by local folks, without having guards keeping the pickers working at the end of a gun.  Yes, she might cost a couple of bucks more, but instead of payin money to keep some government halfway around the world from takin over our economy, why not spend the extra deuce and keep a family in the 519 in business.  At least I know the garlic from there isn’t going to be glowing at night.

That’s all I’se got to say.  Make a buck, make it fair and make sure when you buy stuff, you buy from folks near you if you can.


Catching Up

There are times when life intrudes.  Right now, what with work and the general winter hibernation period, we’ve been spending all the cycles trying to keep on top of the other things in life, aside from RoadDave.  But, we have had a chance to catch our breath and attack the keyboard:

Whitney Houston passing was sad and distressing, not just because she was relatively young, at 48, but more for the underlying reasons.  Those will eventually come out, but one can make educated guesses.  Fame is a killer, pure and simple. 

Mitt or Newt?  We can’t actually believe the number of news cycles being devoted to those miscreants as well as the hangers-on.  Rick, Rick, Harold and the four or five other meat puppets who ‘threw their hat into the ring’ for the Republicans.  Newt shouldn’t be allowed to run for any actual political office beyond “County Retardate ”  He makes Nixon look honourable.  Willard (Mitt) Romney has been taking personality suppressants for so long that one longs for another Ed Muskie or Tom Eagleton to inject some excitement into the campaign.  Obama might be a disappointment, but the alternatives from the Republican Party are causing the stock price of Tena to increase ten-fold as reporters stock up on absorbent undergarments to preclude evidence of pissing themselves laughing.

The Euro Zone Debt:  Greece has fallen and can’t get up.  The last person to leave Hungary has promised to turn off the lights and lock the door, while Italy has taken a sixteen week government subsidized vacation to Spain.  That leaves France and Germany as the Bank of Last Resort for the rest of the EU.  The math isn’t working anymore but nobody has the stones to say “Screw it, we’re done.”  That would mean a number of banks in the EU would have their stock reduced to cat box filler status.  That’s a problem for Bankers and Stock Thieves, not the rest of us.    

Winter:  It’s been wobbly.  Vicious cold, followed by a thaw cycle.  Roads and sidewalks are sheets of glare ice that salt can’t melt and sand can’t penetrate.  The only folks happy about that are orthopaedic surgeons who have to reassemble the hips, knees, elbows and arms of those who have gone for a splat.  Right now, the only safe place is bed, under a blanket.

Middle East:  Syria is getting more YouTube coverage than anyone else, except piano-playing Lolcats, as the government puts the boots to the citizens.  Bashar (Bobby) Asad isn’t too keen to give up the usual trappings of despotic power and figures that tanks firing AP rounds at citizens armed with cardboard posters is fair game.  Meanwhile Egypt, the Arab Spring poster child, hasn’t figured out how to employ their citizens, or get the economy out of the toilet.  Hey, why not trying making things that other people want to buy, then selling it to them for a profit? 

Energy Prices.  Obama cans the KeystoneXL pipeline from the Canadian oilsands;  we’re happy about that and not for environmental reasons.  For four hundred years Canada has cut down the trees or dug out the ore to have it sold back to us later.  We say we’ll get the oil out of the sand, turn it into gasoline and sell you the finished product at a merely grotesque profit.  Pulling stuff out of the ground does nothing for our economy and if China is willing to pay more than the US, then we’ll sell it to the highest bidder as a finished product.  That’s what the free market is all about baby.