…collectively couldn’t fill a thimble. Witness a recent dose of insipidity from Seth Godin, who is some sort of marketing guru or some such twaddle. Seth makes the argument that we are currently experiencing two recessions. One, the cyclical economic one that all sane people mean when they say “recession,” and one that is nothing less than the death of the Industrial Era.
Of course, right off the bat we have the standard New Media Douchebag idiocy of redefining terms as they go along in order to support whatever cockamamie idea that they’re pedaling this week. “Recession” has a meaning, and while actual economists may argue over the specific metrics that define a “recession,” we don’t get to re-define it to mean what would be better termed the complete destruction of the middle-class.”
Godin opens up with some quasi-economic babble larded with barely-understood jargon:
This is the recession of the industrial age, the receding wave of bounty that workers and businesses got as a result of rising productivity but imperfect market communication.
In short: if you’re local, we need to buy from you. If you work in town, we need to hire you. If you can do a craft, we can’t replace you with a machine.
The lowest price for any good worth pricing is now available to anyone, anywhere. Which makes the market for boring stuff a lot more perfect than it used to be.
Barring a clear and concise statement of his fucking thesis, I’ll assume that Godin is playing on the hoary old argument that the shift in industrial manufacturing from the “West” to developing nations such as China and Mexico is an inevitable consequence of the march of civilization. To which I respond: why?
We can have valid debate as to the desirability of ceding our manufacturing capability to other nations and whether governments should attempt to prevent such, but let’s not pretend that some Randoid fantasy land where it’s inevitable and desirable for Capital to race to the cheapest possible solutions in all cases is the only possible state.
Since the ‘factory’ work we did is now being mechanized, outsourced or eliminated, it’s hard to pay extra for it. And since buyers have so many choices (and much more perfect information about pricing and availability) it’s hard to charge extra.
Thus, middle class jobs that existed because companies had no choice are now gone.
Ugh. The first paragraph is techno-lolbertarian babble. The second, however is despicable New Media Douchebag elitism. How DARE those tedious middle-class people, those blue-collar workers, those farmers, those grey-flannel suits think that they can continue to perform the work that actually created the society that Seth now enjoys. Why, I doubt that any of them have managed to write 12 books that most of the world has never heard of, let alone become a successful blogger. The nerve of them.
Then, of course, we come to the crux of the matter. Seth’s prescription for the tired masses. The solution for those poor saps who thought that they could build a career actually producing things before the corporations realized that they could just have some slave-laborer in a third-world sweatshop do the work for pennies on the dollar. Well, as usuall with these sort of articles, the solution is somewhat slippery.
The networked revolution is creating huge profits, significant opportunities and a lot of change. What it’s not doing is providing millions of brain-dead, corner office, follow-the-manual middle class jobs. And it’s not going to.
Fast, smart and flexible are embraced by the network. Linchpin behavior. People and companies we can’t live without (because if I can live without you, I’m sure going to try if the alternative is to save money).
Yes! be “smart” “fast” and “flexible.” Work the “network” like some gap-toothed street whore.
What does any of that actually mean you ask. Fuck if I know, but I’m sure Seth and his ilk will be willing to tell you. Just purchase their next book from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, or wherever New Media Douchebag fuckwittery is sold.