Progressive Grandfather Economics - Linda Christas Linda Christas

Progressive Grandfather Economics

by Jill Buchanan, Senior Reporter, Class of '11

The first in a series of interviews with Dr. R.F.Bernard, Dean Emeritus, Linda Christas College

an agricultural economyJill: "Dr. Bernard, I want to thank you for agreeing to this interview. It gives me an opportunity to get a feel for how it will be later on when I venture out into the "bigger" world, and tackle some of the great questions of our day.

I have been wondering what questions I might ask you in this forum that would have significance beyond the moment, and I would like to begin by asking what you think of the concept that the West - including the United States, Canada and Western Europe ....and even perhaps Australia and New Zealand, although they are not technically part of that geographical area - are, in effect, evolving from industrial powers to services powers. By that I mean, we've been told many times by our leaders that the sign our international policies are working is that the industrial jobs are going away and service jobs are taking their place. The question is, is that a correct perspective? Are the Western powers evolving into something better, something more sophisticated economically?

Dr. Bernard: "Jill, First thank you for having me.

The question you ask takes me a bit by surprise in that I am accustomed to questions regarding mind science, and the more recent developments in mind science and their relationship to quantum mechanics. However, surprised or not, yours is an insightful question, Jill, and one I will happily answer.

I think what you are speaking of is the current theory we hear often in political speeches that, as "blue collar" jobs, referring to industrial/manufacturing work, are relocated overseas, those jobs will be replaced by white collar or services positions.

manufacturing economyAs the theory goes, as a society evolves, first agricultural jobs are the most plentiful; then industrial/manufacturing jobs dominate, and, finally, service jobs become predominant. In this last category, I would place every job that does not involve raising crops or producing consumable goods of one sort or another. Knowledge workers and persons whose positions involve creating new ways of looking at the world or new ways of pushing back the barriers of our physical world are included in service jobs, as well as waiters in restaurants and dry cleaners. Whether the chef in a restaurant is an industrial worker, I will let you decide that, Jill.

I like to think of this as the patriarchal or grandfather model. That is, first we have grandfather (agriculture), then father (industrial/manufacturing), and finally, son (services).

I think that theory, although it plays well to many audiences, has several serious flaws, so many in fact, that the theory itself is terminally ill in my view.

The first problem, of course, is that we have never seen such a situation evolve successfully anywhere, except in economics texts, and political treatises.

Personally, I prefer to view agriculture, industrial/manufacturing and service jobs as brothers and sisters, that is, all part of an immediate family of work, all natural components of a healthy society.

manufacturing economySecondly, if we look at what is happening in the United States, as the industrial/manufacturing jobs leave for (primarily) Asian shores, they are not being replaced by anything. Our hundreds of rusting production facilities are testimony to the large employment gap that now exists where once a robust industrial/manufacturing sector provided middle class livelihoods.

If we look at what is happening in Asia, the service jobs that result from their industrial/manufacturing jobs are by and large being kept home.

It is true that as a result of our sending manufacturing positions to Asia, we have good quality, less expensive goods to purchase in the West. On the other hand, those goods are cheaper because they are produced without the costs that reflect the values we say are important to us here.

Just look at how we produce goods, for example, in the United States. First we have research and development costs. Then we have layers of regulatory costs, including care for the environment, accommodations for the handicapped, unions, wages, OSHA, and so on.

Compare that with how goods are produced in Asia. Without being guilty of statements that are too sweeping, research and development costs are minimal there. We in the West have virtually handed Asia our most sophisticated technological information; and, information we have not freely given to them, they have "borrowed" without necessarily paying for the privilege.

emergency response servicesSecondly, environmental and other regulations having to do with manufacturing in the West are largely ignored in Asia. The backlog Asia has of very inexpensive, ambitious, labor seems inexhaustible.

By 2020, workers in the West will amount to about 12% of the total available manual labor on Earth, with a great number of those non-Western laborers willing to work for wages that would not come close to supporting a family here in the United States.

So, if the question is, is it a normal evolutionary phenomenon we are experiencing with the vanishing of our industrial/manufacturing jobs, I would say, no, it is not.

When the competitors in manufacturing were Canada, the US, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the "rules" of engagement in terms of business competition were virtually the same for everyone. So design, price and quality of materials were the criteria the marketplace used to single out the winners.

Now, we have economies like China who, in effect, maintain different value systems relative to labor, and other things like the environment. Because of these differences, they, especially China, can produce much less expensive, high quality goods than anyone starting with the same idea in the West.

However, in order for an economy like China's to prosper, Americans, Canadians and Europeans, Australians, and New Zealanders must be willing to purchase from Asian manufacturing sectors, knowing that the workers who produced those goods do not have the same protections workers in the West are entitled to by law. We must purchase Asian goods knowing that the environment is going to take a hit in a big way. We must purchase them knowing that, by doing so, our fellow citizens will not have work.

Said differently, a $1900 product made in China, produced without the inconvenience of our laws and regulations relative to wages, the environment, OSHA, Disabilities Act, Unions and a hundred others, would, by contrast, easily cost $6,000 if manufactured here in the West.

services economyVideo: China's dependence on coal for electricity - YouTube (external link)

Will citizens of the West purchase such inexpensive products made in China that so openly violate our sense of social responsibility? They have, they do, and they will.

That China's economy is growing at a rate of 6%-12% per year, vs. a 1-3% growth rate in Western economies is testimony to the success of China's business model. The West is having to borrow huge amounts of money from Asia to shelter its citizens from the worst of a bad situation. How long can we continue to do that is anyone's guess.

I hope that answers your question, Jill.

Jill: "Yes, but, if I may, Dr. Bernard, one more, a follow-up?"

Dr. Bernard: "Certainly!"

Jill: "You seem to be saying that morality and economics are related. I thought that economics had nothing to do with morals?"

Dr. Bernard: "Jill, I use a word other than morality. The word I use is, values.

Morals, for me, are different, although the two terms are related, and perhaps at another time we can discuss that relationship.

However, for now, let me use the term values in conjunction with economics.

call center services workersThe way I view the world, values deeply affect how economies are run. If we value each person as an individual, as we do in the West; if we want to make sure that each person has a chance at being happy and free; if we wish to provide opportunities for the handicapped, despite the fact that it might cost more in terms of the products we produce; if we want to make sure that our air is clean so that persons who are less well will not have to struggle to breathe; and, if we wish to preserve our mountains, and bears and wolves, and owls, salamanders and other species of animals of which few are aware; if we want to do all that, and declare that these things are part of who we are as a people, then, that means we are willing to suffer the consequences of maintaining those values when jobs are sent elsewhere where the values we have are not present.

My worry is that those who are making the laws and regulations are the very people who will not suffer when the jobs are lost. My worry is that the people who can afford the most in terms of inexpensive foreign goods, they and their families will not suffer the consequences of our taking the higher road relative to our regulation of manufacturing.

When those products come back into the West, and are for sale at about one third the cost they would otherwise bear if our values had been present where they were manufactured, and we purchase them in record numbers, what does that say about our REAL values?

After all, somewhere we have to face the fact that it is no accident China is loaning the US Treasury billions every year. Where is that money coming from? Well, it's coming from both our immediate population, and from future generations, as (in the US) the Fed prints certificates of debt in exchange for Asian cash.

Jill: "Well, what can we do about this situation?"

Dr. Bernard: "We need to develop a system whereby people at all levels share both the cost and benefits of legislative decisions. Said differently, we need to make sure that persons who will not suffer are kept from making decisions for those who will. Otherwise, as we saw recently in Greece and France, we are going to have more and more civil unrest.

On a more personal level, I believe my work with Thomas Troward's teaching, which has served as the foundation for all mind sciences for the past one-hundred years, including Psycho-Cybernetics, The Secret, The Isaiah Effect, and countless personal motivation programs needs to be understood from the perspective of quantum mechanics. Once that is taught and understood, individual and familial prosperity will be assured.

Jill: "Thank you so much, Dr. Bernard."

Dr. Bernard: "You are very welcome, Jill."

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